Bipolar and Friends

Maintaining and building relationships can be a struggle for those of us living with bipolar disorder. Check out these articles for personal stories, practical advice and tips on relationships.

Blogs and Articles

Weathering the Storm: Coping with Unexpected Change

Susie Johnson
August 14, 2019

They say that life has its seasons—and that everything can change in an instant. I despise change. When a sudden, painful event tried my strength and tested my faith earlier this year, I turned to my support network to find my way through the storm. There is a song called “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the...

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The Essential Guide To Maintaining Friendships With Bipolar

Sasha Kildare
June 28, 2019

Friendships require cultivation and cooperation to thrive. But when one friend also has to cope with a mood disorder, things can be even more complicated. “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness,” ancient Greek poet Euripides once said. What was true in ancient times still holds true today. Our most valuable,...

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To My Friends: The Real Reason I Sometimes Isolate Myself

Lynda Williams
May 12, 2019

Sometimes the biggest clue that I’m struggling through a bipolar disorder relapse sounds like nothing—withdrawal doesn’t make noise. Recently, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to check-in on the state of my thoughts. I was having a trying mental health day, and I had phoned this person earlier requesting some words of...

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Family Support—We’re All Working Towards Stability Together

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT
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 less...

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How to Spot Bipolar Red Flags—and What to Do about Them

Martin Baker
May 29, 2018

If you are a friend of someone living with bipolar disorder, you can play the important role of vigilantly helping them watch for symptoms of depression or mania.   By Martin Baker   In a recent article I mentioned “red flags” that can alert you when your friend may be slipping into depression or mania....

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Living with Bipolar—Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?

Allison Strong
April 23, 2018

If you are having trouble forming new lasting  friendships, improving your listening skills may be a new tactic to try.   I’ve often wondered if I’m going to be a loner for life or it I can finally have a circle of friends. Making friends has always been hard for me. One of the reasons...

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What to Do When Your Loved One with Bipolar Is Doing Ok

Martin Baker
March 7, 2018

It’s hard when your loved one living with bipolar disorder is ill or in crisis, but wellness can be challenging, too.   By Martin Baker   If your friend or loved one lives with bipolar disorder, it is natural to focus on supporting them when they are not doing so well, are ill, or in...

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Bipolar Disorder & The Fear of Wearing out Friendships

Natasha Tracy
March 2, 2018

Although you may be worried about a friend walking away due to your bipolar disorder symptoms, it can help to remember you share mutual trust.   I have to admit something—I have a huge fear of wearing out my friendships because of bipolar disorder. I’m aware that sometimes being a friend to a person with...

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‘I’m Scared to Tell People I Have Bipolar Disorder’: How To Feel Proud

Julie A. Fast
January 11, 2018

Anticipating how friends and family will react to your diagnosis can be detrimental towards your mental wellbeing. Regardless, remain proud– there is nothing wrong with you. By Julie A. Fast   I often receive questions on Facebook that are so loving and kind and filled with such longing to belong. The decision to tell people...

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Abandonment Issues—When You’re Feeling Depressed

Julie A. Fast
July 31, 2017

Feeling abandoned and unloved during a bipolar depression is not reality; it’s a symptom of the illness—and it can be treated.   When I’m in an abandonment downswing, I think, “I am a worthless ant, a speck of dirt on this huge revolving planet. I’m completely alone!” The idea that I’m the last person on...

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Celebrating Achievements with Bipolar Disorder

Sarah-Kathleen
July 20, 2017

Accomplishments, no matter how big or small, deserve to be celebrated. A week before my 18th birthday I was in a terribly dark place. I had been depressed for quite a long time, refused to seek help and believed I wouldn’t see my 18th birthday. When I was younger and asked what I wanted to...

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What I Wish Family & Friends Knew About Bipolar

​Jess Melancholia
January 2, 2017

Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, there’s no way you will ever be able to understand what it’s like to have bipolar.   I don’t know a single person with bipolar disorder who doesn’t have that one friend or family member who just doesn’t get it. They either have no idea about...

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3 Things I Have Learned By NOT Seeing A Psychologist

Sarah-Kathleen
December 15, 2016

Finding the right professional for you can be frustrating. But if you are currently not seeing a psychologist, there are several things to keep in mind: Around three months ago my psychologist of two years stopped practice. It was a shock and something I had not anticipated. It might not be a surprise to some...

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Shyness & Social Anxiety Solutions — Join the Party!

Lori Hile
November 30, 2016

Sitting at home isn’t the solution for shyness and social anxiety—try these ideas. By Lori Hile   It appears in your inbox without warning: an e-vite to a holiday party! Hosted by a co-worker you barely know. Also on the guest list: 25 strangers. For many extroverts, this is the stuff dreams are made of....

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Bipolar & Change: Major Upheavals and Coping

Beth Brownsberger Mader
November 19, 2016

I am writing this a week after the US presidential election. No matter how Americans may have voted, to say it has been an upheaval is an understatement. For many across the country, it is a time of mourning, a sense of grief and deep confusion, even pain and fear. For lots of others, it...

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Friendship: The “Golden Secret” To Living Well With Bipolar

Susie Johnson
October 23, 2016

Having tried-and-true friends who stand at your side can make a world of difference in your bipolar recovery. 20 years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For 15 years now, I have been in a remission or stable with just a few changes in my medication. I look forward to sharing my trials and...

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Persevering Through Homeless With Bipolar Disorder

Dave Mowry
August 29, 2016

I know that I am not the only person with bipolar disorder to have been homeless. But what’s amazing is that we persevere––we truly have a hidden strength. Having to move from our home and into the basement of some friend’s house is one of the lowest points in my life. I had told my...

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How Bipolar Has Influenced My Cycle of Friendships

April Michael
July 5, 2016

Every new bipolar cycle introduces me to a new set of friends––and a new disconnect from society. I used to have a lot of friends. I was sociable, outgoing, and loved being around people. But then I graduated high school, and my moods started to shift dramatically. I was behaving in uncharacteristic ways and hanging out...

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Damage Control: Rebuilding Your Life After a Manic Episode

Julie A. Fast
June 8, 2016

Fixing relationships with those you may have hurt during a mood episode is never easy, but believe me: it is possible. And you can! Many of us with bipolar disorder make terrible decisions when we are ill, and rebuilding our lives afterward is naturally overwhelming—especially after a massive episode, when extreme mania and psychosis might...

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Bipolar & Stigma: “But You Look So Normal”

Melody Moezzi
April 27, 2016

People with bipolar can look, sound, and seem just as “normal” as other people do. What is “normal,” anyway? And who decides? I’m used to people telling me I don’t look like who I am. “You don’t look Muslim.” “You don’t look American.” “You don’t look like a feminist.” And of course, ever since I...

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