Triggers Triggers Everywhere and Everyone’s a Dick

Sigh.

Triggers.

They are individual for sure.  And one of the best tools we have for combatting Bipolar is figuring out what our’s are.  What our biggest ones are.  And then trying to figure out how the hell you avoid things that are just a part of your everyday life sometimes.

But for some silliness and fun but also for a thought handle let’s talk about what I like to think of as the

4 Ss

Not the 4 Fs if some of you are familiar with those.

But the 4 Ss (how the heck do you write a plural of the letter S)

They are the 4 Ss of Triggerness

(Does anybody else keep thinking of Tigger when you see Trigger like that?)

Anyway I’ll get to it already…

Here they are

SLEEP

STRESS

STATUS QUO

and

people who SUCK

What do you think?  You like it?  Cute huh?

I don’t honestly feel like you need me to talk more about it but I have some time and I feel chatty.  They are obviously integrated but allow me to act like it’s simple for a little minute.

Sleep- 

Ugh yes.  We all know.  Sleep can make you or break you.

It is like the first thing listed in the Bipolar Handbook.  And everywhere, everytime, every site, every article is like sleep sleep sleep.  Until you want to scream I KNOW!

So yeah.  Sleep is like so super important.  Every body just wants to have it’s babies.  Everybody wants to tell us to go get some more, better, more routine, better quality sleep when we say we feel “off”.

But um having messed up sleep rhythms is PART of being Bipolar.  So it isn’t like when normies have a problem that they can just sleep off or a problem that sleep will help solve and they can be like oh ok I will do that then.

No.  because lots of us even when “baseline” struggle with rhythms of sleep.  We have different brains.  Good normal sleep isn’t a given for us.  It ain’t that easy.

And you know if we start to experience some sleep issues and then start to feel it effecting us in Bipolar ways….we scratch our heads and start the questioning ….

“Did my mood get messed up because my sleep got weird or did my sleep get weird because my mood was already messed up?”

yES…The old which came first thought ride of fun.  Let’s go back to this later on.

Stress

You know it.  It can be a move, a big project at work, the huge fucking piles of laundry, the library book just sitting there refusing to return itself, that thing your mom asked you to do…

The wake up call for me was when I realized good stress fucked me up toooooooo

not just the crap stress. More on that later too.

Status Quo

What I mean by this is any CHANGES in the status quo…in your normal routine.  Again, maybe a move, a new job, waking up an hour earlier to go to the gym, giving up gluten, you finish that long amazing novel you were loving, stupid old daylight savings time…..

again there is that thing that GOOD changes can mess us up too. or me anyway.

People who SUCK

Self explanatory.  It can be ANYONE.  From supportive loved ones who are just sucking it at the moment to your child’s school teacher to the pissy people at the Verizon store to politicians.  It doesn’t matter.  People who suck can be the BIGGEST of triggers.

And the worst are the ones who you can’t avoid.  sigh.

___________________________________________________

Let’s go back to that thing I was going to say about which came first the trigger or the egg.  The trigger or the EGGisode!

HA

I can’t believe I wrote that

I can’t believe I’m not going to delete it.

Then there is the related kind of question of…”isn’t this kind of a normal reaction? I mean wouldn’t anybody be upset under these circumstances?  Why am I so unable to pull it back together?”

ANYWAY

I think about it like this (after some ideas from my Pdoc)

The brain is like a small smooth pond.

When you throw a rock into a normie brain it splooshes and ripples out and disrupts the pond.  Then the ripples die down…and eventually everything goes back to normal.

A Bipolar brain is different.  It is often going to be like a big fucking rock went in there even if it is small.

That rock gets tossed in and it goes SPLASH and ripples ripple away and the pond is disrupted.

It takes longer to come back around to the baseline than it did for the normie brain.

It may not come back for a long time

It may NOT come back on its own.

It may need help…something else…outside of itself

to come back

And our brains have special little jets that can be turned on and we can have a fucking whirlpool on our hands.

People can look over and be like “How did a little rock do all of that?”

and we are like

I DON’T KNOW

and

what is wrong with me?

and how do I shut this thing off??????????

So as for the trigger and the egg I have come to understand that both things can happen.

  1. Bipolar shit can come out of nowhere and then you start being all Bipolar about everything and looking around for the rock thrower to no avail.
  2. You can experience any trigger big or small and while you may stay within the “normal” reaction range you remain aware that you are in a danger zone and it may just happen that you get knocked off the beam into an “episode” or just some pile of Bipolar.

As for the “but isn’t this normal?  Why can’t I handle this?” stuff…well I actually think it is covered above.  It twists all round on itself.

And yeah one of the most ANNOYING realizations about my Bipolar for myself was the idea that GOOD fun things that I THOUGHT I had completely under control (or not awesome things that I really felt fine about) could end up pulling me under.

It sucks to realize that late weddings, vacations, fun filled weekends with old friends, are another thing that has to be mindfully managed when you live with Bipolar. This shit does suck.

For example…you are rolling along just fine feeling baseline or good and then your old friends come into town.  You spend the weekend, joined at the hip, talking non stop, laughing, and going places.  And Sunday night you feel refreshed…excited..renewed…like you had fun.  And then Monday morning you wake up in that shit hole.

and you think

seriously?

are you kidding me?

and you think back and realize that it must have been the weekend…all of the FUN.  Too much activity, socializing, talking.  Not enough down time, quiet.

and you think

how

can

I

be

SO

fragile

lame

sensitive

fucked up

How can it be that something so harmless and fun can make me feel

so

bad

caN put me back here

in this place

this place I fought so hard to climb out of.

And then perhaps

THE thoughts start to come in….

“I HATE THIS”

“I CAN’T DO THIS”

“I can’t believe this is forever……”

“I hate my life”

“I wish I could just stop existing”

And then the sirens go off and the lights start flashing (OR THEY SHOULD)

because thoughts like that (or whatever your unique ones are)

are

Bipolar’s warning shots

They are the thoughts that make you realize…

YOU HAVE BEEN TRIGGERED

And that silly example of friends above can go for any of the 4 Ss right?  Like sleep change, or break up, or night out, or hearing a really horrible piece of news, or seeing a cockroach…or whatever it is for you.

We can

Identify triggers

Avoid triggers

Fight triggers

and then

Fight through the ensuing mess caused when the trigger gets in.

That’s what we do.

So there ya go.

The 4 Ss

Enjoy!

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