Bipolar disorder and Difficult Situations.

Why is it SO hard for us to handle uncertainty?
Bipolar is an illness that often remains idle if there are no outside triggers. This is one reason that stability at home helps us find stability in our minds.
But wow, unless we decide to stay in a dark room and never go out in the world, we will find triggers around ever corner. This is especially true if we work with others.
Uncertain situations are stressful for us. Two people with two different ideas are not always great at working things out! People without bipolar do get upset in these situations, but for those of us with bipolar? Uncertainty can set off a chain of events that ends with a serious mood swing.
When I am in a situation that I find uncertain or upsetting, my brain goes into over drive. I start to pick fights in my head with the other person. My bipolar brain creates trouble for ME. It’s awful.
For the past 20 years, I have worked on a plan to help myself calm down in situations that used to lead to serious illness in the past. Here are a few strategies I use.
1. I truly, truly do NOT send the first email reply that comes to mind when I have to stick up for myself or answer to something I find upsetting. My brain starts churning the minute I read something difficult and boom, I want to write back and tell them where to stick it!
It never works out well. I have leraed from my experience and taught myself to write as much as I want, but I have to take the time needed to calm the heck down before I reply.
2. I use the ideas from the book The Four Agreements and constantly remind myself that while I always think I’m in the center of the universe, the person on the other side also thinks she is the center of the universe! This means I have to do everything possible to see her point of view or his point of view before exploding as I did in the past. My writing skills can create a pretty vicious email reply.
Not any more.
3. I learn from my triggers. If something makes me sick over and over again, I remove the trigger.
We are the master of our own ship- we are the only ones who can learn to control the brain that is in our head. It is up to us to recognize and learn from difficult and uncertain situations. My book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder explains the process of trigger management in bipolar disorder. 
I know my brain is not my friend. I know that how I react to the world is not normal. I know what stability feels like and I strive for it every day.



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