Everyone who has bipolar disorder and their supporters have problems, just like people who aren’t dealing with the disorder.  But there are ways to solve these problems using systems.

 

If you’re going to use systems to solve your problems, however, there must be steps in these systems.

 

For example, if you had a little house fire, you wouldn’t call the firemen right away, would you? First, you would try to contain the fire by yourself…maybe use the fire extinguisher?  You would not get all hysterical and call 911 and scream that your whole house was burning down.

 

Well, a bipolar disorder system is like using the fire extinguisher first, before the entire house is on fire, before you have to call 911.

 

So, let’s say we’re talking about a bipolar episode here.

 

Let’s talk about the parts to a sample system.

 

The preparation part would be learning all you can about bipolar disorder, so you can be informed.

 

The very last part (the calling 911 part) would be if you had to hospitalize your loved one.

 

So now we have to work on the parts in between.

 

The next part might be establishing a relationship with your loved one’s doctor, psychiatrist, and

therapist.

 

But you can’t do that until your loved one signs a Medical Release of Information form, so that might come first.

 

The important thing to remember here is that you do this when your loved one is NOT in an episode, so that they know what they are doing.  You also have to get the form notarized.

 

It would be best for you to sit down with your loved one and involve them in this system. The more the two of you can work out this system together, the better.

 

It should include at least the following things:

  • Loved one’s patterns & triggers

  • Signs & symptoms of episode

  • Phone numbers of professionals

  • When to call them

  • What to do if episode happens

  • When to seek treatment

  • When to hospitalize

  • Etc.

 

Any other specific things that the two of you can come up with to put in your system can only help your loved one.

 

The best thing is to write everything down, including phone numbers, and to keep it in a handy place.