I was just diagnosed with BP after struggling for many, many years without help or medication, any advice for a newbie? I don’t know much about it, but I’ve had 3 violent episodes in the past month almost landing me in jail. I’ve been put on a mood stabilizer and xanax and I have counseling once a week. Is there any …way to help my family understand better too? My husband seems kind of confused still and I have a step-daughter to care for too. It’s just so damn hard!
Ahhh the ups and downs of being newly diagnosed. (As if you don’t already have enough ups and downs to deal with!) There’s always the battle between;
Should we be excited now that we know what’s wrong?
No, that can’t be right! I can’t have Bipolar! Bipolar people are crazy…I’m perfectly normal!
And THEN we get to add in all the stress that comes from the people around us. There are basically four different types of people each of our friends and family members end up being.
- The Sympathetic– The, “Oh yeah, I’ve been there. Let me know if you need something.” They’ve been there. They get it. They know when to step in, and they know when to step back. These are rare!
- The Empathetic – The, “Oh honey, I’m so sorry you’re going through that! What can I do to help?” They can’t exactly sympathize since they’ve never been there. But they feel so bad because they want to help you in any way possible. They read everything they can about BP and do everything they can to understand. Sometimes it’s great to have that support and sometimes it’s overwhelming, especially when we just need to be alone.
- The Meh… – The, “I get that you’re sick. That’s cool. Sorry…it must suck.” They’re there to listen if you need them or you have important information to share, but they aren’t about to go out of their way to learn anything about the illness or be proactive. They tend to give you space…lots of space. But they are usually unable to see the signs that tell them it’s time to intervene.
- The Ignorant – The, “That’s just an excuse. You’re just looking for attention!” So NOT my favorite type. They think everyone is over diagnosed and full of crap. They aren’t willing to learn a thing about BP. Why should they know about something that in no way affects them! (At which point you want to slap them because HELLLOOO they know you, OBVIOUSLY it affects them!)
My advice is, if you have someone that is at all willing to learn, whether it be on their own or with your help, TEACH THEM. Read books with them. Have them join support groups such as “Bipolar in the Family” or other such types. Send them to our site. Encourage them to ask questions. We aren’t here just to help those suffering from the illness. We’re here to help EVERYONE who the illness affects. Do your best to keep them from being Ignorant to your disorder. It’s not going to work for everyone, but it will make a world of difference for those that it does.
Here is a list of books I recommend reading:
And for those dealing with children and teens with Bipolar Disorder
As for websites, here are the best one’s I’ve been able to find so far…
as well as others listed on our Helpful Links Page. (Also, if you know of a link we are missing, please let us know!)
I know that this seems really complicated and a lot of work, but I promise it pays off in the long run. The more educated you and your friends/family are, the easier it is going to be for everyone involved. And doing this will definitely make it way LESS hard! They don’t lie when they say knowledge is power!
And remember, if there is anything we can do to help, please let us know!!!