For those who weren’t aware, I contribute for a popular mental health website called Bphope.com. It’s geared towards those with bipolar disorder but it’s also a great resource for anyone struggling with a mental illness or involved with someone who is diagnosed.
My piece Marriage Advice from a Bipolar Wife (https://www.bphope.com/caregivers/marriage-advice-from-a-bipolar-wife-relationship-tips-communication/), garnered a lot of attention. My editor emailed me and let me know that it was their “highest achieving” post on Facebook. The post will also be run in Bphope’s print magazine this summer. My first ever paid piece.
Waking up to the comments, emails, and new followers on Instagram who resonated with that piece was inspiring. It was so touching to me that my words help others. But behind the scenes, I also know that my words can hurt. My husband and I had actually got into a pretty intense argument the previous night.
I penned this post “Fighting Dirty.” When I am manic or triggered, I tend to take out my hurt or aggression to the person I love the most. It’s true when they say that hurt people hurt people. How can I stop myself from reacting in the most hurtful, explosive way when I’m upset?
I recently started an online therapy group where emotional regulation is the main focus. A few tips I wanted to share to prevent or deescalate anger when manic or triggered are described below…
I’m not typically a mindful person. I let emotions sweep over me and take me away. It’s hard for me to be present and actively engaged in a task. Take my writing for example, it’s taken me a couple months to be motivated enough to even want to write another blog post.
How can I practice mindfulness? The easiest way I was taught was to just focus on breathing. By doing so I can regulate how I’m feeling rather than just getting hyped up with emotions and boil over.
Try to be flexible
I’m a creature of habit. I like routines, schedules, and laid out plans. But life has a way of throwing a wrench in our perfect plans and I’ve had to learn to cope with this. By increasing my tolerance to change I’ve been able to lessen my aggression and moodiness.
It used to be hard for me to see other people’s point of view. I would get so worked up in my own head and now I know this is a completely selfish behavior.
I think in the end it’s knowing that we are all trying our best. Some days our best is just getting out of bed. Some days my own personal best is just shutting my mouth before I say something I regret. This leads me to my final lesson I’ve learned to avoid “fighting dirty.”
Apologize when you know you’re wrong
I tend to be a prideful person. I don’t typically like waving the white flag in order to surrender or make peace. But I know my words are just as hurtful as physical violence.
Who am I to make someone feel less worthy? We can’t combat our hurt with even more hate.
So to my husband, I love you. I’m sorry. And I truly appreciate all that you do for me and our family. Please remember that I am still trying my best. We’re all a work in progress.