Bipolar Supporter: Ways to Help Your Loved One


Today I want to talk about: Ways to Help Your Loved One Stay On Track

1. Don’t Let Them Get Lazy

It’s hard for your loved one when they, perhaps, have lost their job and are now on disability. Some people lose their sense of direction when they have nothing to wake up

for any more when they have no job to go to. Don’t let your loved one get lazy just because they aren’t working any more. Encourage them to make a To-Do List, or something else that forces them to be productive in some way every day – just something that gets them out of bed with a day’s goal in mind.

2. Make Sure They Stick to Their Treatment Plan

Sometimes loved ones may stick to their treatment plans in the beginning, when they know you’re watching them, but then they slack off when they think you’re not looking. Don’t let that happen to your loved one. Make sure they stick to their treatment plan. This is so important. Especially when it comes to their medication. No, they’re not a child, and you can’t make them take their medication by forcing it down their throat. But you can encourage them and reinforce the importance of taking it. Be the same way with the rest of their treatment plan – going to their appointments with their psychiatrist, doctor, and therapist. Eat a good diet, exercise, and sleep right, etc.

3. Use a Buddy System

Try to keep them on track by finding a “BP Buddy” for them – maybe someone from their bipolar support group. Someone who knows what they’re going through, and

is perhaps sharing the same struggles. Maybe they can do some things together, maybe

some things to keep them from getting bored – maybe they share the same interests, or at

least could go out to eat or to the movies, etc.

4. Encourage Them to be Independent

Don’t act like your loved one’s babysitter. Encourage them to be independent, and

not to be dependent on you. You want to be supportive, and you want them to feel your support and to know that you’re there for them, but at the same time, you don’t want them to feel as if you’re smothering them. If you have grown children, remember back to when your children were teenagers and were trying to show that they were “grown up.” Your loved one is going through the same thing. Stay close enough that if they want your help, you can help them, but give them enough room that they can do what they can for themselves.

5. Be Their Cheerleader

When your loved one does make advances in their growth, say, in therapy, be their personal cheerleader! Make sure they know that you are on their side, not only NOT

nagging them, but being positive and encouraging, and cheering them on to do

good so that they don’t get depressed. Even small advances can be good ones. Being a good supporter isn’t an easy job. But it is so important to your loved one that you encourage them every step of the way.

6. Make Time For Yourself

You need to take care of yourself as well as your loved one. You don’t want to get burnt

out, do you? If you get sick or stressed out, who would take care of your loved one? So

it is important to take care of yourself first. You need to make sure you are balanced

physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually. You also need to have balance in your work and home life. And between taking care of your loved one and taking care of yourself. It’s important for you to keep your stress levels down and to relax when you need to, and to do things that are enjoyable for you. You should practice hobbies that you enjoy as well. These make you feel productive and help your self-esteem.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Mental Illness and the Power of Presence
DO> Wow, what do you think of this?

Persons with Mental Troubles need Family to Recover
DO> I totally agree, do you?

Why Are Kids Getting So Many Psych Meds? Profit Drives Prescriptions
DO> Do you think this is right?

Study Suggests Ziprasidone Less Effective in Treating Acute Mania in Patients …
DO> Hmm. This is kind of interesting.

Reaching out to Underserved Youth
DO> Do you think this is important?

For these stories and more, please visit:

Check out all my resources, programs and information for all aspects of bipolar disorder by visiting:

Your Friend,


Different Bipolar Attitude


I just wanted to write today about something that’s been bothering me.

You see, I get a lot of emails from people who just complain a lot about being supporters of

a loved one with bipolar disorder, about how it keeps them from doing the things they want

to do, and having the life they want to have, etc., etc., and that bothers me a real lot.

I’ll tell you why that bothers me so much. Because they don’t have to be that way.

I know someone else who is a supporter, who never seems to complain about it at all! She just goes along with her life as if she doesn’t even have a problem at all with being a supporter!

And she just has the best attitude of anyone I’ve ever seen. She has this real positive attitude, not like the complainers I get who have a real negative attitude about everything.

Which person do you think I would rather talk to?

You’re right!

Because the second person lifts me up when I talk to her, and makes me feel better.

So we have two different people, both supporters, both with the same set of problems.

So what’s the difference between them?

Their attitude!

I talk to many supporters about this. I talk about how you need to have a positive attitude, or it will just bring you down, and then nobody will even want to be around you. Your own health and well-being will suffer, and stuff like that.

In other words, it just isn’t healthy for you to have a bad attitude or to complain about being a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder.

So let’s look at the second supporter. If she has a bad attitude at all, it’s against the disorder itself.

