Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Five Fun Adventures to Enjoy with a Friend Who Has Bipolar Disorder

By Julie A. Fast

It’s fun to do things together, but it can be hard to figure out what is helpful when a person with bipolar is working hard on stability. Before I truly committed my life to bipolar management, going out drinking at karaoke was my main entertainment. These days, I look for more healing environments that allow me to have a great time and still get to bed on a schedule.

If you’re a friend of someone with bipolar disorder and wonder what you can do together that is relaxing and fun and SAFE, think of these options. I’m in Portland, Oregon in the US where there is a lot of gender openness, so even if something sounds feminine or masculine, please know that there is no limit to what we can do - as you will see by suggestion number one:

Get a pedicure or foot massage together! Find a salon with a good health record and book a joint session where you can sit and get your feet pampered while you both sit and gossip about life. Pedicure chairs are so comfortable. We have a place here in Portland where you can both sit on a big comfy couch and get a foot massage at the same time. Body massages make it hard for friends to interact, but foot massages or pedicures are perfect for talking. Look for Groupon events or special sale days and take a friend to a fun massage! (Marty, do you have Groupon in the UK? Ed: Yes, Julie we sure do!)

Sign up to do a walk or run together. There are many 5k events where you can join a walking or running group to train and then walk together on the race day. I’m not talking about walks to raise money. I’m talking about a walk or run you can to together as a team. When there is an event date, meeting to train gives those of us with bipolar a set schedule. We like schedules!

Go to group events together. Meetup.com has thousands of events around the world that offer fun and often free or low cost entertainment. My friend Karen is a tour organizer and this has opened me to a new world of events and presentations. I’ve lived in many places abroad and love it that Karen and I can go to travel events together. These are cheerful events with great pictures. We are going to an event this week about working while living abroad. Something I did in France in 2016.

Look for a karaoke box near your home and sing together! I lived in Japan for many years where private karaoke rooms were the norm. It has taken time for it to finally take hold around the world, but these days with the ease of digital music, private karaoke rooms can be amazing fun. They are not expensive when two people go at once and many companies actually have karaoke happy hours! Singing is a joyful process for many and the private room means you can goof around as much as you want at four in the afternoon without drinking and staying out too late.

Take a class together. I have taken novel writing, language classes and screenplay classes with friends. Look online for local classes and learn a new skill together! This gives you endless conversation topics and can often be done early in the evening or on the weekend.

People with bipolar appreciate friends who think of things for us to do together when our mood is low. Doing something fun with YOU can be a highlight of our day. Think of what the two of you have in common that is active and requires a specific date. This creates excitement for fun adventures and allows us to show you how much we love your company.

 

About the Author

Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Get it Done When You’re Depressed and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder. Julie is a board member of The International Bipolar Foundation, a columnist and blogger for BP Magazine, and won the Mental Health America journalism award for the best mental health column in the US. Julie was the recipient of the Eli Lily Reintegration award for her work in bipolar disorder advocacy. She is a bipolar disorder expert for the Dr.Oz and Oprah created site ShareCare.

Julie is CEU certified and regularly trains health care professionals including psychiatric residents, social workers, therapists and general practitioners on bipolar disorder management skills. She was the original consultant for Claire Danes for the show Homeland and is on the mental health expert registry for People Magazine. She works as a coach for parents and partners of people with bipolar disorder. Julie is currently writing a book for children called Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis and Depression. She struggles a lot due to bipolar disorder. Friendships keep her going. You can find more about her work at www.JulieFast.com and www.BipolarHappens.com.

 

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