Bipolar Supporter? Is What You Think Important?

Hi, how’s it going? I hope you’re having a great day.

Some supporters don’t feel that what they think matters at all. They don’t think that their opinion can make a difference. So mostly, they keep everything to themselves, and guess what happens?

Their loved one goes into a full-blown episode.

I know there’s a fine line between being supportive and enabling, but you need to learn where that line is. Sometimes what you think can be the most important part of the situation. For example, if your loved one is out of control and not making sense, you need to do something.

You are the best judge of whether they are ok or not. Since you know them best, you can be a better judge of whether they are in an episode or not.

You may think that just because you don’t have an M.D. after your name, that you aren’t the right person to judge how good or bad your loved one is doing. But that’s a false assumption. You are actually the best person, doctor or not. Your loved one’s doctor only sees them periodically, and even then only for a few minutes. You know your loved one more intimately and are a better judge than even the doctor is.

On the other hand, I’m NOT telling you to “play doctor” for your loved one, not at all. If you do notice signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode, you should report it to your loved one’s doctor anyway. The doctor can judge whether to hospitalize your loved one or not, and you may need their help to do so.


IF you can catch these signs and symptoms early enough (by being so familiar with your loved one’s bipolar disorder), you may be able to prevent their needing to be hospitalized.

So, YES…

What you think is very important when it comes to your loved one’s behavior. Like I said earlier, you know them best, even better than their doctors, therapist, etc.

Don’t ever think that your opinion is not valuable – it is so valuable that it can make the difference between your loved one experiencing no episode, a mini-episode, or a full-blown episode.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. So, what if your loved one is so far into denial that they don’t acknowledge their diagnosis? We’re headed for disaster and I have tried to talk to him to no avail. He just gets angry. He hasn’t taken meds for years. He’s been violent and has been engaging in A LOT of risky behaviors – just flipped his car last week (drunk). I am keeping my distance hoping that the fear of losing the only person who has loved him unconditionally for the past 8 years will cause him to rethink his opposition to getting help. You say contact the doctor – we don’t have a doctor to contact.

  2. I have tried my best for 10 months now to understand and help my wife who was diagnosed 10 months ago with bipolar disorder. She has left me, and gone to be with her family who all have some sort of mental illness and various disorders. We were set to move to the next stage in our lives since she just completed a teaching degree and we were about to start enjoying 2 full incomes. Until now I helped her pay for things while she was studying. She is very bad with money and debt seems to mean nothing to her as an overall concept. She refuses to come my way on any issue and if I try to let her know what I have observed about her behaviour she gets abusive and angry. We are involved in divorce proceedings now and she won’t even talk to me. The change I have seen is so remarkable that I don’t even know this person anymore. Dealing with a mentally ill person over money is no fun. She will not negotiate. Words used by others and I to describe her in this state have been: immature, selfish, cold, uncaring, self absorbed etc. I would love to be one of the ones that succeeded in helping my significant other but I am not because she won’t engage in doing the right thing for her health and future. She underachieves in all parts of her life and after the fact criticizes many things. I have tried to be supportive but she is in no way receptive. At this point in time I must accept this and move on in my life. It will take me awhile to fully remember that not everyone is like my ex-wife so that trust and positive thinking can return. She abandoned me and a life that was stable and improving all the time. She said: ” I feel like I must go and be with my family even if they are all crazy.”

    It has been rough!

    and she’s coming for money as well.

