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Posts Tagged ‘trigger’

I’ve been well for two years now with just 2 or 3 slight dips in mood. I handled the dips well and they didn’t escalate into desperately depressed episodes. What I am desperate for is something to do since I am retired, have too much time on my hands and I don’t think I can handle the stresses of a full or regular part-time job.

Before my last deep, dark episode 2 years ago, I was volunteering for Hospice doing data entry for 4 hours once a week and I liked my job. I did it very well. While I was sick in the hospital, my husband called in for me telling my supervisor I was ill and I wouldn’t be back. I didn’t have any interaction with people there but I liked my work. My husband and therapist felt that having no interaction wasn’t healthy and maybe they were right. But now that I’m doing so well, I am desperate for something productive to do. I have too much time on my hands.

I tried volunteering at the Sheriff’s office doing fingerprinting. I had a 4-hour shift one day a week. The problem was that only one or two people came in to be fingerprinted during my shifts. Sometimes no one showed up. I would have to sit there doing crossword puzzles since they didn’t have any other work for me to do. I was bored out of my skull. I quit after only a few months.

I also tried helping out at our church office one morning a week answering the phone and doing some copying. I thought it would be fun but it was boring—no people interaction since I was covering for staff while they were in a meeting every week. I stopped signing up for hours (there were a few ladies who volunteered).

For a while I would go to the church café on Friday mornings and help six or seven older ladies stuff bulletins for the coming Sunday’s service. I was bored. The ladies were (and are) very nice people but the work was boring and the interaction didn’t grab my attention.

A number of years ago, I tried working at the animal shelter socializing the cats. The dander bothered me so I had to quit that.

My husband and former therapist felt I should sign up for classes at Joanne’s Fabric Store.   They have classes to make jewelry, knitting, decorative painting, crocheting and sewing. They even give occasional classes on cake decorating. The classes are one or two sessions long, are for beginners, which I would be one, but once you’ve taken the class where is the support to improve your skills at your newfound hobby?   Learning to knit hats and scarves in Florida is not practical. A sweater would be but you’d need an advanced class to learn the skills to do that and they aren’t offered. You need to pay for these classes plus the tools and materials. I don’t see the point in shelling out the money when the classes are so limited and I can’t completely learn a skill. Decorative painting sounds nice but you have to buy the items you want to paint plus the various brushes, the paint and the varnish/sealer. It’s expensive and I don’t have room in my house for clutter—I have everything I need—I live simply. You can only make so many gifts for people before it becomes clutter for them too.

So this is my dilemma: what do I do with my spare time? I can only clean my house so much. Once it’s clean it’s clean. There are only 2 of us so it doesn’t get too mussed up or dirty. I need something fairly stress free since stress is a trigger for anxiety which is a trigger for a mood swing.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Noise. It’s all around us, some pleasant and soothing, and some that grates severely on our nerves.

 I’ve talked with several people who are bipolar and they all agreed that loud noise, harsh sounds, loud TVs or music, even movies or concerts, can actually become a trigger. They are sound sensitive.

 This is a major issue for me too. I avoid places that bombard my senses.  But I can’t avoid my home.  My husband loves action shoot-em-up movies, war movies, crime shows and he would always turn the volume up so he could hear all the details (he’s a bit hard of hearing). It drove me up the walls. I felt assaulted by the sounds. I would close myself up in another room and I could still hear it. A few hours of this would often set off some irritability (understandably normal), which could lead to a mood swing. I explained all this to my husband and, thoughtful man that he is, he decided there had to be a remedy so we could both be happy and entertained in the same room together.

 Headphones! My husband did some investigating and found quality wireless headphones, which allow him to hear everything even better.   And I don’t hear a thing so I can sit across from him and read in peace and quiet. We’re both happy with the solution.

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I can’t believe I’ve been away from here for 5 months!  I was granted a transfer to another office in August.  What an answer to prayer!  There is seldom any stress and my supervisor is very organized.  I am actually getting a little antsy because I’m so used to a frantic pace that I feel I need more to do.  Not so, in reality.  I know the job is cyclical (like my moods, hah) and will start getting busy again very soon.  I love the job and enjoy the people.

A great deal has happened since June.  I’ve had major ups and downs and fought to stay focused on positive things; things for which I am grateful.  My spouse is very supportive, my kids and grandkids are healthy, we live in a beautiful part of the country, I’ve discovered who my real friends are and I’ve found a great job.

Even so, I took a nosedive into severe depression in September and I think it was triggered by 2 visits, a week apart, to a therapist recommended by my psychiatrist.  She started out wanting to get to know me by finding out about my past and how I felt about various events.  My psychiatrist specifically didn’t want me to go there, so the therapist’s line of questioning was a major, agonizing, trigger and I was just an impulse away from suicide.  Thankfully, the psychiatrist took over my therapy and after 2 months and prescribing a mood stabilizer (Lamictal) in addition to my antidepressant (Cymbalta), we have made major strides.  He added Seroquel to be taken at night to help me sleep because Ambien stopped working and I had to wean off of it.  Well, the Seroquel’s not working and by mid-day, I feel happy, sad, agitated, full of energy, and worried all at the same time.  Ugh!  I’ll see the psychiatrist next week.

In spite of it all, life is looking brighter.  I know my triggers, I catch my negative thinking and can usually turn it around, and I know God is always with me.  My hope is that I can use what I learn through all of this to help others with mood disorders and other mental illnesses.    That is one thought that keeps me working to move forward.

Wishing you sunny days, health and peace,

Journey

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