Sure, we've all been there. We all feel guilty now and then because our spouse or child has bipolar disorder. But when you get to feeling like that, just stop. Realize it was nothing that you did that caused the occurrence of the bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is caused by a disruption of the chemicals in the individual's brain and that is something that is just beyond the realm of our control.

You may also be feeling some guilt because you are living a life that is emotionally 'better' in many ways than your family member who suffers with bipolar disorder. This is called survivor guilt. Please don't do this to yourself. You're only wearing yourself down and beating yourself up needlessly. It's much better to focus your energies on yourself and caring for your loved one.

Guilt can hurt you both physically and mentally. Excessive and prolonged periods of feeling guilty can zap you of the energy you need for the present moment. It can also cause you to be depressed.

If you're feeling guilty about your loved one suffering from bipolar disorder, it may show up as spending a lot of the time in the past. You dwell on past events and keep asking over 'what went wrong?' You won't be able to answer that question, so don't put yourself through that mental punishment.

In addition, if you insist on feeling guilty about your loved one's bipolar disorder you may discover that your self confidence and self-esteem is diminishing. You can't let that happen either. Remember, you need to keep yourself healthy!

If you don't, you'll soon find that you are less effective in achieving your personal goals and soon the overall quality of your life will lessen. There really is no logical reason why your personal life should suffer because someone you loves has bipolar disorder.

So how can you cope with the inevitable and occasional guilt that accompanies caring for a person with bipolar disorder? First, seek out a good friend, one who will listen and keep your conversations confidential. Acknowledge your guilt. Just getting it out in the open sometimes is productive.

Then examine why you feel guilty. Do you find yourself saying 'I should have noticed the signs of bipolar disorder earlier?' 'If only I would have done these things differently?' While you're reviewing those statements, keep in mind the timeless wisdom that hindsight is 20/20. And remember that you did the best you could at the time based on the knowledge you possessed and the conditions presented to you. Then try not to live in the past.

And finally, never forget that you deserve a good life even though your relative may not be as fortunate as yourself. Don't be miserable just because you're caring for someone who is suffering from bipolar disorder.