Without medication, there is little hope that your loved one can get better on their own; however, you can still help in other ways.

 

·         Be supportive

Your loved one will go through some very rough times.  They will need your love and support if they are going to make it.  It may be very hard for you, but remember that they are counting on you as their primary supporter to be there for them.

 

·         Be understanding

There will be times when your loved one will go into episodes and will act in ways that you won't understand.  Their behavior will be unpredictable.  Sometimes you may even think they're lying to you, because they won't remember what they did during a manic episode.  You need to be understanding along with being supportive.

 

·         Be firm

Do not tolerate unacceptable behavior.  If they are in a manic episode, make sure you protect your finances so that they have no means to spend money excessively.  If they have a tendency to become angry during these episodes, set boundaries and stick to those boundaries, telling them that you will not stand for being spoken to in that manner, and that you will wait until they have calmed down (or something to that effect).

 

·         Make them take responsibility

Sometimes during a manic episode, your loved one will exhibit behavior that may have consequences.  Make them take responsibility for these consequences, and don't cover up for them or make excuses for them. 

 

·         Try to get them to take their medication

If you can, try to get your loved one to take their medication, as this is their best chance for stability.  If they don't, they will probably keep going into bipolar episodes, and you need to be prepared for that.

 

·         Try to get them to seek help

If your loved one does go into an episode, try to convince them that they need help.  Try to get them to call their own doctor, psychiatrist, and/or therapist.  If they won't do this, try to get them to give you permission to do it for them.

 

·         Take care of yourself

Make sure you take care of yourself first.  If you don't, how will you be able to take care of your loved one?  Make sure your own needs are being met.  Have your own support system – possibly your own support group, or even your own therapist.  Lean on your own friends and family for support as well.  Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and make sure that you have a balanced life.