Bipolar Lesson From A Tissue


I trust your day is going well.

Would you believe that you can actually learn a bipolar lesson from a tissue?

Yep, an everyday tissue.

Well, I’m going to show you.

Think of the characteristics of a tissue…

First of all, it’s practical, right?

You can blow your nose with it…

You can wipe things off your face with it, like cold cream or makeup…

Or dirt off a child’s face…

You can wipe things off a counter with it (when a paper towel isn’t handy)…ok, maybe I’m stretching a little bit there, but you get the idea – a tissue is practical.


Ok, well, as a supporter, you have to be practical, too.

For example, you probably have had to learn how to manage the finances.

That’s an example of being practical.

Secondly, a tissue is useful.

It’s kind of like being practical.

Except useful is being resourceful in other ways.

For example, in ways that a napkin or paper towel wouldn’t be (like, you wouldn’t blow your nose with them).

So, you as a supporter have to make yourself useful.

An example of this might be the way you make yourself useful around the house.

Your loved one could do some things to help you, but you also do things to maintain the house. That’s being useful!

Or if you work, or do volunteer work, that’s being useful, too.

Third of all, a tissue is soft (we can all agree on that). It has to be, doesn’t it, or we wouldn’t use it?

Well, that’s also one of the qualities that a supporter should have.

Sometimes it takes being “soft” to deal with your loved one’s anger. And it takes a soft heart to forgive what they do during episodes.

There are several qualities that make up a good supporter, and I go over them in my courses/systems below:



A tissue should be handy (the fourth characteristic in our analogy).

Just as you are. You should always be around when your loved one needs you.

Which leads us to #5 – being dependable.

Just like a tissue is dependable to do what it’s supposed to do, so should you be.

Your loved one should be able to count on you, and trust that you will be dependable.

They should also feel free to express their thoughts and feelings with you and that you will understand.

A tissue, most importantly, is NEEDED.

Ask yourself, what would you do if a tissue wasn’t around when you needed one?

What if your loved one needed you and YOU weren’t around?

You need to be there for your loved one.

They DO need you.

They need you to have all these characteristics, and more.

Because they need you to love them unconditionally and to support them.

They need you to be there even if the whole rest of the world turns their back on them.

They need you to be by their side no matter what their bipolar disorder does to them.

Ask yourself, what would you do without a tissue when you needed it?

Now, what would your loved one do without you?

David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. I need to know how far I’m supposed to go for my son. He is almost 19, was diagnosed 2 years ago and went off his meds when he turned 18. I kicked him out because he wouldn’t shower and he was extremely disrespectful to me… the day he left, we got into a fight because he came home late one night when we all had to get up for work/school the next morning, brought a girl with him, and proceeded to watch tv/make alot of noise. He called me horrible names(which wasn’t the first time) and threatened me. He hasn’t kept a job for more than a few months since then, and has taken whatever he could get from everybody, including his own grandparents, who borrowed him over $1400 and he was supposed to pay it back. He treats everybody horribly unless he wants something. I have tried to tell him that I love him no matter what, but he makes it very hard. He refuses to help himself so none of us want to help him anymore. He is also close to losing his license because of fines/tickets and is now borrowing money from his friends. We have all tried talking to him and he won’t listen to anybody. I don’t know how much more anybody can or should do for him at this point. He is staying with his father now(we are divorced), but that’s a bad environment since he is alcoholic and sleeps around alot, and his friends are a bad influence too. I try to just not think about it, hoping that either something bad will happen which will get him to straighten out, or somehow he will finally get it one day. But I really worry about him and I know my parents do too, and I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen to him.

  2. Amanda, As a bipolar survivor I am sorry you were treated that way (or feel that way). When I am ill and need a tissue, I reach for one, and yes I use it! But when I am not ill, I do not need a tissue. I do not throw the box out! I just push it aside until I need it again the next time I am ill. Believe that is one constant in our lives, we will be sick again. If a person with bipolar burns their bridges or throws out their box of tissue, there is going to be a mess.

  3. HI THERE…..
    Well if I didnt have a tissue I would use my sleeve.
    As for being a surporter for the partner I dont give a toss.
    Take Care Linda

  4. I believe you are so right David yep we the supporters have to strive to be and do all of that – yet what you espouse is so hard to put into action and maintain.
    A supporter has a very hard road to walk. I reckon it’s got to be one of the toughest jobs in the world, because when our loved ones are in an episode we may be reviled ,abused, criticised, in very serious cases our own lives put at risk, we may be humiliated and used: the list goes on and on. we may be accused of doing too much,or too little, we may have to listen to soooo many lies and tales during this terrible time.
    My son is a police officer I think I’m describing his daily routine on the job. My son told me once “Mum you sound like your dealing with some of the people I deal with in my job on a regular basis:don’t ever take what Rachel is saying personally when Rachel is really unwell she has no idea what she is saying.My son really loves his job.He also told me that if he took what some people said truelly to heart he would never get up in the morning.
    A supporter has to have 100% belief that their loved one will recover otherwize every day will end in tears of anger fear and worry and every day all that negativity will rub off on others around us.
    I remember the time when Rachel was not in an episode: she was a darling petal a beautiful and wonderful young woman with so much compassion.
    My daughter has been in recovery for nearly a month. Yesterday she giggled merrily for the first time. Rachel has a very infectious giggle she can light up a room with her laughter.
    I love my daughter welcome home Rachel

