How’s it going for you today?
I hope you’re having a good day.
You know, we go along our lives expecting things to go right, don’t we?
We hope for the best.
There’s an expression that says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
But what about when something does go wrong?
Like if you feel sick.
You can’t just ignore that.
So you go to the doctor to “get fixed.”
Well, some supporters think that if their loved one could just “get fixed,” life would be much easier.
And it might be.
But you can’t fix your loved one.
They aren’t broken!
They are just a person who has a mental illness.
So, call it a “broken brain,” if you want.
They are still not broken as a person.
In my courses/systems, I talk about separating your loved one from their bipolar disorder.
SUPPORTING AN ADULT WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
SUPPORTING A CHILD/TEEN WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER?
It’s important that you don’t try to fix your loved one.
It’s important that you see them as a person first, and a person with bipolar disorder second.
They have the same needs as you do.
Like kindness, understanding, and support.
That’s how you can be a good supporter.
What if someone treated you like you were sick all the time?
You wouldn’t like that very much, would you?
Well, neither does your loved one.
I think they would rather be treated with respect and dignity.
They struggle with their disorder all the time.
But if you concentrate on that struggle all the time, too, you may just make things worse.
What if your loved one has a bad day?
Just a bad day.
It happens to people who don’t have bipolar disorder too.
But if you are concentrating on their disorder instead of them, you might jump to conclusions and assume that they’re going into a bipolar episode.
Or if they seem to have more energy than usual one day, or be in an “extra” happy mood.
If you’re concentrating on their disorder instead of them, you might jump to conclusions and assume that they’re going into a manic episode.
The emphasis needs to be on your loved one and not their disorder.
Your loved one doesn’t need to “be fixed.”
They just need you to be a good supporter while they are on their way to stability with their bipolar disorder.
The best way you can do that is by treating them as you would any other person.
Or how you yourself would like to be treated.
You should know your loved one’s signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode by now.
As long as they are not exhibiting them, just treat them like normal.
This will encourage them to continue striving for stability.
What do you think?
Can you separate your loved one from their bipolar disorder?
Can you treat them with dignity and respect in spite of the disorder?