We hear a lot about the depression that people with bipolar disorder have; but I would propose to you that there are many supporters of loved ones with the disorder that have what I call "bipolar supporter depression."

 

If you are a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder, and you have been feeling depressed yourself, first of all, know that you are not alone.  There are other supporters who feel (have felt) exactly what you are feeling now.  Bipolar disorder IS depressing – not just for your loved one, but for YOU, too!

 

Many supporters suffer not only from depression, but from stress, insomnia, and anxiety.  They even end up on prescription medication to help with these symptoms.

 

Just as their loved one goes to see a therapist for their bipolar disorder, many supporters go to see their own therapist for their "bipolar supporter depression."

 

Where does this phenomenon come from?

 

Is it that you can actually "catch" your loved one's depression from them, as some believe?

 

No, that isn't true.  You can't "catch" bipolar disorder.  It is a chemical imbalance of the brain, not something like the flu.

 

However, you can "catch" some of your loved one's bipolar behavior, just as a result of being around them.  There is no doubt that bipolar disorder not only affects the person that has it, but also those around them.

 

You can only be around depression, anxiety, and suffering for so long before you, too, start experiencing those same symptoms.

 

There is one big difference, however, between you and your loved one:

 

You do NOT have bipolar disorder!

 

That's the good news.  The bad news is that even though you do not have the depression that bipolar disorder can bring, you may still suffer from depression from time to time – that's only natural (bipolar or not).

 

What you CAN do, is not let yourself get so overwhelmed by your loved one and their bipolar disorder that you fall into the "bipolar supporter depression" trap for a long period of time.

 

Try to stay positive.  Keep your eyes on the future.  Remember that recovery is possible for your loved one.  Focus on the good days more than the bad days.  And you will find that your "bipolar supporter depression" will lessen.