Children of the mentally ill, an article from an Australian website devoted to adults, adolescents and children with mentally ill parents, gives an intro to what it's like. Programs like Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) are geared toward focusing on yourself and your growth. Abandonment sums it up - feeling like the rug has been jerked out from underneath you again and again. A firm foundation of parental love is non-existent. Adult children have lost trust, hope, control.
Our family went back and forth between normal and dysfunctional as the roller coaster of manic-depression ran through. I became an 'emotional perfectionist'; always wanting to be in control, to feel normal. After many bouts of depression that weren't responding to treatment, I was diagnosed with manic-depression myself. Wow - what an utter failure. Shouldn't that be the absolute worst thing? Like finding out you have a terminal genetic disease. But, hey - perseverance is one thing I learned and listening to the pdoc(psychiatric doctor) was another. No hospitalization, no suicide attempts, no days and weeks in bed or staying up all night rearranging furniture and no drug and alcohol misuse or abuse.
Hopefully, my kids have come through and know they are loved, have a rug to stand on, can trust in me and themselves, have hope for the future while acknowledging that God is in control.