I read a quote the other day that really made me think: “Our lives improve only when we take
chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” – Walter Anderson (Editor, Parade Magazine)
Wow. Isn’t that profound?
So many people go around in a state of denial. Especially some people when they’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
It’s really hard, as a supporter of a loved one who you know has bipolar disorder, to be with them when they deny that they even have the disorder.
That’s one of the biggest areas I talk to people about, because as a supporter you need to be understanding of the stages they go through before they will accept their diagnosis.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, describes the 5 Stages of Grief, and only the last one is acceptance, and they apply not only to grief, but to bipolar disorder as well.
The 5 stages of grieving are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then finally, acceptance.
So denial is the first, where they don’t believe that they even have the disorder. But then they finally arrive at acceptance, and at that point they should be like the quote at the beginning of this post.
But you know what? So should you. Because for ALL of us, we only improve if we take chances, and if we become honest with ourselves.
If your loved one becomes honest with themselves, then they can accept their diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and then they can start learning how to manage it, especially if they do things like join a bipolar support group and go see a therapist, follow my website and blog, etc.
But if you can accept your role as the supporter of someone who does have bipolar disorder and
especially learn as much as you can about the disorder, then you can learn how to help them.
The biggest surprise is that you can learn to help YOURSELF! Yeah, because you need help just as much as your loved one does. Even though all the attention seems to be on your loved one, you do need as much help.
But the first step for both of you is that you have to be honest with yourselves. And like the quote says, it is a risk. It sure isn’t easy! We sometimes don’t like to look at what we see
in the mirror. Sometimes facing ourselves is the hardest thing we have to do. Because it means we have to accept change.
But you know what? Once we can do that, change is a great thing! Our lives begin to improve!
We can do things we never thought we could do before!
Like with your loved one’s bipolar disorder. Think about it. When they were first told, you may have thought it was like a death sentence or something. Or they may have thought that.
But here I’m telling you that it is not only NOT a death sentence, it is a chance to GROW, to
CHANGE! And that is a positive thing. It’s all in how you look at it. I try to always look at things in a positive way, with a positive view. Because of that, I see change as a good thing.
Well, I have to go!