When I talk about triggers, I don't mean the kind that involve my pointer finger caressing a piece of blue steel and gently pulling back on a trigger of a gun. I'm talking about those little things, those annoying things, those events and circumstances that cause your day to go from wonderful to shit; or from black to amazing. Triggers are those subtle things you must become aware of when you are bipolar because they cause your moods to swing. I truly believe the knowledge that comes from self-awareness creates amazing power within oneself and you take a little more control over this disorder.

So what to do? I can only tell you what I have done and continue to do. I'm not perfect, but I'm learning and every day becoming more aware of my triggers. (1) The best thing I have done is keep track of my moods on a daily basis. Every night I rate my mood on a scale from -5 to +5, with the low being depression and the high being mania. I put a few notes on the side of significant events (i.e., medicine changes). (2) I also have a mood tracker app for my iPhone called "stigma" that I use when I'm on the run and really need to get a thought out of my head. It keeps track of my mood, emotional word maps and more. (3) I was keeping a daily diary, but realized I was putting too much pressure on myself for those days when I feel too tired. Now I journal when I feel the need to get something off my mind or just share something wonderful with myself.

Some of the triggers I have identified that can cause me to go manic or depressed are below:

Drug Use
Alcohol Consumption
Being Exhausted
Being Overwhelmed
Inconsistent Relationships
Lack of Sleep
Excessive Caffeine
Not Eating
Trauma Recall (PTSD)
Panic Attacks
Crowds of People
Loud Noises

If you have bipolar disorder have you found out what tips you over the edge? Are you able to control the urge to fall into the mood episode? Impulsivity is a major problem for me so even knowing and being fully aware of what is logically causing my mood to change I often have trouble pulling myself out of the situation and retreating for my mental health. I also have to remember to not put myself in situations that might cause a mood swing and mood episode shift to begin with. You live and you learn right?


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