The support from family and friends, as well as mental health services, is “hugely important” for people with bipolar disorder, says Stephen Buckley, from UK-based mental health charity, Mind. But knowing how to show support can be hard.
Kim Kardashian West’s statement in response to media speculation about Kanye West’s mental health was a candid reflection on what it’s like to watch someone you love struggle from the sidelines. “People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try,” she wrote.
The rapper has previously spoken about life with bipolar disorder, saying if he didn’t keep on top of his medication, there was potential to “ramp up” and end up in hospital. He explained that for him, “ramping up” – or experiencing an episode of psychosis – can mean he is “hyper-paranoid about everything.”
Bipolar disorder affects a person’s mood, meaning they will often fluctuate from one extreme to another. They will experience periods of mania, feeling very high and overactive, which are then followed by periods of depression. Some people might also experience hallucinations or delusions, known as psychosis.
Supporting loved ones with bipolar can be a challenge, says Emma Carrington, advice and information manager at Rethink Mental Illness in the UK. “Even though you might have their best intentions at heart, they might resist care, either because they don’t feel they are ill, or because they are feeling ashamed,” she explains.
As with any relationship or friendship, there are highs and lows – but bipolar disorder can add another layer of complexity to the mix. We asked mental health charities Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Bipolar UK for their advice on the best ways to show support.
1. Talk with them about their experiences
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