In one of the books I found on loving someone with bipolar, I learned about triggers. I've been trying to somewhat pay attention to what mine might be...
I've noticed music triggers the manic side of my being - upbeat music, that is. It gets my adrenaline pumping, it feels like, and I feel I could party all night and get anything accomplished and that I'm basically invincible. I want to keep going and going, long after others are done. I remember for church dances, when I was younger, I would never want them to end. I could seriously go all night. I would get so excited for them, I would be shaky and almost make myself sick. I would feel so attractive, like all the boys would and should want me. Then I would go for the guys that didn't exactly want me for me... not the inside, anyway. (But, that's another story for another post..... maybe. That's a pretty intense and personal side of me that I will never be proud of.)
I like the manic side, usually. I get a lot done and feel pretty accomplished. It's gotten us into trouble, financially, though. I like to shop and spend money, in those moments, sometimes. There have been many times I knew we didn't have the money and would go out, spending, anyway. There have times I've suggested going on a weekend getaway; no plans, no premeditation - just up and go. All of this has been fun, but always comes with a price. Yes, financially, but the guilt. It inevitably triggers my anxiety and guilt mode. Not so much fun. In my manic times, I've also bought into businesses such as Avon, Thrive, etc. I've come very close to being a Beachbody person, Plexus ambassador, Mary Kay rep, Paparazzi peddler, It works prover.... I do feel these would all be very good ventures, but knowing I had a side that wouldn't be able to follow through, I would usually give up and abandon the once awesome idea of success. I now know why I did these things (and still have the notion to do, on occasion); I also know why I always failed to make them successful. I used to think it was a flaw in my character. Now I know it wasn't something I could necessarily control.
Obviously, being tired can trigger the depression side of my being. Not usually, but sometimes. Other peoples' bad moods and negativity trigger both sides - and my thoughts and emotions go to extremes. I have to consciously remind myself that they're just having a bad day - it's not a cause for divorce. I don't have to run away from my family. I don't have to curl up and let the world come crashing down on me. When my little boys accidentally hit me, for some reason, that triggers a depression, too. Maybe harsh physical contact? Sometimes, it just comes out of nowhere. I have to remind myself not to place blame on any one thing, that it's most likely not caused by some horrible occurrence in my life. I usually have to remind others of that, too. That usually makes it worse. Silly, stupid things have caused it... like not getting gifts for Christmas. I'm an adult and am totally content and excited to see my kids get gifts and to give gifts to my husband... but this last Christmas, I was so depressed because I didn't get anything. I'm totally ok with it, now... it was just one of those unexpected stupid things that just hit the wrong nerve or whatever and ruined my whole day. It sucked.
Manic doesn't always mean crazy-fanatically-uncontrollable urges. Before I knew what it was, I called it my passionate side. It affects how I react to things, how I love, things I'm interested in.... I really do feel quite passionate. And maybe that's just who I am. Either way, I love loving things passionately and being very
Sex. That's been a toughie. It's either been one extreme or the other. For reasons I don't wish to divulge, it's been one of the hardest parts of dealing with bipolar issues. I'm glad to have some clarity, though. For years, I've struggled with past choices, present issues, etc. Now I know why.
I'm still learning. I love learning about this... I have always been drawn to mental illnesses as a fascinating topic of study; I wonder if this is why. It was a window to my very soul and I didn't even know it.
Now, I do.