You know, there are some things we can afford to lose in life. In recovery programs, for example, as well as in church, you can afford to lose your pride and ego. (In fact, it may happen whether you like it or not.) You can afford to lose your car if there are too many repairs needed for it, and buy another one. In other words, it’s not a life or death thing. At worst, you may have to get rides from people until your car is fixed, if you keep it. But still, you could afford to lose it. You can afford to lose some of your possessions, like if you have a yard sale, or donate to Goodwill or a church or other worthy organization.
But there are some things that you can’t afford to lose. For example, you can’t afford to lose your home, or else where would you live? You can’t afford to lose your job (unless you have another one lined up), because you need that income to live off. You can’t afford to wreck your credit, although too many people with bipolar disorder do. Then it’s a mess trying to establish your credit back again.
Your loved one can’t afford to lose your support. Your support is invaluable to them, as it helps them to deal with their bipolar disorder. Your loved one can’t afford to lose their commitment to take their medication. If they lose that commitment, it could lead to going into a bipolar episode, or worse, it could take their life! So they definitely cannot afford to stop taking their medication. They can’t afford to lose their doctor, psychiatrist, therapist and any other member of their treatment team, either. Because these people help them as much as you do. Your loved one cannot afford to lose sleep, either. Because loss of sleep is one of the biggest triggers to a bipolar episode.
And what about you? You can’t afford to NOT take care of yourself, because your loved one and family need you. You can’t afford to lose your self-esteem and self-respect. These are very important to anyone to have, whether they are dealing with bipolar disorder or not. Your self-esteem and self-respect are how you feel about yourself. And you need to feel good about yourself. Some supporters suffer in this area, because they believe that their support is directly related to their loved one’s bipolar disorder.
In other words…If their loved one isn’t doing well, or goes into an episode, they blame themselves. They think negatively. They believe that since their loved one isn’t doing well, that it means that they’re not a good supporter. But that isn’t true. The struggle for bipolar stability falls outside your responsibility as a supporter. You can be the best supporter in the world, and your loved one will still go into episodes. Going into episodes is just part of their bipolar disorder, and is no reflection on you as a supporter. You also can’t afford to lose your peace of mind. You need to stay as stress-free as possible.
Well, I have to go!