I had a chance to ask her how she keeps her attitude so positive while being the supporter

of a loved one with bipolar disorder.

Here are some of the things she told me:

She says she’s not going to let the disorder rule her life – that she is the one who is going

to be in control, not the disorder.

She says that she has a choice in how she feels, and she chooses to feel positive.

I’ve asked other supporters about it, too, and here are some of their answers:

1. Separate your loved one from their disorder.

2. It’s ok to hate the disorder, but still love your

loved one.

3. Think about your loved one and how they are

when they are NOT in an episode.

4. Stay close to your loved one, so that they feel

your support.

5. Have your own support system, too.

6. Take care of yourself.

7. Do things that are fun for yourself.

8. Have good communication with your

loved one.

9. Make sure you have a life of your own,

too, or you might get swallowed up in

your loved one’s bipolar disorder.

10. Not everything is an emergency.

11. Take things as they come.

12. Live One Day at a Time.

13. Try to see the good in every situation.

14. Keep a positive attitude.

Well, I think those are some pretty good responses, don’t you?

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


With Bipolar Sometimes You Have to Do This

Hi, how’s your day going? I hope it’s a good day for you.

I have some bad news.

I have been completely ripped off. There was a guy who totally ripped me off for $1200 — which is a LOT of money. I put my faith in him to do some programming work. It ended in me being ripped off.

I wasted weeks and weeks of time being mad at him, thinking about ways to report him in India.

I actually have several, but they all take lots of time (that I can’t spare). Then I said to myself, I might as well let it go. There’s no point. I have so many other things to do.

Now, that doesn’t make what this guy did acceptable. It definitely is not. But someone told me, “Dave, you have to pick your fights.” So I decided to let this go, even though it cost me so much money. I didn’t think it was a fight I could win.

Now many of you have bipolar disorder have had bad doctors. Bad therapists. Bad hospitals.

You have had bad experiences, for sure. You may be mad at these people right now. You may even want to get back at them. But like the advice I got, I’m telling you, “You have to pick

your fights.” In other words, if you don’t have the time or money, or if you can’t win, then let it go.

Many of you contact me for a plan on how to get back at the people and places that wronged you or your loved ones. In almost every case, I tell you to move on. It’s not worth the time and money to do this. You need to use your time wisely.

Today’s lesson is about moving on to something good.

In my own case: I already found another programmer to replace the con artist that I was dealing with. In my mother’s case: When it came to my mom, her last doctor was HORRIBLE. I moved on and found a great new doctor, one she has had for FIVE years now! If I spent too much time dealing with the old doctor, I would have never found the good new doctor. See what I mean?

In your case (possibly): The one area I hear most about as the biggest problem for a loved one with bipolar disorder is not being able to get their medications. Now, you can’t pick a fight with

your doctor, and fighting with your pharmacist isn’t going to help you either. But there are better ways to get what you need.

Stay on the good side of your doctor, make sure he knows what’s going on. He may be able to help you out with samples or go to the insurance company for you. You may be mad at the drug

manufacturer, but not only will that not do you any good, it can also blow a good chance for you – Today, most pharmaceutical manufacturers will provide your medication for little to no money.

So, see how picking a fight in this case wouldn’t be right for you? Only pick fights you can win, otherwise let them go.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar? Good Communication is Necessary

Hi, how’s it going for you lately? I hope you’ve been doing ok.

If you haven’t, one of the problems may be a breakdown in your communication. Good communication is SO important when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder.

Today I want to talk to both supporters and survivors about this topic of good communication. Because it does take both of you working together to make this happen.

So how DO you have good communication? This is probably the most overlooked, but crucial points: BE A GOOD LISTENER.

For a supporter, being a good listener can mean the difference between whether your loved one goes into an episode or not. If they try to talk to you but you are distracted, they probably won’t even try. What you need to do instead is stop whatever you’re doing and look at them, showing them that you’re giving them (and whatever they want to talk about) all your attention.

If your loved one is wanting to talk to you about their suicidal thoughts, for example, it is especially important that they feel like they can share this with you. It will help if in times past you have proven yourself a good listener and not just simply dismissed their feelings.

You can do this by not being judgmental, whether you think they are imagining things or not, and being encouraging and supportive. They have to feel as if they can talk to you about anything, even their hallucinations.

If they don’t feel like they can talk to you, or they have tried to talk to you in the past and feel

like you really didn’t listen to them, they will not be as forthcoming in the future telling you the truth about what’s going on with them.

