Supporting a friend with a mental health disorder can be challenging, especially if you aren’t sure how to properly help them. Even with the best intentions, some individuals engage in behaviors that do more harm than good. By learning healthy ways to support a friend with bipolar disorder, you can help them, and your friendship, grow.
Remember That the Disorder Doesn’t Define Them
When you see your friend’s mood swings, it can be easy to associate their disorder with who they are as a person. However, it is crucial to look past this and see all the things that make them who they are. Falling victim to the stigma surrounding the disorder can cause rifts in the friendship and render unintentional harm. Look at them for all of their character assets rather than just seeing their bipolar disorder.
Educate Yourself on Bipolar Disorder
Stereotypes and misconceptions can cause you to make unfair assumptions about your friend and what they experience. Learning about the different types of bipolar disorder, their symptoms, and treatment options can give you a more profound understanding of how to support your friend.
Offer a Listening Ear
Sometimes, all your friend needs is a person that will listen to them without judgment or interruption. You don’t have to provide advice constantly, and your friend will most likely not always want advice. Allowing your friend to have a safe space to discuss their feelings can be more powerful and supportive than you may realize.
Be an Active Supporter of Their Treatment
Treatment for bipolar disorder can be challenging for those that go through it. Given the various appointments, therapy sessions, and more, your friend may feel overwhelmed at times. Letting them know you are there for them or offering to give rides to and from appointments can help boost their overall treatment.
Seeing someone you care about struggle with bipolar disorder can be challenging and cause you to want to offer help. However, you should make sure that you provide the right kind of support that supplements their treatment and general wellbeing rather than unintentionally harming them. Alta Loma Transformational Services offers programs for friends and families of men struggling with mental health or substance use disorders. We understand how difficult it can be to watch the one you love struggle, so we want to help you help them. Call us today at (866) 457-3843.