triggers

What has The Good Guy discovered today?

My Good Guy doesn’t take bipolar lying down. He is dedicated to researching and learning as much about my illness is as diligent as my own. I gain insight from his discoveries, and together we are developing coping strategies and skills to live cohesively amidst this madness.

Stress

Stress is what always brings on an episode now and I am pretty quick to figure out what is causing the stress in my life – bphope.com

He subscribes to the above site and sent me an article which I’ve found enlightening. One of the points addressed was the effect of stress as a trigger. Getting to know me, he’s noticed stress is my number one trigger. While I already know this, and may roll my eyes behind his back, what I didn’t realise was just how soaked in stress my daily life is. It can get confusing living within the confines of highs and lows, aggitation, mixed episodes, depression and panic attacks. Sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees. But having an outsider’s objective perspective contributes to self-awareness and brings circumstances into a rational focus.

Self Love

I don’t fit into someone else’s mold of how a person should live. This is my life and I won’t apologize to anyone for living it the way I see fit. – http://www.bphope.com

I find it difficult to love and accept myself. Living within the ever changing and cycling moods of bipolar can be an ugly existance. But The Good Guy is trying to teach me to practice ‘self-love‘.  In fact he’s insisting on it.

Breathe

To start cultivating mind awareness and switch off “autopilot mode,” which can trigger symptoms, Marchand suggests a three-minute breathing exercise.

He is always telling me “Breathe, babe. Just breathe”. In the beginning I was ungratiously annoyed by what I presumed to be a frivolity, a cliché. Something they say but don’t understand the fruitlessness of their advice. Until one day, stressed out at work, I realised I was holding my breath. And so I breathed. And breathed some more. Great big, gulping balloons of air exhaled inhaled and slowly exhaled with considered care. My heart rate went from a gallop to a trot, followed by a calmer frame of mind. And I began to cope again. I gained a lesson that day – not to presume an outcome without actually trying it first. What I consider a cliché was a fact. A truth. So breathe. It really does help in a crisis

Wait ’til you hear this

Do certain noises bother you to the brink of destruction? It could be neurological and not only psychological.

The technical term for that noise-triggered irritation and rage is misophonia (“hatred of sound”)” – http://www.mentalfloss.com

There are certain sounds that drive me round the bend. They turn me into a deadly, slow-boiling pressure cooker. These particular noises drill a hole right through my head. All other sounds are secondary. It’s all I can hear. I can’t focus. Can’t concentrate. This sound hypersensitivity dials up the anger and my reaction is extreme and out of proportion. I want to scream, throw things, run, pull at my hair – stop, stop, stop, for the love of god just stopppppp!

It’s a precarious situation for me because I struggle with bipolar rage, and this seemingly innocent sound is edging me to the brink of madness. All manner of chaos could ensue. I feel like I’m losing my mind. But I’m not, this madness is very real.

If the sound of a co-worker repeatedly clicking his pen can send you into a flaming furor, take heart: You’re not being hypersensitive” – http://www.mentalfloss.com

Triggers break your sound barrier

The trigger sounds also provoked a clear stress response in people with misophonia” – http://www.mentalfloss.com

My work environment is not ideal. A small department with co-workers in close proximity. There is a constant stream of people, hustle, bustle, loud talking, angry shouting, laughing – one great big disturbance. Tinny music clanging from nearby earphones, sniffing, oh the sniffing…. sneazing, more loud voices, did I mention the loud voices, and the “hello’s” and “goodbye’s” as staff use our office as a common thoroughfare. My coping skill is music. Plug the earphones in and the outside irritants and overstimulation disappears. The tiniest of noises can drive me beserk, but music is always the best medicine.

Stuck

I am depressed. There’s no concealing the fact. Within the space of one week, Ulla’s suicide coincided with my move and an ugly incident with my father. Its been a difficult time. So that’s where I’m at. I’m not suicidal, but personally, it feel as if Ulla’s death has sealed my own fate, somewhere down the line in the future. My father hates me, Ulla’s dead and I’m having a difficult time moving on and embracing life and all that.

