Bipolar Disorder and Relationships

Maintaining relationships while managing bipolar disorder is tough. Here are personal stories, practical advice and tips to make relationships a bit easier.

Blogs and Articles

Who Do You Need on Your Bipolar Care Team?

Valerie Harvey
April 5, 2019

Assembling a care team comprised of trained professionals, family, and friends is crucial to building the support system you’ll need while navigating bipolar The first reactions of someone just recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder often include denial, horror, shame, fear, anger and a host of other negative feelings. Shame and denial have been the strongest...

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When Stigma Strikes too Close to Home

Robin L. Flanigan
April 4, 2019

Stigma stings, but when it happens in your own backyard—our own families and friends not accepting us—it is especially hard to take. Stigma, no matter where it comes from, is insensitive and dehumanizing. But when discrimination comes from those we consider to be part of our inner circle—friends, family, co-workers, fellow worshipers, others we’d hope...

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Bipolar & the Entrepreneur Advantage

Robin L. Flanigan
April 4, 2019

The personality traits of entrepreneurs and those with bipolar frequently overlap; experts say embracing both strengths and vulnerabilies is key to success. Entrepreneurs are always on, which is why they need to have lots of energy, an inventive streak, and a sizeable appetite for risk—but they’re often stressed out, sleep-deprived, responding to high levels of...

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7 Things to Keep in Mind when Thinking About Returning to Work

Katherine Ponte
April 2, 2019

If you’ve been unemployed because of your bipolar, you might be hesitant to try returning to work. Here are some things to keep in mind: Returning to work after an absence due to mental illness requires a great deal of courage and strength. It may be the most difficult thing you do in your recovery...

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When Words Wound: Using Mental Health Terminology Incorrectly Hurts

JB Burrage
April 1, 2019

Sometimes people are unaware that using mental health terms to describe everyday situations can cause harm to people by trivializing those mental health issues. Back in my days of mental health ignorance, when I didn’t know the difference between different disorders and thought everyone with a mental health issue was just “crazy,” certain things didn’t...

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Taking Yourself On: Inferiority Complexes

Debbie Jacobs
March 30, 2019

Feeling inferior can contribute to negative self-image and distorted thinking. It’s time to tackle your inferiority complex and see yourself for who you truly are. You will never know the powerful person you were meant to be if you keep perpetuating your inferiority complex. An inferiority complex is a cultivated behavior that develops out of...

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Rock Bottom: Is It Time to Schedule an Intervention?

Julie Joyce
March 29, 2019

An adult child’s behavior may become more than you can handle. If so, you might want to consider a professional intervention. My son will be turning 26 this month. When he was younger, I honestly thought things would get easier as he got older. I thought things would be easier now. However, I know bipolar...

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I’m not “Sick,” but I Am Sick of People Treating Me Like I’m Incompetent

Lynn Rae
March 27, 2019

I am so much more than my diagnosis. Yet as soon as people find out I have bipolar, their perception—and their behavior toward me—change. According to Forbes magazine, we have 7 seconds to make a first impression, good or bad.  Imagine that—being judged based on so little time.  When I tell someone who doesn’t know...

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8 Things to Consider when College Is Around the Corner—and You Have Bipolar

Anja Burcak
March 26, 2019

Heading off to college is a daunting time, made even more uncertain when you have bipolar. Keep these tips in mind to smooth your path to graduation. As a first-year student preparing for my transition to a new college, living situation, and city, mental illness was not even something on my radar. As someone who...

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Becoming Your Own Bipolar Advocate

Carol Borrelli
March 19, 2019

There are times in life when we must be our own best advocate. This can be difficult when depressed or manic; however, it is doable. Countless times, I have thought to myself, “All persons with bipolar disorder should have some type of advocate.” Not only the sort of advocate you’d find in a lobbyist group...

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C’est La Vie: Bipolar and the Philosophy of “Good Enough”

Emily Allen
March 11, 2019

“Good enough” is a necessary guiding principle for a life lived with bipolar. In fact, it is necessary for any life—or any endeavor. C’est la vie. It’s a fancy French term meaning “such is life.” It means accepting the unexpected, and rolling with the punches. It’s an attitude I’m embracing as I plan my wedding....

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Taking Yourself On: Insecurity

Debbie Jacobs
March 9, 2019

Insecurity is like your shadow, always at your side. It whispers in your ear and undermines your confidence. But it doesn’t have to. Growing up, I was always shy, intimidated and afraid to speak. I am the youngest of five, and it was hard for me to be outgoing, vocal, and secure among the stronger...

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3 Simple Steps to Make Asking for Help Easier 

Julie A. Fast
March 7, 2019

Asking for help can be difficult under any circumstances. Asking for help with bipolar can seem impossible, but it’s not. These steps can get you needed help from loved ones.
 Let go of what others will think of you The majority of the time we are wrong about what others think when we ask for...

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Redefining Success after a Bipolar Diagnosis

Laura Fisher
March 6, 2019

A bipolar diagnosis may require you to reevaluate how you view success—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have always associated my accomplishments with my worth as a human being. I think my driven, perfectionist personality is what perpetuated this idea. It certainly was not how I was raised or how my parents saw...

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A Mental Health Diagnosis in College: What Parents Need to Know

Katherine Ponte
March 5, 2019

An initial mental health diagnosis often occurs in college. How parents react and respond can help set the course for their child’s treatment and recovery. College is a vulnerable time for the mental health of young adults. In fact, 75 percent of all mental illnesses are diagnosed by age 24. Anxiety and depression are among...

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Wearing a Mask when You Have Bipolar

Karl Shallowhorn
February 27, 2019

There are times when we are a mess inside emotionally, but we pretend that everything is okay. However, this practice can be counterproductive in the long run. It’s interesting how those of us living with bipolar disorder sometimes look like everything is okay on the outside, while really on the inside we’re just a big...

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Who Is on Your Team?

Laura Fisher
February 25, 2019

Everyone needs healthy and supportive relationships, but for people with bipolar disorder, having a supportive team to depend on can be lifesaving. I like to think of the relationships in my life as people on my “team.” First, there is my family. For me, this includes my mom, dad, and brother. They are instrumental in...

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From Helicoptering to Collaborating: Working on Recovery with Loved Ones

Katherine Ponte
February 22, 2019

Having a partner over-involved in your recovery plan can result in frustration, resentment, and confrontation. When you collaborate though, you can work as a team on your recovery. I couldn’t stand my spouse “helicoptering.” It was part of his over-involvement in my care which disempowered, discouraged, infantilized and enraged me. I admit that at times...

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Family Support—We’re All Working Towards Stability Together

bp Magazine
January 4, 2019

While mood-stabilizing medications have long been the centerpiece for treatment, education and therapy that includes family support are essential for lifelong success.   For years, many in the mental health field believed that treating bipolar disorder came only in the form of medications, and that therapy, family support, and education about the condition were far...

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How to Get Your Life Back on Course After a Bipolar Relapse

Robin L. Flanigan
January 4, 2019

Repairing relationships, routines, and reputation after a severe episode of (hypo)mania or bipolar depression requires small steps and a willingness to seek change.   In the spring of 2017, Jess L. got the news that her estranged father had been in a serious car accident. The combination of uncertainty about his prospects, emotional baggage from...

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