If you have allowed your life to be changed due to your loved one's diagnosis of bipolar disorder to the degree that you no longer do the things you used to do, or live the way you used to live, then you could be letting bipolar disorder overwhelm you, and that would be wrong.


I'm not saying that some things didn't have to change – of course they did.  With a diagnosis of bipolar disorder does come the necessity of a lifestyle change.  It means the addition of a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regimen, at the least.  It also means taking medications every day and seeing medical and mental health professionals on a regular basis.


These additional things may be quite different than your lifestyle before the bipolar diagnosis.  However, these are all positive changes, and all involve the management of the disorder.


What I'm talking about, however, is letting bipolar disorder so overwhelm you that you live in fear so that it changes your lifestyle in a negative way.


For example, I know a couple where the husband has bipolar disorder.  For all intensive purposes, he is stable and on medication.  They should be able to go wherever they want, whenever they want.  However, he is afraid to go anywhere, because he is so afraid that he will go into a bipolar episode.


Now, chances are that this just isn't going to happen.  Bipolar episodes don't come out of nowhere.  Usually you will see signs and symptoms appear first, maybe a trigger or two.  You might see your loved one exhibit some bazaar behaviors, or what you've come to know as their episodic behavior before they actually go into a full-blown bipolar episode.  The point is that if you are being vigilant, you should see some warning signs before the actual episode hits.


If your loved one has been non-symptomatic for quite a while, if they have been taking their medication and seeing their doctor and therapist, and if they have been stable, then there's no reason that you can't live a normal life and do the things you want to do without fear of them going into an episode.


You shouldn't live in fear.  That is letting bipolar disorder overwhelm your life and dictate to you what you can and cannot do, and that is not good management of the disorder.  With good management, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want (within reason).