Wednesday, 13 December 2017

“How Do You and Fran Get through Your Darkest Days?”

Excerpt from chapter 9, “A Hero’s Journey: Sticking Together When Things Fall Apart,” of our book High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder. The chapter deals with how we navigated the three months Fran was traveling around Europe in 2013.


“How Do You and Fran Get through Your Darkest Days?”

When things are at their worst, we focus on three basic principles: trust, challenge, and self-care. I could not support Fran at all if she did not want and trust me to do so. She trusts me not to hide or run away, and to hold a space in which she feels safe no matter how perilous her thoughts, feelings, and experiences might be. She also trusts me to handle my issues, so she can focus on hers.

We share a belief that even the most difficult experiences can yield rewards if we remain open to exploring them. The three months Fran spent in Europe were an immense challenge to her health and stability, yet she believed there was value to be gained from the experience. It could be argued she put her health—indeed her life—in danger by refusing to abandon the trip. There were times I argued for her to return home, but it was her choice to make. I would have supported her in either case. Stubborn persistence is part of Fran’s makeup. Without it, she would not be who she is. Very probably, she would not be alive.

Extreme self-care becomes our guiding motto. We set minor matters aside and focus on whatever will best support her through the immediate crisis. Fran’s wellness plan is invaluable at such times, as is our joint commitment to involve others when necessary. Paying close attention to my own health and well-being is no less important, and allows me to support Fran when she needs me the most.

 


High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder is available at: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.es | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Barnes & Noble

 

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