Living with bipolar disorder is a challenge. So is living with someone who has bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder (BD), formerly called Manic Depressive Disorder, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings, including emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). Thankfully, neurofeedback training from Grey Matters of Carmel can help. But first, we need to understand what it’s like living with a loved one who suffers from BD.

The Highs & Lows of Bipolar Disorder

As we’ve stated, people with BD experience severe mood swings. When these individuals become depressed, they may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. When their mood shifts to mania, they feel euphoric, full of energy, or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, appetite, energy, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.

Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.

There are three types of bipolar disorder.

  • Bipolar I Disorder— It lasts at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are severe that the person needs hospital care immediately . Depressive episodes usually occur as well, lasting at least 2 weeks.
  • Bipolar II Disorder— A pattern of hypomanic and depressive episodes, but not the entire manic episodes that are typical of Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder — Periods of depressive symptoms as well as hypomanic symptoms which last for at least two years. However, the symptoms c don’t meet the diagnostic requirements for a depressive episode and hypomanic episode.

During a period of depression, symptoms may include:

  • Self-doubt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lacking energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness or emptiness
  • Feelings of despair and guilt
  • Lack of appetite
  • Concentration issues
  • Feeling pessimistic
  • Feeling hopeless and sad

The mania phase of bipolar disorder includes:

  • Being easily agitated
  • Talk quickly
  • Getting new ideas
  • Feeling elated
  • Feeling self-important
  • Being delusional
  • Feeling full of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Not eating

Living with someone who suffers from Bipolar and the swing of emotions is challenging. You may feel like you need to walk on eggshells, fearful of their mood or reaction. This unpredictability of mood and behavior in someone with Bipolar can be draining – emotionally and physically.

You Can Find Support

You have the power to support your loved ones emotionally and advocate for their right to get the proper treatment and care they need. You have been through thick and thin, you know what treatment worked for them and what didn’t. You have access to their medical history and access to their medical records so you would know what is best for them. Don’t hesitate in sharing that knowledge with doctors- as it will help them in treating your loved one.

Being a caregiver comes with great responsibility, but you also have to take care of your mental health during this period. It’s easy for your own health to take a backseat, draining you of physical and emotional capacity.

So, in order to take care of someone else, you need to take care of yourself first. You need to ensure that you have an outlet for your concerns and frustrations. Make sure you get enough sleep at night, eat right, and exercise daily. You should also seek your own form of emotional support from friends and family. Don’t be scared to share your feelings and concerns with them. The more the people around you understand the condition, the more they are able to help. Above all else, make sure you avoid isolating yourself and trying to care for your loved one on your own.

Education is Key

The more you educate yourself about Bipolar Disorder, the more you can help the affected person. You will be able to understand them better and know what bothers them the most. This allows you to identify the signs and symptoms of an episode before any else.

You always have to remember that the person is not your enemy- the disorder is. Embrace your loved one, make them feel valued and let them know that you are always there for them. You have to win this battle against the disorder. Just have hope and faith!

Finally, know your options when it comes to treatment. You and your loved one may be looking for alternatives to medication. Let neurofeedback be that alternative! While medication is fine, it has short-lived impacts and is easy to forget to take. But with neurofeedback training from Grey Matters, we’re attacking the source of the BD – The brain.

So, schedule you and your loved one for consultations in our clinic. Not only can the neurofeedback training help mitigate the symptoms of BD, but it can also help with the anxiety and depression that come along with it. Contact our office today at (317) 215-7208.

Photo by Taylor Deas-Melesh on Unsplash