Take Care Of Yourself And Set Boundaries
Loving someone with bipolar disorder is trying, but you can’t rescue your loved one with bipolar disorder. You cannot control them or make them take responsibility for getting better. You can offer support, but ultimately recovery is in the hands of the person with the illness. Because you too are coping with the effects of this disorder and are focused on your loved one, it is easy to forget about your own health. Take time for yourself and take care of your health. Join a support group or dedicate an hour each week to doing something you enjoy. If not, you could become depressed and even turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. Before you know it, you will require our addiction treatment in Boca as well.
Go To Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is essential for working through upset over a bipolar partners actions. Its common for someone with bipolar disorder to hurt and offend their partner. When someone is first diagnosed, there are often relationship issues that need to be addressed. Couples counseling can help you:
- Understand that theres an illness involved in the hurtful behavior.
- Forgive the behavior that happened during an altered mood state.
- Set boundaries with a partner about maintaining treatment.
They Experience Emotions On Extra Loud When In A State Of Mania
Although we usually explain mood swings in terms of highs and lows, it is not the case that bipolar individuals feel all great happy things when in a state of mania. Instead, all the emotions one normally experiences are on a more intense setting. Everything comes through louder and it can be very difficult to navigate everyday life with such an intensity.
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Put Safeguards In Place
Its also important to safeguard your physical and financial safety. For example, if your loved ones driving grows risky during a manic episode, then insist on driving or decline to be a passenger in her car. Money can also be a major problem. If you are dependent upon your loved one in order to pay rent or bills, then secure your payment ahead of time. Set up automatic deposits from an account that isnt easily accessed, or if finances are coming from a third party, arrange to get the money from them directly. If you have access to joint accounts, consider placing limits on credit cards purchases or cash withdrawals.
Surveys report that people with bipolar disorder are almost twice as likely to get fired or laid off from their job, so having a plan in place for financial stability is important.
The Surprisingly Positive Consequences Of Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder Part One
***The following is part one of an article from Julie A. Fast, the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner. In todays post, Julie gives realistic and positive ideas for a joyful special occasion when a partner has bipolar disorder. Part two of the article includes a special webinar from Julie where she discusses exactly how to put the ideas in the article into action.***
What creates a strong relationship? There is love of course, but as you know, love is no match for the ups and downs created by bipolar disorder. What else keeps a relationship strong? In my experience, open communication about tough topics creates the foundation of a strong relationship. What does this have to do with bipolar? I believe that couples who want to manage bipolar disorder within the relationship automatically have to get better at communication. Talking about the role mania, depression, anxiety, psychosis, irritation and anger, violence and focus problems plays in your relationship is intense! New communication skills are often needed.
Everything you do to manage this illness through talking about what you need from each other as well as from a health care team and support group in terms of bipolar is GOLD for you.
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Understanding What Someone With Bipolar Disorder Experiences
One thing to understand about bipolar disorder is that it is a lifelong condition, so getting professional help is critical for the person who has it. Therapy and medication are used to treat the disorder, and these methods have helped many people live healthy lives.
People who want to support a person with bipolar disorder can educate themselves about the disorders symptoms, which fall into three main categories: mania, hypomania, and depression. Here are a few symptoms for each category that can give you an idea of what each phase looks like.
They Will Help You Learn To Adapt Quickly To Changing Situations
This ties in closely with number 2. Along with appreciating the present, you will also learn how to adapt quickly to changing situations. Loving someone who is diagnosed with bipolar is akin to loving changing situations. Because a person with bipolar disorder can frequently go through episodes, some of which are not as outwardly positive as mania can be, you will learn how to go with the flow and adapt to whatever each new moment brings .
Furthermore, you will learn how to work well not only with changing environments but also with diverse people. Those of us who live with bipolar often have different ways of being, depending on our mood. We might behave one way when manic, another way when depressed, and another when we are enjoying stability. By experiencing life with a loved one who has bipolar, you will have the benefit of experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions, passions, fears, joys, and sorrows.
There are so many different people in the world sometimes, we might feel alarmed when we meet someone who behaves differently than we might otherwise expect. But because you have loved someone with bipolar, when you encounter different manners, behaviors, quirks, ideas, and beliefs in other people, you wont be caught off-guard. You wont react out of fear you will respond with compassion.
In short, because you love someone who has bipolar disorder, you will be the master of adaptation.
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Take Care Of Yourself
It is absolutely critical that you take care of your own physical and emotional needs. You may consider seeing a therapist for yourself, as a means of evaluating your own thoughts and stresses from being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.
