This post is to address the second question I had on my Facebook page, Bipolar2Happiness! I, at times, have a hard time knowing what to write especially when I am feeling depressed as I am now so I asked my readers what they might want to know. This is the second post to answer the questions I received. If you have a question please email me or post it on my page. I hope this finds you well and is helpful.
The Question is:
I have a friend I think is bipolar. How do I approach the subject…or should I leave it?
This question is a difficult one to answer. There are some people that are not approachable, they have no idea of their behavior and are not open to the idea. Part of the problem is the stigma attached to Mental Illness.
If you think your friend may be ill and may be open to the discussion, wait for the right time. If they are in an okay mood and feel open to the discussion. You need to consider how you think this friend will react. You are taking the risk that you may lose that friend if they are not open to discussion. If you are close to the person that will help.
If you decide to approach this person, I would start by having a general conversation about bipolar or depression. Maybe something you saw online etc. Ask them if they have ever felt depressed or over whelmed. Tell them of times maybe you felt depressed or someone you know that might suffer. Talk about something you have read recently that made you think of them. Gently tell them of your concern with their behavior changes, depression whatever it is your seeing that you feel may be a disorder. By all means do not try to diagnose them I would hesitate to even say bipolar to them. Just explain your concerns and how you read this article or what have you and thought of them. Make sure you tell them you don’t mean to make them uncomfortable if that happens, just that you care about them and wanted to see what they thought. Be supportive and not judgmental no matter how they react. You can plant the seed and wait for it to grow. If they spill out with an emotional reaction and talk about how they feel, just be supportive. Listen!
If your friend says they want to go to the doctor offer to go with them. You can wait in the waiting room or whatever they need. It is not easy to go to an appointment for this type of thing alone. Be supportive no matter what they do or don’t do. They need to want the help you can’t force the issue.
Please remember I don’t know your friend and you will need to use your judgement before approaching someone.