Do you remember that little foil gold star that you used to get in kindergarten or first grade for doing something right or good? Or maybe your parents even had a chore chart for you at home for which you got gold stars if you completed your chores? Do you remember how good you felt getting those little gold stars? It felt great, didn’t it? You’d do anything to get those little stars.
Well…Those stars are called: INCENTIVE. An incentive is sort of a reward for doing something. It’s like motivation that makes you want to do that thing.
So…the motivation or incentive your loved one has for doing the right things with their bipolar disorder would be to get stable, and I’ve sometimes shared what some of those things would be.
Your incentive now wouldn’t be gold stars any more…but it would be to see your loved one get better with their bipolar disorder. So you do the things you think would help them best. And if what you’re doing isn’t working, you try something else. And you keep trying things until something works.
Because you want to “get that gold star” – you want to see your loved one get better. That’s your incentive to do the things you do.
Well…your loved one should have their incentive as well. They should want to get stable. The key here is “should,” however. And that doesn’t always work. Sometimes their bipolar disorder gets the better of them, unfortunately. And they don’t always do what they should do for their stability.
Like they should take their medication religiously in order to stay stable. That’s like a “rule” in the bipolar business. But some people with the disorder do go off their medications sometimes for various reasons, and then they get unstable, and get out of control, and their symptoms manifest themselves again, and bipolar behaviors come back…And before you know it, they’re in an episode again.
Then there’s nothing to do but get them back on their medications and start all over again. And hope that this time they’ll stay on them.
There’s a saying that: “You can lead a horse to water…but you can’t make him drink.” And that’s true, but, I’ve also heard that: “You can’t make him drink…But you CAN make the water salty.” That way, he’ll WANT to drink the water! In other words, you can provide incentives for your loved one to want to stay stable.
Like tell them if they stay stable for a month, you can go out to their favorite restaurant or something. Or they can go shopping and pick out something they want. Or if they stay stable for six months, maybe you can travel somewhere. Whatever would be a good incentive for them.
Well, I have to go!