I am close to three people who have Bipolar. I will not disclose who they are for privacy reasons but, let’s just say I know very well what it means to love someone with bipolar.
Bipolar is like being on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can predict drop offs and others you just have to hang on because the next turn sends you into an unexpected spiral. Sometimes you are laughing and throwing your hands in the air and then other times you are clinging, simply holding on for dear life screaming it the top of your lungs.
- watched as someone I loved made terrible choices.
- seen them yell over nothing or laugh uncontrollably at nothing.
- watched them ruin their very important relationships.
- sadly watched them spend money they never really had to spend.
- experienced them loving with all that they had.
- had the pleasure of seeing them so proud of successes.
- watched rage over the slightest failure.
- stood by as a mood shifted so extremely they make me feel like I was spinning.
- heard things I wish I could un-hear.
- witnessed them create things so beautifully that you know their soul is so pure.
- observed them destroy close to everything they owned.
- been there in the happiest of times at their best.
- celebrated them dancing like no one is watching even though everyone was.
- loved them. Because we are all deserving of love.
According to the source, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, “More than 5.7 million American adults or 2.6 percent of the population age 18 or older in any given year have bipolar disorder.”
It’s my personal thoughts that that number may be even higher as many do not ever seek help and are not diagnosed. My guess is if you found this you know someone who has bipolar or even may have it yourself.
Over the years living with people who have bipolar and having them in my life I have come up with things I do when it comes to my relationships with these people whom I love so dearly.
You must accept the fact bipolar is a part of their life but it does not completely define who they are.
People who have bipolar have personalities, hopes, dreams, and aspirations just like anyone else. They are not their illness they have an illness.
Bipolar is not an excuse for everything.
While bipolar does affect one’s choices you can not just use it as a way to brush off bad behavior. There was an incident where a bipolar child broke something that did not belong to them on purpose. It was very clear that they did it with mean intent and they were making clear choices. My first reaction was to brush it off as oh this happens a lot the illness causes them to act this way. No, that is not how life works. Life does not care if you have bipolar, people out there still expect basic respect. The law will also not care if you child grows up and blames bad choices on his or her mental health.We must teach them that early. Interestingly when the child was not expected to act that way and received proper loving discipline. They started working towards better behavior.
Know what their triggers are.
In my experience, both children and adults have triggers that can cause a fast shift in their mood.By no means am I saying you should tip toe around them. We all know some things simply can not be avoided. However, it if is something that does not need to be done or said it is often best just to avoid it. This cut down on so many manic episodes for us.
Appointments, medications and seeking help.
One person in particular that I am close with needed to be often reminded that their mental health appointments and their medications were so very important. Yes, everyone case is different but for us, the medications and therapy would start helping some and their response was to stop the medications because they felt” fine”. At the very least I was able to break that cycle sometimes. If a person you love is threatening to harm themselves or someone else please make a phone call to get them help right away. Please, never brush it off. Ever.
Set clear boundaries for yourself.
There are certain things I will not put up with. I won’t bend or break on them. It does not matter if the person suffers from mental health issues or they do not. My lines in the sand are there. If they are crossed there are consequences. For example, should I have a friend with bipolar (or not ) and they were to intentionally physically harm me or a child of mine. The friendship would end. That is one of my boundaries.
Give yourself a break.
Go grab a coffee with friends, go for a walk, find a hobby you love especially when the person you love is having a manic episode. Make sure they are safe and take that time for you. Being around someone who is manic is emotionally and physically exhausting. There is nothing wrong with needing time away, in fact, it is a very healthy habit to form.
Be an advocate
If the person you love is a child or an adult has difficulty expressing themselves to their doctor, schools, family please make sure they get heard. If it is a child and a doctor will not listen perhaps finding a new practice. So many times people with bipolar or parents of children with bipolar get brushed off by the medical profession when they voice their concerns. I have stood up many times as a voice to be heard and it has ended a lot of heartache and frustration.
Know what comforts them.
For some people it is a favorite blanket wrapped snugly around them, maybe for someone else, it is just a change of scenery, a hug or even to just be left alone. Comfort and familiarness are often very needed by someone who is manic, or depressed.
Remember no one chooses to be mentally ill.
Love and compassion go a long way they did not ask for this, cause it or choose it. While someone with bipolar disorder can become extremely frustrating or worrisome try not to be angry with them, don’t beg them to change or demand they stop being this way. This is not a choice, it simply is.
I am by no means an expert
I am simply put a person who loves and is loved by people that have bipolar disorder. For more information, you can check out the following resources. What I have written are things I have done over the years that have worked for me personally.
My personal thoughts.
Bipolar is not all negative. Some of the most creative, smart, energetic, full of life, fun people I know are bipolar. They are wonderful people that have a mental health disorder. The stigma placed on people with mental health is very disheartening. I have been through years of ups and downs with people who I love. I have stood up for them when they could not and you know what… they have done the same for me. At the end of the day, we are all simply human… please embrace one another through the perfection and the imperfections. #Love #Kindness #Compassion