If you haven’t found out already, you will probably find out that if you’re a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder, lots of people will say you’re crazy. First of all they’ll say your loved one is crazy, because many people still don’t understand about bipolar disorder, or mental illness in general, so they still call people with a mental illness “crazy.”
Then they’ll say that you’re crazy, too, for “putting up” with them. Many would even probably think you should leave them (because that’s what they would do). Even your friends and/or family might do this. So don’t expect to get much reassurance or support from these people who say (or think) these things.
And many times you can expect to feel very alone when you’re dealing with a loved one who has bipolar disorder. That’s why it’s important to have your own support system outside of your loved one’s support system.
The important thing is that YOU know you’re not crazy (although sometimes you might feel
like you are ) But that leads me to my point.
I had someone ask me the other day if a supporter can “catch” bipolar disorder from their loved one. Really. She did ask me that! I told her you can’t “catch” bipolar disorder like you can catch the flu from someone else, but yes, if you live with someone who has the disorder, you may find yourself picking up some of their behaviors.
Like you might find yourself more moody than you used to be. For another example, you don’t have bipolar disorder or major depression, but you may find yourself depressed more often. Or you may have been a relaxed, calm person before, able to handle a lot of things, but now find yourself stressed-out more often than you used to.
Maybe you never suffered from anxiety before, but now you do. You might even be on medication for it. You might find yourself getting more headaches than you used to get (or even migraines) that you have to take medication for, which could be a sign of stress from bipolar disorder (your loved one’s).
If you look at the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, you’ll see that there are some that you can begin to “mimic” if you live with someone with the disorder as their supporter. Again, it’s not that you’re catching bipolar disorder or anything, and I’m not suggesting that you’re developing bipolar disorder yourself.
I’m just saying that, as a supporter, you can begin to have some of them without actually having the disorder (just from being a supporter). Again, this also does NOT make you crazy, either!
There may be times that you seem to have more energy, and you may super-clean the entire house in a single day. But that doesn’t mean you’re in a bipolar manic episode. You may have insomnia, but that doesn’t make you manic, either.
And just because you have a little bit of extra money and choose to spend it on yourself for
some clothes, doesn’t mean you’re on a manic shopping spree. You have more control over the money than someone in a bipolar manic episode.
You might be super tired and spend an entire Sunday in bed (you might even feel lazy and do
the same thing, because you feel you deserve it from working so hard Monday through Friday),
but that doesn’t mean you’re in a bipolar depressive episode.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Other people may call you crazy, or they may even call you bipolar, but it’s only out of their own ignorance. You know the truth.
Well, I have to go!