Life Events Can Trigger An Episode
We often think of bipolar episodes as being triggered by stressful situations that are upsetting or distressing, but stress can be tied to happy events as well. Weddings, births, graduations, getting a promotion or moving into a new home are all occasions to celebrate, yet these cause all kinds of emotional upheaval that can cause stress. This stress can, in turn, trigger a bipolar episode.
It's important if you are bipolar to remember that in the process of all of the celebrating and excitement of whatever activities are going on; you remember that stress is stress whatever the source. There is no such thing as "good" stress. It can be caused by good news (your brother getting married or the birth of a grandchild), but the stress that occurs will inevitably have an adverse affect on your health. In turn, even if you are very, very happy you may end up having either a manic or depressive episode.
How can you avoid this? By making sure that even during happy life events you remember to take care of yourself properly:
- Get plenty of rest. It's tempting to get caught up in the excitement when there's a wedding or graduation to celebrate too much and overdue it, but remember that you simply can't do this without consequences.
- Keep in contact with your doctor and therapist and let them know how you are feeling. If you start to feel overwhelmed or agitated by all of the excitement, let them know so that they can help you deal with it or adjust your medications.
- Remember that even with unusual events going on like moving, visiting a new family member or attending or being in a wedding, you can stick to a modified routine. If you can't get up at the same time every day, try adjusting to the different times slowly by easing into it. Adjust your alarm by a half-hour more each day for a week leading up to the day of the big event rather than throwing yourself off by three hours on that day (when there will be lots of other things going on that may throw you off guard).
- Allow yourself to take breaks and decompress - take a walk or just go into an empty room periodically and take deep breaths. Take a brief nap, drink a leisurely cup of herbal tea or just lean back and close your eyes. Any break from hectic activity can help.
- Let you family know that this time of joy can be hard on you, and assure them that this doesn't mean you aren't happy for them and everyone else. Reassure them that you are doing your best to cope and explain what you need from them for a smooth transition. Being informed and aware is best for everyone.