Content Warning: Mental Health
As much as it might hurt to admit it, sometimes it can be difficult to be around a loved one who has a mental illness, as they may not always be the most kind to other people.
It’s worth stating that a person’s diagnosis shouldn’t be an excuse for them mistreating other people, but it also shouldn’t mean that they are unqualified for medical care, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Unhappy_Hope1048 was shocked to find out that she had been excluded from the next family vacation because of her “mood swings” related to her Bipolar Disorder Two diagnosis.
But with her mother also withholding her medical information, the Original Poster (OP) had larger concerns than a missed vacation to deal with.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for getting upset after my family planned a vacation without me?”
The OP recently overheard plans for a family trip.
“I (18 Female) just recently found out that my family has been planning a vacation without me after my grandma let it slip while on the phone with my mother (39 Female).”
“In my family, vacations are somewhat frequent because my great aunt has a bunch of condos all around the US and she lets the family use them.”
“I’m currently staying at the one she has in Florida with my grandma (62 Female) when I overheard her in the living room on the phone with my mom talking about my little brother’s (11 Male) Christmas present, which is a plane ticket down to one of the condos my great aunt has.”
It was soon clear that the OP wasn’t written into the trip itinerary.
“I later confronted her about who was going, and she said my aunt and her family, and then my mom and brother.”
“I asked her where my invite was (thinking that I was invited), and she told me I wasn’t going.”
“When I asked why, she said it was because no one wanted me to come.”
“A little bit of back story as to why I think they don’t want me around is because I have BPD Two (Bipolar Disorder, Type Two), and I have very bad mood swings.”
But there may have been bigger concerns that the OP needed to deal with than the trip itself.
“I’m on medication for it that my mom controls but refuses to tell me how to refill or even let me do it, so I’m currently not on the medication.”
“I’m not too sure if I have a right to be upset since I sort of understand why they don’t want me around, but it still hurts knowing my whole family all agreed they didn’t want me to come on a vacation with them like I usually do.”
“And I will admit I definitely got very upset and started yelling, which probably didn’t help, but I was just upset.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some empathized with the OP and gave her advice about accessing her medication.
“I’m sorry your grandma hurt your feelings. But, your being unmedicated is the real issue to me.”
“You don’t need anyone to tell you how to refill a prescription because you’re 18. Call your doctor’s office and leave a message for your doctor that your mother won’t give you access to your meds and you need to be able to manage the prescription yourself.”
“It’s your right as the patient who is not also a chronological child. (Leave your mom and grandma out of that loop.)”
“About Christmas, of course, you’re going to be inconsistent in your moods and behaviors. YOU’RE OFF YOUR REGULATING MEDS!”
“Tell your grandmother that pharmacology isn’t your mom’s area of expertise and she is making bad matters much worse.”
“Frankly, I don’t know why you are concerned about spending Christmas with them all. You deserve a break from their nonsense.”
“NTA.” – AndSoItGoes24
“Even though dealing with a person who has BPD can be difficult/challenging, especially for people who don’t quite understand the disorder and, therefore don’t know how to handle it, the whole ‘let’s just exclude OP and pretend like nothing happened’ is such an inconsiderate move.”
“First of all, just planning the vacation and completely shutting you out is bad, and they shouldn’t do it to you. But if they really thought about the impact that you could have on their vacation and decided that they’d prefer not having you there, they could have called you for a talk, explained the situation and respectfully told you that you would be staying out of this one.”
“And about your meds, they are such an indispensable, serious, and necessary part of the ‘handling process’ that I just don’t quite understand why your mother would deprive you of that, you know? Without them, an essential and much-needed piece of the stabilization mechanism is missing; therefore, all your efforts towards stability will be jeopardized.” – xinenigans
“NTA. It is bad enough you are being excluded from the family vacation, but withholding your meds is almost criminal, and maybe is.”
“Call the doctor, make an appointment, and get a new script for your meds. Tell your Doctor that your Mother is no longer authorized to deal with your medical stuff.”
