How To Act Around Someone With Bipolar And What You Can Do To Help

Last updated by Katie M.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that has an impact on moods. In order to best help a loved one who suffers from this illness, you need to understand more about the disorder and be able to identify the depressive or manic phases in order to adopt the best stance. Having a loved one with bipolar also means having to find support for yourself. Everyone should have someone to talk to, and no one should have to face this illness alone.

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What you need to know about bipolar to handle it best

If you live with someone who has bipolar, you probably know that it is a mental illness that affects temperaments and has an extreme impact on moods, which provokes instantaneous highs and lows. It is impossible for someone suffering from this disorder to manage their emotions and to take control of them. That’s why it’s important to be patient and above all avoid judging those affected. Helping someone with bipolar is indeed an important role that must be taken seriously. It is also a beautiful proof of love, but even the deepest devotion requires a support outlet. Plus, you mustn’t sacrifice your own mental health in the process of trying to help someone else.

>>> Find out how to reduce stress in children.

Be attentive to the depressive phase

During the depressive phase, the sufferer will have all the symptoms of depression, and these include; sadness, significant fatigue, loss of interest and lethargy. When you notice these signs, try to communicate with the person, listen to them, try to entertain them and urge them to consult their psychiatrist. If the depressive phase is already very advanced, you can take charge of daily tasks (shopping, meals, housework, bills, administrative procedures, etc.) and watch out for suicidal thoughts. Monitor your loved one discreetly, watch for hopeless intentions, and remain attentive to the signs of impending suicide. Talk to a doctor or psychiatrist if you are too worried.

Show patience and create distance during the manic phase

Unlike the depressive phase, during a manic phase, the bipolar sufferer experiences an increase in energy and can even go without sleep for several days. The person’s entourage will notice this high phase and will be able to alert the bipolar person, who will in fact feel rather well and in form. During this phase, it will be very difficult to reason with them, so express your feelings, but do not react to their provocations. Instead, remain passive, caring and if necessary, give them some space, while keeping an eye on them. If during this manic phase the bipolar person goes too far, endangers their health, is violent with you, aggressive, threatens to disrupt public order, then hospitalization may be necessary.

Interesting fact: Between the different phases, life goes on. Here, you should behave normally and shouldn’t attribute any strong emotion to the illness.

>>> Discover our tips on how to manage hypersensitivity.

Editor's note - Don't forget yourself in the mix

If you are one of the close relatives of a sufferer, it is important to find support from the people around you, from a support group, from professionals or even from a therapist. Your own well-being is also significant, especially since your loved one's illness can be a source of stress, anxiety or lead to depression. Try as much as possible to find time to relax, do what you like to do, and above all, never hesitate or be ashamed to ask for help.

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Article presented by Katie M.

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