This is going
to sound utterly selfish, but the number one thing you can do to help someone
you care about who has bipolar disorder is to make sure that you are healthy
yourself. Loving someone with bipolar often comes with extreme highs and lows,
and their roller coaster of emotions often carry you along for the ride whether
you want to go or not. You love them and want to do everything you can to help;
sometimes to the point that you neglect yourself.
There was a
time when Michael’s mood swings were so severe that nothing was stable in our
lives. I felt like I was living in a minefield, and at any moment, life could
explode. In a moment of desperation, I remember thinking that if something didn’t
change, I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I knew our daughter needed at
least one sane parent, so I decided to move out of our home until I could get a
grip on my own emotional and mental health.
one of the most difficult things at the time; Michael thought that I was
leaving him permanently and had many of our friends and family calling to
convince me to come home (they were unaware of his disorder). Being apart was
difficult in many ways, but being in a stable environment gave me the space to
gain some perspective. When I finally did return home, I was in a much better
place emotionally to support him than I was when I left.
selfish to leave? Yes and no. The decision to leave for a brief period was what
was best for our family. The one thing I know is that when I took care of my
own mental health, I was a much better wife and mother. I’m not saying that you
need to take this to the extreme and that it is all about you and making
yourself happy, but I am suggesting that you take care of yourself.
Labels: Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health