“Once you are on an even keel, get yourself a job, get your own medical insurance (I do feel for you Americans, you wouldn’t have this problem almost anywhere else in the Western world), and get your own place to live.” – Successful_Bath1200
“If you are underemployed (no insurance offered where you work, or if you don’t work), with a mental health doctor(s), you can get on Medicaid if your mom kicks you off her insurance.”
“Get a copy of your medical records from your doctor, which will list all of your doctor(s) and prescriptions. If your mom has medical power of attorney and is withholding your meds, call adult protective services because that is abuse. They will set her straight.”
“If she kicks you off her insurance because you called out her abuse, share that information with your family so they know your continued acting out is because your mom is abusing you by withholding medical care to manage your condition. They can direct their ire at her then.” – Old-Mention9632
“Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to call up or physically go to one of your doctor’s offices. Then you’re going to say you can’t find your insurance card and ask if they can please send you the insurance info, showing you both sides of the card they photocopied and have in their records.”
“Then you’re going to go to the pharmacy where you get your medication and tell them the same thing.”
“Once you have your insurance information, you are going to make an appointment with a new doctor who is on the insurance plan if you feel your mom is controlling your interactions with your old doctor. And you are going to get yourself treatment over which you have control.”
“Your mom has no right to any of your medical information unless she is your medical conservator, and I’m assuming she’s not. Your doctors are not allowed to talk to her about your healthcare. Your pharmacy is not allowed to withhold your medication based on her say-so. The decision is yours.”
“Take advantage of the time your family is away on vacation to begin to take charge of your own health care. to Your mother is committing medical abuse. This is illegal. If she continues to make it impossible for you to take needed medication, call an abused adult hotline right away to get help.”
“BPD is very treatable with medication and therapy. You have to stay on top of it, but you can have a wonderful, fulfilling life. The whole nobody wants you on vacation thing is cruel, and I’m sorry it’s happening to you. But you’re an adult now. It’s time to think about more education or vocational training that will let you have a career that lets you support yourself comfortably away from your family of origin.”
“You get to pick your partners and your friends and to build a nuclear family of your own when you’re ready. You get to spend vacations with friends and family you choose as you become self-supporting and self-sufficient. You get to leave people who don’t treat you well in the dust behind you.”
“BPD will not prevent any of this from happening. NTA.” – Nester1953
But others hoped this moment would be a wake-up call for the OP.
“You’re not an AH for being upset; that’s natural. But if your family doesn’t want you to come, then it’s because you’ve been an AH in the past and ruined trips for them before, BPD or no.”
“You’re going to have to figure your own medical stuff out and then prove to them that you are working on it before you’re welcome again.”
“Just a note, my SIL has BPD, and while everyone has bent over backward to be understanding, no one wants her around anymore either because every conversation is like walking through a minefield, and the tension is too much for anyone to enjoy themselves.”
“So, the past four years, no unnecessary contact. Everyone is happier.”
“NAH at the moment.” – Fangehulmesteren
“Even if you have a mental illness, you are still responsible for your actions and how it affects those around you. I know it’s not easy, but it means getting treatment.”
“I’m concerned that the mother has control of OP’s meds and insurance, and I’m glad that OP will be contacting the pharmacy.” – Emotional-Elephant88
“Never mind about a**hole: If you have mental health so serious that nobody in your family wants to spend time with you, then that’s what you need to work on.”
“The fact that you said, ‘I definitely got very upset and started yelling,’ is a big hint about why your family doesn’t want you around.”
“Seriously, I can understand why you feel offended, and I can understand why they would like a break from being yelled at.” – SushiGuacDNA
“OP is a legal adult and perfectly capable of calling her doctor to make an appointment to get her meds. Likewise, her prescription bottle will have the prescription number, the prescribing physician, and all relevant information needed to contact both the pharmacy and the doctor about getting her prescription refilled.”
