Q: My mom was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder last year and my dad has had Dyslexia since child hood. I am often the responsible adult in the house. My dad’s family, in their own intrusive way tries to help. All they do is cause chaos. They upset my mom when she is manic or depressed (one time causing a suicide threat) and confuse my dad. I get stressed out and have panic attacks. I really have no one to go to. And every where I search I hit dead ends for a place of solace for children of bipolar parents. If you have any suggestions they would be much appreciated.

A: I’m sorry that you have had to grow up fast and become so responsible. I would suggest trying to contact the community mental health centers in your area to see if there are some resources available to you. Also the United Way may have a list of local support groups. You may just want to look up mental health or human services and similar topics in the phone book and again ask if there might a group of interest to you.

Another very helpful resource is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). They may have a chapter in your town or you can get information from their website. I think the biggest issues are getting some information and education on mental illnesses and some support from people who understand. If none of this helps, it may be nice to just find a counselor/therapist of your own to talk to about what it’s like in your family. Good luck and don’t forget to live “your life” amidst what you deal with in your family. Even though they have needs, they are the adults and you deserve a life of your own.