One of the hardest things about someone in the family having bipolar disorder is that it’s not an illness that can be managed just by popping a pill. It requires lifestyle changes, and for the person who has bipolar disorder to be successful in their treatment, everyone else in the family needs to adopt those lifestyle changes also.

This point has hit home especially hard since I found out that I have celiac disease. At first, to lessen the changes for my family, I tried going gluten-free just myself and allowing everyone else to eat any food they wanted, without the burden of reading labels. But I was soon confronted with mighty temptation, issues with cross-contamination, and the extra cost and time and energy needed to make a “regular” dish and a gluten-free dish for every meal.

So, last week, after a long talk with my husband, we decided to purge the kitchen of all food items that I cannot eat and that everyone in the family will be eating gluten-free, too.

During this same period of time, my husband was off work for a week or so – he builds houses for a living, and business is slower in the winter months – and he was able to get a full night’s sleep, consistently. We both started seeing a great improvement in his mood stability, and I mentioned to him that perhaps we revisit the idea of him going to bed earlier in the evening so that he can get more sleep every night. His concern was that by going to bed at 8 p.m., he would miss out on family time. So, I said that everyone would be going to bed at 8 p.m.

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