My Dad is Bi-Polar. What Does That Mean?

Q: We had a really difficult time over the holiday with my family, especially my dad. We recently found out that he has Bi Polar Disorder. I always thought there might be something wrong. He always seemed to be very crabby. At our traditional making Christmas cookies, he just made a huge mess in the kitchen and nothing was put away and he just laughed a lot. We were having a good time but he just seems to take things to extremes. Then on the next day, he crashes and this makes me sad because he looks so sad and upset. Sometimes he won’t even get out of bed. I don’t know what to do to help him?

A: A can sense your sadness even in your letter. I know that you feel like you are in a dark hole now but there is light at the end of the tunnel. With Bi Polar Disorder it is very important for people to be on the right kind of medication. I would try and talk with your mom and see if she can help support your dad when he goes to the doctor to make sure he is receiving the right kind of treatment. The most important thing do is what can we do for you. I know you want to help your dad and the best thing you can do is:
1. Find out more about this disorder.
I am sure you have access to a computer as most kids do these days. Look it up on the Internet. There are lots of good web sites on Bi Polar Disorder.
2. Make sure you are staying healthy yourself. Do you have someone to talk to?
You can always talk to a friend; school counselor or maybe even ask your mom to help seek some professional services. The most important thing is to stay healthy and well. If you can’t do that it will be hard for you to support your dad and I know this is very important to you.
3. Be patient. Don’t take things personally. A lot of time when people are in
Different stages of their disorder they can be either act more excited and excitable and other times they can be very depressed. Don’t think that you are the trigger for these different moods. More than likely you’re not.
Even though I could go on and on, the last thing I want to let you know is that you do get frustrated and down. Make sure you are doing something positive with your friends or your other family members. It is important not to get stuck into the cycle of someone else’s disorder. So make sure that you are staying up with your activities. If you don’t, some things can start to happen to you as well. I know that this is a difficult time but always know that you have a listening year.