People living with bipolar disorder often find it hard to find others who understand their condition. As a friend or loved one, you may not have a deep understanding of the disease or the symptoms it produces. You may be unsure of what you can do to help or do enough to help the person you care about. Below are some ideas to consider that can help you support a loved one diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
1. Learn About the Disease
The first thing you might wish to do is expand your understanding of bipolar disorder. Education can clear up a lot of the misconceptions that exist about the illness. You may find yourself much better equipped to manage the highs and lows that come with episodes of bipolar disorder. The information can help you maintain perspective and ride out each storm.
2. Listen Without Judgment
One of the most challenging skills for many people to learn is to let someone talk without offering an opinion. When you about someone, it can seem natural to provide your opinion on what they can do to “fix” themselves. Sometimes the best thing you can do is be there for them. Let them talk about what they are going through without interjecting. Letting them get things off their chest can do more for a loved one than all the well-meaning advice in the world.
3. Offer to Help With the Little Things
People going through a bipolar episode may find it hard to focus. Try offering to help them prepare meals or drive their children to various activities. You can provide your loved one with some relief when they feel overwhelmed by the demands of daily life.
4. Try to Be Patient
There is no treatment that will make your loved one better overnight. Treatment for bipolar disorder can take time to set in. Avoid getting frustrated if it seems slow going. It can take a while for people to find a treatment plan that helps with their symptoms. Bipolar disorder lasts for a lifetime. Don’t be surprised if your loved one appears to get better for long periods, only to have other episodes. Be there for them when they have setbacks and help them celebrate their victories.
5. Stay Engaged
Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder may feel that their illness makes them a burden on others. That can cause them to pull away or avoid contact. Attempt to reach out and let them know you are there. They may not have the energy or inclination to talk to you right away. However, your effort lets them know there is an avenue for help they can pursue when ready.
6. Go With Them to Support Groups
Your loved one may be hesitant about attending support groups or other mental health treatment meant to help with their bipolar disorder. Offer to go with them, so they have someone with them that they trust. Attending with someone you care about gives you the chance to hear other stories from people living with bipolar depression. That can help you further understand the disease and that your loved one is not alone in their struggles.
7. Avoid Burnout
Dealing with a loved one’s bipolar disorder episodes can be exhausting. You may be the one who must deal with the consequences of their decisions. Make sure you take time for yourself when needed so you can mentally recover. It can be as simple as taking a walk or going to therapy to talk through your concerns. The best thing you can do for someone you care about with bipolar disorder is to stay mentally healthy. That puts you in a better place to offer the support they need.
Get Help With Bipolar Disorder Today
Bayview Recovery provides a variety of mental health treatment programs to help people living with a mental health disorder like bipolar depression, including
- Depression treatment program
- Anxiety treatment program
- ADHD treatment program
- Schizophrenia treatment center
Learn more by calling Bayview Recovery at 855.478.3650.