I want to start by asking you a question:
Does yesterday help with today when you're dealing with bipolar disorder?
Does tomorrow help with today when you're dealing with bipolar disorder?
NO. To both questions.
Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow isn't here yet. The only day you have is today, and the only thing that's important is what you do with it.
If your loved one is in therapy (and, hopefully, they are), they should be learning this concept. So it's important that you learn it too.
It's called 'mindfulness' – being 'in the moment.'
In 12-Step Programs, they call it living 'One Day at a Time' – you may already be familiar with this concept.
Living with someone who has bipolar disorder is a very hard thing to do (as you know). Being their supporter, you have some very hard issues to deal with.
One of those issues is that your loved one tends to live in the past, which, as you know, is no good for either of you. It's an issue they should be dealing with in therapy, but one which they may or may not be doing.
You should be dealing with what's happening now and your thoughts and feelings about it, and how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings.
Now, that's a pretty hard thing to do if you're still in yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow.
The way to do it is to let go of yesterday. I know, easier said than done. You're probably still angry about things your loved one said or did that made you angry, frustrated, or hurt. But you have to let that go. It doesn't help you to deal with today.
And you need to stop worrying about tomorrow – it isn't here yet, and you don't know what's going to happen. Worrying about it just makes your 'today' worse.
Just concentrate on what you have to deal with today. Your loved one may be in a good or bad mood. They may be angry. They may be loving. They may be clingy. They may even be in an episode. They may be paranoid, delusional, or be having hallucinations.
But however your loved one is feeling, or whatever is going on with then, you must remain constant. Concentrate on your own thoughts and feelings. YOU ARE OK. You are NOT the one with bipolar disorder!
Separate yourself from your loved one's disorder. And separate your loved one from their disorder. Try to keep the peace as much as you can. Try to make today as good as you can. Try to live in the moment.
Don't let yesterday or tomorrow ruin your today.
David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now. View all articles by David Oliver