The stress associated with having a family member or loved one with bipolar disorder can be severe. When someone is in a manic state, she can say and do terrible things. When depressed she might lay around the house for months on end, not helping out with the chores, barely able to even turn on the television set.
While it’s easy to say, “she’s not doing any of these thing deliberately, it’s her illness,” the reality of living with or caring for a person with bipolar disorder can be difficult. Learning to take care of yourself and not just the patient is not easy, and can involve some painful decisions, such as telling an adult child who refuses to take medication and is engaging in dangerous behaviors that they are no longer able to stay in your house.
This section will go though various resources and approaches designed to give you the information you need. That said, here are a few basics
• You are not alone. Millions of families each year are going through similar situations.
• Knowledge is power. The more you know about bipolar disorder and the treatments and resources available, especially those in your state and local area, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the different situations as they arise.
• Trust your instincts. If you start feeling overwhelmed, or that a particular situation is out of control, you’re probably right. If someone is saying something that is frightening you, and you’re not certain as to whether it warrants calling 911, go ahead and call anyway. They’re the trained experts, let them evaluate the situation.
• No one has all the answers. What works for one family in a given situation may just be wrong for you and yours. If your five senses are telling you that a particular strategy or approach is working, trust your gut.