Bipolar disorder is an illness that touches everyone around the person with the condition. When someone close to you is living with bipolar disorder it can be tough to know how to respond to many situations.
Your heart understands that the illness drives much of the behavior you see. At the same time, it is easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed. So how can you support your loved one without giving up necessary boundaries?
1. Become informed. Learn all you can about bipolar disorder including the treatments available.
2. Be a good listener. Although your loved one’s emotional swings may sometimes be extreme, not all of their feelings are symptoms of their illness. Avoid disregarding their perspective before giving it fair consideration.
3. Be alert to emotional shifts. It can often be the case that you will be the first to notice an emotional change in your loved one – even before they recognize it themselves. You never want to come across as intrusive, but the sooner episodes are identified, the easier they are to treat. Talk with your loved one in advance about how to let them know when you see a shift occurring.
4. Be available to help. Ask your loved one what you can do to lighten the load during times when they feel overwhelmed. Your readiness to step in will communicate love and support.
Sometimes, your help may come in the form of encouraging the person to stick with treatment. You may need to drive them to counseling or doctor appointments or a check up to be sure that they are faithful with therapy. Try not to let them isolate themselves, but stay engaged with them in fun ways as well as keeping an eye on treatment.
You and your loved one need support. Family Guidance offers support to those with bipolar disorder as well as to the loved ones living with and caring for them. You can be a support to them. Let us support you.