Just as we have fire-plans incase of a fire, so should we have manic-plans incase of mania.
During a time of stability a married couple needs to discuss what happens in the event of mania. Here is a 5-step sample start-up plan:
1. Call your psychiatrist for information on emergency meds that you have in place (especially in cases of psychosis, not sleeping, or if you feel he/she is a danger to his or herself or others). As always, if the situation permits, take him/her to the emergency room.
2. Credit cards/online account passwords need to be taken away or temporarily stopped if the person with bipolar goes on spending sprees. Nothing will bring on marital troubles more than huge piles of unnecessary debt.
3. All social media account passwords should be changed. So be in the know of passwords. While manic, social media posts can have devastating and embarrassing consequences.
4. Call in as much positive support (family, friends, coworkers) as possible, and let your support system know what will happen in the event of mania. Who will watch the kids? Can you have meals delivered to your home? Who will cover for you at work so that you can stay home with your spouse? Have a short-term and long-term plan.
5. The person with bipolar (during stability) should record themselves on video explaining why they chose to do all of the above steps and how this is for their own good. Their spouse can show him or her the video as a reminder during mania.
The above is only a sample plan. I wrote it in hopes that you and your spouse will put together a plan that fits your own flavor of bipolar and life. The bottom line is that when we are well-prepared we don’t feel so blind-sighted. We have a better chance of controlling bipolar, versus bipolar controlling us.
Do you have any more suggestions?