If I were to help or talk to someone with bi-polar what are some things that are good to say and what things should I avoid saying?

If I were to help or talk to someone with bi-polar what are some things that are good to say and what things should I avoid saying?

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This is a really good question.  When I was first diagnosed, a lot of friends avoided me because they didn’t know what to say and what not to say, which made me feel pretty bad.  The one thing I always wanted, and still want, is to feel normal when having a conversation with someone who is not bipolar.  I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing a scarlett letter.
Starting out a conversation with some general things, such as sports you both enjoy, tv shows, etc.  can be good because they break ice and make everyone feel a little more comfortable.  Sometimes we just want someone to talk to.  Having an ear to listen can sometimes be more helpful than any question you could ask.  You could also be very direct and ask your friend how you can help them and what they need.  Everyone is different, and I know that I would have appreciated my friends being direct and asking what they could do instead of avoiding me.  You could also ask your friend to tell you a little bit about how being bipolar affects him.  Some people tend to be more manic and some more depressive, so starting with a general question such as that could get a conversation going into more details and be quite informative on how you can help them, while also letting them know that you do want to help them.
If your friend has been hospitalized or had any suicide attempts, those typically are topics to stay away from.  If your friend wants to talk about them, they will usually bring them up themselves.  Once they are brought up, you can inquire more, but until then, those are usually very emotional times and not good conversation starters.  I am pretty open about being bipolar, but not everyone is, so be mindful of that when asking questions.  Don’t keep pressing for information.  Just assure your friend that you are there for them if they need anything and that you would like to help if you can.
I hope these help!!!!  Good luck!!!
~christi~

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Christi is a guest author….here’s a little bit about her 🙂

My name is Christi.  I’m 30 years old and was diagnosed Bipolar II in 2006.  I battled eating disorders and the misdiagnosis of depression before I ended up in the hospital and got the correct treatment.  Since then, with the help of my family and friends, I have been living each day the best I can and trying to help others do the same.

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  1. Pingback:» Blog Archive » Ask A Bipolar: What can I do to help without hurting her feelings – 5/27/11

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