Understanding Your Triggers

Here are some helpful thoughts on bipolar which may give you a better understanding of your triggers.

On average, it takes ten years to receive a correct diagnosis of bipolar. Remember that improving your well being takes time and effort but the rewards can be life changing! You can learn to recognise your triggers and sometimes catch episodes early and markedly reduce your symptoms.

Here are some suggestions that may help you:

  • Learn all you can about your condition. You may be affected throughout your life so you owe it yourself to become an expert on bipolar. Numerous books on Amazon cover bipolar symptoms, coping techniques, management and inspiration. Your condition is individual but millions of people have had comparable struggles.
  • Bipolarlife Victoria provides assistance to anyone affected by bipolar with their support groups and other programs. Some people have reservations about attending for the first time. There’s no pressure upon you. You can say as little or as much as you like. You can meet and learn from sympathetic people with similar experiences and you might make new friends.
  • Look at your options regarding medication. Your GP or psychiatrist has limited time to find an effective treatment for you. It’s a process of trial and error, often with side-effects. Always ask them questions about your treatment.

Therapy and counselling are also useful. A good therapist can change your life though you must find the right practitioner. Ask your GP or psychiatrist about your options.

Identify your triggers and symptoms. You’re the only person who can ever know yourself. If you’re able to pick up on subtle signs and catch episodes early, they’ll probably be milder and your recovery from an episode may be easier.

Writing. Keep a simple journal and get problems out of your head and onto paper. With these personal notes, you will be able to remember your delusions. When depressed, write a lot as it’s a helpful aid in managing your illness.

Routine and sleep. Regularity can be a great benefit in managing bipolar. Wake up at the same time each day and you’ll have structure for the day. Get outdoors and take your medication at the same time every day. You may function better on 9 or 10 hours of sleep but also need up to 16 hours of sleep when you are unwell and on a lot of medication.

Therapeutic interests. Activities can prevent you from thinking too deeply about your diagnosis. Pursuing something creative, such as poetry or drawing, is a relaxing way to spend time. Bipolar and creativity is romanticised though plenty of creative historical figures experienced mood disorders or psychosis.

Diet and exercise. Regular exercise has profound benefits, like improving your mood. Your mind and body are linked and your brain will become a better friend if you exercise and eat well. I also no longer drink alcohol and I’ve limited my caffeine intake.

Keep a monthly mood diary with the mood scale. It’s important and revealing to record your moods, hours of sleep and medication regime. Looking over the charts gives you an insight into the pattern of your own condition.

Remember that bipolar is a part of you but not all of you. Try not be defined by the diagnosis and recognise that you can still achieve outstanding things in your life. Be grateful for what you can do.

More Bipolar articles ➜

Read personal stories  ➜

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Bipolar Life adheres to the Victorian government guidelines and mandates regarding Covid-19.

If at any point Victoria has to go into a lockdown we switch to Zoom meetings.

For further information on current regulations please go to the Victorian Government website.

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