Communication is a vital part of being able to deal with the onset of bipolar disorder. Now that you know there is a definite medical reason for the mood swings that you have probably been experiencing for a while, it is important that you explain this to the people you care about most. Open and honest communication about what your condition is and how it is going to be treated will help them to deal with the news more easily. Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder can put extra strain on your relationships, giving you even more to deal with.
Educating your family and friends
Obviously, not everybody needs to be told about your diagnosis. However, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that your closest friends and family are aware. The earlier you start the communication, the easier it will be for everyone involved, including you. Give them some information to read, and accept that they may be skeptical. This is a perfectly natural reaction, and although you may feel angry and upset, do not cut off all communicationwith them. Be patient, and allow them to ask any questions that they may have. After all, communication is a two-way process.
Talking to your colleagues
No, they don’t all need to know that you have bipolar disorder, and telling everybody would not only be difficult in itself, but would lead to awkward relationships with some of your colleagues. However, since you do spend a considerable amount of time with these people, some communication is going to be necessary. They will have noticed your mood swings, so if you can explain (calmly and patiently) that you are undergoing treatment and your symptoms should soon settle down, that would be advisable. As with your family, communication is the key. If you are not sure where to begin, then simply asking if you can have a brief chat, and apologizing for anything hurtful you may have said in the past would be a good idea. Your moods do affect those around you, but knowing there is a genuine medical reason will often help.
Your doctor should be able to advise you on how to improve your communication about the condition, so don’t be afraid to ask. It is a very important issue and talking about it will be a considerable help.