  3. Dear David, this is so true, but what if the man is her sole supporter, and her father, and family allow her to do things, and just ignore the situation, she has been allowed to alienate my son against his family, it took a couple years, but he is not the same person, i have lost contact with my son, and there are two precious grandbabies involved, they witnessed her assault my son, and the police took her, her family did nothing, i tried contacting them about the situation, and they would not acknowledge me, i worry of their safety all the time… we flew out there a couple years ago, and my 7 yr old granddaughter was with us, the first night of arrival i felt tension, the next day, we got there and she jumped off the couch and violently grabbed my then 8 month old grandson out of his daddys arms and ran screaming get out of my house, we were in shock,, my son cried and said mom yu have to go…. (we had just flown in 2000 miles). it was awful,,, once again her dad would not help me… . I HAVE NEVER MET HER DAD, HIS FAMILY LIVES WITHIN MILES FROM US. WHEN HE VISITS HE WILL NOT CALL AND SAY WERE FAMILY LETS TALK,, I AM TOLD BY HER, I HAVE NO RIGHTS TO MY GRANDBABIES,, MY SON IS NOT THE SAME, HE IS SO CODEPENDENT OF HER… AND AFRAID,, I KNOW THAT SHE ABUSES HIM, BUT HE IS A MAN AND IS ASHAMED OF THIS… THIS IS HURTING THE CHILDREN,,, SHE HAS TOLD ME DONT BOTHER CALLING CPS, I HAVE A GOOD FRIEND WHO WORKS FOR CPS AND MY INFORMATION WILL BE DISCARDED,,,, I DO HAVE RIGHTS, AND I AM SEARCHING FOR THEM,, WHERE IS IT WRITTEN THAT A MOTHER CANNOT PROTECT HER CHILDREN AND HER TWO PRECIOUS GRANDCHILDREN,,, I HAVE 6 TAPES OF THREATHING MESSAGES LEFT ON MY PHONE BY HER….. I AM VERY SCARED,,,, SO PLEASE DAVID, GIVE MORE HELP TO THE SUPPORTERS THEY ARE THE VICTIMS…. AND QUIT ENABLING THE FOLKS WITH BIPOLAR,,, AND ACTING LIKE THEY ARE THE VICTIMS, THEY ARE NOT. ITS FAMILY AND CHILDREN WHO ARE IN JEOPARDY,,, IF THEY DO NOT TAKE THEIR MEDICINE, THEN THEY NEED TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL.. ACCORDING TO HER FRIEND, HER MOM ALSO BIPOLAR COMMITTED SUICIDE, AND IT EMBARASSED HER DAD, SO THAT IS WHY HE IS IGNORING THIS SITUATION,,,, BUT HE IS ONLY PUTTING MY FAMILY IN DANGER……..


  5. Dear David,
    I get your email each day and it has helped me to try and be a better supporter.
    My son is in an episode now, but has been stable most of the time.
    He is on medication, Lamictal, and has done well. Now it seems to be breaking though. Why does this happen? He was on depakote and llithium a few years back and the bipolar broke thru that too. Can this keep happening and what do you think is the best medication. Will this keep happening not matter what he is on???

  6. To ALICE: Yes, sometimes the bipolar disorder DOES “break through” no matter what medication is used or how the suvivor leads his life. For example, 30 years ago, I had a manic episode which resulted in hospitalizatiom even which I was ON medication. Most all of the symptoms presented – religiousity, delusions of grandeur, reckless sexual encounters, etc. This is precisely WHY bipolar disorder is so insidious. You think you’ve got it all under control, and then, perhaps through outside experience or what is happening to the survivor, the bipolar episode will occur. Although I was medicated, I started burning the candle at both ends, sleeping around, behaving quite NOT who/what I am. To have the people I was around begin to believe MY delusions, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They turned away from me, not understanding it was a REAL dis-ease. All the supporter can do with the survivor – when he starts to act bizzarely, is to GET HIM TO HIS PSYCHIATRIST immediately for assessment. I cannot provide the name of the “best” medication, as they are different in the ways they act on different people. Just trust the prescribing person. Good luck in dealing with – and loving – your son.

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

  7. It’s with a heavy heart that I write this…wish I had known more about this horrific disease before the love of my life lost her job which put her into a depressive episode. Our relationship is all but over as she is in denial so no therapy or meds to give hope…she doing the best she can to hold things together for her, yet to be diagnosed,BP 4 year old son.
    I am unable to rally any support from her family and friends as she has portrayed our troubles as relationship issues I’m sure…thanks for everything you do David…not sure where else to turn and I want to keep the love in my heart a warm memory…I’m not a quitter but sometimes I feel the best thing to do is to let her go so she doesn’t have to suffer from making me suffer…

  8. Gramma Marilyn,
    I understand how you feel about being the “victim” and you are right in some instances. However the person with the bipolar is too. The disease is the enemy not your son’s wife. If you truly feel your grandchildren are being abused then you should call CPS and let them figure out if the family needs services. Maybe they can help the family live a healthier life. In terms of your son you need to just love him and let him figure out his life. He needs to deal with his own situation since he is an adult. For more information or support you can also go to which has info. and online support for people who have/dealing with mental illness. Good luck!

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