You know, researchers have been saying for a long time that we are a product of our environment. They say that children learn what they live, in fact. So that if they live in an environment filled with violence, they will become violent people themselves. But if they live in a loving, nurturing environment, then that is the type of person they will become in the future.
But what happens when you’re surrounded by an environment filled with mental illness? Some supporters have even questioned whether they can “catch” their loved one’s bipolar disorder, and
that’s one myth that I try to dispel when I talk to people.
Living in a “bipolar world” can truly alter your perception of reality sometimes. You can get so caught up in the “bipolar-ness” of everything that your “normal” just isn’t what it used to be at all. It can make you feel crazy! Even to the point, like I mentioned, where you question whether you can “catch” your loved one’s bipolar disorder, because you may feel like you’re starting to
have some of the same symptoms. The fact is: NO. You cannot “catch” your loved one’s bipolar disorder. But you can react to it. Especially when you live in a bipolar world. If your world consists of nothing but your loved one’s bipolar disorder, you are in dangerous territory. Like I was saying before…Your perception of reality will be altered. You won’t have a natural sense of “normal” any more.
Of course…Anyone dealing with a loved one with bipolar disorder has to live with a new normal” than before. A type of “what is normal for now” sort of thing…Now being now that their loved one is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Because there is a “normal” that comes with bipolar. And that is the normal that happens between bipolar episodes. What is called the normal period. And that’s different for each person who has the disorder. So your normal would be what your loved one is like between their bipolar episodes. So when I’m talking about normal for you, that’s what I’m talking about. So your life needs to be as normal as it can be.
You just can’t live in the bipolar world, or it will drive you crazy. You just can’t center all your thoughts around bipolar disorder, for one thing. You should be having other, more positive thoughts, about other more varied things. Things that have nothing to do with your loved one’s
bipolar disorder. You can’t dwell on it all the time. When your loved one isn’t in a bipolar episode, you should take advantage of their normal periods, and do the things together that you couldn’t do when they were in an episode. Get out. Have fun! Go places. Get yourselves out of that bipolar world that can tend to surround you so easily.
As for yourself…Try to have a life outside your loved one and their bipolar disorder. This will help to keep the bipolar world from overwhelming you. Have a job outside the home, for example. Try to see family and friends often. Do things that you enjoy away from your loved one
and their bipolar disorder (alone or with someone else). Try to keep your own life as normal as possible.
Well, I have to go!