This is more than just assuming that if they have a problem, that they can talk to their therapist about it. You are there more often than their therapist ever could be. And sometimes, timing can

make the difference between whether your loved one gets help or not – meaning that if they do feel they can talk to you, you will be more aware of episodic thoughts and feelings WHEN they are happening, and can help them to avoid a full-blown bipolar episode or go into the hospital if necessary.

Your loved one has to feel as if they can trust you with anything. That no matter what they tell you, you will keep an open mind and not be judgmental, and that you will be encouraging and understanding.

On the other hand, the responsibility for good communication does not just rest in the supporter’s hands. If you have bipolar disorder, you need to trust your supporter enough to talk to them. This is absolutely crucial, as they cannot read your mind. You need to talk to them, tell them how you feel, what you are thinking, and what is really going on with you. This way they can help you. Especially if you are noticing signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode. What if you need to go to the hospital? How is your supporter going to know if you don’t tell them?

For both of you, I would say it is essential to good communication between both of you to have a listening ear – just being a good listener can make the big difference.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Coping with Bipolar Disorder Spiritually


There are many ways that people with bipolar disorder use to cope with their disorder, and one way is spiritually. There is a difference between being spiritual, though, and being religious.

Now, I want to be clear about this: I’m not talking about religion here, as in going to church or adhering to any type of dogma. I’m just talking about spirituality in general.

One of the most basic ways I’ve discovered that people with bipolar disorder use as a coping strategy to deal with the disorder is the familiar Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

It doesn’t matter whether you are “religious” or not, the prayer still works. From what people who write and talk to me about their disorder have told me, they get tired of the ups and downs of their mood swings, and seek some kind of “serenity,” or peace. So they can relate to the first line of the prayer.

In general, you need medication, therapy, and support to help you with your bipolar disorder, and how important they are in helping you to achieve stability, but in addition to medication, therapy, and support group meetings, many people with the disorder still feel that they need something more to help them feel “balanced” from the excessive mood swings.

In any 12-Step Program, they call it a Higher Power, and that works for some people, but for

others it is just simpler to call this God. In the Serenity Prayer, they ask God to help them “to accept the things I cannot change.” For many people with bipolar disorder this is really hard, because they have to ask him to help them to accept the fact that they have bipolar disorder, and many of them are still struggling with their diagnosis. They just do not want to have bipolar disorder and to tell you the truth, I don’t blame them – this is something that is very hard to do.

Being told that you have a disorder for which there is no cure, and for which you would have

to take medication the rest of your life… That you would have to live with these mood swings for the rest of your life… That you would never be “normal”… Well, this is definitely one of those things that you cannot change, no matter how much you want to… You have no power over bipolar disorder and the fact that you have it and always will. This is a very hard truth to swallow for many people with bipolar disorder.

“The courage to change the things I can.” There is only one thing you DO have power over, however, and that is yourself. YOUR decisions. YOUR choices. You do need courage to face up to the disorder, as well as the other things you have to do to get to stability. You have to take your medications, see the doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist regularly, go to a support group, take care of yourself, learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder, etc. It might even feel as if you’re taking on a second job!

But the point is, that you can become proactive in your own recovery. That is your own choice.

It is the only thing you can change. The only thing you have power over.

“And the wisdom to know the difference.” That’s the tough part. Because some people still try to play God in their own life. Some people still don’t get this line of the prayer right. But if they just do the little bit that they can do, one day at a time, and let God do the rest, they will find that their stress level is much lower, their stability is much higher, and overall, their life will be much better, in spite of the fact that they have bipolar disorder.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Disorder and Sex


Sex and bipolar disorder is a topic that I get questions and comments about more often than you know. Sometimes because of the obvious reasons… Someone might write me an email about their loved one who is in a manic episode… And you know that with manic episodes sometimes

comes the symptom of an increased sex drive. In fact, that can be one of the symptoms or indications that your loved one is in a manic episode. Or they talk about their loved one being depressed… And that they have lost all interest in sex. And that can be a symptom of or indication that your loved one is in a bipolar depressive episode. Depression can take away their sex drive. But if that does happen, just know that it doesn’t have anything to do with you – it is not your fault that they are not interested in sex.

That’s one thing that is common with supporters – They wonder if their loved one’s lack of interest in sex is their fault, or if they’ve done something to cause it. Sometimes all they need to know is that it’s because of the bipolar disorder itself that their loved one is not interested in sex.