It’s time to begin

sitting in an empty room
trying to forget the past
this was never meant to last
I wish it wasn’t so
– Linkin Park Waiting For The End

my landlord is a dick
there is no other word to pick
he creates a lot of stress
and with bipolar I’m a mess
so again last night I cried
cleansing all from my insides
Lover’s betrayal and his portrayal
of someone who was nothing more
than a sociopath plotting to score
I cried and then I cried some more
I let the heartache from me pour
curled up on the cold kitchen floor
I cried until my eyes were sore
I felt a weight lift
my heartache shift
its time to let go
and continue to grow
Linkin Park is a constant friend
and have penned the process to mend
they simply proclaim
‘the hardest part of ending is starting over again’

Love affliction

two weeks to go but you wouldn’t know

by the lack of excitement for my new home

with each box that’s sealed

more sorrow’s revealed

thoughts of Lover return in full colour

this house serves as my one last memory

of a love before it turned into my enemy

I have not one shred of his evidence left

except this place and leaving, I’m feeling bereft

I don’t know why I still cry

I guess grieving takes a while

I know I served as a distraction

a mere thieving transaction

I have no doubt I am washed from his mind

except for my name to be used in his lies

but he broke me and realistically

it’s an eternity to heal and feel whole again

especially after his ill gotten gains

a conman who held my heart in his fist

I wish I could give this love affliction a miss

Home Sweet Home (the sequel)

this week’s been crazy
and maybe just maybe
i’ve got my sweet home
now just need to take a loan
the offer’s been signed and sent
and I await his consent

I’ve hardly slept
had days when I’ve wept
or snapped and yelled
‘cos I’ve been overwhelmed
despondent then excited
then just downright frightened

I must keep the end in sight
because in the end it’ll all be alright
now if only I could sleep
that would sure be a treat

Let me explain the madness

Firstly, I’m sorry I’ve had you all concerned about my wellfare (again). Ohmygod when is this chick gonna get her shit together! Well, probably never. But you were all there for me during my meltdown and I thank you for putting up with me and loving me no matter what. As of right now, I’m good. I have a strategy, the emotional crisis is over, and hopefully I can shed some light on what went down that had me so derailed.

Let’s start at the beginning. I wrote this poem last night, never expecting the shit to hit the fan this morning.

The Landlord

you call me ‘needy’?
you seedy little man
with your doomsday prepper plans
and your hens and your chickens
your unacknowledged fear that sickens
you are greedy and sleazy, and your text messages are leery

you think you have power?
you’ve never seen a bipolar shower rage against your misbehave
you creepy little runt
friendliness all a front
for what you stand to gain
lording over your domain
you are tight-fisted and your image of me is twisted

you’ve pegged me wrong ‘cos I am strong
don’t underestimate my fight
my bark is silent compared to my bite
NOW FIX THE FUCKING GATE
BEFORE I TRULY GET IRRATE

 

Before the shit hit the fan

Crime in South Africa is horrific. I’m sure our reputation recedes this preamble. A favourite criminal pastime is carjacking. As you arrive at your driveway, the crooks jump out the bushes, and feel nothing to kill you in exchange for your car. So every homeowner/renter has an automatic gate and a clear verge. As you approach your driveway you press your little remote, the gate opens, and you swoop into the safety of your property unscathed.

Meet my landlord:
He’s a doomsday prepper, ex-cop negotiator turned real-estate agent (bullshitter) who claims to own many properties. He claims he can sum up a person in the first 10 seconds of meeting them, a super power courtesy of his super duper police negotiator skills . His ‘professional’ judgement – Lover is a narcissist (duh) and apparently I’m needy.

(He first met me when I was going through venlafaxine withdrawal.  So that’s obviously what going through the withdrawal looks like – needy. Hmm, yesss, needy to vomit, neeeedy to shit myself, neeeedy to scratch at the imaginary bugs on my arms. Yes, neeeeedy)

I’ve been living here for 5 months now and my firsthand experience with him is, he’s controlling and likes to play mind games. My gut finds him creepy, overfamiliar and bordering on inappropriate. He is tight-fisted and won’t spend money to fix ANYTHING. He’ll drag it out for as long as possible. He is a LIAR. And I DESPISE liars. He dodges things, selective in what he does and doesn’t do. I’ve been asking for a copy of my lease since I moved in and…. nothing.

There were two main problems discovered on settling in here:
-electrical fault with the lights – fire danger. Took him 3 months with much hounding to get it fixed.
-automatic gate kept getting stuck, personal safety danger. Well, the gate is now so bad it doesn’t open at all. I have to park my car in the road, walk up the drive, making sure there’s no evil lurking in his jungle of a verge, and wrestle with the gate to get it open. Its heavy and hard to manhandle. And then when I work late, do this in the dark. Lovely

For FIVE MONTHS NOW, he’s had me like a donkey with a carrot on a string – promises, quotes, ordering parts. But lately its been excuses “too expensive” and “its not in my budget”. Now for a bipolar with a penchant for rage? I’ve been very fucking patient thus far.

