One of the hardest things about being the supporter of a loved one with Bipolar Disorder is watching them suffer with depression.  Yes, depression is part of the physiological characteristics of Bipolar Disorder, as one of the causes of the disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  However, sometimes depression can also be self-inflicted.

 

What I mean by that is that sometimes depression can be caused simply by being bored!  Think about your own self – if you don’t have anything to do, don’t you sometimes get bored yourself?  Why should it be any different for someone who has Bipolar Disorder?  Only for someone who has Bipolar Disorder, boredom can lead to depression, and if that depression goes on for an extended period of time, it can lead to a bipolar depressive episode, and nobody wants that.

 

One thing you can do for your loved one with Bipolar Disorder is to give them a “To-Do” List each day.  Now, this doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it especially doesn’t have to be anything long.  In fact, the simpler it is, the better.  But it will give your loved one a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and something to accomplish each day.

 

When anyone has a sense of accomplishment, they feel better about themselves, whether they have a mental disorder or not.  Having a checklist of things to do, then checking them off as they are done, will give your loved one that sense of accomplishment and, ultimately, help them feel better about themselves.

 

In making a “To-Do” List for your loved one with Bipolar Disorder, start off slow.  Put just a few things on the list, and make sure the things are numbered.  For example, number one might be to “Get gas,” and number two might be to “Go to the grocery store.”  Then make sure you have provided a separate list of groceries that your loved one can check off as they are placed in the cart.

 

Another example of some things to place on the daily “To-Do” List should definitely be: Take medication and Go to appointment (if they have one that day).  Something else you might add could be for them to write a letter to or call someone they care about.

 

As your loved one gets better with their “To-Do” List, add items a few at a time, as long as you don’t overwhelm them.   Just remember to keep in mind that this list should be realistic.  Make sure these items are things that are within the realm of possibility for your loved one to do, otherwise this will frustrate them, and that is just the opposite of what you are trying to do.

 

As your loved one finds success with a smaller list, the list can be made longer.  In fact, they should begin adding items of their own. 

 

Improved self-esteem is just a by-product of a well-thought-out, realistic “To-Do” List. 

 

You should begin noticing changes in your loved one’s moods quite rapidly.  They will begin to feel more productive, for one thing.  There will be no more room for boredom, and hopefully, their depression will decrease.