You also have to know when and if you need to leave a romantic relationshiplike if the person you are dating becomes dangerous, stops getting therapy, or becomes too unstable for you. Understanding your boundaries and what you are willing to accept needs to be crystal clear.
In addition, continue to take care of your own body’s needs like eating nutritiously, sleeping, and exercising. Be sure to keep up your relationships with other friends and loved ones, too, as embarking on a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder is not the time to isolate yourself. Joining a support group to both gain knowledge and emotional support can also be incredibly helpful.
They Were Not Diagnosed Via A Specific Test
Bipolar disorder is complex and currently there is no single test one can take to determine if he or she has the disorder. As a result, it often takes some time and careful analysis from a professional to receive the diagnosis. As a loved one, you are probably not in the best position to diagnose someone or seriously challenge the diagnosis, so take concerns directly to the doctors if necessary.
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Educate Yourself On Bipolar Disorder
Knowing how to help someone with bipolar disorder means educating yourself. Learn about the nuances of this mental health condition, including what causes bipolar disorder, the symptoms, and how to recognize behavioral patterns. Understanding how to identify these things early on is key to effectively helping your loved one learn to cope.
How Can You Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Dealing with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder can be difficultand not just for the person with the illness. The moods and behaviors of a person with bipolar disorder affect everyone aroundespecially family members and close friends. It can put a strain on your relationship and disrupt all aspects of family life.
During a manic episode, you may have to cope with reckless antics, outrageous demands, explosive outbursts, and irresponsible decisions. And once the whirlwind of mania has passed, it often falls on you to deal with the consequences. During episodes of depression, you may have to pick up the slack for a loved one who doesnt have the energy to meet responsibilities at home or work.
The good news is that most people with bipolar disorder can stabilize their moods with proper treatment, medication, and support. Your patience, love, and understanding can play a significant part in your loved ones treatment and recovery. Often, just having someone to talk to can make all the difference to their outlook and motivation.
But caring for a person with bipolar disorder can also take a toll if you neglect your own needs, so its important to find a balance between supporting your loved one and taking care of yourself.
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Healing A Troubled Relationship
Having a relationship when you live with bipolar disorder is difficult. But it’s not impossible. It takes work on the part of both partners to make sure the marriage survives.
The first step is to get diagnosed and treated for your condition. Your doctor can prescribe mood stabilizing medications, such as Lithium, with antidepressants to help control your symptoms. Therapy with a trained psychologist or social worker is also important. With therapy you can learn to control the behaviors that are putting stress on your relationship. Having your spouse go through therapy with you can help them understand why you act the way you do and learn better ways to react.
“I think the more a partner can learn about these things, the better role he or she can play,” Haltzman says. “Being involved in treatment can really help make the treatment for bipolar disorder a collaborative effort. And it will actually increase the sense of bonding.”
Though you may want to crawl into your self-imposed cocoon when you’re depressed, and feel like you’re on top of the world when you’re manic, it’s important to accept help when it’s offered. “I think,” Haltzman says, “it sometimes helps to have a contract.” With this contract, you can decide ahead of time under which circumstances you will agree to let your partner help you.
Here are a few other ways to help relieve some of the stress on your relationship:
How To Manage Relationships With Bipolar Disorder
The single most important part of making a bipolar relationship work is being willing to put the time and effort into managing the condition and nurturing your loved one. There are numerous healthy ways to go about this. All of the following suggestions are strategies that can help each of you successfully navigate your platonic or romantic relationships.
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Is It Hard To Maintain Relationships With Bipolar Disorder
Though bipolar relationship patterns may seem more challenging when one partner has bipolar disorder, theyre not impossible.
There are a number of ways to develop healthy patterns so bipolar relationships can be fulfilling and satisfying on both sides. It may take some work, but all relationships need effort and care, and this is no different.
The most important part of establishing functional bipolar disorder relationships is keeping the lines of communication open and being willing to do the work. Being honest and upfront and making an effort to learn are key components in creating a positive, trusting dynamic. Whether its you who is bipolar or you have a bipolar partner, the following are important aspects to keep in mind:
When someone experiences bipolar disorder symptoms, it is important for their support system to be involved and infrequent communication. People diagnosed with bipolar disorders can benefit from having a therapist, a psychiatrist, and if they are in a relationship, even a couples therapist.