So the issue at hand is my personal safety. Let’s talk hijacking. If I’m hijacked and they happen to kill me…. need I say, you all know I’m suicidal… you know where I’m going with this. BUT, while its not in his budget to fix his rent-paying tenant’s gate, its not in my fucking budget to have my car stolen AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I TOLD HIM TODAY.… after I broke a perfect good pair of fucking shoes trying to open his fucking stupid gate. I was pulling and pushing so hard, I PULLED THE SOLES OF MY SHOES RIGHT OFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!

 

Aaaand there goes the shit hitting the fan

I shouted for him over the fence. No response. I send texts. No response. Only when I was at work did I receive a response that he demands a meeting with me to “set some things straight”. Let’s add to his personal traits that HE’S A FUCKING COWARD AND A BULLY. I phoned him. My friend was with me, she said I did everything right. There will be no meeting. I told him he intimidates me and I just want a copy of my lease and the gate fixed. He’s lied about the terms of the lease. Originally it was a 12 month lease. Now he says its a month to month ie if I don’t like the gate I must fuck off. Which is exactly what I’m gonna do. My oath to god, I signed a 12 month lease. When Lover left me with this rental its been the biggest problem for me. And now he changes the rules. Because it suits him.  All this time I’ve been struggling AND HE KNEW IT, and now he tells me oooooh no, its a month to month.  If I’d known that I would have left months ago.  Also, I felt it was a veiled threat that he wants to evict me.  I said “so are you saying you want me gone” and all he would reply was “I can’t say that”????? What kinda answer is I “can’t” say that? Well, my world fell apart.  Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and had a great fall.  But with a little help from my friends and Linkin Park today, Pieces has been put back together again.  I will be moving in with my friend in August until I can find a LOVELY place to stay.

 

Moral of the story

I am done with men (ab)using and controlling me for their own agendas. He wanted me to be needy for the benefit of his own ego. So he could be the knight in rusty armour (its not in his budget to buy polish to shine his armour) that would ‘rescue’ me. But that’s not who I am. And we discussed ‘who am I’ in therapy today.

I’LL TELL YOU THIS MUCH I’VE FIGURED OUT SO FAR…… I AM THE FRIENDLY DOG WHO WILL WAG ITS TAIL FOR YOU. I’M OPEN AND I’M HONEST AND I’M KIND AND IF YOU PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT YOU CAN GET TO SCRATCH MY TUMMY. BUT IF YOU PULL MY FUCKING TAIL, DON’T GET ANGRY WITH ME WHEN I BITE YOU.

Manipulation and pure madness

This time last week Lover was drunk out of his mind, on a bus to Cape Town, and I was having a meltdown. After a few days I began to rearrange the home in an attempt to erase memories of him. And then, just as I felt the dust begin to settle, he phoned me.

Unfortunately, this contact has triggered a harmful pattern of behaviour I fall into whenever a relationship ends. Be it a one week or six month relationship. Even if I am the one that calls it quits! I can’t let go. I won’t let go, dammit! I become obsessed with maintaining contact. Nice messages turn to nasty messages, turn to begging to get back together then about-turn to ending the relationship all over again. I cross the line into crazy in a way that only the extremes of bipolar can do.  I act like a woman possessed

This pattern of behaviour runs circles around me, I feel powerless over the need to be heard, to be acknowledged. Every fibre of my being wants to contact him in the hopes that I’ve not been discarded or forgotten. This week I have acted in pure madness and he has manipulated me every inch of the way. I have sent a barrage of emails and text messages. Days go by with nothing answered or acknowledged. Then just as the dust begings to settle…… another random text message – I’m going to get my meds, have a great day, I will always love you. And then I’m triggered all over again, sending hateful, nastry, cruel messages. What can I say, his emotional abuse by using silent treatment brings out the best in me.

don't text him girl by inessa_emilia - deviantart

Texting Lover is forbidden. I’ve enforced a No Contact rule for myself, for the safety of my own health. (pic)

I have an old phone that can’t block people. But I turned to my good friend, Google, and he found some super-duper apps to block phone calls and text messages. Now I don’t have to worry about some surprise contact just as I begin to settle in to my new life. Now I don’t have to keep obsessively checking my phone 10 million times a day to see if he’s responded. Now I feel safe. And now I can work on letting go, moving forward and never looking back.

