As a person with manic depression, I know it can be hard coping with other people. Most of the people affected with our condition simply walks away, after a few attempts to help us out. The ones that do stay, or are forced to stay, are our very close friends and family members. Imagine how difficulty it would be if two person with bipolar disorder are living together. You see, I’m not the only one walking this path, my mother also has bipolar disorder.
Very little was known about this condition until in 1851, French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Falret published an article called “la folie circulaire”, which translates to circular insanity. There were also other psychiatrist who has been researching about the disorder, and the pursuit for a deeper understanding is still continuing until today. The defining feature of the disorder can occur with different levels of severity. If you notice an elevated or irritable mood of at least a distinct period of one week, that is called Mania. It can take the form of euphoria and exhibits three or more behaviors such as speaking in a rapid and uninterruptable manner, easily distracted, having racing thoughts, feel agitated or sudden display or increase in goal oriented activities, impulsive or behaviors characterized as high risk.
After doing some research in order to understand how I should behave around my mother, it hit me. I’m also like her. A part of me rejects this idea, simply because I am not a doctor and one should not be adamant about their own formulated opinion, especially if one only has speculations and no evidence to substantiate their claim. Regardless, I took a step back and visualize a scenario how life would be if I were placed in my mother’s disposition. Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, wrote in one of his poem, “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist”. If I were to be placed in my mother’s shoes, and believed myself to absolutely normal, without even an ounce of doubt that no such disorder exist within me, I would simply see the rest of the world as being hostile or feel that everyone is unsympathetic.
Life will certainly be difficult if viewed it from my mother’s perspective. Who would like to live in a world where everyone antagonizes you? Now, if one were to determine what attribute a bipolar person share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a lion. How does the lion behave when he feels threatened? He would glare, roar, or simply jump at you without a moment’s notice. In other words, he would attack first, before he is overpowered. If we take a step back, the issue lie with the lion being felt threatened. There are so many ways to approach a lion without resulting to threat.
Consequently, a concerned person wants to approaches someone with bipolar disorder. So how does one do it? The difficulty will be very high, requiring one to watch how he acts and speak, without giving away his intention to help. The simple answer is to approach with love. It needs to be genuine, and true, and just like that, the feeling of threat, is gone.