How are you doing today? I hope you’re good.
At one of the bipolar support groups that I attend, the other night, we were discussing how fighting bipolar disorder is like being in a war. There are two sides – it’s like an us against them: you and your loved one against their bipolar disorder. And you always have to remember who the good guys are: It you AND your loved one. And who your enemy is: The bipolar disorder. NOT your loved one. Although sometimes it may seem that way.
Because it’s your loved one who exhibits the bipolar behavior, it can be easy to see them as the
enemy, but you have to remember that it’s not them, it’s the disorder inside them that is the real enemy. Thinking this way will help you to keep your loved one separate from their disorder, and keep you on the same side in this war.
No war can be won without strategies and planning. So you have to have these two things for sure. You need to plan for what you’re going to do if your loved one does go into a bipolar episode, for example. That’s one thing. How your loved one is going to manage their bipolar disorder is part of your war strategy. How they manage their medication is one example. Like putting their pills in a weekly pill organizer.
Or how they manage their appointments. Do they have a monthly organizer? A monthly grease calendar that you keep on the refrigerator so you don’t forget? Where do you keep important phone numbers? Do you have a signed Medical Release of Information on file at each of your loved one’s doctor’s offices?
Do you have a current updated list of all your loved one’s medications with dosages and when they take them in a handy place in case they need to go to the hospital? Does your loved one keep a mood chart that notes their daily moods so that you can predict if they may be going into a possible bipolar episode?
Do they keep a journal in which they can write down their thoughts and feelings and help control their stress and anxiety? These are all proactive ways to fight the war against bipolar disorder. These are all effective strategies.
But there is one thing you need to be careful of. The C word. This one word can sabotage all these strategies against the war of bipolar disorder.
What is complacency?
Webster’s dictionary calls it a “…unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”
You can get into such a place where you don’t even realize that your loved one is in danger.
What good does it do you to know the signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode if you don’t realize that your loved one is exhibiting them, for example? Another way this can happen is if you get in the habit of making excuses. If, instead of noting that your loved one is depressed, for example, you just note that they are “tired.” Then you don’t do anything about it. This is dangerous, because then you can lose the war against bipolar disorder.
Well, I have to go!