Pardon me, some rage slipped out

I finally burrowed out of my dark flat into the brightness of the real world today. To go shopping. At a (dreaded) shopping mall.

Skinny people everywhere

Skinny people everywhere

 

Between the plastic manequins draped with the latest skinny fashions, the traumatic change rooms and the queue’s, I never try anything on. I cross my fingers and hope it fits. Wandering aimlessly, I can’t imagine fitting into that streamlined dress, or that cotton top, or that jersey, t-shirt, jacket……. My eating disorders ricochet inside my head. Convinced I resemble a starving Etheopian with Kwashiorkor, I gave up, my mood low and my feet aching.

My round pot belly is out of proportion to the rest of my body

My round pot belly is out of proportion to the rest of my body

 

But I needed one of those one terabyte thingies. The salesman tells me the special’s sold out. I look at him, waiting for options. He looks back at me, blinking. I say, well don’t you have any in the back? He goes off and returns with an older gentleman who tells me the same thing, madam we are out of stock, but you can take this one instead. And the genius points to a more expensive brand. Oh, for the same price though, I enquire. He says no. I say, well then that’s not a choice, you are forcing me to purchase the more expensive brand. He says, sorry we’re out of stock, his gaze shifts into the distance and he starts picking his nose.

WELL, my brain goes ENGAGE RAGE. I have a vague recollection of loud words coming hot and fast off my tongue while waving my hands above my head in a muddy impression of “Cheaters vs Jerseylisious”. I ranted about Mr Big Corporation preying on the General Consumer, we’re a ‘lamb to the slaughter’ being reduced to impotent victims yadda yadda . I know I stamped my foot at one point. That sent the first saleman running, yes running like Usain Bolt, away from me and to the safe enclave of his fellow colleagues a few feet away.

Even I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of my rage

Even I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of my rage

 

 

But I did need the terabyte thingie. So I cursed the older salesman who had by this stage taken his finger out his nose and was staring at me with a slack jaw. I don’t recall what else I shouted, but the fiasco finished off with a Shame on you, SHAME ON YOU, dressing down to the older salesman, before I wobbled away, shaking, jerking, twitching, to the cashier.

This is why I don’t like shopping. Between the change room lighting, people pushing and bumping, long queue’s and sore feet, keeping vigilant for pick-pocketers, my tolerance wears thin, triggers start popping, and all it takes is a salesman absentmindedly fingering his nose, to set me off.

 

One advert is all it takes

I’ve been on my dreaded annual leave for one week now and everything’s been going fine. My father even PHONED me on christmas day!! (no easy passes for him though – I did send a nice text first – first time we’ve spoken since October). Athough I had expected to become depressed, I haven’t. It’s been a peaceful day, and as I sat watching tellie I got to thinking, okay being on leave with no routine isn’t so bad after all. I can do this. I am doing this.

But I spoke too soon. Oooooh Karma, why do you have to be such a bitch? Because at that very moment, an advert comes on the TV advertising some of my favourite bands are playing a big new year’s eve party in another part of the country. And I will miss them. Now, you need to understand, I’m emotional about these bands. We’ve all heard the quote ‘music gives a voice to emotion’ and I identify a lot of my varying states of being with certain music (shrug). So it’s personal.  I feel it in my blood, my brain my spirit. I missed 30 Seconds to Mars and I’m still emotional about that (shrugs again).

music makes my heart beat loud

music makes my heart beat loud

So in one split second, peaceful switched to gut wrenching loss. Now I’m the first to admit, this is an inappropriately extreme reaction to disappointment. Tears, tears and more tears. My heart felt physically broken. So many tears triggered by one advertisement? You bet’cha. Tears that probably don’t even belong to this situation but to a lost event in the smog of my life.

I’m sad, but I’m fine. I just hate the way bipolar can ambush me like that. Like an unseen landmine or trip wire that you’re oblivious to until it triggers. And yet other times it’s a slow trickle, a steady saturation that you don’t know is accumulating until it soaks into it’s own weightiness. Bipolar is unpredictable and even when watching tellie, should come with a warning –

Advertisement Trigger Warning :
could make you happy, sad, angry, eat an entire chocolate sponge cake or buy four thousand bucks worth of kitty cat accessories when you do not, in fact, own a kitty cat