When it comes to dealing with the side effects from Bipolar Disorder coming up with the right thing to say can be hard. Whether it’s during a manic episode or a suicidal state, choosing your words carefully is imperative. It’s not hard to trigger a negative reaction especially if someone is cycling (a rapid change of moods).
There are a few things you should never say to someone with Bipolar Disorder – here are the ones off the top of my head.
Things Not to Say to Someone with Bipolar Disorder
OMG! You’re so Bipolar! No, really Sherlock? Did you deduce that on your own or did my bottle of Lithium give it away? We don’t need a reminder that we are Bipolar.
You’re not going to kill yourself, are you? While your concern is duly noted, I may not have even been thinking about suicide. Now that you mention it… Are you suggesting I kill myself? Rational thinking isn’t always present when someone is having a mood swing, talking about suicide could be a major trigger.
You’re not really going to kill yourself, you’re just looking for attention. See above. Also, a statement like this could actually drive someone with no suicidal intent over the edge. There’s nothing like having someone doubt you while you’re in a depressive state. Sometimes we go to extremes to prove someone wrong.
Cheer up, it will be okay. This is probably the second worst thing to say. Being Bipolar does not mean we have a switch to control our emotions. Cheering up isn’t as easy as watching a happy movie and indulging in happy time.
Get over it. The absolute worst thing to say in my opinion. Firstly you’re barking orders which is the last thing someone with Bipolar Disorder will positively deal with. Secondly, it’s not that easy.
Does that mean you’re crazy? The terms Bipolar and Crazy often go hand in hand when you don’t understand either term. Bipolar is a disorder that while it may lead to behavior seen as crazy does not make one crazy.
There are people worse off than you. I’m well aware of that, I watch the news. Sometimes those things make it even worse for me, wondering why others have to suffer while I continue to live.
But you’re so pretty/smart/funny… While the thought behind this sentiment is appreciated, it’s hard to see past the negative during a depressive moment. Chances are we’re not going to believe you anyhow and may even take it as condescending.
In lieu of these statements, lending an ear is sometimes all we need. Listen to us rant, occasionally reassuring us that things will get better – not insisting. Offering your time is a great sentiment and a good way to reassure us that we are not alone. Don’t try to analyze our situation because most of the time you wont see it as we do. We tend to blow things out of proportion and making a big deal of something that isn’t a big deal. Let us deal with it on our own while being that muted voice of reason we’ll no doubt be needing in the near future.
If at any time you think there’s a chance we could harm ourselves or others do make a phone call. Don’t worry about us being mad – we will get over it. Caring for someone with Bipolar Disorder means sometimes having to make a hard decision. What’s worse, having someone mad at you for a little while or losing them forever?