I read this quote the other day: “Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” –M.F. Fernandez. The reason it caught my eye is because I always used to call my mom’s episodes “the storm.” Of course you know she is very stable now, because, for one thing, she takes her medications faithfully. For another thing, she goes to see her doctor and her therapist. She also follows a good treatment plan, and does all the things you need to do to manage your bipolar disorder well.
But back in “the storm” days…She was in a bad episode, and I really just tried to get her to the hospital because I said, “You need to go to the doctor.” At that point, she would just scream and yell three or four times a day for hours. My dad left and I’m inside and she is screaming and yelling, barging through my door almost breaking it down. So, imagine you’re like me, sitting trying to type, peaceful, and then all of a sudden a hurricane comes in or a storm. That person is screaming and hollering and yelling at you for hours at a time and then there is a pause and just as you start to feel better it starts again. Like I said, it’s like a storm. A bipolar storm.
Well, as you know, eventually we got my mom the help she needed for that episode. I did all my research into bipolar disorder, developed my systems, taught them to my mom, and today she is very stable. But now you can understand why I called her behavior the storm,” right?
So here’s the thing, and why I like that quote so much. It gives you so much hope! You can actually RISE ABOVE THE BIPOLAR STORM! I did, when I got my mom the help she needed, when I developed my systems and taught them to her, and she got stable. Here’s the good news: You can rise above the “bipolar storm,” too! You simply do the opposite of what your loved one is doing! Maintain your controlled behavior to deal with your loved one’s out-of-control behavior (their “bipolar storm”) when it happens.
Here’s what I mean. You’ll notice that in my whole story of telling you about my mom’s “storm,” and she was doing all that yelling and screaming at me, I never yelled and screamed back at her.
In other words, I stayed in control, even though she was out of control. This concept, even though it’s a simple one, is very important for you to learn. It will really help you to deal with your own loved one’s “bipolar storm” and keep you from losing your own control. Whatever they do, you do the opposite. For example, if they aren’t holding their composure, you hold onto yours. If they are yelling, you stay quiet. If they are weak, you be strong. If they aren’t rational, you stay rational. If they are out of control, you stay in control. See how the concept works?
Well, I have to go!