What is a bipolar trigger? Triggers are situations, events, people, or behaviors that spark bipolar symptoms, which lead to episodes. We now have to learn to help our wives treat the triggers, not just the symptoms. We could treat the symptoms forever and it would continue to be a giant roller coaster. We must find out what is triggering the symptoms and put the fire out before they turn into symptoms. Once your wife and you learn to discover what your wife's triggers are, we can then reduce and even eliminate these triggers. By reducing and eliminating triggers we drastically reduce the depth and or consistency of bipolar episodes.
First thing that we must do to help our wives is help them discover and figure out what is the source? What types of situations, events, people, or behaviors are causing them to start having bipolar symptoms? Are there any common themes in certain situations, events, people, or behaviors? Very often it is a common situation, or person, or group of people can cause the symptoms to arise? We are so busy helping our wives put out the flames of the symptoms and behaviors that we forget to look deeper into the cause of the change in moods.
Symptoms are like a vehicle and triggers are like your gas.
Your wife reacts to certain situations and actions with symptoms, because of bipolar disorder. So for a very long time your wife has been treated probably with therapy and mood stabilizing drugs (This is a very important part of stabilizing your wife) but once she has become stable it is vital that you both dig deeper and find out what is making the vehicle drive. Triggers are the gas, and a vehicle can not drive very far or at all for that matter if there is no gas in the car. When we look at bipolar in this way we can quickly see that we do need to treat symptoms and triggers simultanously to really get the most out of preventing bipolar disorder to take control of your wife. Outside of medication, this is a very important technique that we must take into action for helping our wives. This technique can be accomplished rather easily anywhere and at anytime.
I would like for you to make a list of triggers, if your wife is capable of partaking in this activity with you that would be very beneficial. You both should be able to come up with a list of triggers almost effortlessly if you've been dealing with this for some time now, I imagine you know at least a couple of potential triggers that can set your wife into the symptoms category. I will give you a quick list of some of my wife's triggers so that you can get the idea of what I'm talking about. I made this list about 6 months ago, the list has been added to quite a bit, and some things have been removed as well.
COMMON TRIGGERS FOR MY WIFE
- Arguments (this is a top trigger for my wife)
- Routine changes
- Stress related with a toddler
- Caffeine use
- Social events
- Poor diet (consuming too much sugar, another wife biggie)
- Alcohol use (another popular trigger for my wife)
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Too much sleep
- Listening to negative internal dialogue (research shows people with bipolar disorder are very susceptible to this trigger, often without being conscious of it)
- Everyday tasks
- Feeling overly committed
- Feeling bored / stir crazy
That is a good portion of my wife's trigger list that we created together. Like I said some things have been removed and some have been added over time, that's OK though. It's good to have the list handy and available for review at any time.
It is extremely important that we give ourselves and our wives slack during difficult times associated with bipolar disorder. Because of your wife's bipolar disorder she may have a very small allowance for meeting demands, and once that cup overflows she shuts down and triggers create her bipolar symptoms. We must remember that it does not mean that you are strong and your wife is weak because of bipolar disorder, it simply means that your wife's brain chemistry is wired much differently. This can cause confusion in partners at times, certain situations, events, people; all are experienced in a different way than you. Usually your wife can not handle everyday stress in the same way as you or I would. It can be very challenging to accept this at times, and realize that they are beautiful for thinking so differently. It is very common trait in bipolar disorder for people (especially women) to be very sensitive during stressful situations.