Resources for Loved Ones of those with Bipolar Disorder

I wanted to share a list of resources that I have found and/or have been helpful to me in learning about bipolar disorder.  Every person is different and the struggle with bipolar disorder doesn’t fit into any mold, which is one of the things that I found very frustrating.  While I’ve read that the disease is very predictable, there seems to be a lot that goes into learning what your loved one’s symptoms and triggers are and what the best response to them is.  And, unfortunately, most of that learning comes by experiencing the triggers and failing to notice or manage the symptoms.  But it is possible.  There are people successfully managing their bipolar disorder every day; having successful careers and relationships.  One thing I know for sure at this point: success won’t happen on your own.  You and your loved one with bipolar disorder need help.  Here are some things that I’ve found:

Books:

Anything by Julie Fast- particularly Taking Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder


Websites:

*bphope.com- This is a tremendous resource for articles and blogs about living well with bipolar disorder.  They have a email newsletter and a blog full of helpful information.  Many times their articles have led me to other places with helpful information.

freshhope.us- Christian, faith-based support materials


Blogs:

Check out Natasha Tracy (my guy likes her blogs), Julie Fast (she suffers from bipolar and works in mental health), Pastor Brad Hoefs (founder of Fresh Hope), & Straight Talk on Managing bipolar disorder


Podcasts:

*Search i-Tunes, Google Play, Podbean, and Stitcher to find others living with bipolar disorder who are regularly sharing their experiences (Be sure to check out:  The Bipolar Family, The Split, and Normal Bipolar Guy- these 3 have helped both my guy and me quite a bit)


Support services/groups:

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has support groups, informational seminars, trainings, and more- all focused on supporting both the patient with the illness as well as the family.  They are also very helpful in connecting those in need to additional resources.

DBSA support groups- these groups meet all over the country, providing patients with bipolar as well as their loved ones a place to gather for support.  (They are working on changing the name of this, but for now it’s still DBSA)

*Fresh Hope- Fresh Hope is a faith based organization focused on helping people live well in spite of a mental health diagnosis.  The number of groups meeting across the country is growing.  They also have online groups, a blog, and other resources


Focus groups/Studies

Don’t be afraid to search for experimental trials and/or focus groups happening near you.  Not all trials involve trying new medications.  I signed up for one that was going to provide me training and education about bipolar disorder, measuring my stress levels before, during and after the education.  Unfortunately, since my guy and I broke up, I’m no longer eligible.  But I was still able to attend a focus group on technology designed to help support the loved on of a patient with bipolar disorder.  Furthering the cause of fighting stigma, providing information for better treatments and tools, and being an active part of making life better for our loved ones is an important part of fighting the battle.


*These resources have been the most helpful to me.

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