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Creating a Bipolar Support System

February 1, 2021 Natasha Tracy

It's critical to have a support system when you have bipolar disorder. Support systems, in fact, are very important for every person, but they're even more so when you have a serious mental illness. But the questions people sometimes ask are what is a bipolar support system, how do I get one and how do I use it. 

What Is a Bipolar Support System?

A support system for bipolar disorder is pretty simple; it includes anything that can support you when you need it. You might need your support system in little ways every day or you might need your support system extensively when you are in a crisis. I'm going to focus on people and organizations that can be part of your support system for bipolar disorder, but, broadly, you can think of almost anything, such as music, animals and art, as part of your support system too (used as coping skills).

People that might be part of your bipolar support system include:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Clergy
  • Your doctor
  • Doctors in an emergency room
  • Therapists
  • Coaches
  • Members of a support group
  • Members of a bipolar-related advocacy group
  • Operators on a helpline
  • Anyone you trust

The more people you have in your support system, the better. These people work together to form a net so that if bipolar disorder pushes you over, there is a net to catch you.

How to Get a Bipolar Support System

You do not need to help all of the above people in your support bipolar support system. What matters is that you have more than one (whenever possible) and that you trust those people.

Some of the above people you don't need to do anything to include in your bipolar support system. Those are people like helpline operators, advocacy group members and emergency room doctors. Others, though, you should physically ask to be part of your support system in order to utilize them in the best way possible when you're in a crisis.

For example, while your friends and family may love you no matter what, it can still be helpful to tell them when you need out of them when you're in a crisis. For example, you might say to your mother, that sometimes you may need a place to stay temporarily when you're not feeling safe alone. You might say to a friend that you need them to help you cook and clean when you're too sick to do so. You want to talk to people about these things ahead of time so that your support system knows what you need and can help you in the best ways possible. Remember, people want to help you but they often feel powerless as they don't know how to do it. You can help them and you by laying out a plan ahead of time.

Using a Bipolar Support System

Of course, you want to use your bipolar support system when you need it -- that's why it's there. To facilitate this, it's a good idea to actually write down the elements of your support system and when you'll use each one ahead of time. This isn't a pointless exercise. Writing this down is about acknowledging all the possible avenues of support you have available to you. It encourages you to take action when you need it instead of simply allowing the bipolar disorder to swallow you whole.

When using your bipolar support system, remember these elements really are like a net -- in other words, you need more than one to form that net to catch you. It doesn't work to throw everything at only one person. You'll likely wear that person down and then you won't get the support you need and that person will be burned out -- in other words, no one wins, So use each element of your support system in their intended way. Your friend might be great for emotional support, your father might be great at helping you remember to take your medication and your doctor might be great for adjusting your medication as needed. It all depends on you and what you need at any given time.

Bipolar Support Systems Are What Keep People Going

As I said up top, bipolar support systems are critical, but remember, the important thing about a bipolar support system is that you use it -- a net that you do not use cannot catch you. 

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, February 1). Creating a Bipolar Support System, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2021/2/creating-a-bipolar-support-system



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

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