Much is talked about when it comes to bipolar support for the person who has bipolar disorder, but what about bipolar support for the supporter? It is just as important, if not crucial, that the supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder finds support for themselves to avoid supporter burnout.
One of the first things you should do for bipolar support when you find out that your loved one has bipolar disorder is to get yourself educated about the disorder. Read everything you can get your hands on. Research articles on the Internet. Go to the library and look up books on bipolar disorder. You might also get some pamphlets or brochures from your loved one’s doctor or psychiatrist on the subject that will help you.
Another place you can go for bipolar support is to a bipolar support group. This is a group specifically designed to help supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder. There you will find other people like yourself, struggling with the same problems and issues, so they can sympathize with your situation. They can offer help and advice because they have been where you are.
Often, it just helps to have someone to talk to about your problems and your situation. Your loved one most likely has their own therapist for bipolar support; you can have your own therapist as well. You can share your thoughts and feelings with a therapist and they will help you deal with the issues associated with your loved one’s bipolar disorder.
If you can’t talk to a therapist, perhaps you can talk to a clergy person. They are experienced in listening to people share their problems, thoughts and feelings, so they can help you with what you’re going through with your loved one.
If not, you should be able to talk to a close family member or friend about what’s going on with you and your situation with your loved one and their bipolar disorder.
You should develop a good, strong bipolar support system to help you cope and deal with your loved one’s bipolar disorder. These people will help you when you need it most. You can’t do this on your own, or you will suffer from supporter burnout.
A good, strong bipolar support system can consist of your loved one’s doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, case manager, social worker, etc., as well as family members, friends, coworkers, clergy person, church members, and anyone else you feel can offer you support when you need it.
Sometimes all you need is a shoulder to cry on. If so, you should have someone you can count on for that. Other times you need someone who can take over meeting your loved one’s needs so that you can get a break. If so, you should have someone (or a few people) you can count on for that.
Your support people are not mindreaders, however. They only know what you tell them. You need to communicate your needs to them, and tell them how they can help you. Be as specific as you can be so that you can get the help you need from them.
The main thing is that you want to avoid supporter burnout, which can occur if you don’t get enough bipolar support.
Some of the symptoms of supporter burnout are: headaches, body aches, stomach problems, anxiety, insomnia, and memory problems.
For example, you may just forget where you put your keys, or you may forget an important meeting at work. This may be caused by the increased stress of caring for a loved one with bipolar disorder and not having enough support.
You can avoid supporter burnout if you get enough bipolar support.