When I started this Manic Depressive project, I said I wanted to write a post about what it's like for the family and friends of someone suffering from this disorder. It can be summed up in two words, “Challenging” and “Confusing”.
When the person you care about is cycling through their mood states and confused, how can YOU be anything other than confused? The challenge will still be there, but I'll try to clear up some of the confusion.
1st and foremost, YOU cannot “manage” your loved one's Manic Depression. Managing someone else's M/D is like trying to sight in a rifle while crossing the railroad tracks in a car with bad shock absorbers.
2nd Look into finding a support group for yourself. Other people ARE going through the same confusion and challenges you are experiencing.
Next, talk to your loved one. Sit down and ASK what you can do to help. Let them know you care about them, even though you may not understand exactly what they are experiencing. Tell them they have your support.
It may be helpful, for them and YOU to keep a log of behaviors and feelings they express at different times during a cycle of mania or depression. This can help in both their treatment and in recognizing the onset of a change in cycles. If the treatment provider is informed, s/he can makes changes to medications IF the symptoms are recognized early enough.
I also refer you back to the earlier post [from Sunday, October 5] where I listed things to know, things to say and things NOT to say to your loved one with M/D.
Keep in mind that your loved one's mood swings are NOT a character flaw or a deliberate effort to alienate you. This is an inherited disorder. They did not do something “wrong” and become M/D, they were born with the genetic coding for this disorder. It IS possible to cope with this disorder and regain functionality. It's hard work and requires an effort from all parties involved.
If you have any questions or comments you don't want to ask in the “Comments” section, you can email me at holly76209 at gmail dot com.