Bipolar is such a tough disease to live with, day in and day out. Never knowing when or where your moods will change. Yet what I always found even more challenging is when I did not know what my triggers were and what to do when they came at me from all directions.
I want to share with you some of my own experiences through the years, of how I have learned to cope with triggers, and not let them get the best of me. It is never easy to understand ourselves at times, never mind a disease that is so deep and complicated. What are triggers you ask? Some of you may already be well aware of what they are, or you may have been newly diagnosed and the word trigger is a new concept for you.
A trigger is something that sets you off in a bipolar episode; it might set you off in a manic episode or a depressive episode. It might be a person, a sound, a picture, but usually whatever the trigger is, it stresses you out. Triggers ignite the imbalance in our brains that put us into a tailspin of emotions.
One important thing anyone who has bipolar realizes is that stress is a huge trigger, whether it is financial stress, relational stress, or even lack of sleep. All of which are high up on the scale of stressful situations that humans deal with on a daily basis. When I do not get enough sleep, it triggers negative thought patterns and I am very on edge. I don’t have the mentality to make decisions when I’m lacking sleep for my body. When I lack sleep any other stresses are multiplied times ten and it’s very tough to deal with them.
Over the years I’ve learned what my triggers are, and how important it is to understand how they affect my body, my mental health, my overall health. It’s then important to know what to do when those triggers come, and they will.
If sleep is a trigger for you, it’s important to set a normal routine of sleep. Make sure you’re getting the proper sleep your body needs to function so you won’t feel worn down and overwhelmed. There are some stresses we can’t control, but we can control how we react to them. Learning to have outlets to release your emotions in a healthy positive way is very important for managing bipolar.
Also finding ways to relax and just tune out the world at times, so we can regain our composure and focus back on the positive in our lives! I’ve come a long ways from where I once was, but stilll have days when my triggers get the best of me and it starts to affect me. I can feel it coming on when it does now, so I do everything I can that I’ve been taught in therapy and relaxation to calm myself, before it gets too bad. It’s not easy I know, but I believe in you. As you grow and learn more about yourself and how you react to situations, you too will have a much better understanding of what your triggers are.
Read the rest of Natalie’s posts for IBPF here.