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If my twenty year old son knew I was writing this, I'm not sure what he'd do. Bipolar disorder can be a dangerous thing when it goes untreated. I am a mother who is afraid of her son, but I am speaking out for all the other parents out there who fear their own children.

First, you should know something about me. I have Bipolar II. I was diagnosed in 2011, a year after my world crumbled. A year after my older son walked out my door. With a right-for-now cocktail of medications plus a wonderful therapist, I function well day to day. My colleagues would never guess that I have bipolar II. They probably attribute my high spirited antics to being a creative teacher. They don't know there is electricity tingling underneath my skin when I'm hypomanic. And when the melancholy settles in, I rely on my finest acting skills at work and my peers are none the wiser. From the outside, I seem just fine. But on the inside, I struggle.

Thanks to a proper diagnosis and treatment I manage my life better now than I ever did before. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my older son. Though his Bipolar diagnosis came over two years ago, he has refused any treatment. Instead, he self-medicates with drugs and alcohol. He dropped out of college. Twice. And he's usually unemployed. He is trapped by his own apathy and sees no way out. And I am powerless to help him.

His story is my story and I want to share it with you. His story, my story is one of heartache and tragedy, broken promises and last chances. But it also a story of hope. I am still hopeful that he will get help for himself. I am still hopeful that his life will turn around. I am still hopeful that he will become whole again. I am his mother and I will always love him. But because I fear him, for now, I will have to love him from a safe distance.