How can I strengthen my family bonds if I have bipolar disorder?

Reaching out and connecting with those nearest to us will help fight stress and strengthen our bonds. Supporting our loved ones when they are struggling and allowing them to be there for us will improve the bonds within the entire family.

The best time to practice these skills is not while in the midst of a manic or depressive episode of bipolar disorder. Rather, it is important that you take steps to strengthen your bond before a stressor hits. Regularly engage in mutually enjoyable activities. Go on outings together, initiate uplifting conversation, and exhibit support for one another's goals and accomplishments. Maintaining a connection during stable times will help you be strong and prepared for the harder times to come.

If you have already injured the bond between you and a family member, you must make the conscious decision whether or not to repair it. Is this relationship worth saving? Was it a healthy relationship to begin with? Will it bring something positive to your life if you restore it? If so, consider reconciling and moving forward. This will require you to acknowledge your own weaknesses, as well as others'. It will require you to make a choice as to which behaviors you will no longer engage in to prevent another injury upon the relationship. Expect this to be difficult. If the relationship is important to you, it will be worth the effort. It might be helpful to engage in therapy to assist you in preparing for this reconciliation process.

If you are serious about maintaining and strengthening the bonds with your family members, and even developing new relationships, you should pay particular attention to two things: educating your loved ones about bipolar disorder, and remaining cognizant of your personal impact on your loved ones. Without this mutual understanding, the future of your relationships will be jeopardized.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.