Whether you are a supporter or a person with Bipolar Disorder, you have to tell your team when you are doing things differently or making changes. This means you should let your family, friends, doctors, therapists – anyone who is involved with supporting a person who has Bipolar Disorder – in on the changes so there are no surprises.

For example, let's say that someone wants to start exercising a lot and has Bipolar Disorder. One might think you should just do it.

This was the case with my mom. She decided to get really serious about exercise. Her plan was first that she was going to save up and join the local chapter of the YMCA (a health club). There, she would take several classes and do weight training.

But FIRST, before she started this program, she spoke to her doctor and therapist. She didn't just go do it and clue them in later, or not at all. She didn't wait until after she joined and started classes. She sought their advice and approval BEFORE she began.

Here are some of the mistakes I frequently see people make:

  • Changing medication without talking to the doctor/therapist FIRST
  • Stopping their medication without any awareness or advice from their health care providers. This is particularly dangerous!
  • Supporters coming up with 'great' treatment ideas they 'heard' from someone else who was not the person with Bipolar Disorder's doctor or therapist.

Also, you should involve supporters in decisions that are made as well.

Talk about proposed changes. Let everyone know what is going on. Don't rush into anything and everything will work out better.