Bipolar: Ebb and Flow Like the Tides


Sometimes, trying to cope with a loved one with bipolar disorder can make you feel alone. You might feel like there are others who know what you’re going through when you’re at yoursupport group (if you attend one), but what about all the time in between meetings? You can feel pretty alone. If you do, just know that that’s a common feeling for bipolar supporters to have. And that you are NOT alone! I want to share with you some information that will support that and that might make you feel better.

First of all, did you know that mental illnesses are very common? Well, they are. In fact, they are more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, an estimated 23% of American adults (those ages 18 and older) – about 44 million people – and about 20% of American children suffer from a mental disorder during a given year. And about 5 million Americans adults, and more than 5 million children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental disorder (one that significantly interferes with functioning). Major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are among the top 10 leading causes of disability in the United States.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect people of any age, income or education level, or cultural background.

And as far as bipolar disorder specifically…Approximately 4.4 percent of U.S. adults may have some form of bipolar disorder during some point in their lifetime, including about 2.4 percent with a “sub-threshold” condition. Since the population of the United States right now is 313,232,044…That means that MILLIONS of people have bipolar disorder! So you are definitely NOT alone. And you are NOT the only one going through what you’re going through, no matter what it feels like. Though I do know how you feel. I went through it when I was trying to help my mom. I thought I was the only one going through what I was going through, too. I thought it just couldn’t be that bad for anyone else in the world. And I wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy! It was just unbearable at times. I look back at it now and wonder sometimes how I got through it all. Because I remember feeling back then that I wouldn’t. I felt so alone. But the fact is that I DID get through it. And you will, too.

I know that right now things look pretty tough. And you may feel discouraged. But things do get better. Actually…What happens with bipolar disorder is that things ebb and flow like the tides.

Sometimes they’re pretty bad, like now. But other times…Things can be pretty good. That’s usually what happens between bipolar episodes. What they call the “normal” periods. Those are the times to look forward to. Those are the times your loved one will make the most progress.

Those are the times that make it all worth it.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,




  1. Dear Friend,

    I truly understand that caring for a Loved One is what matters. I am the Elder Brother and I am a supporter of my Kin who is currently playing the role of caretaker for many with this problem. You could say we are a Karen and John Carpenter story, really!!!!!! Definitely not a Donny and Marie relationship but you get it. I inspire her with Music, theatrics and generally I hint hobbies – she’s a bit shy but she’s starting to spread her wings and cater some of that role to herself. She’s even thinking of having a boyfriend.

    I encouraged her recently to go to several vacations with friends and take special time to smell the roses. She has been on my mind as she sometimes is alone to deal with this situation. Quite a situation to take care of the world and not many left to concern over you! So I’m glad she’s ready to pack her bags and take some time to herself to refresh.

    a separated branch rejoices

  2. Hi Dave and all.

    Exellent topic. That to remember that we are not alone in this. Sometimes things are so bad, that it tend to forgot. But it is also true that when things are good, them mainly are really good!! Well, at least it is in here. now on her is so called “normal” state.. and things are bit sort of normal now..

    -Pekka, Finland

  3. I am a parent supporter of a child with bipolar disorder. My son was diagnosed early at the age of 5 due to severe family history including the suicides of his father and both of his fathers brothers. My son is now 13 and we have been on a two year honeymoon of amazing behavior , tools, and balance so I was completely thrown into a state of shock when my son went into a severe manic-deppresive rage last week. I was numb for a few days and started feeling very sad yesterday. The worst part was that even though I reached out to my support system and shared, I still felt so alone and in the moments it happened, I was alone. I was frozen in fear and bewilderment. Funny how when I get used to having so much positive to report, I’m almost embarrassed to share that things are getting rough again. Thank God for my fellowship and tools! This too shall pass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *