Surviving Bipolar Disorder: Advice for Relatives

Award winning novelist and registered nurse Alicia Singleton, has written a very insightful piece on entitled ‘Forgiving Insanity: The Key to Surviving Bipolar Disorder.‘  In the article Singleton draws on her personal experience of dealing with her aunt as she struggles with bipolar and the attendant disruption to her life and well-being.

Singleton very helpfully reproduces the advice proffered by a hospital social worker with a view to coping with the illness.  These are:

  • Educate yourself, family and friends about Bipolar Disorder.
  • Encourage your loved one to maintain their prescribed treatment regimen.
  • Monitor your loved one’s moods.
  • Reduce your loved one’s stress and identify their triggers.
  • Know and accept the fact that people with Bipolar Disorder don’t have power over their moods.
  • Accept your limits. Support your loved one as much as possible. Ultimately, recovery is the responsibility of  the person with Bipolar Disorder.
  • Don’t take Bipolar symptoms personally. Hostile, cruel, aggressive or reckless words or actions are common effects of the illness.
  • Be prepared for a crisis. While your loved one is in remission, develop an action plan in case of another bipolar episode. Plans should include steps for taking over your loved one’s medical decisions, business and financial matters if needed.
  •  Seek support. Dealing with a loved one who suffers from Bipolar Disorder can be very stressful. Seek counseling for yourself and family members if needed.

In the remainder of the article, Singleton explores the emotions that accompany the difficult task of coping with Bipolar Disorder in a loved one, focusing particularly on forgiveness.  You can read the full article here:

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