I have a very nice neighbor who has bipolar disorder. What can I do to help without hurting her feelings?
Whether we want to admit it, or not, everyone needs a support system; ESPECIALLY people with Bipolar. It can come from a variety of places: therapist, relative, friend, neighbor, blogs…. (I could keep rambling, but I think you get the picture.) but the key ingredient is positive support. That is one of the most important things anybody can provide for someone with bipolar, regardless of their relationship. Because support comes on many different levels and can be provided in so many different ways, there is no form of support that too small.
As a neighbor, there are ways you can be supportive, even if you don’t have a really close relationship. Since your neighbor felt comfortable enough to confide in you that they are Bipolar, you can always offer your ears. There are many times that I just needed to talk some things out, but couldn’t because I was afraid of what my friends or family would think. If I had a neighbor or someone outside of my family to talk to, that would have helped me immensely. Letting your neighbor know that your ears are there is a way to be supportive without being too intrusive in your neighbor’s life. As time goes on however, being there to listen could develop your relationship into a closer one and you both will benefit. Your neighbor may also confide in you some other ways you could be supportive.
If you have a closer relationship with your neighbor, and feel comfortable, you can be direct with them and ask them if there is anything you can do to help or if there is anything that they may need flat out. If they reply there is nothing, then let them know that if the time comes that they do need something, you are right next door. Again, as a neighbor, you don’t want to be too intrusive. If you are constantly knocking on their door to check on them, or are asking them a million questions about how they are doing each time you cross paths, your efforts intending to be helpful might become more of a strain and a stressor for your neighbor and could have the opposite effect of what you are actually trying to do. It’s important to mindful of what it is that your neighbor needs as support and asking directly is the best way to do that.
Every person who has Bipolar is different. We all have different triggers, different cycles, different types, and will need different types of support. The one thing that anyone can offer that we can never have enough of though, is positive support. Without it, it’s hard to maintain stability and our own positivity.
Also, , here are a few past posts you may want to refer to 🙂
Good luck with your neighbor. I hope they will appreciate all the support you have to offer them!