In my case, I guess no news is good news. I obviously don’t have much to say when I’m doing well. Which I was. I guess I’m still okay. Normally this time of the year is bad. We are after all on the eve of my 2-year suicide attempt anniversary. But this post is not about that. It’s about how you are merrily going about your day for a month or two, almost forgetting about the whole bipolar story, except for all the pills. When it looks like things are coming together with work and personal and life in general, and then BAM!! something happens that throws you completely off balance. In my case, the BAM came last week Thursday.
A colleague decided to just up and resign effective immediately, throwing everyone for a loop. I didn’t really care, until I realised that she hadn’t even told her clients, that she possibly stole and that her admin was such a complete and utter mess that it took me two days to figure out her client list. Then I had some of her clients just trampling all over my boundaries, another one cancelling her contract because she didn’t feel comfortable with me, and one of my clients peppering me with insults about something that was her fault. And this is only my one job!
I am doing some freelance work for my previous employer too and while I enjoy it, it is a lot of work. Everything falls into the ‘urgent and important’ category, you spend your time problem solving crisis on crisis on crisis. You really have to concentrate and multi-task; skills that are a bit rusty. And so I’ve been freaking out since, well, last week Friday I guess. My major problem is that I lose my filter and I get the bipolar rages, not good when working with clients. Especially when I know I’m right.
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.
By no means do I have it all figured out. Yesterday and today I communicated in very snotty ways, and sometimes to people who didn’t deserve. I get super irritated and mean. Not a nice person. But the things above help eventually.
What do you do when you realised that you have suddenly been triggered unexpectedly (ie not on Christmas or the anniversary of someone’s death)? Please share what works for you, so we can all help each other to be healthier, more stable humans.