A bipolar diagnosis can be frightening for people who suffer from it and the people in their life
If your loved one recently was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may feel overwhelmed and wonder how to show your support. This disorder can take a heavy toll on a relationship, so we offer these tips to help the two of you find your way:
Embrace the diagnosis. Accept that your partner’s diagnosis is not going to change. Also understand that it may not get better. While medication can control bipolar disorder, there is no cure. Realize that a bipolar diagnosis is not always the worst thing. Your loved one is the same person he has always been.
Boost your partner’s confidence. If you can make your partner feel good about herself, treatment will be easier.
Participate in treatment. Don’t expect your loved one to follow his medication regimen to the letter. Some side effects may be unpleasant, or the medication may work so well he doesn’t think he needs it any longer. You may need to remind him to take his medication. If he is seeing a counselor, discuss you sitting in on a therapy session. Write down your questions or concerns as they arise and take them with you to doctor appointments.
Recognize there are things your partner can’t do. Some everyday tasks are difficult for people with bipolar disorder. For instance, since paying bills can be stressful and frustrating for someone with bipolar disorder, this may be a task you manage for the two of you.
Be there during rough times. When she is in a depressed low point, don’t be afraid. Talk to her. Be understanding if medication causes a reduced sex drive or if a manic phase drives her to want sex many times a day.
Watch for triggers. Know the signs of changes to your partner’s mood or frame of mind. You are in the best position to recognize the triggers and help him identify and understand them.