Bipolar support is important, but the bipolar support you really need is even more important. We are all different and the support we need is different too. The problem is that it can be difficult to get the support we need when we need it. I would say that getting this support is actually a skill. So if getting the support you need for bipolar disorder is a skill, how do we learn it and how do we practice it?
Types of support for bipolar disorder
People don’t necessarily understand that there are different types of support for bipolar disorder. Depending on who you are, your life circumstances and the state of your illness, your support needs will be different. Support needs also differ over time, so the support that worked for you two years ago may not work for you today. All of this is perfectly normal, although not necessarily obvious.
Some types of bipolar disorder support you may need include:
- Help with tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
- Help with running errands, such as getting medications at the pharmacy.
- Help with emotional support.
- Help with transportation, such as getting to psychiatrist appointments.
- Help with communication
- Helps with treatment decisions.
- Help with troubleshooting
- Help remember to do certain tasks such as pay your bills or take your medications
- Help with finances
- Help navigating the healthcare system, government programs, etc.
And I’m sure you can think of many more. When you have bipolar disorder, you may need many types of support. However, like I said, people won’t see all of these needs just by looking at you.
Why aren’t you getting the bipolar support you need?
A refrain I hear a lot from people with bipolar disorder is, “My loved ones don’t know how to support me.”
People who love you can recognize that you need support. They may even offer support. The problem is that they generally don’t offer the bipolar support you need. It feels a bit like a miscommunication. Her mother, for example, offers to help her make treatment decisions when what she really needs is someone to make her dinner once a week. She may be willing to do that for you, but she has no idea that you need that support.
It’s up to us to get the necessary bipolar support
I understand. It’s frustrating not being able to get the support you need for bipolar disorder from the people you love. The thing is, not everything is your fault. Your loved ones can’t read your mind. You are the only one who can.
When people ask me how to support someone with bipolar disorder, I always say, “Ask them.”
That is, only the person with bipolar disorder knows what is the best way to support them. Yes, I can make suggestions, but in the end, we are all unique and I can’t know the best way to help a stranger.
This means it is up to us to ask for the help we need for bipolar disorder. I can understand how difficult it can be to ask for what we need during an acute mood episode, but we have to do it. is by asking what we need to support our bipolar disorder is that we can actually get he.
Get the bipolar support you need by doing this
When thinking about the support you need for bipolar disorder, consider the following:
- Start with a list of supporters that you would love to have. Include everything; Don’t edit yourself. Consider everything. (I tend to write things like this so I can see them and make them more real to me.)
- Put your wishes for support in cubes: critical (can’t live without it), important (must have it soon or often), and nice to have.
- Start with your critical bipolar support needs. Discover ways to get each one. If you don’t know how to get certain types of support, ask someone else, like a loved one or even your doctor, for help. Think about how you can get what you need.
- Establish a plan to meet each critical need. For example, get help completing paperwork for a new home. Follow up when necessary. File an appeal if necessary. Don’t hesitate to hire a loved one to help you implement this plan. For example, a loved one can complete paperwork or make phone calls to take that burden off your shoulders.
- Communicate your needs and support plans to others. so they can help you fulfill it.
- Continue with your important bipolar support needs one at a time.
- Continue with your pleasant bipolar support needs one at a time.
If you get stuck at any point, ask for more help. In addition to your loved ones, this may include:
- Help lines
- Community Resources
- Nonprofit organizations
- Medical professionals
- Social workers
And recruit anyone else you can get. There is no shame in reaching out to someone who can help.
The idea is to admit your needs, make a plan to meet them, and work to meet them. Don’t wait for someone to fall from the sky and solve your problems. Don’t expect your loved ones, no matter how well-intentioned, to know what you need. Only you can solve your problems and satisfy your needs.
I know it is not easy to meet the critical needs of bipolar disorder. I know it can be difficult for some of us to find people to recruit to help. But it can be done. Even if you are only striving to meet one support need, it is better than none. Over time, you will be able to work to meet another need. Over time, you can improve your life. But none of this will happen if you don’t reach out and talk about the bipolar support needs you really have.
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