Living with a relative who has the disorder bipolar disorder is not easy. That does not mean that it is not possible. But to do so, it is i...
Living with a relative who has the disorder bipolar disorder is not easy. That does not mean that it is not possible. But to do so, it is important on the one hand to be clear about what we are talking about when we talk about this disorder. After this, know what elements and resources we have to be able to achieve it, and what impediments we find.
I will start by differentiating what is not and what is bipolarity.
What is commonly called bipolarity?
Many times as a way of defining people's behavior we use inappropriate terms. The use of language is later distorted. Currently, the term "bipolar" is used colloquially and erroneously for people who constantly change their mood or opinion. They often say that the change is for no apparent reason. This does not mean that a person has bipolar disorder. Possibly there is a detriment to mental health so you have difficulties, either to sustain a decision or to explain it to those close to you. This is not bipolar.
The real bipolar
A bipolar disorder, to begin with, has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Presents episodes of depressive behavior, followed by episodes of mania, or mixed. In this case, mania is excess energy, which can even cause a lack of sleep in the staff. Depression is a strong moment of hopelessness, loss of interest and pleasure, even ideas of death.
As you can see, the difference is significant. It is a difficult disorder to detect since the mania phase can be confused with an improvement in the depressive state. An expert is needed to diagnose it. However, it is a disorder in which the patient can be helped. It has medications that help stabilize the fluctuation of the states. Similarly, the patient has the ability to be in a psychotherapeutic process in which he can work on establishing congruent thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Caring for the patient
As a family member of a person with this disorder, it is extremely difficult. Unexpected changes in the patient's condition make it difficult to have a healthy relationship and adequate responses to maintain a bond. However, being able to be clear that it is not something personal, helps to be able to relate to the person.
Being able to differentiate the disorder and the exacerbated behaviors with the person is essential to be able to support the patient. The patient will need company, insofar as you can provide it. Keep up with him in mania, without stimulating him too much, contain him in the depressive stage. Make sure you take your medications and keep appointments for your professional services, both medical and psychological.
Try to keep the conversation honest, but not intense. Depersonalize your comments, as it is your speaking disorder. Identify what phase it is in. Allow the person to sleep when in manic episodes since it is difficult for them to fall asleep.
Take care of yourself
Keeping the disorder in mind may reduce the conditions. Dealing with a person with this disorder can obviously have an emotional consequence for you. It can lower your self-esteem, confuse you, make you feel lost, responsible for reality, or alien to your freedom to avoid conflict with your family members.
Being able to generate agreements, and take care of yourself is crucial. Having your individual spaces to exercise, go to your support network as friends, and of course, seek professional help, will help you survive.
Remember also that the treatment of your family member will help the relationship dynamics between you and the family to change.
Psychoeducational program for families
Within the comprehensive care for patients, programs for all families are being included. In these programs, they can understand and have more resources to know what to do. How to relate to your family member, and above all, to the episodes that you present. If you can, look for one, it would be useful. In addition to that, you can meet other people who live in a similar situation, and you can find more empathy, understanding, and support.
Nothing can replace professional accompaniment. For both you and your family members, it is essential to seek help. That your relative has treatment will be essential to be able to improve his condition and his relationship.
Being able to go to professional accompaniment will also give you support to download all the emotions that you will go through. Being able to clarify your own behavior, since sometimes you associate with someone with a disorder, it can become that you yourself touch the madness. Not because "you're crazy", but because the love you have for your family member can make you want to understand and enter their reality. Professional help is important since it will be your floor, your lighthouse, so you don't lose your sanity. Working and acknowledging your own part of madness will also help heal the family system. These changes in the dynamics of family relationships will also have an effect on your family member.