Alright, kids you’ve seen what you can do to help. Parent’s and loved ones, you’ve seen what your kid needs to do to get help. Now, it’s finally time to see how you yourself can help your child or loved ones. This post is a top 5 Do’s and Don’ts once you discover someone you love has an illness you don’t understand.
DON’T treat them differently. I’m still me. The fact is, I had Bipolar Disorder before it was diagnosed. It’s like when you catch the flu. You know you’re sick, but you don’t know it’s the flu until it’s diagnosed. I AM STILL ME. I am still that kid who could do math faster in his head than you could on paper. I am still that could who could walk in front of class and give a five minute speech he had only started to think about as he walked in the door. That’s. Still. Me. Nothing hurts more than when your family and friends treat you different. It’s like all of a sudden, you’re not even you anymore. Now, you’re stuck knowing you were dealt a crappy hand, and all of your friends and family are treating you like you’re a whole new person. Just please, for the love of all that is holy and all that is sinful, just remember I’m the same guy I was when I walked out on stage in heels and a dress loud and proud.
DO Listen. Listen to understand, not to respond.
DON’T excessively nag them. I know you’re worried about them. I know you love them more than anything in the world. But excessive nagging isn’t only annoying, it’s hurtful. It sends the message that you don’t believe in them or think they are capable of handling this problem. It makes them feel like you don’t think they’re capable of healing themselves and that they must rely on other people, which is the worst thing they need to think, because as I have stated in a previous post, healing comes down to them. They have to be the ones to do it. Now, it’s okay to ask if they’re still seeing their therapist or taking their meds correct correctly, but don’t do it every single day. Especially if they aren’t doing anything to make you think they aren’t.
DON’T assume they are manic or depressed anytime they show emotion. We are still people too. I still get sad, or get really excited and pour everything I’ve got into something I believe in. That doesn’t mean I’m in a manic episode or a depressive episode. We are human. We have emotions outside of Mania and Depression.
DO tell them you love them. A lot. No matter what. Because we’re out here fighting something we don’t understand, and we need to know why.
DON’T give up on us. We may trip and stumble, and sometimes we may fall down. There are going to be good days, and there are going to be days that you think all the work we’ve done to get better was for nothing. Don’t. Give. Up.