Kryptonite and Inevitable Triggers

My Kryptonite

“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me’s is me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Consistently trying to mimic emotions of others everyday in itself is hard, trying to be happy when you are sad and and stop the acceleration of happiness is exhausting.  I cherish the moments when I can completely be myself, drown in the things I love with joy. I wish I could be consistent and a “trigger” is just a word for a simple release mechanism.

I have to pause before the hamster falls off the wheel and rewind a bit. Lately, I can’t figure out if I’m okay, about to be manic, or about to face the black dog (depression). It’s a typical meme you’ll find on the Internet. Basically, if you don’t like my mood now, wait a few minutes. I haven’t written as much on my blog in the last few weeks, mostly just unable to focus. I have emails I desperately need and want to reply too regarding how I handle having bipolar and mental illnesses or blog in general. Many praising how I am shifting such a horrible illnesses into a superpower. It’s hard to tell someone with bipolar, PTSD, depression or anxiety what works for me, because I am constantly trying to pinpoint the answer myself. Ithe is ever changing. I never post trigger warnings on my blog because no single person has the same triggers. Yes, we probably all share many of the same. But mine can be anything from hearing a baby cry in a bathroom echoing off the walls to someone asking me, “Do I know you?” to trigger a response.

So today, I was completely fine, enjoying a day with the family. We had chosen to go see a movie and walk around the mall prior. Today is Memorial day, for our family everyday is memorial day like many of our friends. We never forget those who gave all, so today was like no other except it reminds the rest of the world to pause for the day. It’s a trigger, I am reminded of my husband’s deployments, nearly losing him in the Pentagon on September 11th and those who did not come home on those days or those deployments. So for my family they are remembered everyday. So today a movie and the mall sounded perfect.

While shopping, I get a call from my credit card telling me of possible fraudulent charges. Instantly a trigger, “Did I do something and spend thousands online? Did I charge away to ASPCA  (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) late at night watching those emotional commercials involving animal cruelty? Or to an organization for wounded warriors that pulled at my heartstrings?” These things ran instantly through my head. I knew it was none of those things, but what if? What if it happened and I didn’t remember. The thoughts of other things ran through my head. As I listened, I learned that it was simply we hadn’t used our credit card and when my husband bought the kids a snack with the card just minutes before, it triggered the alert from the card company (Bravo to Chase Bank for diligently). This in turn triggered me.

It was obvious to everyone, the day was over. I was rigid, emotionless, angry, irritated, and every muscle remained tense. It was no one’s fault. I just hated myself, reminded of who I was like Kryptonite to Superman. I was wounded. I saw the disappointment on everyone’s face as we left the mall for the car. Everyone knew the day with Mom was over.

Once home it took hours to stop my muscles from being so tense. Release myself from the fear and tension that had occurred in my head. I sat on the couch and didn’t move. Shortly, I fell asleep from exhaustion. Once I woke, my body ached, I was tired, not sleepy but drained. Dinner was prepared for me, the kids and Dad went to a neighborhood cookout. The day was savaged for them, but I felt like I’d spent the day in the gym. In a fog, reflecting how real it all felt.

I wanted to share that regardless of how awesome and healthy I look or appear I’m not immune to triggers. I am not perfectly super bipolar all the time. What makes me great is also what makes me horrible. A trigger to me is what I imagine and compare to the weaknesses of superheroes.

As I sat down to write tonight I was reminded of, Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. I flipped to the highlighted quote you see at the beginning of this post. It perfectly described me. It is me yesterday, today and tomorrow. The battle never ends, but like all superheroes I will survive to fight another day.

47 thoughts on “Kryptonite and Inevitable Triggers

Add yours

  1. That has to be really hard on you. The exhaustion from being up and down on this rollercoaster of emotions is extremely difficult. But then to know that you’ve disappointed your child, even though it’s not your fault, would be even harder.
    You are doing much good by being so honest and open about your struggle. Keep writing if you can.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.


  2. I’m not bi-polar but a four-year contract where I worked included the boss who was. Friday-Greg was the happiest guy you could meet, smiling, drinking a beer with everyone, bouncing around the room. Friday would be the day in which I’d just successfully rolled out the week’s minor version of our software to all of our clients.

    Monday-Greg was moody, mean, glowering, hard-to-deal with. Avoidance was usually your best option here. Monday meant a new minor version had started and *who knew* how the week would turn out? Would we succeed? Would we fail? So uncertainty was his trigger, I’d discovered. He wasn’t capable of rationally acknowledging that a roadblock existed and couldn’t entertain the thought that we always successfully shipped every Friday because we were good at what we did.

    I might suggest that beyond the thought-triggers involved there is likely a chemical component that underlies what you’re feeling. For a diabetic, managing sugar/insulin appears to be critical to leading a more normal existence (if there is such a thing). Perhaps for you it’s about managing dopamine or endorphins or adrenaline or a combination of these?

    Not that I’m a doctor, but I might suggest trying a daily walk of thirty minutes. I would guess that a faster pace is in order here, something so that you get the sense that your heart is working harder than when you’re at rest.

    There’s such a thing as a runner’s high, they call it. There’s a point several minutes into the run where you get a kick-in of endorphins and it’s awesome. The stage before that typically includes your body telling you that it would be more fun to *not* be doing this, you’re achy, your ankle threatens to give way at any moment. But then after that magic kick-in, the endorphin as a pain-related chemical tells your body to shutup, basically. It’s like bam and then suddenly you have more energy, more focus and it feels like you have a new body. Hope that makes sense.

    A daily regimen of walking will increase the size of your blood vessels, increase the size of your capillaries, increase the number of red blood cells and promote better heart health so it’s not terrible advice. In your particular case, you may find that there could be a secondary effect in helping to regulate some of the chemical signals your body processes. It might be worth a shot.


