Bi Polar Disorder (BPD) (Part 5 of a 6 part series)
This entry will focus on: becoming an expert about your own triggers and strategies, so that you can deal with BPD.
So to recap, first the person, who has BPD, must believe they have BPD and second they must be highly motivated to work on managing the disorder. Episodes of depression may be set changes in the body. These changes may be based on physiological factors or by stress. In some cases, both factors may play a role in generating the problem. Stress can happen as a result of issues in a relationship, at work, or with families of origin.
When I discuss helping your partner who has BPD, I will be talking about dealing with their triggers; however, it is just as important that you are able to spot your own triggers. One of your best tools for handling your partner’s BPD is your ability for early detection not only of their moods, but of yours as well.
In therapy, we can discuss the specifics of how to do that, and in later blogs I will also talk about early identification techniques. The idea here is that the more aware you are of your inclination to get upset, to blow up, or to withdraw, the more able you will be to handle your own responses.
Self awareness is as critical as having a good relationship with your partner who has BPD. Managing BPD is going to take a lot of skill with a wide range of techniques to relate to the storm of the manic behavior and the discouragement of the depressive responses.
The place to start treatment is to keep an accurate journal of the up and down cycles. The journal should be specific about the incidents and the behavior during those incidents. The next thing to do is to review those situation(s) and action(s) and identify early signs that the person who has BPD is about to have an episode. The way to do this is to think of an episode then rewind the tape in your mind and look for those early cues. Notice if they occur during particular times of the day, or under specific circumstances.
To end this entry I want to talk about life style issues such as sleep patterns, possible addictive behavior, and social issues
A life style with little sleep or that is extremely demanding can also trigger mood swings It is significant to note, though not all people with BPD make regular use of drugs or alcohol, it is a common behavior of people with this disorder. Additional life style issues included and life changing events such as: moving, changing a job, illness, helping someone close to you deal with their medical problem, divorce, or loss of a loved one. All of these factors contribute to triggering of episodes of BPD. If your wondering which to address first the answer is the BPD must first be dealt with, because until the mood swings are under control dealing withthe other issues will be impossible.
In my next blog entry I will be talking about working as a team with your partner, to manage the BPD.