The thing with bipolar is the smallest things can throw you off, and if you don’t have a pre-determined strategy to deal with them, you’ll be emotionally drained. I’m usually very good at dealing with emotional stress, but today, something completely caught me off guard. Relationships can be tough because there’s such an emotional connection between two people. I rely on my girl to help me out in ways that my male friends would never understand. I guess it’s because the connection with your girlfriend is completely different than others. This is EXACTLY why when something throws you off, it completely starts hitting emotional places that NO one else can come close to.
Unlike in the early stages of a relationship, when things were still pre-mature, it was a great time to test each other out…right? It’s what happens in the early stages that ultimately builds or destroys your relationship.
My early stages were amazing, and this is why I started becoming too emotionally depended on my girl, even though I knew it’s a mistake because one thing can ruin my day, week, or even month. I guess it’s my bipolar nature to be completely extreme or as they say, bi-polar: “having or relating to two poles or extremities.”
Anyway, before I continue, I just wanted to give you an idea into why intimate relationships can have such a dramatic effect on me. It’s because I’m… “either/or”, meaning it’s either one way, and if not, then it’s completely the other. This is where my triggers happen, and have happened for the last 16 years. I jump from one extreme to the other when things don’t go my way. It’s been my track record with a lot of things and they can really come bite you in the ass.
Over the years, I’ve learned to express myself better so at least my emotions don’t stay bottled up inside. I actually did try a different approach, and I’ll post an update letting you know how things went. This way, we all can see how dealing with intimate relationships doesn’t always have to be a trigger. If we communicate or leave things “open” to communication, it might just work in OUR benefit.
Here’s what happened today,
For years, I’ve been asking my girl to take a vacation with me, and she’s always busy with work. As a matter of fact, we haven’t taken “1” vacation together. I want to try different things and elevate my mind because it helps you appreciate life much more. Instead, she’s always giving me the one-two punch about having to work and NOT having enough time to take a vacation with me. However, here’s what completely threw me off…
She’s taken “3” vacations with her family, and it’s important to note this is completely fine. I’m all for family so I encourage her to go so she can spend time with them, but it’s so easy for her to take time off to go when they ask. She never complains to me about her working schedule when her family asks, but with me, it’s a completely different story.
I feel things are so easy for her to move around when she wants to really do something, and when she doesn’t want to, she’ll not even put any effort. In the end,
My bipolar mind jumps into a complete extreme, thinking automatically she doesn’t like doing things with me. I start thinking we’re doomed, there’s NO point in this relationship, I should get out, and let me get even with her, etc. Basically, my mind is going in 10 different directions. The problem is these are all “NEGATIVE” thoughts, which history has shown me can trigger an episode. It’s because with these negative thoughts, you have depressed thoughts and those of low self-esteem and self-worth.
Here’s another thing I should mention,
I have communicated this to her before WITHOUT any progress, and before, this has led to enormous fights because she felt that I’m attacking her. I think it’s her way of avoiding me or she gets defensive. Either way, I tried twice and it didn’t produce any positive results. If you have been reading me previous posts, especially this one: Divide Your Emotions to Help Cope with Bipolar – Overview, then you know I’ve been doing things differently.
I decided today I’ll use a different approach and see how things work out. I’m trying to avoid two things: An episode and continuous argument (usually the pattern).
I’ve become pretty good at the “divide your emotions” approach so quickly put a few things together while talking to her on the phone. First, I went through in my mind, going over my expectations. For example,
- What do I expect from her?
- What do I expect from myself?
- What do I expect in terms of communication?
- What do I expect from the situation?
- What can we do to improve expectations going forward?
I concluded the following, which helped me deal with this situation differently compared to other times. First, I know I expect her to be fair with me, and I let her know that on the phone. Usually, I would have started yelling, telling her she’s sneaky, unfair, horrible, etc.
However, I avoided all this, and asked her to be fair with me the next time I asked her to take a trip with me. Instead of attacking her and putting her down, I asked her to be fair going forward, avoiding previous patterns. I want to stay away from bringing up all the other fights because I know they would add a negative energy to this present situation.
Secondly, by communicating to her calmly, I was able to keep my expectation of how I wanted people to communicate with me. I knew, from previous patterns, yelling only made things worse because we would say things to each other that just put us down. This added more of an emotional burden on me, which wouldn’t be helping out my current situation. I’ve noticed I crack under a huge emotional burden so wanted to avoid it going forward. It’s just going to trigger episodes, which I wanted to avoid.
Third, because I’m so calm and dealt with it in the MOST appropriate way, I expect the outcome to be different next time. At this point, I would expect it to get better…right? I’ve done everything right from the beginning:
- Didn’t yell
- Told her how I felt
- Asked her to be fair
- Didn’t stop her from going
- Treated her with respect
All of this will help me determine the future going forward. I mean, if things don’t get any better, then the problem lays deeper within our relationship. However, for now, I’m happy and calm with the way I dealt with the situation. When you care for someone and put them down, you NOT only feel bad for what they did to you, but what you said to them…right?
I kept calm and avoided a situation with heavy emotional stress. My track record shows this would be my trigger points. You learn this in psychosocial therapy as you begin to identify your trigger points. The divide your emotions approach allows me to understand each emotion separately then work towards effectively avoiding negative energy.
Psychotherapy is aimed at alleviating core symptoms, recognizing episode triggers, reducing negative expressed emotion in relationships, recognizing prodromal symptoms before full-blown recurrence, and, practicing the factors that lead to maintenance of remission.
This situation is NOT over, but I wanted to write about it to be completely transparent about what threw me off. I also want to ask what you guys think about my approach. Would you deal with it differently? And what should I expect going forward?
I’ll give you guys an update over the next couple of days. Let’s see how this plays out, and if it helped control my cycling.
Thanks for listening, guys! 🙂