My father was bipolar and passed away before I received my diagnosis and I wish I had gotten to know him better. He walked miles in the shoes that would one day be passed to me. I didn't want them! I would love to return them! But now that I have them I want to run with them!
I know now that he felt the same way I do about many of life's obstacles but it's sometimes difficult to express yourself in a manner which other people can understand. Having good questions to ask is always a fantastic place to start. Here are a few that I came up with which may help you get to know your bipolar friend a little better. I'm sure they'd love to have someone understand them on a deeper level who doesn't suffer from the illness.
- How would you describe a typical depressive or manic day? What kinds of “symptoms” do you associate with each?
- Which side of the illness do you prefer, the manic or the depressive and why?
- Of course there are times you wish that you didn't have this illness but are there any times that you're glad that you have bipolar?
- What's the most difficult thing about the bipolar illness for you?
- Since finding out you have bipolar are there any people in your life who have treated you differently due the stigma that is associated with the illness?
- What are some personal traits that a person with bipolar experiences yet are not usually attributed to the illness?
- Has the diagnosis changed your perception of self?
Walking a mile in my shoes is never something I'd wish on anyone but I do wish that people would understand that I'm not crazy I just have to manage the symptoms of life a little differently than other people.