You are here

Triggers

Although I was officially diagnosed in March 2009 with Bipolar I disorder and began treatment, I am confident in saying that my bipolar episodes started well before that time.  If I could guess somewhat accurately, I would say it all started somewhere around the age of 18 … which would be the early 90’s.  If I only knew then what I do know now, oh how I would have done things differently!  At the same time, I am a firm believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason”.  For some reason, my illness led me to who I am and where I am today, and I have faith that is exactly where I am supposed to be.  Therefore, I am content with that.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that … but I do believe that I could not succeed without having done so. 

One of the things that I had to learn early on in my diagnosis was the word “trigger”, and what that meant to me.  Triggers are feelings, situations, or events that can lead to the onset of depressive or manic episodes, or mood swings in general.  I spent a long time figuring out exactly what my triggers are, as everyone’s triggers can be completely different.  For me personally, it took years of therapy (individual and group), the help of my family and friends, and doctors, not to mention deep self-evaluation, as well as trial and error.  Personally, my triggers include a variety of things such as lack of proper sleep, the change of seasons between fall and winter, the Christmas season, the unaddressed damage of my emotional health after an abusive, controlling relationship in my early 20’s, visible lack of support and love from close family members, and extreme stress or feelings of fear. 

Although my mood swings can occur at any time for any reason, I realized that my triggers played a significant role in my episodes.  While I was identifying my triggers, I also had to start to learn how to plan ahead to deal with them, learn appropriate ways to cope with the trigger while I was experiencing a mood swing or possible onset of an episode, and learn through trial and error how to do it better the next time it happened.  It is an ongoing process in my life and probably forever will be.  It is not science and there is no right answer, but the harder you work at making yourself better and learning how to be well when the bipolar bear comes knocking on your door – you may start to notice as I did, that I can shut the door before that bear walks in.  Not all of the time, but more and more of the time! 

Personally, to identify my triggers, I started writing in a journal.  Paper and pen the old fashioned way … I make an effort to write every day to myself, and to review my entries once a month, to identify patterns of depression or mania and when they were occurring.   It is important to also keep an honest and open communication with my therapist and doctor, as well as to ask for help from family and friends in drawing my attention to any unusual behavior patterns.

With that being said, I would like to leave on this note – bipolar is a medical condition … asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness.

Until next time –

Andrea Piekarski-Susalla J

Comments

Thank you Andrea Piekarski-Susalla for your entry. It was very well written, easily read and right to the point. I have 3 out of the 4 triggers in common with you, so it was good to hear that I am not alone in that area. Thanks again.

Thank you Janet, and no you are not alone! I appreciate your comment as it was my intention to make it an easy read. I have trouble with understanding some of the "scientific" blogs being posted. Nothing wrong with them... I just can't comprehend them :)

I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 back in 2010. It's been a very long hard road. I have a very hard time with relationships. It's like no one wants to deal with a person like me????

Amy Mickles... it is not a case of people not wanting to have a relationship with someone like you or has your condition - in general, if something requires hard work then it is less likely to be chosen. In my experience, when the going gets tough in relationships, it's easier to bail. So please don't think that it's due to your bi-polar. Rather it's their need for instant, easy gratification!

Amy, I actually have the same problem. But I keep faith that someday I will the man who will be the one for me... The bipolar me. As far as friendships, it's a hard work ... But the right people who should be in your life will be, and they will learn to understand and be your friend through the illness. That's how I found out who my true friends and family were. I would rather have $1 then a 100 pennies any day!

Hi Andrea,
Thank you so much for this. I've had a horrible past two weeks, bouncing between anger mania and soul sucking depression. By pointing out all the triggers I have been faced with, it gives me a much needed fresh perspective. It helps me to not hate myself as much. All the best, and take care.

Katie, I have had a rough couple weeks myself... And sometimes I get mad and feel like I hate myself too... It's hard, but just keep pulling yourself up and out and stay positive! Be stronger than the bipolar bear! I wish you the best of luck...

thanks for helping me understand more about my daughter and triggers.It is a hard thing to see her hurt and I can't stop it.I now can see some of her triggers from your post.Thank you!

Regina, good luck with your daughter. Just keep researching and trying different things to find what helps.... Don't give up !

i am currently seperated from my husband, he couln't handle all the mood swings, the depression etc, he kicked me out of our house and i am currenty not seeing a psycholgist although i need to through all of this, so i can relate to your story.

Carol, I hope that you decide to see a doctor... It's very difficult to get better without treatment... Good luck to you.

I was amazed by how your situation you've described is virtually identical to mine. .due to my severe manic episodes and generally uncontrolled emotional outbursts. .among many other disturbing situations including attempted suicide. .he took away everything. .my dog too..and locked me out while I was stuck in a mental hospital. .now I have no insurance to get my meds..or Dr's either.its hard for most anyone to understand and cope with other's mental illness..so they run away or push you out and blame you for the whole thing. .I don't feel quite as alone after reading your post.

Thanks for your insight. I too am learning all I can to help our daughter. She's an amazing person and I wish I could take this on for her. Being familiar with her triggers will benefit us all.

Ur blog hit da nail on d head da mood swings manic episodes. Sum gyms wonda y I'm crying for no reason. I take meds daily but 20 e percent cums frm u an 80 percent is d meds helpin . It is very important to no triggers as it can turn very ugly in heated arguments an feel like no one understands. I have practically be im a recluse in my house not wanting to go out bcos I get anxious an hate large crowds. I finally found gardening as a Gud therapist an enjoy watching my collection of roses an plants an veg grow, that is my way of coping wit da loneliness as frends don't undastand me. I find keepin busy help me cope N focus on da positive an wen I feel a trigger cumin on I find walkin my dog a destruction from it. Thank u I now no I'm not Lone an Simone out der understands

Add new comment

PLEASE POST COMMENTS ONLY. If you are in need of an IBPF resource, please contact Aubrey @ agood@ibpf.org. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.