People differ in what help they need and want from caregivers. Caregivers differ in how involved they are in providing support. It can be difficult to know how to support the person without appearing patronizing, overprotective or uncaring. Caregivers often have a number of other demands on their time besides caregiving. Finding out ways to provide support that suit both you and the person with bipolar disorder is a trial and error process. Things to consider include:
- How involved to be in caregiving
- Talking with the person about bipolar disorder and how to help
- Helping without actually mentioning the illness
Making agreements and plans
Making agreements and plans together with the person about how to deal with certain aspects of bipolar disorder can make things easier for both of you. If the person does not want to discuss illness management, you can develop your own plans to cope with the illness.
Working with the person and their doctor or mental health team
Caregivers vary in the extent to which they work together with the person and their doctor to help manage the bipolar disorder.
Difficulties in working with the person to deal with the illness
It is not always easy to work together to deal with the illness. The person may not want your help or you may have different ideas about how to manage bipolar disorder. Some people refuse to get their bipolar disorder treated or refuse to take any responsibility for managing their illness. This can be very stressful for their close family, partner or friends. For suggestions about ways to deal with these difficulties see dealing with difficulties in working together.