Would you believe that you can actually learn a bipolar lesson from a tissue? Yep, an everyday tissue. Well, I’m going to show you. Think of the characteristics of a tissue…First of all, it’s practical, right? You can blow your nose with it…You can wipe things off your face with it, like cold cream or makeup…Or dirt off a child’s face…You can wipe things off a counter with it (when a paper towel isn’t handy)…ok, maybe I’m stretching a little bit there, but you get the idea – a tissue is practical. Agreed?
Ok, well, as a supporter, you have to be practical, too. For example, you probably have had to learn how to manage the finances. That’s an example of being practical. Secondly, a tissue is useful. It’s kind of like being practical. Except useful is being resourceful in other ways. For example, in ways that a napkin or paper towel wouldn’t be (like, you wouldn’t blow your nose with them). So, you as a supporter have to make yourself useful. An example of this might be the way you make yourself useful around the house. Your loved one could do some things to help you, but you also do things to maintain the house. That’s being useful! Or if you work, or do volunteer work, that’s being useful, too.
Third of all, a tissue is soft (we can all agree on that). It has to be, doesn’t it, or we wouldn’t use it? Well, that’s also one of the qualities that a supporter should have. Sometimes it takes being “soft” to deal with your loved one’s anger. And it takes a soft heart to forgive what they do during episodes.
A tissue should be handy (the fourth characteristic in our analogy). Just as you are. You should always be around when your loved one needs you. Which leads us to #5 – being dependable. Just like a tissue is dependable to do what it’s supposed to do, so should you be. Your loved one should be able to count on you, and trust that you will be dependable. They should also feel free to express their thoughts and feelings with you and that you will understand. A tissue, most importantly, is NEEDED. Ask yourself, what would you do if a tissue wasn’t around when you needed one? What if your loved one needed you and YOU weren’t around? You need to be there for your loved one. They DO need you.
They need you to have all these characteristics, and more. Because they need you to love them unconditionally and to support them. They need you to be there even if the whole rest of the world turns their back on them. They need you to be by their side no matter what their bipolar disorder does to them. Ask yourself, what would you do without a tissue when you needed it?
Now, what would your loved one do without you?
Well, I have to go!