Living in the same household as someone with bipolar disorder isn’t easy. It is often discouraging, especially if you’re unsure how to cope or handle your own mental health when they’re around. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, more than 5.7 million Americans are bipolar, with the median age of onset occurring around 25. These statistics can make diagnosing a person even more challenging. Many just think they’re dealing with the stressors of life and adulthood, when in actuality they’re living with a mental illness.
Not only does bipolar disorder affect the individual person, but it also affects their loved ones. If you’re living with someone who is bipolar, it’s understandable to want to get involved with their mental health, but it’s also essential that you take care of yourself. At Brain Forest Centers, we help clients of all ages manage their depression and bipolar symptoms. We also provide resources for their families.
Taking Care of Yourself
To successfully help your loved one and make your living arrangements peaceful, you must be willing to take care of yourself first. Wearing yourself thin and mishandling all of your own stress will lead to further tension and problems at home. Consider making time for exercise, planning time with friends without your loved one, or picking up a hobby that can help you clear your head and relieve stress.
Part of taking care of yourself also involves getting plenty of rest. Bipolar individuals in a manic period tend to keep their loved ones up all day and night, causing more issues and stress. When living with someone with bipolar disorder, make sure you get plenty of rest so you can be at the top of your game and handle anything that their cycle throws at you. Try using earplugs or sleeping aids to get a good night’s rest when you can.
Last but not least, look for resources and be mindful of the disorder. Many people who live with someone with bipolar disorder feel some sort of guilt or shame, thinking their actions caused the mental disorder. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of blaming yourself, choose to educate yourself and find resources to help you through the highs and lows. It’s vital for your own mental health to remember that bipolar disorder is a medical condition that requires treatment. Instead of getting frustrated with yourself for not having all the answers, be mindful of their situation and remember that it’s just as much out of your control as it is theirs.
Taking Care of Your Loved One
With bipolar disorder, your loved one will not be able to control their cycle. While some people experience regular periods of ups and downs, others may not have episodes for months or years in between. When you live with someone with bipolar disorder, take note of their symptoms and when they seem to be depressed or when they’re headed into a manic state. Many individuals with the disease will have clues ahead of each cycle. Look for those clues and keep an eye out for unpredictable behavior.
Often, a person in a manic state will have wild and crazy energy, pull all-nighters on the computer, or spend whatever’s in the savings account on a shopping spree. That’s why you must put both physical and financial safeguards in place to protect you, your loved one, and the rest of your family. Some people have found success by setting up a bank account that’s not accessible to the bipolar individual or offering to drive when their loved one is manic. If you share a bank account or a credit card with your loved one, consider putting limits on cash withdrawals and purchases. These safeguards will not only protect you, but they’ll also protect your loved one.
Finally, when you’re living with someone with bipolar disorder, it can make everything more comfortable and more peaceful if you encourage them to take their medications. Because the disease comes and goes, it’s easy for your loved one to feel like they’re okay and that they’re not being held down by depression or are in a manic state. These feelings of security can lead them to want to stop taking their medications, but that’s not the best idea. While they may feel better in the short term, a cold-turkey stop could cause them to nosedive into depression or mania. It may seem frustrating, but keeping your loved one on their medication will make your lives a little easier.
Find Help & Resources
At Brain Forest Centers, we specialize in treating individuals with bipolar disorder, depression, and ADD/ADHD. Our method of treatment is non-invasive and focuses on rewiring the neuropathways of the brain. We strive to make every patient a superhero by showcasing how they can control their minds. If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with a mental illness, schedule your free consultation with our team. Call (317) 288-9828.