Being beautifully bipolar isn’t always easy. And as tough as it can be for me to handle this illness, it can be just as tough on my loved ones. I was recently interviewed and asked what advice I would give to a loved one of someone with bipolar disorder and that got me thinking about it. We bipolars want what everyone wants – to be loved and accepted. Sometimes we think we are harder to love because of our illness. That isn’t the case, even though we may sometimes feel like it. To be supportive of a bipolar person you must accept them – moods and all. Always remember that they didn’t ask for this illness. They don’t enjoy depression. They know the dangers of mania. You must be willing to care about them when they are having a “bad” day and when they are having a “good” one. I think there is a level of patience you must have in supporting a bipolar person. It’s so easy to want to tell the bipolar person to “get over” being depressed or to “calm down” when they are manic. But as I’ve said, the bipolar person is not choosing to be depressed or irritable, it is a part of the illness.
There will always be extremes, but the more you love and support someone with bipolar disorder, the easier it becomes to navigate. My boyfriend knows now how to support me when I am depressed. He knows what helps and what doesn’t. Often times my mood swings are detected first by the people closest to me. That is great news! My loved ones can nudge me into calling my therapist or psychiatrist. They can stop me from entering a full-blown episode by aiding me in getting the help I need.
You can play a pivotal role in the wellness of a bipolar person by supporting them. Listen to them. Pay attention to their moods. If you want to be there for them, let them know.
Image courtesy of Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Last reviewed: 29 Jan 2014