What does a mom do when night falls with darkened skies comfortably blanketed by grand, glittery stars and she can’t seem to catch any z’s? This mom decided to do a little research. I came across an informative and helpful caregiver guide from the University of Melbourne and Orygen Youth Health titled “A Guide for Caregivers of People with Bipolar Disorder.” I just had to share. It is too good not to!
I appreciate the disclosure on page 2 that states that the guide is not a replacement for medical advice. And the authors recommend that the person with the mood disorder and/or the caregiver discuss treatment with their clinician. This is excellent advice, and I am passing that on here.
I like the aesthetics of the guide because intertwined with the information is artwork created by persons with mental health problems and caregivers as well. Works of art like “Hues of Mania” by Natasha Simon and “Melancholy” by Edvard Munch capture with wonder and beauty the intensity and depth of which moods can be experienced with varying shades of color. The viewer is offered the unique and privileged opportunity of a glimpse into the thoughts of another.
I think what drew me in were the brief, specific pieces of information. The topics covered are vast from the definition of bipolar disorder to dealing with stigma, discrimination and disclosure. Also, based on the reference list, the information compiled comes from sound, scientific based research.
The section titled “Causes and Triggers of Bipolar Episodes” was particularly interesting to me. Regardless of education and therapy, I experience guilt as a mom wondering what I did to cause the mood disorder of my loved one. It is helpful to relearn that the bipolar disorder of my loved one has to do with a combination of biological factors, personal stressors as well as environmental stressors. For now, the mommy guilt thermometer registers a low reading. However, I can’t help but wonder if there was something that I did or could have done different because I am mom…
And a side-note: I did manage to catch those z’s, and I slept rather well!
Growing stronger through support, awareness, education, understanding, open minds, open hearts…
The University of Melbourne & Orygen Youth Health. (n.d.). A guide for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder. Retrieved from http://bipolarcaregivers.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/guide-for-caregivers.pdf