You know, one of the worst parts of dealing with bipolar disorder is going through the depressive end of the mood swing. It’s especially hard on the supporter, because you feel so helpless to do anything about it but to watch your loved one suffer. You can’t just tell them a joke and make them laugh and it’s all over. It’s just not as simple as that. Or watch a funny movie with them – even if it did bring them out of it, it would only be temporary.
If your loved one had the flu, you could give them medicine to help them feel better. But there is no “cure” for their depression. You can encourage them to do things, but they are fighting a real enemy. And their worst enemy is boredom.
Boredom causes more bipolar depressions than anything else (notwithstanding the chemical imbalance that causes the mood swing).
To-Do Lists are very helpful with keeping the enemy of boredom at bay. Some people are good at making To-Do Lists and keeping up with them. Larger projects can be broken down into smaller tasks. Everyday tasks can be big accomplishments for someone when they’re depressed.
What’s important is to keep busy, because boredom is the enemy of bipolar depression. Sitting in front of the television can deepen a bipolar depression. Even your trying to make conversation with them can make them more depressed.
One woman who was used to gardening as a way to feel productive (which helped her manage her bipolar disorder) found herself getting depressed during the colder months of the year, until she found some indoor plants that she could take care of year-round. This helped her with her
Another woman who struggled with bipolar depression had been an English teacher before
her disorder forced her to go on disability. Because she had been used to being so busy before,
boredom quickly set in, and she struggled with depression greatly. She began tutoring out of her home, which filled up her time, and her depression lifted.
A man who had formerly run a successful auto shop before his diagnosis of bipolar disorder was overcome by bipolar depression simply out of boredom. There just wasn’t enough for him to do around the house, and he felt useless. Then one of his friends asked him to work on his car in his garage. One friend led to two, and now he is no longer bored nor depressed.
Another man became the head of his bipolar support group and not only plans the monthly meetings, but also plans outings for both those with the disorder and their supporters and families. In his downtime, he spends his time researching the Internet for new information on bipolar disorder he can share with the group. No longer bored, his depression has decreased.
Another woman became a literacy volunteer. Yet another woman began volunteering as a school
nurse at her child’s elementary school. And one woman, who struggled with bipolar depression
for years, works for me now. She has become a contributing writer to this website and, although she has had depressed days here and there, she has not had to be hospitalized for a bipolar episode in seven years.
Boredom is the worst enemy of bipolar depression. But if you think of your talents, you can think of ways to use them so you don’t have to be bored, so you don’t have to be depressed.
Read back over some of these examples. These people aren’t depressed any more. They are helping themselves, their supporters, their families, their communities, and other people.
Boredom doesn’t have to be your enemy if you don’t let it. Think along creative lines, about things that you are good at.
Well, I have to go!