Friendships are one of the most critical aspects of our lives because humans are naturally social creatures. The people you choose to surround yourself with have a significant impact on your life, and you want to do everything you can to ensure they feel comfortable and enjoy being around you. However, struggling with mental health, such as bipolar disorder, can sometimes make friendships hard to navigate. Knowing how to maintain friendships while living with bipolar disorder is crucial for your mental and social health. Consider these tips to help you demonstrate self-compassion within this area of your life.
Explain Symptoms if You’re Comfortable
Sometimes, it is best to open up to those you are comfortable with and explain your symptoms so they know what to expect and how to help you. It is crucial to remember that not everyone is educated on bipolar disorder and may not know what its symptoms look like. Explaining mania and depression can give your friends a better understanding of what you deal with on a regular basis so they aren’t caught off guard and can support you when needed. You can also discuss triggers and identify what yours are so you can set boundaries with your friends.
Tell Them It’s Okay To Check In
For many years, mental health has been a taboo topic to discuss, especially regarding your own or someone else’s symptoms. Therefore, your friends may feel uncomfortable checking in with you if they aren’t sure it’s okay to do so. Having that dialogue and letting them know they are free to ask because they care is perfectly okay. You can even give them example questions if needed.
Be Open to Help
Telling your friends to check in with you is one thing when you aren’t struggling with your mental health. However, it can be challenging to accept help from the people you care about when you’re in the midst of an episode or a bad day. Reminding yourself to be open to help can boost your mental health and strengthen the bonds of your friendships. If you do lash out at someone, don’t forget to make amends as soon as possible. Be open and honest, explain what happened, and issue a genuine apology. Your friends are there to help you, and it takes both parties for that to happen.
Navigating friendships while living with bipolar disorder can be challenging. Your friends may not understand your symptoms or how to help you when you’re struggling, and you may close up when you need support. Therefore, it is crucial to research and learn the best ways to manage friendships with bipolar disorder. For extra guidance, Alta Loma Transformational Service is here to help. We offer coordinating substance use and mental health needs to provide residents with the tools they need to succeed. Call us today to learn more at (866) 457-3843.