Caring for someone or living with someone who has Bipolar disorder can be very taxing on everyone involved. Whether you’re a parent, child, friend or even a co-worker, it can be severly debilitating to those who love and care for them.

You want to be supportive and understanding because you know their illness is not their fault. You may have to emotionally distance yourself at times but never abandon someone you love especially with this severe mental illness. I know it’s difficult and sometimes you need to walk away for awhile and “regroup”. I know how hard it is living with this. I do it everyday. If you can’t walk away then walk your head away and focus on something else for awhile like focusing on your needs.

Learn as much as you can. The internet provides a wealth of information on the illness and what you can do to help the hurting and sometimes confused loved one.

Please never assume that you know what another person is going through unless you are going through the same. Listen and pay attention to what they may be trying to convey. Never dismiss their feelings. They need to be validated and know you are on their side. Don’t condemn or criticize them or ever discard any talk or behavior that may suggest hurting themselves in some way. It could be their cry for help.

Encourage treatment when you know that’s what is necessary. Don’t force, try to persuade. Pay attention to symptoms and always put their best interest first. They’re sick and can’t help it but they can help themselves by submitting to treatment as needed. An ongoing treatment plan is the best choice.

Try to do things together. Depressed people almost always pull away. Never let them get to far and I hate to say the word but suicide is always an option for the mentally ill (Bipolar disorder). You have to remember it is not your fault either.

Take care of yourself. If you don’t then you can’t help anyone else. As extreme as your loved one’s need may be, you still need to take care of yourself. Stay healthy emotionally and physically. Do things you enjoy and stay involved with other people you’re close to. A visit to a therapist may be a good idea. How you are coping and feeling needs to be validated as well.