Bipolar Problems? Then Realize This


How’s it going?

Sorry again yesterday that the bipolar news was late.

Today is the day before Memorial Day and I have a friend who really has problems.

Well, at least he thinks he has problems.

He can never get things right with his girlfriend.

That’s because he’s always saying the wrong thing.

And he just doesn’t get that.

But it’s not all his fault, you see.

Like the other day…

His girlfriend asked him, “Do I look as good as when we first met?”

So my friend said, “Sure.”

He thought he was saying the right thing.

So then she said, “Does that mean I didn’t look good before?”

And then my friend just lost it. He didn’t know what to do.

He told me he absolutely does not know anything about how to deal with his girlfriend, and
was ready to give up on women altogether!

Well, after I stopped laughing…

I told him that you have to have a system.

See, I have systems for everything.

For one thing, I told him, you have to remember every special event.

Not just her birthday, but every anniversary of everything – the first day you met, the first time
you kissed, each month (year) you’ve been together, etc.

That’s a system!

Well, you have to do the same thing with bipolar disorder.

Everyone who has bipolar disorder and their supporters have problems.

So you have to have systems.

And there have to be steps in these systems.

Like if you had a little house fire, you wouldn’t call the firemen right away, would you?

First, you would try to contain the fire by yourself…

Maybe use the fire extinguisher?

You would not get all hysterical and call 911 and scream that your whole house was burning

That’s like my friend saying that he was giving up on women completely!

Well, a bipolar disorder system is like using the fire extinguisher first, before the entire house is on fire, before you have to call 911.

So, let’s say we’re talking about a bipolar episode here.

Let’s talk about the parts to a sample system.

The preparation part would be learning all you can about bipolar disorder, so you can be informed.

The very last part (the calling 911 part) would be having to hospitalize your loved one.

So now we have to work on the parts in between.

The next part might be establishing a relationship with your loved one’s doctor, psychiatrist, and

But you can’t do that until your loved one signs a Medical Release of Information form, so that might come first.

The important thing to remember here is what I recommend in my courses and systems: that you do this when your loved one is NOT in an episode, so that they know what they are doing. You also have to get the form notarized.



So you should sit down with your loved one and involve them in this system. The more the two of you can work out this system together, the better.

It should include:

• Loved one’s patterns & triggers
• Signs & symptoms of episode
• Phone numbers of professionals
• When to call them
• What to do if episode happens
• When to seek treatment
• When to hospitalize
• Etc.

Any other specific things that the two of you can come up with to put in your system can only help your loved one.

The best thing is to write everything down, including phone numbers, and to keep it in a handy place.

What about you?

What kinds of systems do you have in place?

How do they work?

  1. Dear David,

    I have always read your mails and this is the 1st time that I am sending you an e-mail.

    Here is my story:
    My husband has Bipolar Disorder and so does his mother. We know each other for 9 years and have been married for almost 6 years. Having a system in place is very difficult for me, because I am living with most off the inlaws around me, who always want to decide what I need to do. The relationship between me and my husband’s mother is not good. I am always getting the blame for things I don’t do and as you may know the rest of the family is often taking her side.
    Because of this situation I feel like giving up and running away. In the beginning I have been swallowing a lot, but now I am not staying quiet anymore and tell them what’s on my mind. But I sometimes feel that it will make things worst. I just feel like leaving.

    Anyway, thanks for all your letters and have a pleasant week.

  2. Dear David,

    I read the emails you send every day similar to what a member of AA would do in them mornings before starting my day.

    I have recently been the victim of discrimination because of my illness and I am curious to know if there are any means of legal support in this matter.

    I don’t feel comfortable discussing the details at this time, but I am interested in your input.


  3. To BILL: The first thing you can do is find an EOC Office in your community. That’s the Office of Equal Opportunity. They will have interns who can provide intake – or go to the local Legal Aid Society (which is usually free, or charges on a sliding scale)- and describe your situation in DETAIL If you have ANY THING in writing, that would certainly help. Then, there is the NAMI’s, that you could turn to to explain your situation also. (NAMI is the National Allliance for the Mentally Ill – I highly recommend it). Beyond these three suggestions, I just don’t know.

    The only “system” I have in place, having no live-in supporter or family near by, is the local community mental health clinic. At the FIRST sign of something NOT being normal with me, I will call either my NP or my therapist, and discuss it with them. I haven’t been so bad that I call 911 on myself!! Just notifying the above two people is like using a “fire extenguisher” for me. I concur that systems HAVE to be in place BEFORE emergencies occur. By that time, a LOT of damage can/will be done.

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

  4. HI ALL…..
    Na theres just no system, and I dont think there ever will be. Its a shame so much of my life has been wasted. What a waist. But what else can you do when one has no feelings. You no when you have given ever thing you got and you feel as though you had life suck out of you. Do you think there will ever be a system.
    Take Care Linda x

  5. Do you propose the same system works for bipolar as it does for schizoaffective and schizophrenia – when the bipolar is at “it’s finest” and causing terrible damage to everyone in it’s path? Or at least the family.

    Furthermore, Bill is it real discrimination or were you acting in a way that makes for intolerable behavior?

  6. See “bipolar disorder is NOT an excuse for this” to make sure you were not being actually discrimated against but instead acting in ways that have no excuse.

  7. And I wanted to add that bipolar families and the members of a family of a person with bipoolar illness also get discriminated against – they don’t get invited to places anymore – the relatives stop talking to them – support systems go away when you most need them, ALL because no one is willing to tolerate intolerable behavior or acting out or abusing or not holding to societal norms. It affects everyone, not just the person with bipolar. And it is sad and tragic. Because people get fed up with “oh, they are sick, it’s just how they are”. I have been told straight up not to bring our bipolar family member with us many places – weddings, graduations, holidays, outings, etc. So that is a difficult spot to be in. Because people don’t trust how they will act at any given moment from past experiences. I don’t blame them really. No-one needs it. It just makes the whole family isolated in many ways, at a time that any other illness there would be support for – help with meals, help with the kids, help financially, help in other ways too. Instead people scatter. This is especially true with mania and delusional and irrational behavior. They don’t really care about the depressed side – because depression doesn’t usually act out – they just sit quietly in a corner or something.

  8. My Husband Of 21 yrs has bipolar disorder. I had to put him back in the hospital again last week. This time he stayed in for 3 1/2 days. I was livid when he checked himself out again because he promised he would stay at least a week. I was scared for him, hurt and pisst off. For 3 days after he came home I couldn’t eat my stomach was in knots flip flopping. I cried a lot. that said We do have a plan in place to help my husband when he gets too bad off. He will go to the hospital no problem, and I do have the right to know his medical information and to talk to his Dr about him.All that really didn’t mean a hill of beans. I still had no say in him getting the treatment he needed. I was left out of the loop in his dession to leave the hospital. The dr told me that since he wasn’t suicidal or homicidal he couldn’t keep him there. my husband said he felt better and that he was going to the after care classes 3 days a week, and that there is one for the family where I can go. I’m feeling better about things now, because he dose seem better. They changed his meds. I have seen improvement. However I am cautious. He was hearing noises that weren’t there before he went in the hospital. I hate seeing him that way. I want my husband back. The thing that holds us together is love. I truly love him with all I am.I couldn’t imagine going threw all this if I didn’t love him like I do.

  9. ever seen that cheerios comercial where the guy asked ” trying to watch your weight?” she snaps no why!?! now he knows hes in deep, he walks on egg shells and apoligizes. apearantley ms cranky pants has a problem and hes beaten into submission

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