When my son experienced a serious manic episode in 2019, the family wasn’t aware that the cause of his behaviour was bipolar because he didn’t yet have a diagnosis. He wasn’t working at the time, but he did own his own house, and it was on that basis that we believe the banks were prepared to provide finance for the purchase of TWO cars, which he bought from the same dealer only three days apart. They set up finance deals with two separate banks – at a total cost of nearly £1000 a month – based on a forty-eight month repayment scheme. The dealer also took the perfectly ok car my son already owned as a part exchange.

It could have been so much worse

On another occasion and from a different dealer, my son attempted to buy an Aston Martin ‘for his brother’, but thankfully that car dealer suspected my son was unwell, and the finance proposal for £118,000 was declined, as was yet another attempt to buy a very expensive Mercedes. Thank goodness.

George also attempted to sell his house, which would have provided him with several hundred thousand pounds, surely to have been squandered in weeks. I was so worried about the situation, I persuaded the solicitors he approached to act on his behalf to decline his instruction, which thankfully they did.

We got his overdraft blocked

His borrowings with his own bank had reached significant levels, which were attracting costly interest rates. Although at the time he was behaving really out of character and was very aggressive towards me, I persuaded him to let me go to his bank with him and I paid off his debt, which was just over £13,000. I also got him to agree to ask the bank to block another overdraft facility. This was NOT a pleasant experience!!

It was such a stressful time for the whole family

Had the family known at the time that all these decisions were due to manic spending because he was unwell with bipolar, we would have been far more prepared to help my son not to get into these situations in the first place! The stress and anxiety placed on the family at that time was extreme. We are lucky that in all the circumstances mentioned above, we were able to get my son out of the financial commitments he made, but we realise that so many people aren’t as fortunate.

Understanding bipolar means we can support our son better

When my son recovered from the manic episode, having been sectioned for two months, I will never forget what he said to me – “I can’t apologise for what I did, because it wasn’t me, it was the illness”.

To me, that sums up where the journey can take you: an illness that is reflected in the actions of someone loving and caring who can develop a very dark and damaging alter ego, that at first they have no control over. Now we better understand the illness, we are better prepared to help and support my son whenever we can, and he knows that.

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