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If you are a parent of a child with bipolar disorder, Bipolar support groups can provide a unique healing experience. Often, the only people who can understand bipolar disease and its effects on the family are those who have directly experienced it.
As a therapist, I have made the mistake of thinking that once clients understand their own or their child’s illness, they will feel a tremendous sense of relief. In fact, often the diagnosis is not a relief at all, but the beginning of the struggle with acceptance. It is difficult to travel this path alone, especially when no one around you understands. Our society does not provide much support for bipolar children or support for parents of bipolar children.
Here is another online group that I don't run for parents of children with bipolar disorder.
And a third for parents with adult children or family members
Additionally DBSA has groups all over the country for people with mental illness including bipolar disorder.
Why do Bipolar Support Groups Help?
Bipolar support groups decrease your sense of isolation. They show you other families are experiencing the exact same thing you are. Do you yell and scream at your spouse? Does your child punch holes in the walls, hit you or curse at you? Guess what? You are not alone! Bipolar support groups can be a forum where information, resources, and techniques are shared. These groups can be invaluable to your child’s progress and your family’s sanity.
Acceptance is a Difficult Process and You Need Help
A family that must accept a medical diagnosis of a chronic medical illness in a child, is often inundated with support from the community. Bipolar disorder is not any different, but that same level of support is not there because it is a mental illness. Support for bipolar children’s parents is necessary to survive this.
Groups and Support for Kids
Children and adolescents also need support for bipolar disorder. Some of my child and teen clients are relieved at the understanding that they have a mental illness that is not their fault. It is reassuring for them to know they are not alone, that there are genetic and biological explanations for their behavior, and that they are not “just crazy”. Others become angry at the mention of bipolar disorder. “I’m sick of being different “the kids will say, or “I don’t want to have a disease”. They struggle to understand their disorder and want to be normal. If any bipolar support groups for children are available in your area, make sure to get your child signed up!
Accepting bipolar disorder requires you to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your perfect or normal child. It is understandable that you will feel a sense of loss and sadness about your child’s bipolar disorder. Allowing yourself to grieve is important, a group can help facilitate this process.
Support Yourself by Understanding Grief
All Grief follows a particular pattern. Elizabeth Kubler Ross identified the grief stages below. You will likely go through these stages as part of the process of accepting bipolar disorder. Bipolar support groups are particularly helpful, if you give them a chance, to help you move through these stages.
Five Stages Of Grief- Do you recognize yourself ?
Accepting bipolar disorder requires you to know that the illness is no one’s fault. Support groups can help provide you with this reassurance.
Acceptance will assist your child in recovering; it will allow you and your family to use your energy to live successfully with the illness.
Acceptance may be easier if you take a one day at a time philosophy. You cannot predict the illness’s course or the timing of episodes.
Accepting bipolar disorder requires you to be optimistic about your ability to help your child manage your bipolar disorder. Optimism is a key component of treatment for your bipolar child.
Support Yourself by Remaining Optimistic
Acceptance is a process, and most likely, you will move back and forth between the stages of grief. Bipolar support groups can help you to move along the path of acceptance quicker.