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

Helpful Tips When You Do Not Have an Encouraging Support System

Brad Hoefs
March 6, 2016

What do you do when you don’t have the positive and encouraging support of your family and/or friends? Research shows that when those of us with mental health challenges have a good support system of family and friends, we actually do better than those who do not have a support system. It only makes sense....


My Low Points: Depression, Homelessness, And Job Loss

Dave Mowry
November 23, 2015

Over time, I have come to accept that my ‘low points’––the sad, humiliating experiences I have weathered through––are a part of me, but do NOT define me. As a person with bipolar disorder I fight my illness daily. There were a some good days mixed in with the bad, sad and humiliating ones. These are the...


To Maintain Healthy Relationships, Beware Of Only Venting

Brad Hoefs
November 22, 2015

Venting is OK––after all, it’s what we do in talk therapy and support groups. But make sure you don’t just vent––otherwise it keeps you stuck in an emotionally toxic, negative place. By my nature, I am not a positive, “grateful-type” person. I come from a long line of rather easily irritated, sarcastic and snarky bunch...

Bipolar Mental Health Advocate Video

The Power of Friendship

Karl Shallowhorn
March 27, 2015

I am blessed. In the course of my life, I’ve had the support of family and friends who have been able to help guide me through the sometime tumultuous times of this landscape called life. These relationships have proven to be mutually beneficial for both me as well as the other person. I never could...


Sharing Your Personal Mental Health Story

Andrea Paquette
February 20, 2015

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and hospitalized at the age of 25 with a major psychotic break intermixed with an extreme episode of full blown mania that lasted for weeks. Initially, I did not know about stigma and I thought it was okay to tell people about my newly acquired mental illness. As I...


Auld Lang Syne (Long, Long Ago)

Beth Brownsberger Mader
December 28, 2013

My best friend in junior high and through most of high school was an objectively beautiful, very funny, and fiercely intelligent girl named Pam. I adored her. We spent virtually all of our time together, flanked by other girlfriends, guy friends, and our families. What time we did spend apart was in our slightly different,...


If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

Bruce Goldstein
February 4, 2011

I would’ve told him: “I’ve been there, man. I got better and so will you. Just hang on.” By Bruce Goldstein   I recently found out some very upsetting news—my best friend Jake from the old neighborhood took his life. There was no note. Just unanswered questions: How did this happen? And why? Jake was intelligent, funny, carefree,...


Finding & Fostering Faithful Friendships

Stephen Propst
May 15, 2010

Cultivating new and old friendships can be challenging, but we have tips to help you out   There’s no greater find in life than a friend. While making and maintaining friendships can be stressful, even overwhelming, for those of us with bipolar and for our companions, supportive and understanding friends are as important to recovery...


Bipolar & Relationships: How Needy Are You?

Julie A. Fast
November 1, 2009

To avoid burning out friendships, think hard about who to ask for help. Those of us who have bipolar disorder can be complicated people with equally complicated emotions. We are often “over the top” and because of this our needs can seem larger than life. As a result, we may rush into things blindly and...


SOUNDOFF!: Relationships & Bipolar

bp Magazine Readers
November 8, 2008

It’s not uncommon for people with bipolar disorder to become so involved with their own challenges that relationships with friends and family suffer. If you have faced this, how have you met those challenges to retain your relationships?   Before I accepted my diagnosis, I could be very cruel to my family. I divorced my...


Relationships & The Bipolar Trap

Julie A. Fast
February 8, 2008

Relationships. We make them, and we break them. Then, we have to repair them. Recently, a friend asked me, “Julie, why don’t you write a book about bipolar disorder and relationships?” “I already did that with my first book for couples where one person has bipolar,” I replied. “I don’t mean couples, Julie!” he exclaimed....

Man With Tape On His Mouth - 10 Things Not To Say To Someone With Bipolar

10 Things NOT to Say to Someone with Bipolar

Stephen Propst
November 8, 2006

Choosing your words carefully can strengthen relationships, fuel recovery, and make for a better quality of life for everyone. You may think that talk is cheap. But, when words are used thoughtlessly, carelessly, or hurtfully, they can take a heavy toll. Like an arrow, “wrong” words can be sharp, piercing a person’s spirit, ripping away...


Bipolar Disorder & The Power of Reconnection

Dr. Irene S. Levin
November 20, 2004

The ups and downs of bipolar are not limited to those diagnosed with the disorder. By Irene S. Levine, PhD   When serious mental illness strikes a family, it often seems as if the road to recovery is filled with one insurmountable hurdle after another: recognizing and accepting the diagnosis; accepting the need for treatment and getting...