Bipolar disorder affects more than the individual who has it – it affects everyone it touches, especially family members, and can in turn be affected by the words and behaviors of others. In my family, for example, when my wife starts cycling into mania, I tend to get depressed. Our son becomes borderline abusive. Our daughter gets confused and defensive. All of our reactions seem to feed into the bipolar, worsening the mania.

Even though we all know what’s going on, what we should and shouldn’t say, what we should and shouldn’t do, we seem to get sucked into this bipolar vortex.

If you’re a member of a bipolar family, how do your family dynamics change in the midst of depression or bipolar disorder? Have you discovered any effective strategies for dealing with changes in family dynamics?