Loving a person who is bipolar can be difficult at times. I’ve seen many people who have a loved one who is bipolar handle it well. Unfortunately I frequently see some who do not handle it well. Below I’ve shortened a list of do’s and don’ts from the excellent Depression and Bipolar Alliance website, plus I’ve added a few of my own:
- Your loved one has a disease. It is not their fault or your fault. Let them know you understand this.
- Each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms.
- Remember that this is a serious illness and that one in six successfully commit suicide. This should not be a constant worry, but should remind you the importance of proper care and support.
- Get permission from your loved one to allow you to discuss their treatment with their doctor. Sometimes instructions and medications can be forgotten or misunderstood by the person with bipolar disorder.
- Don’t claim you know how they feel, but let them know you care about them and would like to help.
- Ask “what I can do for you.”
- If your loved one tells you they need some space remember it is not personal and give it to them
- Set boundaries. Just because they have a disease, it doesn’t mean that everything is is okay. (See my walking naked in previous post)
- Accept that each person is different. Some become balance quickly, while others may take months or even years.
Things not to say to them:
- It’s all in your head.
- I get depressed to, but I get over it. You should too.
- Look on the bright side…
- You have so much to live for, why do you want to die?
- Just snap out of it
- Stop acting crazy
To me, probably the most important thing to do is NEVER use their disease against them. During an argument you should not tell them that the way they are acting is because they are bipolar.
- Finally. Respect them.