I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do after I encounter a trigger and my bipolar or one of my other difficulties (like anxiety) are “activated” so to speak. I can’t just ignore it.
First I guess I should explain what I mean by a “trigger.” When I say I’ve been “triggered” I mean that something has happened that causes my bipolar to come out of balance or remission and become active, and there is a good possibility that I might become depressed or manic. Just like the other day when my daughter pushed my buttons.
This is the moment I’ve got to be ready for. I can’t just ignore it and hope it doesn’t become a full blown episode. It is so easy to be overcome by bipolar disorder. I must always be vigilant. I have Bipolar Type 1. I experience mixed states and cycle rapidly. I don’t enjoy it when it is running rampant. Sometimes in the past I haven’t wanted to live because it has been so devastating. I will do whatever I have to to avoid that from happening again. I want to live.
I was reading in Psychology Today yesterday in their March/April 2016 issue and I found an article on “awe” called “It’s Not All About You!” by Carlin Flora. The article talks about “rumination—or mulling over worries—is the biggest predictor of depression and anxiety” (52).
Wow is that ever true for me. I waited till my son got home and told him about it, then I blogged about it, then I talked to Kyle about it some more. And of course I thought about it in the in between times. What about you? Have you found that when you ruminate you are in more danger of having an episode? So what to do.
Awe. The article goes on to quote a study that says, “Awe is the opposite of rumination, it clears away inner turmoil with a wave of outer immensity.”
So I decided to do a little experiment. We live near Mount Rainier in Washington State. It’s only an hour to the park entrance from our house. I used to take the kids to the park when they were young all the time for a break from school and so we could have time away and together. Family time.
My experiment consisted of looking for “awe.” It included my son Kyle and my dog Bailey. We drove for 30 minutes to get to beautiful Alder Lake which is on the way to Mount Rainier. We enjoyed the drive and taught the dog to fetch in the lake and swim. She’s never been swimming before. She never hesitated. Then we played fetch with an old black and yellow football we found in the garage the other day. We spent time alone together, away from the normal stresses of daily life. We were gone for 2.5 hours.
I found AWE. It wasn’t hard. It was like it was waiting for me to notice it. I found it in the beauty of nature, laughter and the love of those I was with.
How do I feel now? Honestly, I feel good. I don’t know how long it will last, but for right now, I feel like I’m back in control.
Look for awe in your daily life. Whether it is in the eyes of someone you love or in the colors of an amazing sunset, look for awe. Maybe you’ll find it stopping you from ruminating too.