7 Ways to Help a Friend with Bipolar Disorder
While it can be rewarding and enriching, having a close friend with bipolar can also sometimes be frustrating, and confusing. Here are ways to be supportive—while taking care of yourself, too:
#1 Educate yourself about bipolar
#2 Avoid passing judgment
If you see your friend struggling, approach him from a place of compassion and concern, rather than from a place of judgment.
#3 Communicate your acceptance
Let your friend know what you admire about her and that you appreciate how hard she works to stay well. Be patient and understanding.
#4 Establish a warning system
Decide together how to best communicate any behavior that could indicate that symptoms are worsening or escalating.
#5 Get to know them well
Spend time with your friend regularly, even routinely, to establish a strong connection. Just be there to listen and lend an ear.
#6 Be motivating
If your friend is in a low period, understand that it can be very difficult for him to find motivation to get out of that dark place. Offer to pick him up and go see a movie or just go for a walk; but respect his decision to not be social.
#7 Practice self-care
Set a good example and become a role model to your friend by taking care of yourself first. Establish boundaries, find time to relax, and keep doing the things you enjoy.
Printed as “The Friendship Formula,” Summer 2019