This question might sound strange, but…If you were your loved one, would you be able to
depend on you? I told you it would sound strange! But I mean, put yourself in your loved one’s
shoes. They’re depending on you to be their supporter, so they have certain needs that they’re hoping you can meet.
For instance, they need you to be understanding. They need you to understand that they are not
always going to be themselves – In other words, they might swing from one mood to
the other (depressed to manic and back again)…And even they may not know why, so they may
need you to be understanding of that, too – so that you won’t expect them to give you a reason for their mood changes.
They need you to be understanding when they might not want to be around people – they might feel anxious or stressed when they do. This might even include family gatherings. This might even include plans that you’ve made, and it might happen at the last minute, so you have to be real understanding if it does happen.
Hopefully, you’ll have this much understanding in you to give. If, at times, you don’t, just put yourself in your loved one’s shoes and ask yourself, would you be able to depend on you?
Your loved one may also depend on you for help. They might need you to help remind them when they forget appointments with their doctor, psychiatrist, and/or therapist. They might need you to help remind them to take their medication. Or maybe to help them come up with ways for them to remember to take it.
They might need your help in explaining bipolar disorder to their family and/or friends, because they may be scared to do it by themselves. They may need your help in accepting their diagnosis.
They may need your help with small things. They may need your help with big things.
But somewhere, down the line or now, however it’s going to happen, your loved one is going to need your help. Are you going to be able to help them? If you were your loved one, would you be able to depend on you?
Your loved one may even need your forgiveness, and this may be the hardest part of all for you.
As you may have already experienced, when someone with bipolar disorder goes into a bipolar manic episode, they exhibit behaviors that are very unlike themselves. They do things they wouldn’t normally do – risky and impulsive behaviors, bizarre behaviors, even some that
might shock you! Behaviors like excessive spending of money, or even shoplifting. Draining out your bank accounts, maxing out your credit cards. Poor or foolish decision making, bad business
Causing you to re-mortgage your home or possibly lose it. Driving you to bankruptcy. Will your loved one be able to depend on you then? Or risky driving, gambling, or even substance abuse. Jail, high lawyer’s fees. They might exhibit risky sexual behavior, promiscuity – they might even have an affair, get pregnant, or make someone else pregnant. I’ve heard these stories too often not to accept the reality of them, and you may have to as well. Will you be forgiving? Will your loved one be able to depend on you then?
Well, I have to go!