Getting Help For Bipolar Disorder
Whether you have bipolar disorder or youre in a relationship with someone who does, finding help doesnt have to be difficult. The first step is learning more about what bipolar disorder looks like. Then, you can find a therapist you both trust and make a commitment to sticking to treatment.
A few other resources available include finding a local or online support group, getting a referral from your primary care physician, reaching out to a mental health clinic in your area, or considering in-person or online therapy.
With the right support and guidance, your bipolar disorder relationships can thrive. You can live the life youve always wanted in a successful, loving, mutually supportive relationship.
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Bipolar Disorder And The Family
Living with a person who has bipolar disorder can cause stress and tension in the home. On top of the challenge of dealing with your loved ones symptoms and their consequences, family members often struggle with feelings of guilt, fear, anger, and helplessness. Ultimately, the strain can cause serious relationship problems. But there are better ways to cope.
The first step to successfully dealing with bipolar disorder is for families to learn to accept the illness and its difficulties. When youre feeling frustrated or guilty, remember that bipolar disorder isnt anyones fault. Accepting bipolar disorder involves acknowledging that things may never again be normal.
Treatment can make a huge difference for your loved one, but it may not take care of all symptoms or impairments. To avoid disappointment and resentments, its important to have realistic expectations. Expecting too much of your family member can be a recipe for failure. On the other hand, expecting too little can also hinder their recovery, so try to find a balance between encouraging independence and providing support.
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Create An Episode Plan
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
By creating an episode plan for depression, mania, hypomania, and episodes with mixed features you are not only showing your support to someone you love but also equipping yourself to help them in ways personalized to them.
Just like not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms in the same way, each person will want a plan customized to them.
Its important that you are both clear-minded and have stable moods when you make an episode plan.
Here are some tips for creating a plan:
- Discuss what your special someone needs or wants if they find themselves in an episode.
- Ask about what triggers to avoid.
- Request any phone numbers that you or your loved one may need if symptoms were to accelerate, such as their psychiatrist or therapist.
- Ask about any medications prescribed for your loved one that, if taken at the first signs of an oncoming episode, may help to avoid the episode altogether.
You can also make sure that you know which professional to call if an episode becomes urgent or an emergency, or if you are concerned for their safety.
You can also ask your loved one about being an emergency contact or signing a release of information to their healthcare team. This means that you can communicate with the care team regarding your loved ones care if an emergency happens.
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Tips For Coping With Bipolar Disorder In The Family
Accept your loved ones limits. Your loved one with bipolar disorder cant control their moods. They cant just snap out of a depression or get a hold of themselves during a manic episode. Neither depression nor mania can be overcome through self-control, willpower, or reasoning. So telling your loved one to Stop acting crazy or to Look on the bright side wont help.
Accept your own limits. You cant rescue your loved one with bipolar disorder, nor can you force them to take responsibility for getting better. You can offer support, but ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the person with the illness.
Reduce stress. Stress makes bipolar disorder worse, so try to find ways to reduce stress in your loved ones life. Ask how you can help and volunteer to take over some of the persons responsibilities if needed. Establishing and enforcing a daily routinewith regular times for getting up, having meals, and going to bedcan also reduce family stress.
Communicate openly. Open and honest communication is essential to coping with bipolar disorder in the family. Share your concerns in a loving way, ask your loved one how theyre feeling, and make an effort to truly listeneven if you disagree with your loved one or dont relate to whats being said.
Supporting a person with bipolar disorder
What you can say that helps:
The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series
Imprint: New Harbinger Publications
Maintaining a relationship is hard enough without the added challenges of your partners bipolar disorder symptoms. Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder offers information and step-by-step advice for helping your partner manage mood swings and impulsive actions, allowing you to finally focus on enjoying your relationship while also taking time for yourself. This book explains the symptoms of your partners disorder and offers strategies for preventing them and responding to these symptoms when they do occur.
This updated edition includes a new section about the medications your partner may be taking so that you can understand the side effects and help monitor his or her bipolar treatment. As a supportive partner, you deserve support yourself. This book will help you create a more balanced, fulfilling relationship.
Improve your relationship by learning how to:
- Identify your partners symptom triggers so you can prevent episodes
- Improve communication by stopping irrational bipolar conversations
- Handle your partners emotional ups and downs
- Foster closeness and connection with your partner
www.juliefast.com,John D. Preston, PsyD, ABPP,
“I am truly impressed with this wonderful book. I will have it in my office and recommend it to patients partners as a matter of course as they go through the journey with this illness.”Steven Juergens, MD
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