“My guess is Mom is not withholding information but rather has told OP multiple times, and OP simply doesn’t listen or chronically defers blame on other people.” – Adventurous-Try1728
“My family went through this with my sister to the point where we refuse to spend holidays and vacations with her ever again. She has ruined every single one we have ever had and caused massive family issues.”
“We have tried to get help together as a family, one-on-one, as each member of the family is with her and each doing our own counseling. She refuses to participate. She says if we make her go, she will lie and ‘make us look so bad, the doctors will lock you all up.'”
“And yes she has made up horrific lies, lies that have even caused a suicide (not family) before so we believe her when she threatens it. She is in her 40s and refuses medication for her BPD because she feels she ‘shouldn’t have to take medications to change who she is, we should just accept who she is and learn not to trigger her.'”
“Triggering her consists of letting our six-year-old niece go first on a ride or complimenting another woman. We have been trying to help her since she was 14 and have never gotten anywhere. Our mom’s hands shake when she calls.”
“We took a family vacation a few months ago and she did everything at every step to wreck it. She didn’t even last 20 minutes before she started losing it on everyone, running out into the neighborhood screaming about how no one loves her and then coming back telling us it’s our fault because we asked everyone where we wanted to go for dinner when we should have just asked her and gone with what she chose.”
“Then she threw a fit every single night because she wanted to change rooms each night. She threw a fit because a woman was wearing a short skirt around her husband in public, and that was my mother’s fault, apparently for paying for the holiday for all of us. She posted on Facebook that we weren’t letting her leave the place we rented and that we all went out to have fun while she was locked in which was absolute bulls**t.”
“We ended up canceling half the events we had planned because she ‘was triggered’ and didn’t want her to feel left out then she freaked out at the last minute because suddenly she wanted to go and none of us were ready to jump out the door at that second.”
“My other sister and I refuse to ever vacation with her again. We have a family trip booked for next year and she’s not invited. So, OP, with that perspective in mind, I can’t cast immediate blame on your family for how they feel about vacationing with you. You may not be at fault for having mental health issues, but having mental health issues is not a free pass for others to have to put up with being treated badly. NAH.” – TiptoeStiletto
“This is exactly my experience with my SIL as well. She went to therapy for years alone, making up crazy stories about her whole family. Every time a doctor got anywhere near a diagnosis, she’d move on to another one.”
“The lies and mental games tore the family apart for years, and everyone gets tense the moment she enters a room because if you as much as greet her the wrong way, don’t immediately stop whatever you’re doing to become a psychic and do whatever she expects you to do, she’ll have a complete rage fit about how no one loves her and how we all hate her and purposefully exclude her from whatever she has fixated on that time.”
“And afterward, she’ll have a completely different account of what happened than everyone else in the room. If she screams at everyone and then cries, she’ll have a story about how you screamed at her and made her cry.”
“After being raged at like that for X amount of times, the accusations of you not loving her and purposefully excluding her become true. And our pity for her has become less than our resentment.”
“People with these personality traits can be absolutely traumatizing to be around.”
“I would not be surprised for a second if OP is lying about the meds or having a completely distorted view of reality on the matter.” – Avonda-Starlighter
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a brief update.
“I’m getting a lot of questions about why exactly I can’t get control of the meds. My mom won’t give me my insurance information, and obviously, I’m not on my own insurance, but I’ve been trying to get the info.”
“I’m taking your advice, and I will be getting ahold of my pharmacy when I get home this coming week!”
While the subReddit could understand that not being invited was hurtful, they saw it in one or two ways: either the family wasn’t worth spending the holiday with, or the OP was more insufferable than she was letting on, diagnosed or not.
But one thing was certain: the OP needed to be on regulated medication, whether she was capable of being in charge of it or not. Having that withheld from her would be a form of medical abuse, though some questioned if these details were part of the story she was creating about how her family was against her.
Either way, the family clearly had to work through some issues and either find a better way to coexist or they needed to create some distance.