People often ask me how to help a friend through a bipolar mood episode. These are great friends that I can honestly say, anyone with any illness should treasure. So many people turn their backs on people with serious mental illness, so when a person actually wants to help, well, we love you. If you’re a friend who wants to help someone through a bipolar mood episode, consider these things.
What Does a Person with a Bipolar Mood Episode Need?
It’s pretty much impossible for me to tell you what a specific person with bipolar disorder in a mood episode needs. Sometimes we need to be left alone, sometimes we need social interaction (Bipolar Disorder and the Importance of Socializing) and sometimes we need someone to do our laundry. No one, no matter how intuitive the person is, can possibly know which of these things a person needs.
For this reason, the first step in helping someone through a bipolar mood episode is to ask him or her what he or she needs. Only the person with bipolar disorder can truly tell you the best thing to do.
What If the Person Doesn’t Know How You Can Help with a Bipolar Mood Episode?
If the person doesn’t know what, specifically, he or she needs when going through a bipolar mood episode, you can suggest some options that might work.
Some options that might help a person through a bipolar mood episode:
- Doing housework is a great idea. Most of us in an episode just can’t find the energy to do it.
- Making a meal for the person with bipolar is another great idea. Many of us don’t eat well in a bipolar mood episode. You might join the person for the meal or you might even drop off meals that he or she can just warm up and eat alone.
- Offer to have a one-on-one visit in an atmosphere that is comfortable for the person. Most of us in a bipolar mood episode will avoid crowds so a coffee at home or one in a coffee shop (if he or she wants to get out of the house) might work.
- Offer to pick up medications from the pharmacy or drive to appointments.
The Daily-Check-In Can Help Your Friend Through a Bipolar Mood Episode
Please watch this video for how something as simple as a daily text message can help a person in even a serious bipolar mood episode.
The Most Important Thing a Friend Can Do for Someone in a Bipolar Mood Episode
When I’m in a bipolar mood episode I want friends to tell me this: We care about you. This doesn’t change the way we think about you. We will stick by you. We want to help you.
So even if you have no idea what to do to help, try saying the above statements. I promise; we will appreciate it.
Check out Natasha Tracy’s book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.
Image by Flickr user Leticia Bertin.