Relationships tie directly into your support network. Those in your support network either add or subtract from your support.
THE 2 VARIATIONS:
Positive – Individuals will add to your support network in a good way.
Negative – Individuals will subtract from your support network in a bad way.
When I was first diagnosed (circa 1999), my medical support network explained the importance of a strong support network.
For some reason, people automatically assume family plays the perfect role of the perfect support. Sometimes family is the last group that should be in your support network. Sometimes family is the first group that should be in your support network. Every person’s situation is completely different to the next.
There are many groups that can take on the job of support:
- Medical Professionals
- Extended Family
- Kids (when they are older)
When you look at the overall picture, you need to see if those who support you are positive or negative influences. Basically, you want to eliminate all the negative influences in your life and cultivate a healthy and harmonious support network with the positive influences.
It is in your best interest to eliminate anybody who is a trigger in your life. A trigger is anybody or anything that makes your bipolar symptoms worse. In a worst-case scenario, these people or things will initiate an episode.
You probably have met a trigger before. You know what they are like. These individuals create drama in their lives and everyone’s lives around them. Often there is quite a bit of pain that accompanies these individuals. A word of warning: Please be careful!
ELIMINATING TRIGGERS FROM MY LIFE
When I was younger, I thought it was important to have as many people in my support network as possible. It did not matter whether they were negative or positive influences. I did not make the connection, but many of the individuals were contributing to the worsening of my illness. When I got a little older, I learned about triggers. By eliminating these people from my life, I started seeing a positive response. It was not immediate but happened over time. It is not always easy to do the healthy thing.
My symptoms have lessened along with the number of my episodes. I would rather have one person or none in my support network that are not triggers than a whole group who are triggers. Lucky for me, I did not have to break off too many relationships in my life.