Understanding the Self-destructive Nature of Bi-polar Disorder and How to Cope
Over the past twenty five years I have been living and dealing with bi-polar. It is a very exhausting illness that takes a tole on the entire the family. I want to share with my readers that a very important step to take is to acknowledge "self-destruction".
A person with bi-polar many times can be their own worst enemy. When I speek of self-destruction I am referring to any type of behavior that causes turmoil in the family, school, work environment or social situations. Any type of behavior that is illegal, dangerous to self or others, mischief, premiscous, drug related, poor grades, inability to hold job, poor hygiene, inability to keep or make friends, inability to communicate appropriately and effectively, risk takers, manic episodes, cleanliness, poor diet, withdrawn, loss of interest in activities, obsessive texting/instant messaging, disrespectful and I think for now we will stay with these but not limited only to these.
As the caregiver I recommend that you get real with what you are seeing. We as parents or loved ones sometimes are in denial and try to tell ourselves "they are teenagers, they will out grow this" well let's face it, if you are reading this then you are searching, you are questioning and you are starting to recognize that something is not quit right.Â Don't be afraid, don't shy away, don't be embarrassed and mostly don't give up.Â Trust me it doesn't go away, but it can be managed.
One of the first things I recommend if you are facing any trying times with your loved one is to start keeping a journal. You will need this in the future. I have been keeping one on my loved one since the age of 12. You will need this at sometime. If not for legal reasons or doctor reasons, trust me you will want this for your personal reasons to reflect back on and to keep facts straight.Â What I found useful was typing everyday about my loved one. What time did they get up, what did they eat, did they eat, how were they dressed, how was their mood, were they friendly, explosive, sullen. I documented their activity, did they come home on time, did they go where they stated they would be, were they with who they said they would be with. You know the favorite 5 (Who, What, Where, Why and When).
It is very important to take note of their sleeping patterns. Did they go to bed early, were they up all night, keep an eye on the cell phone bill for times of calls. This information will allow you to start to see a pattern. Always and I mean always if they are having a bad day make sure you are very descriptive in their behavior. Many times we think "oh I won't forget that" but you will. You love them, you will convince yourself that the behavior wasn't "that bad". Don't do it. Keep documentation clear and to the point. Make sure you date each entry and put your initials at the end of the documentation.Â Never leave this documentation where your loved can find it and read it.Â This is not ment for their eyes. They would not understand what you are doing and would twist and manipulate the facts to make you the caregiver believe that you have wronged them.
This documentation will come in very useful for your medical professional. I recommend always getting a second opinion. I found it helpful to see the pediatrician, counselor and the a licensed psychiatrist. Remember, psychiatrist should be the only professional making a diagnosis and prescribing medication. In conclusion of this topic we focused on recognizing what is going on with the individual and keeping a detailed journal. Again, I can stress documentation enough.
Eventually, your loved one will grow to be an adult and that doesn't mean that the problems go away. All it means is that they are now the responsible person who needs to track their own behavior. By having the pre-teen years already documented for them it will assist them in accepting the challenge of their life. Remember you are only trying to help, you are only trying to assist your love one at reaching their full potential and mainly you are trying to keep them safe.