Do you remember years ago there was this popular thing going around where you would stare at this picture that looked meaningless, just like a bunch of random colors on a page…But if you relaxed your eyes and stared at it for awhile…It would turn into a picture right before your eyes?
A hidden picture? That would happen because there were actually patterns hidden in the colors.
Well, there are patterns to life, too. That’s why we do the things we do. Unfortunately, it’s why we keep repeating the same mistakes we keep repeating as well. And if we don’t change our ways…We’ll keep repeating those patterns over and over again, because…As they say…“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
Well…There can be patterns to your loved one’s bipolar disorder as well. Cycles, if you will.
It’s one of the things you need to watch for as a bipolar supporter – patterns in your loved one’s bipolar disorder and in their moods and behavior.
For example: There’s this woman, Phyllis, and every year at the same time, she goes through a bipolar depressive episode. Why? And why at that particular time? Because it’s a pattern for her. Because at that time, her father passed away. And every year at that time, she grieves for her father. And that begins a cycle for her. She gets depressed, then she goes deeper… Then she gets so deep into the depression that she ends up in a bipolar depressive episode and can’t even get out of bed. Every year at the same time. She feels like she can’t help herself. But the truth is that she CAN. One of the things I always tell people is to watch for episode triggers so that you can fend off episodes before they take hold. So, in Phyllis’s case, every year at the anniversary of her father’s death, that would be an episode trigger for her.
So what do you do when you’re faced with an episode trigger? If you start to experience symptoms of a bipolar episode, you call your psychiatrist right away, so they can help you. If you do that…Usually all it takes is just a temporary increase in your medication to ward off a full-fledged bipolar episode. This way your loved one won’t end up in the hospital or need any major help or anything. And they won’t go into a major episode. But it all starts with noticing patterns. You can watch for patterns in their behavior. Like when the weather changes. Many people with bipolar disorder experience depression during the winter months because there is less natural sunlight. It happens to them every year during the winter months. That might be a pattern for your loved one as well.
Well, I have to go!