  3. I enjoy your writing. I can understand how you are feeling; although I don’t have bipolar disorder, I can get a glimpse through your writing. I hope to be able to do the same on my blog above living with depression. I just want to spread awareness and help end the stigma of mental health disorders that makes so many of us hide it from the world.


  4. Very nice post. I just stumbld upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing
    your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!


  5. Hi there, a very cheerful new year to you. Going through this post gives me a sense of something I have been (and still am) experiencing for the last 16 years. It’s definitely not easy to easy to live with bipolar disorder, especially when you have to deal with the constant dilemma of what your life is like–whether it is one of belonging to something you have quoted here, “Which of the me’s me?”. It is the wild and outgoing me or a submissive and suicidal me.

    It is at this juncture that I would like to request you to kindly consider contributing something on my blog, Ideas Abound. It’d be great if we could collaborate to work towards raising awareness of the issue and perhaps ending the stigmatization that people have to face on a daily basis.

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post here. I hail from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, and people in cities like mine still don’t regard mental health issues as important or something that should be given much priority. We are constantly stigmatized. It’s a very tough thing to go out there and express your feelings and emotions, and even if you do get a chance to do so, you would be putting so much at stake from your career to your own happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. I’m a life coach blogger. Reading blogs is my hobby and I randomly found your blog. I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging endeavors. Please keep in touch with me in Google+, +sridharchandrasekaran Twitter @lifecoachbloger

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for sharing. It is difficult for those without hidden illness to understand how we live with, endure & become superheros of life because of.
    The more that we speak out and explain this burden or shout that we are here, the more mainstream it becomes, therefore eliviating the shame that the so many of those with Mental Illness, Chronic pain or other hidden illnesses feel. Thank you again, from another super hero.
    #mentalillness #superhero #hiddenillness

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yes very insightful, sometimes I think I maybe this or that and then I read an article like this and go whoah, that sudden collapse and ending, I think maybe meditation or a herbal pill but I guess you have been there and everywhere so glad you can manage. .looks like a neat blog,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read your post this morning, and didn’t have a chance to comment. I shared on Tumblr, and got busy in my day. Your words resonate, with anyone who’s felt these things to lesser or greater degrees. It’s insight into a spirit that can express itself. To me, it’s a rare look into not only you, but all of us, in a way. I appreciate, as others have said, your transparency, but also of sharing what no one can possibly see without your words.

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. I totally resonate with this. Part of my battle is dealing with an anxiety disorder coupled with my bipolar, and on some days there comes that trigger or time when the switch flips and the rest of the day is ruined. Just yesterday I had a panic attack in my first class of the day, had to come home, and spent the rest of the day in bed eating copious amounts of Chinese food and watching Disney movies until I felt better. It’s tough, but I’m slowly but surely learning to channel my hurts into positives! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. I had stayed away from my blog for a while but I am newly energetic. I had read your post and decided to return and saw this one with the quote from one of my favorite writers. I stay away from identification with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder but her writing is something that I can relate to. Thank you for using it. Receiving the diagnosis was one thing.But what I did with it was something much more powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey, I love your blog…it’s always a great read. I’ve nominated you for the Leibster award if you wanna participate 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The challenge with triggers is that they’re not necessarily stacked in a specific order. Meaning some perceived-as-bigger-deal events won’t make you bat an eyelash…but something that’s generally “minor” in the grand scheme of things will take you down by the knees.

    At least that’s how my anxiety works.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ok so this is kind of funny, but last night my son was asking me what Kryptonite was. I was trying to explain it to him, but told him we’d talk about it more in the morning. A few hours ago we had that convo and now I am reading your post. Wild.

    Glad I found your blog. Thanks for reading some of my posts, especially the most recents.

    I checked An Unquiet Mind out of the library a few months, but ended up not reading it. I was afraid it would be too triggering (there’s that word again). What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t find it triggering for me but more perspective. I really like the book. I guess it depends on what can set you off and sometime we don’t know until it happens. Go to goodreads and check out some of the reviews. It was a good book for me 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I’d like to say I understand. I know that the emotional flashbacks I have over things aren’t in the same category as this….but I’d still like to think that this well written piece gives me an insight I could appreciate and an empathy I’m glad to have.

    And it’s another day, to go forth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for sharing this eloquently written account of your triggers. I found it especially wonderfull that your family recognised you were triggered and supported you. That was beautiful to hear. Often in my personal experience I have to soldier on for the greater good. Mostly this mental illness is viewed not as a disability, a superpower or weakness, instead it gets seen as a nuisance or a hindrance. You very clearly rock, and so does your family. You are an inspiration x

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thank you for sharing this, it is beautifully written and explains different triggers well. I was on the edge of my seat wondering about the fraudulent activity on your card. I do hope that turned out ok in the end for you x

    Liked by 2 people

  20. You are right, the battle never ends in this world. Thank God it will in the next. One of my triggers is my making a mistake or doing something wrong. Thoughts of my parents and God hating me fill my head. I was deeply afraid of my father and my mom, although she loved us, was a perfectionist.

    I am not bi-polar, which is a much worse condition than what I have – depression/ocd/ptsd. I am so used to these thoughts they don’t have the power to depress me any longer. Other thoughts can bring on depression, but instead of dwelling on them I turn away from them. Joyce Meyer taught me how to do that. I am 66 years old and just learned how to feel better a year ago. Therapy over the years was great and helped a lot, but Joyce is the one for me. Just today she said we should say, “I’m glad I am me.” I’ve hated who I was for so long it sounds alien to me to say that. I said it though. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think this is my favourite of your posts that I’ve read. You summed up what it’s like to have all of these different triggers so perfectly. Thank you for sharing, and take care. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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