How can bipolar people be so cold

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Relatives

Dealing with people with bipolar disorder

Partnerships, family constellations or friendships are subject to a constant potential for conflict, which the clinical picture of bipolar disorder brings with it. These can be very specific problems or questions, but also paralyzing feelings such as powerlessness and helplessness, which shape everyday life as a whole. Many relatives feel less zest for life themselves because the suffering of the loved one is present to them every day. Many distance themselves from their own environment, be it out of shame, because of feelings of guilt or because they do not want to leave the sick person alone.

In the manic phase

When dealing with the person affected, relatives are faced with extreme, mostly contrary challenges, depending on the clinical picture. In an acute manic phase, this is dealing with the often aggressive communication style of the counterpart, which can be explained with falling inhibitions and overconfidence. Concrete problems such as disproportionate spending, which in many cases are characteristic of the manic phase of the person concerned, also put a strain on the relationship. Solving conflicts in the acute phase is usually hopeless. It is more profitable to wait until the mania is over and then tackle any problems again and, if possible, make provisions for the future. Shielding against stimuli, ensuring that the person concerned is getting enough sleep and, if necessary, consulting the attending physician, are basically the only active assistance that you can actually provide during this.

In the depressive phase

On the other hand there is the confrontation with hopelessness and despair up to thoughts of suicide. Relatives have the painful experience that their attempts at encouragement do not lead to a positive rethinking. This, in turn, is symptomatic of this episode, as the person's thoughts, feelings and actions are determined by the depression. Thoughts of suicide in particular are stressful - relatives can hardly bear the helplessness and powerlessness involved. What exactly can relatives do in this situation? During the depressive phase, it is helpful for those affected if the day is clearly structured. You can provide support and at the same time make sure that those affected do not overwhelm themselves. This can also mean that certain things are organized or taken over. If suicidal thoughts arise, it is advisable to have the courage to talk openly and seek support if necessary.