Don’t Trigger Me

It’s yet again another beautiful day here in Atlanta, GA. It’s sunny, it’s warm; I feel like going for a walk somewhere or just sitting outside (now since my seasonal allergies are going away), or crashing somebody’s barbecue (if it was the weekend). Days like this can trigger my bipolar episodes.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Some of y’all probably thought I was going to go on and on about appreciating the beauty of today and all of that jive. Yeah, go do that, but the purpose of this post is to address what they call bipolar triggers. The reason I wanted to talk about it is two-fold: because of a conversation I had earlier with a friend of mine, and because it’s a beautiful, sunny day.

Again, my famous disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional or therapist, and I’m not attempting to portray myself as one. I haven’t been to school for any of this, and I don’t want to. I have updated my Terms and Conditions of this website to include this disclaimer. Everything I post here is from personal experiences or research, and should not be used as a substitution for professional help or diagnosis. Not trying to be repetitive or be an asshole, but you know there’s always that few that takes shit to the extreme, and all of a sudden they do something dumb as hell and you’re getting blamed for it. 

Now with that out of the way, let’s talk. An article I found on www.everydayhealth.com from March 20, 2015 has some pretty good examples of bipolar triggers, which I can relate to a good number of them. These aren’t all of them by any means. But you’ll get the idea. Click here is you would like to see the slideshow.

Bipolar triggers are situations that can cause an episode. While episodes are unpredictable, a lot of the time there’s an event or events that can get the chains in motion. For me, a big one is lack of sleep (which is also a symptom). When I don’t get enough sleep, I would say 90 percent of the time I’m about to go into a hypomanic episode. The weather and change of seasons is another big one for me, hence the reason I said days like today can be a trigger; it also triggers a hypomanic episode. Stress, bullshit arguments, and other people’s bullshit can be triggers for me, too.

Before I hear anyone talk shit about my admitted use of alcohol (which I don’t drink often because I have to plan when I’m going to drink), yes, I know alcohol can be a trigger. I’ve read the shit, I’ve experienced the shit in my worse days. So leave me the hell alone about it. But yes, alcohol use (as well as drugs) can also be a trigger for people with bipolar disorder. By the way, I have never done ANY kind of drugs outside of my regular prescription medication, and have no plans on EVER doing so. People have tried to convince me to do shit like smoke weed, to the point where some were determined to get me to break my non-drug use committment to myself with peer pressure (where the fuck are we at, high school?); I would shoot them down every time and sometimes I would disconnect from them. If that’s what you do, by all means enjoy; I’m not judging or criticizing you. It’s just not my personal thing that I want to be a part of. I got enough problems and vices; I can go without adding drug user to that list.

But I digress. I started paying attention to my triggers over the years, after I was diagnosed in 2011. Some of these triggers I can’t avoid, but I do try to minimize them. The ones I can avoid, I try to avoid them. I haven’t fully identified all of my triggers, and probably never will. But my experiences are like imprints in my mind now, after getting my ass whooped a couple of times.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or been diagnosed for a while, it’s important that you learn your triggers. By learning your triggers, it will further help in your treatment (because bipolar disorder is a life-long condition, so there’s no cure, no matter what pseudo-therapist/neighborhood therapist, “motivational” speaker, or nut-job preacher or “religious” idiot who are about to be on the next episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life try to tell you), and you would be prepare yourself to either prevent or mitigate an episode. With this disorder, it’s not possible to prevent every episode (remember there’s no cure), but it’s critical that you identify with what sets you the hell off.

Research, research, research. I can’t stress that enough. Getting diagnosed is the first step of a journey that you won’t be able to handle on your own, unless you know what the hell is coming your way and what you can do about it. Get your family and friends that are close to you to research as well. Because when you’re starting to slip, they are more likely to notice the change before you will. Look at me for example; most of the time I know when I’m going into an episode, but a good part of the time, I don’t know unless I’m already in the middle of it or after it’s over and I talk to my doctor about what I went through. It’s another reason why it’s important to have a good support system. Your support system is your best line of defense, and after it’s all over they will be the one to help you recover.

Take care of yourselves. See you later.

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