  5. I have been with my husband for almost 8 years. In this time i have always payed the bills, dealt with his mood swings, antisocial behaviors, porn addiction, drug addiction. Being a nurse i never thought of him as being bipolar. I really didn’t know the signs and symptoms. After reading about bipolar disorder i see he had all the symptoms. Just recently after a short breakup over his drug use i did give him another chance. Less than two weeks after the reconcilating he quit his job, started pawning things around the house. He treated me horrible. His family finally sent him a plane ticket so that he could go back to New York as he is Senaca Indian and he could get free medical treatment. He is now in a 28 day program. I feel that this will not be enough time. He also said before he left that he needed months of treatment. Even with all of hell that he has put me through my heart is still breaking. I was fine for the first three that he has been gone. But for the last week i sit at home alone and cry. I have very few friends or family to confide in because my husband wasn’t social i tended not to be social, basicaly my life has revolved around him. Who does one pick up the pieces and move on?

  6. I just read your comment to Amanda. It’s odd because when my husband went to New York for treatment. He told his mother that he burned his bridges with me. He didn’t tell her about the stealing the name calling or any of the things he did before he left. He just simple said i burned my bridges with my wife.

  7. To SHONA: Almost a MONTH now, and Rachel is GIGGLING!! What WONDERFUL news! I know a LOT of it has been because of your steady and unconditional love for her. You are truly a saint, dealing with Rachel AND a son who puts his life in danger every day as a police officer. You are also STRONGER than you let yourself admit. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I believe Rachel will remain stable for a longer period of time. Best of luck to you both…

    I believe Supporters have it sooo much rougher (in a sense), than the bipolar loved one, in that they have to withstand the abuse raining down on them during their loved one’s episodes. All they can do is sit and take it. “Love” itself is NOT enough to compensate for ugly and heinous behavior. When the loved one has gone beyond help, that is the time when they NEED to seek assistance, either with the police or the ER, or their pDoc. Use whatever means you can come up with to get them into therapy; it may save their lives AND/OR yours.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my country.

  8. I think that I have a bipolar disorder although I have never been diagnost as having it. I recently had a manic time when I ordered things online when I could not afford them. I was using a visa depit card that I recieved from my bank. I solved my problem by canceling the card.

  9. What do you do when you are all that and because of their condition they decide they don’t need you anymore? My wife is Bipolar ( we think) she went to a psydoc this week and the doctor said there was nothing wrong with her. She could not describe her symptoms very well(at times she is delusional and has no idea what she has said or done)
    My wife is 8 weeks pregnant and has been gone for a week now and of course blames me for everything and now can’t decide whether she wants to be with me or not (says she loves me and does not want to be with anyone else but has cheated on me in the past) what do you do???? I am there for my wife whom I love dearly but how do you help someone that does not have an official diagnosis and does not want your help because they are manic???? what do you do???

  10. I read all this and I can relate to each and everyone of you. I definitely agree with what Linda says as supporters so much is expected and needed out of us… but there are days that I just don’t feel I’m strong enough anymore. My fiance and I have been together for 2 and a half years … he was upfront about his being bipolar from the very beginning of our meeting, he reassured me that he was taking his medication and as long as he did he was just fine and that is true to an extent. After a few months the doctor he was seeing took him off his meds because they just didn’t know enough about them and he didn’t think the patients were suppose to be on them for long periods of time…THIS was an experience and a half for me…taking a person off any medication that their body is used to having (just like drugs or alcohol) there is going to be reprecussions and I was there to watch him go through withdrawls and mood changes both up and down, but I knew in my heart that this man is my life and I could be strong and stand beside him no matter what…luckily after almost 6 long months we found a doctor that knows of his medication and will perscribe it to him … Now 2 and a half years later with MANY episodes (as you all call them) later I’m doubting my strength, not my love, my strength. I just don’t know if I have what it takes to be the one he depends on to hold him up when he is down. How and when do you know you ARE that tissue (the person that can help someone in this type of situation)?
    And to Dave – God Bless You for being there with this website and all your knowledge… I truly don’t know where I’d be sometimes without your advice and the experiences of others.
    God Bless You All & Stay Safe

  11. Dear David,
    I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your dedication to communicating with us each and every day. Every email you send is a creative way to remind us to stay vigilant and stay positive. Thanks,

  12. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the Tissue analogy. I am a Supporter for my husband as you’ll know, because I comment regularly.
    My friends often use the analogy that I am a cork!
    Time and time again over 14 years they have watched me pushed down and down by abuse, the lies and damage this horrible illness causes. BUT like a cork I always rise to the surface again.
    Sadly life as a supporter is about looking over one’s shoulder, being one jump ahead, but like cork’s we are many smaller pieces that fit together and enable us to float upright again.
    There will always be trust and even respect issues for us when dealing with our loved one, key ingredients I was bought up to believe that are intergral to a successful marriage- but I take heart than many couples have these issues without one of them suffering Bi-Polar
    and on a good day I can see clearly ‘all these things’ are as much about growth as they are struggle.
    Support and Empathy to all.

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