Families who have a person afflicted with bipolar disorder know all too well the difficulties in involved with dealing with this disorder. A person with bipolar disorder requires exceptional patience and tolerance. Family relationships can suffer because of this.
It is exceptionally hard to live with someone who has extreme lows and highs and sporadic and unexpected mood swings. It makes life difficult to cope with someone whose personality could change at any moment. There are medications to be aware of, frequent doctor visits, and in some ways one must “walk on eggshells.” Life is in turmoil quite a bit of the time. It is very difficult to witness seeing your loved one behave in such a way without a good way of helping them.
Here is a list of ways to support your family member with bipolar disorder:
- Be ready to listen if the person with bipolar disorder wants to talk.
- Educate yourself regarding bipolar disorder so that you are better able to help them.
- Make the person with bipolar disorder aware that there is help for them and encourage them to seek the help that they need.
- If they are on medication monitor them and make sure that they are taking it correctly. Never take remarks regarding suicide lightly.
- Listen to what they are saying and seek out the physician’s guidance accordingly.
- Take note, a relapse can occur and you must be able to recognize any signs of this. Such signs would include a disturbing or unusual sleeping pattern within the sufferer, fast speech, and/or restlessness.
- Identify any triggers for the bipolar person such as birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions. Remind the person with bipolar disorder that they have a problem and suggest ways in which they can help themselves.
- Above all, remember that you love the person and let them know that you do and that you will be there to offer them support.
Dealing with any disorder puts extra stress and strain on everyone involved including the caregiver and/or family member. Remember to take time for yourselves and perhaps join a support group in order to find the strength to cope with it. You are not alone and joining a group will best tell you this. It will also offer other means of help by listening to what works for others and hopefully picking up a few ideas along the way to try in your own situation.
Living with bipolar disorder is difficult at best, but with additional support and guidance you will be able to lessen the stress and strain, which will better help you to cope with the situation.
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