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Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
For a caregiver of someone with bipolar
disorder, having fun may be the furthest thing from
their mind when dealing with a manic or depressive
episode, medication trials and errors, and just
frustration with the entire situation. A loved one
living with bipolar disorder still wants to feel
included and normal, however. With some basic knowledge,
ways to handle surprises, and a sense of love and hope,
this feat can be accomplished successfully.
Itís not necessary for everyone in a
large group setting to necessarily know about and
understand a personís bipolar condition. A select few
close friends and family will benefit from having a
bunch of tricks up their sleeve, so to speak, for ways
to avoid fun turning into failure.
Empathy is a big one. Itís knowing what
a loved one is feeling and really, truly caring for
their challenges. A caregiver wonít get far without it.
After that, what are the loved oneís
triggers? Large crowds? Loud noise? Donít take them to
those types of places. Just donít. It may seem like they
could ďget outĒ for a while. If it sets their emotional
reactions on high, a calm atmosphere will be much more
enjoyable in the end.
Constant communication with how a
loved one feels about activities is important for a
caregiver. Do they like going to dinner? Or taking a
walk? What are the types of events/outings they enjoy
and feel they can manage successfully? This attitude
also gives them control, something that many people with
bipolar disorder struggle with maintaining in many areas
Sometimes having a planned-ahead,
structured schedule is a good idea. Loved ones living
with bipolar disorder do best with knowing whatís to
come and are able to mentally prep themselves for any
new or scary experiences. They also have a finer memory
of past experiences than the average person. If they
didnít like something before, chances are they will
remember it and resist trying it again.
Caregivers take on a lot of burden, and this is just one
more place. They may lose their choice of fun
activities, but also gain a more full and satisfying
relationship with a loved one.