I hope you’re doing good today.
I want to share a comment that was posted on my blog recently.
“It must be a dismal existence
simply to wait for the next storm
or to have forgotten or put aside
the things about a person who has
bipolar disorder – what makes
defines them as a person.
How sad, and totally unnecessary. And even sadder that some people choose to live there.
I have bipolar disorder, but I came to the doctor/therapist with a whole being, a soul, and a presence that this condition cannot/did not erase!
I refuse to be a walking cluster of symptoms, a label, an apology, a dull recording of the misfortunes I have experienced.
Bipolar disorder is a condition I have. It is not my name (i.e., I am not “a bipolar,” I am not bipolar.”) I HAVE bipolar disorder. It is nothing more than the name the psychiatric professionals chose to describe my experience of the condition.
The other wonderful effect of separating the label/condition from the person is that it holds each of us responsible for who we are and what we do. I have some good character traits and others
that are not enviable. I refuse to let bipolar disorder take any credit or blame for those things.”
First of all, Andrew makes an excellent point about the difference between BEING bipolar and HAVING bipolar disorder.
That’s one thing I really preach about, especially in my courses/systems, where I talk about the difference between the two:
SUPPORTING AN ADULT WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
SUPPORTING A CHILD/TEEN WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER?
But let me backtrack and comment on some of the other things he said.
In the beginning of his comments, he talks about “waiting for the next storm.”
I can totally relate to that.
I used to call my mom’s episodes “the storm.”
She would yell and yell at me when she was in an episode, so bad that it was like this huge storm.
And, like this man describes, my dad and me were always waiting for the next “storm”
to explode from my mom.
That was before she became stable, of course.
But after that he says, “…or to have forgotten or put aside the things about a person who
has bipolar disorder – what makes defines them as a person.”
That’s what I wanted to talk to you about today:
Separating your loved one from their bipolar disorder.
It is SO important that you be able to do this.
Supporters who cannot separate their loved one from their disorder can end up feeling angry and
resentful toward their loved one.
Then they can feel guilt and shame for feeling those negative feelings on top of it.
They might even begin to stress out or feel anxiety over it.
Or even get depressed over it.
And all of this is unnecessary…
If they could just separate their loved one from their bipolar disorder.
Now, in no way am I saying that this is an easy thing to do. I know that it isn’t.
But I think if someone had told me what I’m telling you, and if I had done it back when I was
living with my mom, a lot of my problems could have been eliminated.
One way you can separate your loved one from their disorder is to keep in mind what they are
like when they are “normal,” or between episodes.
But let’s get back to Andrew’s comment before I go, because I really like the way he ended
He said, “The other wonderful effect of separating the label/condition from the person is that it holds each of us responsible for who we are and what we do.”
That means that your loved one, being separate from their disorder, cannot blame the disorder for what they say/do.
They have to take responsibility for their behavior.
Have you been able to separate your loved one from their bipolar disorder?
How have you done it?
Has it made it easier for you to deal with things?