When it comes to mental disorders like depression or Bipolar Disorder, unfortunately, our society does not give them the importance that they deserve. When someone is diagnosed with a physical condition, people are there to support their loved ones; however, they don’t do the same for their loved ones with mental disorders because of a lack of awareness.
Bipolar disorder can be equally devastating as any physical disease, and the people suffering from it need the support of their friends and family members to recover. However, it is common for people to undermine this condition by labeling it as mood swings.
Maybe this is because people don’t understand how to help those who have Bipolar Disorder. Therefore, here are six ways to be a supportive friend or family member to someone with BPD.
Listen to them, and validate their feelings:
You probably don’t have all the answers to bipolar disorder, and that alright. You don’t need to treat your friend, but more importantly, you need to listen to them without judging them. It would be best if you were a good listener, especially when your friend is trying to talk about the things that are bothering them.
Let your friend share at their own pace, and don’t try to force them to talk. Your role would be to offer acceptance and understanding.
You don’t always need to give your friend advice either; simply listening to them and making them feel valued and cared for can go a long way. Here are some things you should keep in mind when talking to a friend with BPD
- Actively pay attention to what they’re saying
- stay calm during conversations
- avoid arguments
- avoid topics that irritate or frustrate them
Educate yourself about Bipolar Disorder:
If you are going to support a person with Bipolar Disorder, you need to learn more about it.
Formally known as manic depression, Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that leads to severe mood changes. These mood changes can have quite a devastating impact on people’s lives, and it can make it challenging for them to carry out day to day tasks.
Bipolar disorder is most commonly developed in older teenagers and young adults. In fact, according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about three percent of all adults in the US have Bipolar Disorder. Therefore, it is a much more common disorder than you may think.
A person with bipolar disorder goes through an intense emotional episode; one day, they might have an episode of mania, where they are extremely happy, joyful, and active. The next day, they might fall into a deep depression. Therefore, it can be difficult to take care of a person with bipolar disorder because of their unpredictability.
Make a plan to help your friend with BPD:
As we have mentioned before, Bipolar depression can make a person unpredictable; therefore, you must plan to deal with severe episodes of mania or depression. You should have a plan of what to do if your friend feels suicidal during a depressive episode or is about to do something out of control because of mania.
You should also have plans that help your friend avoid such episodes. This should include coping mechanisms that help them deal with day to day stress and anxiety. One of the most effective ways to cope with stress naturally is to use cannabis.
The cannabinoids in weed can impact your hormonal system and cause feel-good hormones to be released in your body. This can be quite helpful in the treatment of stress and anxiety and help in avoiding triggers to another episode of mania or depression. Magic shrooms like psilocybin mushrooms can also be used to counter stress and anxiety naturally.
Help the find a therapist:
When it comes to the treatment of Bipolar disorder and several other mental disorders, psychotherapy is very helpful. It is the core method for treatments, while other methods mostly take an assisting role.
Therefore, if you want to support your friend and help them deal with their condition, you should look for a qualified psychotherapist who has experience with Bipolar disorder patients. You should also offer to go with your friend to their therapy sessions if they feel scared to go on their own.
Similarly, it would help if you also looked for some support groups in your dream which your friend can attend.
Be careful with medications:
Bipolar disorder is a very difficult disease to deal with, and for the most part, people suffering from it need to take medications like mood stabilizers to function normally. These medications can help control episodes of mania and depression to some extent, but they have several side effects.
Therefore, you must keep an eye on how your friend is using these medications.
You should ensure that your friend is taking the prescribed dose regularly. Some people tend to stop using their medications because it can make them feel a little heavy-headed and not like themselves, and in some cases, patients may try to take too many pills at once in an attempt to harm themselves.
Therefore, monitor your friend’s medication intake to make sure that they are making healthy choices.
Help them make healthy lifestyle choices:
Lastly, one of the healthiest ways to deal with mental disorders is to make positive and healthy changes in your life. Though that may be difficult for a person with bipolar disorder, you can help them make healthier choices.
Start with their diet; you should encourage your friend to eat healthy foods and complete meals with all the nutrients and minerals that their mind and body needs. Eating healthy and balanced meals can positively impact your minds and help in the treatment of Bipolar disorder and any other mental disorder.
Secondly, you should encourage your friend to exercise and have a healthy level of physical activity. It would help if you took them to the gym with you or even go out for a light jog together. Light exercise can help in countering stress, and it is great for strengthening your mind and body.
Lastly, you need to ensure that your friend is getting enough sleep. During an episode of manic, people with BPD have a lot of energy, and they don’t want to sleep much. However, this sleep deprivation can make the impending episode of depression even worse. Therefore, make sure that your friend follows a healthy sleep cycle. Ideally, they should get at least 6-8 hours of sleep daily. Any less or even more can be bad for their mental health.