Avoiding Our Triggers Makes Them Stronger

From Bipolar: Flying Too Close to the Sun: “Unexpected triggers“:

“Basically, I’m not hypomanic or depressed, but I can see things moving into dysphoria if I don’t get it under control. We have our care plans and our everyday checks and a whole lot of things we do to stay balanced, but an unexpected trigger is, well, unexpected. It doesn’t give you time to prepare. If you are not with someone who understands you really well, no one will notice the anxiety, rage and general mood shift taking place until it’s too late.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful:

  • always have an emergency script or emergency meds with you; something that you know chill you out.
  • Stay away from alcohol and other drugs. Yes, normally it will chill you out, but it can also flip you. And you lose the little self-control you have and do something stupid.
  • This one is very important: STAY AWAY from your phone and especially social media and email for at least an hour. As long as you have to.
  • If you don’t have a wedding every weekend like I do at the moment, take a day or two to chill out and unwind. Order your favourite food and beverage, and spend the day on a hobby in front of the TV or with a book. I normally prefer to be alone, but if you know you need someone to just hang with you, phone a friend or family.
  • SLEEP. Whatever you do, make sure you get your necessary hours of sleep; it give our brains time to process and keeps you from doing something stupid.
  • Write it out, on a blog or in a diary. There was a time that what went on in my head was SO dark that I avoided any writing in any form. Do what works for you.”

From “Anxiety Trigger: Sunlight–Knowing Your Triggers”:

“If there’s anything I learned from CBT is that to tackle the areas of our life which impact our mental health, we need to understand our triggers and get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes the answer lies in the foundations that we’ve built.

I fear monotony. I fear routine. I fear a life that is boring and uninteresting. I fear doing nothing. These fears are my triggers. My first panic attack was a result of this. By age ten I had accumulated a plethora of sources of fun. I had several friends in the neighborhood and cousins from other parts of London who I played almost every sport and PlayStation game under the sun with, enacted dramatic performances from plays I had found in the library, dances – and eventually hosted parties in secondary school, spooky games and then some. I had friends at Islamic school, though there weren’t many opportunities to play games, I had my fellow classmates to talk to. I didn’t make an actual friend in school until Year Six, but it never stopped me from joining in to play football, hopscotch, cops and robbers, tag and the other many games that are pivotal to a 90’s childhood. In short, I wasn’t short of fun.

But it made me an experience junkie, and this brings me to my first ever panic attack.”

From “Triggers and Tools“:

“Living with PTSD often means understanding that there are triggers, triggers everywhere. Coping with PTSD often means learning the tools to handle the triggers. 

Before I was diagnosed I had no idea what was wrong with me. I was quirky to my friends and family, but inside I felt out of control and crazy. I could tell that the people I was with didn’t react the same way I did to certain situations, but I couldn’t understand why.

People can sometimes sit down at a restaurant and marvel over the choices on the menu. I become anxious and lose my appetite because the choices are overwhelming. Walks in the woods typically are filled with deep breathing wonderment at the smells and sounds of leaves rustling and crunching. I would cringe and keep looking over my shoulder because the crunching meant someone was running behind me to catch me. 

The sound of distant fireworks is often a sound and a sign of summer festivals and fun. I bristle and remember a time when I heard guns or bombs. The beautiful full moons shining brightly in the sky brings a sense of awe.  I often feel left-over dread and fear for the rituals the solstices brought in a place long ago, but not so far away. 

These are just a few triggers that I have to manage to live with PTSD. 

I used to flounder and drown in the vortex of my symptoms, but now, I have the tools to help me cope. I understand that for me, there are triggers, triggers everywhere and I know the reasons why. Knowing the truth and understanding my past has been a huge help in managing my mental health. 

I understand what flashbacks are, and while they are terribly uncomfortable, I have the tools to cope with the aftermath. I have the tools to work through panic, anxiety, and fear.

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