It is difficult to reason with loved ones who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, washing your hands off them is not the solution. Erratic mood swings, depressive episodes and elevated levels of energy as experienced by your loved one maybe beyond your comprehension and therefore, you have to learn how to handle them so that they can feel secure and feel better.
Friends and family have to help. Bipolar disorder as diagnosed by a psychiatrist is when a person experiences abnormally elevated energy levels, also known as hypomania or abnormally depressive phases for a period of time. There are a host of symptoms for this disorder, often they vary from person to person and no singular psychological test can detect and diagnose the disorder as well. This can be frustrating for most care givers, therefore knowing how to deal with patients suffering from bipolar disorder is important, to help them feel at ease.
A few things that you can do are listed below:
Getting frustrated and feeling bad for yourself and the patient is not the answer. It is essential that you learn about the disorder and make an effort to understand what the person is truly going through. This will help you build empathy and make you a better support system.
Emphasize on living life by the clock. Try and build in a daily routine, which has consistent sleep and wake cycles, this ensures mood stability.
A hostile environment is going to do your loved one no good. Try and avoid intense emotional reactions, do not indulge in criticism, always try and maintain a calm atmosphere as this will help ensure mood stability. Blame, Judgment, Criticism and Demand are four key things that you should always avoid.
Learn how to communicate
Communication is key to ensure mood stability. Often how you say something becomes more important that what you say depending on what the other person’s feeling and your tone of voice. Assess the other person’s feeling and then say what you wish to.
While you have to be supportive at all times, you also have to take a stand once in a while. You can ensure this by setting up a few ground rules that every one in the house has to follow. When these rules are broken, make sure every one is liable. While reprimanding your loved one, be sure you do not use judgment, demand, criticism and blame.
Forget the Problem. Think of a Solution.
When you come across a situation that needs to be solved, focus on finding a solution taking everyone’s feelings into consideration as apposed to looking to point blame.
Do Not Add Fuel to a Fire
If you notice that a certain negotiation is going out of hand, stop he discussion and return to the topic, after people have found their cool.
Focus on You as Well
People who suffer from bipolar disorder, know that they are a burden on you, and therefore it is important that you take some time out for yourself as well, and indulge in hobbies, meet friends and eat well to never let your loved ones know that they you are miserable because of them.
Episodes may or may not surface often and when they subside, use this time to have some fun times together.
Your task is to ease the burden of your loved one and therefore communicate with them and ask them how they would like for you to help them. However, do not take over completely, as routine tasks help with their condition.
While medication does help, you could also consult a homeopath to learn what options you have to help calm your loved one during episodes, or ideas that will help reduce the progression of the disorder. The food your loved ones eat is also very important. So, speak with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) to understand what their diet should comprise of to keep these episodes to a minimum.