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!