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Family & Friends

What about my family and
friends ?

What about my family and friends ?

Undoubtedly the greatest sources of support for people with bipolar at all stages of the illness are family and friends. It’s easy to take those closest to us for granted but everything we go through, they go through with us. They will be experiencing a range of emotions as you try to come to terms with having bipolar. It can be difficult to accept the help we need from those we love and sometimes they want to help too much. How can we strike a balance and protect and strengthen those precious relationships?

Information

You and your family and friends will all have questions about the illness and what will happen next. You can empower yourselves by getting as much good quality, reliable information as possible.

Communication

Keep family and friends informed. Let them know of changes such as new medication, lifestyle changes and any symptoms you notice. Listen to their concerns and take them seriously. Don’t assume that they know how you feel or you know how they feel – ask them. Be honest about how you feel and what you can manage. Remember that just because you have bipolar, life is not all about the illness and you are still the same person inside.

Forward Planning

Many people have found that planning ahead when you are well for the times that you are unwell can make life easier for everyone. This may include making an advance statement and choosing a named person. These become effective if you are unwell. Other practical steps can be agreed between you and your carers when well and put into effect when unwell. For example, if you are inclined to overspend when high, simple things like agreeing to give a trusted, close relative your credit and bank cards for safekeeping for a while can give peace of mind. You can also give someone you trust Power of Attorney to manage your money, property and some aspects of your personal welfare and medical treatment.

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On The Level, our bi-monthly e-magazine for people in Scotland living with bipolar, is packed full of articles, case studies, news and opportunities to take part in research. Why not sign up to receive it and join the caring, informed Bipolar Scotland community?

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