I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out my triggers. What brings me down, what upsets me, what makes me go high. I’m very lucky that my old neighbour was a mindfulness instructor and introduced me to meditation and mindfulness practice.

In 2015 I did the course. Through the six weeks, I started to understand what was going on in my wonky brain and how I actually felt. It was an absolute revelation. I cannot express how much that course helped me. I learnt how to view and feel my current mental state and be in the present. I learnt how to meditate and how to calm myself in moments of stress. I learnt more about how I felt. And that it was ok to feel those emotions.

The biggest thing that I learnt on the course was my triggers. Stress being number one and lack of sleep being number two.

So let me talk a little bit more about the stress in my life… two small children, two dogs, work, a bad relationship (now over), money, debt, moving house three times, a mental mother in law, lack of work for my ex, moving back from abroad, cars, family, life! Everyone has stress, I had the perfect storm of it.

The perfect storm of stress has happened to me three times. The first two times it sent me sky-high and the hulk came out. The third time, 2020 unsurprisingly, I managed to cope with it incredibly well… hooray! This is how I know that I’m well on the way to controlling my BP2.

Number two, lack of sleep. Now, this is something that anyone on the bipolar spectrum has issues with. When you’re high, you don’t, can’t sleep. 2/3 hours is good. Yes, the meds should help with this, but anyone with BP knows how tricky sleep is. So here’s my advice… sleep whenever you can. Nap in the afternoon, stay in bed and shove the kids in front of the tv, get in bed earlier, or later, have a long bath and close your eyes. Do what works for you. And don’t let yourself get over tired… no one needs that in their life. If you can’t sleep, try yoga Nidra or guided meditation. 30 minutes is supposed to be equivalent to three hours of sleep. Sitting or lying still may be tough, but once you train your mind to switch off and listen you’ll be well on your way to taming the sleep genie.

So if you’re reading this from the uk we’re on day two of our third lockdown. If you’re feeling stressed or upset or lonely or sad or anything else… it’s ok. Remember that you’re not alone and it’s perfectly valid to be feeling the way you do. If the COVID pandemic isn’t a trigger then I don’t know what it. Please don’t struggle alone, ask for help, look after yourself and take some time to relax.

Good luck trying to identify your triggers… trust me when I say that when you do, things will get a shed load better! X

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