Another major reason that your loved one may not be interested in sex is because of their bipolar

medication. This happens frequently with people who have bipolar disorder. There are two problems with their medication: One is that it takes away their sex drive altogether. Again, if this happens, just understand that it has nothing to do with you, and it is not your fault. The other thing could be that even if they do have a sex drive, the medication makes it difficult for them to perform sexually, or to achieve an orgasm. If the problem is due to medication, sometimes the problem can be remedied. If the problem is that the medication just makes your loved one too sleepy for sex, simply have sex before they take their medication. Or you might be able to talk to your loved one’s doctor and change the time that they take their medication to allow for a more active sex life. If your loved one is a man, something like Viagra may be able to help – talk to their doctor about this.

But when it comes to bipolar disorder and sex, sex is only one part of the equation. What you are really probably concerned about is intimacy, and intimacy is more than sex. Intimacy is more about the closeness that two people can share. You don’t have to sacrifice the closeness just because your loved one’s bipolar medication makes it difficult for you to have a normal

sex life with them. Even hand holding or snuggling can be considered intimate acts and can show the other person that you care about them and that they care about you.

Just being together can be intimate. Maybe just talking about your relationship or things that concern just the two of you, or sharing past memories together… even that can be intimate.

A romantic dinner with some candlelight and soft music can be considered intimate as well.

What matters is the closeness. Just being together is what counts when you’re talking about intimacy.

If you’re concerned about problems in your sex life, talk about it with your loved one’s doctor –

he or she may have other suggestions for you.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder — Common and Concerning
DO> Absolutely, don’t you think?

Victoria Maxwell: We can use mental illness stories to change the world
DO> Wow, what do you think of this?

Teens May Provide Clues to Link Between Bipolar and Heart Disease
DO> Sounds very interesting, take a look.

Warning Strengthened on Chantix and Psychiatric Issues
DO> It sure should be, take a look.

Dual diagnosis and Overcoming Addiction
DO> Very very difficult. Do you believe this?

For these stories and more, please visit:

Check out all my resources, programs and information for all aspects of bipolar disorder by visiting:

Your Friend,


Creativity and the Bipolar Supporter


You know, we hear a lot about creativity. Especially in relation to the arts. They say that artists are very creative. That’s a given, right? But other people are creative, too. People that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with creativity.

Like a teacher has to be creative these days in order to reach her students, as the old ways just don’t work any more – the students just get too bored. And researchers have to get creative in looking for new ways to look at answers to old problems… to try to find a different approach that no one has tried before. Parents definitely have to get creative with their children, in order to spark their development. Just look at all the new toys that are out these days – more of them are designed for this than ever before!

And…people with bipolar disorder are still some of the most creative people in the world.

All that means is that you, as a bipolar supporter, need to be creative as well, if you’re not already. If you are, you may need to just spark that creativity. You may just need a new approach to things. It may just be a matter of if your way isn’t working, try something new.

For example… There’s a couple I know, where both of them have bipolar disorder. Now you know that, in our economy, and especially if you are trying to cope and deal with bipolar disorder in your loved one, that finances can be tough. But you also have to deal with the problem of not wanting to let the disorder rule your lives. Part of your role as a supporter is to try to keep things as “normal” as possible for your loved one. And also to try to keep things as stress-free as possible.

Well, one of the ways that this couple does that is that they have Date Nights (even though they are married). But, like I was saying, with the economy and with their bipolar disorder, they like many people fighting this disorder, have to watch their finances, so they have to do it using some creativity.

Here’s what they did one time: They got a couple of cheap subs… Packed a thermos of iced tea… Grabbed their backgammon set… Took a blanket… And their CD player and some CD’s they liked… Got in their car… Drove up to a hill near their house… And had a picnic and played backgammon on the ground outside their car, using their CD’s for background music. They had a great time! And all it cost them was for the subs!

So that’s what a little creativity can do, in spite of the bipolar disorder.

Another time for Date Night they just stayed in, ordered a pizza, lit some candles, listened to some music, and talked. Sometimes you can get so caught up in fighting the bipolar disorder, that you can lose each other in the battle. Just talking can get you back to “yourselves,” and

get you back to a sense of “normal.” And talking doesn’t cost you anything, either.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Antidepressant-Induced Mania Similar to Bipolar Disorder
DO>I never even have heard of this, have you?

OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenic and the Misuse of Mental Health Terms
DO> Very interesting, what do you think of this?

Methylene Blue Studied for Bipolar as FDA Issues Warning
DO> Take a look at this, it’s important.

Depakote Lawsuits Spurred By Birth Defects and Other Side Effects
DO> Wow, this is scary.

Treating Bipolar Depression Depends on Evidence, Judgment
DO> I totally agree, don’t you?

For these stories and more, please visit:

Check out all my resources, programs and information for all aspects of bipolar disorder by visiting:

Your Friend,