Bipolar Lifestyles

By knowing what tends to stress you and trigger shifts in mood, you can often become more proactive in mood management and more sensitive to potential early warning signs. Situations that trigger mood episodes and a person’s stress threshold vary from person to person and family to family. In addition, as the illness progresses over the years, cycles seem to come more of their own free will, sometimes without the impetus of a stressor or trigger.

Common triggers include the following:

  • Job-related stress, such as tight deadlines, an overbearing boss, irregular hours (split shifts tend to be notorious for causing stress), and an ever-changing workload
  • Relationship conflicts, which could be caused by fallout from bipolar, such as overspending, an inability to work, a desire for conflict, or a lack of energy
  • Family fiascos, including personality conflicts with family members or unresolved issues from the past
  • Holidays, when you tend to have more to do than usual or your normal schedule is turned upside down
  • Mood-altering people, including those with whom you tend to clash and those who might lead you down the path of making unhealthy decisions, like your best friend, the self-proclaimed party animal
  • Uncomfortable situations that trigger strong emotional reactions, such as having bill collectors calling you in the middle of the night or even having to wait for over an hour in your doctor’s office
  • Downtime, which most people might feel is a welcome relief but that can really toss your schedule for a loop
  • Anniversaries or reminders of past personal tragedies
  • Physical illness
  • When your personal boundaries are violated
  • Fear
  • Inability to openly express your feelings and emotions
  • Anger
  • Music, especially songs that bring up painful or sad memories
  • Starting a new project
  • Unexpected change
  • Too much pressure to do something or behave a certain way
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Impulsive decisions
  • Fluctuations in blood sugar
  • Chaos

Feel free to leave a comment with your triggers.

by Candida Fink MD

%d bloggers like this: