If its obvious to you, and everyone else that a relative is bipolar, yet not to themselves is there a gentle way to encourage the bipolar relative to seek help? What if your relationship is on the line with this person?
What if said relative cant afford healthcare? I know they have Medicaid.
If this person does not seek help and medication soon, I'm going to have to emancipate myself from the relationship.
You can't fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed. Unfortunately, there is no way to force someone to get help if they don't want to. You can only save yourself. I hope they will understand that you care, and that they need help, because that would be wonderful. It's truly awful to watch someone destroy themselves, and not to be able to do anything about it.
I am not bipolar, so don't have an intimate understanding of that disease... however I suffered with terrible depression after a bad car wreck for YEARS before a close friend finally said "you don't have to live like this..." and went with me to the doctor for support.
For me, it was a HUGE relief to have that conversation, because when you are the one suffering through it your perception gets very blurred and I had never even considered that there might be a way OUT of the hole I lived in.
She, the best friend I have ever had, saved my life, because until I was in treatment I had no real idea of how terrible a path I was really on.
I agree with anon. If your relationship is on the line, then you have nothing to lose by engaging in the conversation and you may very well save their life. I don't think it's necessary, or helpful, to approach this person with a diagnosis/label. Simply make observations regarding abnormal behavior and encourage and support them in getting help. It's also not helpful to have this conversation when he/she is in a manic phase as they are least likely to hear you then.
Best of luck, mental health issues are beyond difficult and complex. I would suspect that your relative has no idea that they aren't "normal"(whatever that means) and can't even see that there is a different life for them if they get treatment.
If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb
This has given me some insight to move forward. We've discussed the inappropriate behavior before. It sounds like if I approach from a caring place of "I know you don't enjoy feeling that way, have you considered talking to a physician about it?" May be the best way to move forward.
And this isn't a second cousin or anything, this is a relative close enough that emancipation from them is VERY socially unacceptable.
PSJ, good luck. Perhaps you could get a recommendation for a psychiatrist, and offer to accompany on first visit... Important for you, though, is to realize that your love and concern may be met with something less than enthusiasm. And that whatever happens after that is NOT your fault. That you did what you could.
My in-denial, bi-polar, nurse-anesthetist nephew committed suicide a few years ago. You can only do what you can do - and not beat yourself up for what you cannot do.