If you have a loved one who is struggling with bipolar disorder, it can be difficult to know how to help them. This condition can be incredibly challenging to deal with, and your loved one may not be able to get the help they need on their own. That’s where you come in. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 ways that you can help your loved one manage bipolar disorder. We hope that these tips will provide some much-needed support and guidance.
- 1 What Is Bipolar?
- 2 How To Help Your Loved One With Bipolar?
- 2.1 Educate yourself about the illness
- 2.2 Set boundaries
- 2.3 Communicate openly and honestly
- 2.4 Listen and validate their experiences
- 2.5 Encourage them to seek professional help
- 2.6 Make a plan
- 2.7 Attend therapy sessions together
- 2.8 Try not to make assumptions
- 2.9 Encourage self-care practices
- 2.10 Look after yourself
- 3 Conclusion
What Is Bipolar?
Bipolar is a mental illness characterized by extreme shifts in mood. A person with bipolar may experience periods of mania, where they feel extremely happy and energetic, followed by periods of depression, where they may struggle with low energy and sadness. This condition is often treated with therapy and medication.
Bipolar can be very difficult to navigate, both for the person experiencing it and their loved ones. One important thing to remember is that a person with bipolar disorder cannot simply “snap out” of their symptoms. You should not try to convince them that their feelings are invalid or tell them to “just be happy.”
Therefore, if you have a loved one with bipolar, you should educate yourself on the condition and learn ways to support them. With the right care and support, individuals with bipolar can lead fulfilling lives.
How To Help Your Loved One With Bipolar?
Bipolar help is possible, but it takes patience, understanding, and self-care. Here are some tips on how to support your loved one with bipolar disorder:
Educate yourself about the illness
Bipolar is a complex condition that can often be misunderstood or stigmatized. Reading up on the disease will help you better understand its symptoms and how best to support your loved one. There are several resources available to learn more, such as books and websites from various organizations.
When you are aware of the symptoms and triggers, you can help your loved one avoid potential episodes and offer support during difficult times. For example, if they have a manic episode, you can remind them to take their medication or encourage them to seek professional help.
When providing bipolar help to a loved one, it is important to set boundaries for yourself. This means setting limits on how much time and energy you are willing to give towards their care, as well as setting boundaries for their behavior towards you. This can be difficult to do, but it is necessary in order to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy relationship.
For example, if your loved one is constantly calling or texting you at all hours of the night, it is okay to set a boundary that states they can only contact you during certain times of the day.
Communicate openly and honestly
It is important to have open and honest communication with your loved one about their bipolar disorder. This includes discussing triggers, medication adherence, therapy appointments, and any issues or concerns that may arise. It may also be helpful to set boundaries and establish a plan for managing stressful situations.
When you communicate openly and stay honest about your own needs and concerns, it can greatly improve your relationship and provide a strong support system for your loved one. One research has also found that family involvement in treatment can significantly reduce symptoms and improve functioning.
Listen and validate their experiences
Many individuals with bipolar disorder struggle to have their emotions and experiences validated by others. Make sure to listen non-judgmentally, without trying to fix or minimize their feelings. When you validate their experiences, it can help them feel understood and supported. For example, instead of saying “that’s not a big deal,” try saying “I can see why that would be upsetting to you.”
Encourage them to seek professional help
While support from loved ones is crucial, it’s also important for your loved one to seek professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist. Encourage them to attend therapy sessions and take prescribed medication, if recommended by their doctor. Because a professional has specialized training and experience in treating bipolar disorder, they can provide personalized treatment strategies that will benefit your loved one in the long run.
Various types of therapy can be beneficial for someone with bipolar disorder, such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
Do some research and suggest specific treatment options that can provide bipolar help to your loved ones.
Make a plan
It is important to create a plan with your loved one, including how they will seek treatment and handle any potential episodes. This plan can also include how to communicate with each other about the disorder and any changes in medication or symptoms. When you plan things out, it can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty surrounding the disorder.
Attend therapy sessions together
Going to therapy together can help improve communication and strengthen your relationship. It can also provide a safe space for your loved one to express their feelings and concerns without fear of judgment. For example, during a therapy session, a therapist can help facilitate a discussion about medication adherence and provide strategies for managing symptoms.
This way you can also better understand the symptoms and challenges your loved one may be facing, allowing you to offer more informed support. So, try to make therapy a regular occurrence and make sure to follow up on any action items or homework assigned by the therapist.
Try not to make assumptions
This is very essential in helping a loved one with bipolar disorder. It is easy to make assumptions about their behavior, but it is important to remember that they are not in control of their illness. For example, when they become irritable or moody, try not to assume they are just being difficult.
Rather, understand that this is a symptom of their illness and try to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. This can also be like setting realistic expectations for them and not expecting them to always be stable or happy.
Encourage self-care practices
Self-care is especially important for individuals with bipolar disorder, as it can help manage symptoms and prevent mood episodes. Encourage your loved one to engage in healthy habits, for example:
- getting enough sleep,
- eating a balanced diet, and
- engaging in regular exercise.
It may also be helpful to encourage them to seek out therapy or support groups, as these can provide additional outlets for managing their condition. Additionally, ensure that they are consistently taking any prescribed medication and attending follow-up appointments with their healthcare provider.
Look after yourself
When you are providing bipolar help to a loved one, it is important to remember to take care of yourself as well. This may mean setting boundaries and taking breaks from caring for your loved one to recharge and attend to your own needs. This will ultimately help you to continue sustainably providing support.
Because bipolar disorder can often involve mood swings and unpredictable behavior, consider creating a crisis plan with your loved one.
Overall, these are a few tips that can help you support a loved one with bipolar disorder, but it is important to remember that each individual’s experience and needs are unique. It may be helpful to educate yourself on the disorder and seek guidance from mental health professionals.
Ultimately, providing love and understanding is often the most beneficial form of support for a loved one with bipolar disorder. So, don’t forget to show them compassion and remind them that they are not alone in their journey.
To conclude, bipolar help is possible and can greatly improve the quality of life for those struggling with bipolar disorder. It may take time, patience, and understanding, but by following these tips and seeking professional help when necessary, we can support our loved ones through their journey. Remember to also prioritize self-care and set boundaries when needed.
Taking care of ourselves allows us to be better equipped to support those we love. By actively seeking out resources and educating ourselves on bipolar disorder, we can make a positive impact on the lives of our loved ones living with bipolar disorder.
If you are struggling then please contact Therapy Mantra for help. The team of experts here will be more than happy to help you out and get you on the path to a better life. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.