In last weeks post I started a thread on triggers and learning personal crisis management. When we seek help we are in crisis. If we weren’t facing some form of crisis we would have never sought help in the first place. Some of us had help forced on us by our behavior, but even then, if we can grasp the truth that we have an illness we can take the help offered. To put us into crisis there has to be a cause. Since everything today has to have a technical title these causes have been renamed triggers.
What are triggers? Triggers are the external issues that cause failure in any management system. If we try to manage anything, people or things, there will be issues that come up that cause the management system to fail. That is just a fact.
To land us in crisis, the way we were managing our lives has to have failed. The real truth is our illness precludes us from learning to manage our lives. Most of us were always envious of those that leaned to manage themselves, their emotions and their lives. While we always seemed to make a mess of things. That is not our fault, we now know we were ill and you just can’t blame a sick person for how things turned out. I do not consider drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs, or not taking our prescribed drugs as prescribed, or not taking them at all, as triggers. They are just a continuation of our same sick behavior. We have to stop the sick behaviors and learn totally new behaviors.
To deal with our bipolar we need learn what triggers us. We can only learn this by keeping records, such as journaling and mood charting. We also need to build a way to communicate our issues so that others can help up learn new strategies. We need to build that helpful, non-judgmental support into our lives.
It is by learning crisis management that we learn what our individual routine management needs to be. This is a point that is never stressed enough. We come seeking help in crisis and therefore it is crisis management we need to learn. We need to learn what triggers us and how to either meet those triggers head on or avoid those triggers entirely and which is which. This becomes the basis for our routine management system, what I call dancing with our illness.
What triggers us individually you have to find out for yourself but some common triggers that cause a relapse of symptoms for many are:
- Poor sleeping patterns – this is the largest cause of relapse for bipolar sufferers.
- External stimulation – crowds, loud music, noises, traffic.
- Stress of any kind
- Arguments and conflicts
- New Children
- Loss of relationships, jobs, material things, our identity.
- Death of any kind, people, either close or distant, or animals, pets or wild.
- The change of seasons
- Poor eating habits
There many more triggers, too many to list. I often think of the Tony Arata song, “The Dance”, that Garth Brooks made famous. The chorus always makes me think of how I learned to dance to with my illness, by learning to avoid this trigger or learning to overcome that trigger. Mostly learning how to dance with all my triggers. I have learned that: “It’s my life, it’s better left to chance, I could have missed the pain. But I’d have had to miss the dance.”
Today, I am glad I did not miss the chance to learn how to dance with my illness. Yes, there has been pain, I won’t deny that. But I am eternally grateful for the skills I have learned that allow me to deal with my triggers and stop my bipolar from taking over the lead in my life.
That is what we all have to learn how to do. Learn to work through the pain and dance with our bipolar.
Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things. Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.
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The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”
I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.