Mental Health Awareness: Bipolar Disorder

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Caring Corner is reaching out to our congregation to provide information and support during this time to those who have a mental health illness and for family and friends who provide support to those individuals. This article provides information about bipolar disorders.

There are different types of bipolar disorders. In the past these illnesses were termed manic depression. During the depressive periods people usually sleep too much, have little energy and have very sad thoughts. While this condition is likely going to continue through a lifetime, medications, therapy, support groups, exercise, healthy eating and drinking, and reaching out to those around you can all help to make life better and quite functional. Julie Wischmann provided excellent mindfulness ideas in her May 17th LOC Caring Corner as well.

A question frequently asked is “how can I help someone who is living with bipolar mental illness?” It is most helpful for you to get educated about the illness and don’t assume you know what they are going through. Encourage them to seek professional help as described above and be supportive of their treatment plan. Listen to them and do not judge or try to “fix” their illness. You may not always approve of their actions/ words, but reach out and let them know you are available to talk and listen. Coach them to maintain a schedule. Invite them somewhere outside of their house if they wish, continue inviting but also understand if they request time alone. You could offer to go to a support group with them, reassure them that their lives have meaning and that their illness does not define or limit them. And if you are a care giver, also take care of yourself and consider seeking out a support group to connect with others.

The special messages we are spreading this month and beyond is that mental illness is not a choice but an illness.

Please join us in spreading these messages:    “Walk a Mile in My Shoes", “Break the Stigma,” “I Cannot Do It Alone,” “You Are not Alone, I’m with You,” “You Are a Beloved Child of God,” and “God Is There for You.”

And as Psalm 139 says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

A special thank you for all who supported our LOC walk to spread these messages!! Let’s keep walking!!

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