When someone you love has bipolar disorder, it influences
your life as well. I’ve had several people ask me to write about how loved ones
can cope with their loved ones excessive mood swings. First let me say that
there is no easy answer. Each individual and each situation is unique, but I
will share some things I’ve learned along the way. This post is the first in a
series that I will write on the subject.
It is important to remember that your loved one has bipolar
disorder, but this does not define her. Every person is complex and uniquely
gifted; don’t let the disease cloud your overall perception of your loved one’s
identity. People with the disorder often feel stigmatized, and are paranoid
that others will treat them differently if they know about the diagnosis. Your
loved one needs to know that you care and that you are there to offer support as
she seeks treatment.
Medications are almost always necessary in managing the mood
swings associated with the disorder. Medication compliance is often one of the
most difficult hurdles to recovery. It is important to understand that medications
are meant to control the illness so that the person can be himself. Please do
not make jokes about psychiatric medications as this only adds to the stigma.
In the coming posts, I will address ways to cope with your
loved one’s depression, his mania, medication, codependency, and self-care. If
there are other topics you would like for me to address, please let me know.
Labels: Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health