Are you a long-term supporter of someone with Bipolar Disorder? Are you having difficulty in figuring out exactly what needs to be done to properly care for your loved one and give them the best possible help? Are you frustrated because you can’t get your loved one to a healthy functioning level and stability with their bipolar disorder?  If you are, you are not alone.  Many other supporters feel the same way.

Some people who have bipolar disorder are being cared for in nursing homes, institutions, assisted living facilities and other such places.  Other people, unfortunately, are not being cared for at all.  So first consider that your loved one is lucky to have you as their primary supporter and that you are committed to their being cared for at home. 

Responsible people like you, who love and care for someone with bipolar disorder, need advice in order to properly cope, manage, and provide proper lifelong support and committed care to someone with this disorder.

Here is the help you need. In this article, I am going to help you to understand some of the commitments you have as a lifelong supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder.

First of all, it is not your responsibility to do everything for your loved one.  I'm talking about adults here.  They should be responsible for themselves for the most part – for their grooming, for daily chores, for productivity, and if not a full-time job, at least something they can do such as a part-time job or volunteering their time to a worthy cause or at their bipolar support group.

In other words, just because your loved one has bipolar disorder is not an excuse to lie around all day sleeping or watching TV.  In fact, this can be harmful to them, because it can lead to a bipolar depressive episode.  Either way, it is not your responsibility to entertain them.  This is not what it means to be committed to your loved one's stability with their bipolar disorder.

One of the ways you can show commitment to your loved one and the management of their bipolar disorder is by helping make sure they take their medication on a daily basis.  This is crucial to their stability.  Without medication, they will surely go into a bipolar episode, and it can even be fatal to them.  Many people who don't take their medication will kill themselves – in fact, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that up to 20% of people with bipolar disorder will do so (that's 1 in 5 people), and you don't want your loved one to be one of those statistics!

Another way you can show commitment to your loved one's stability is to make sure they go to all their appointments (doctor, psychiatrist, and/or therapist), even if this means going with them.  You can also keep a calendar that you can put in a place, like the refrigerator, that they can easily see to remind themselves.

Should your loved one go into a bipolar episode, one of the hardest things will be for you to show compassion and understanding to the consequences of what they did during that episode.  This is where your commitment will really be tested.  Your support and unconditional love will be needed the most at these times by your loved one.  Being the best supporter you can be then will show your loved one that you are truly committed to their stability with their bipolar disorder.