Learn The Bipolar Triggers Or Else

How’s it going? I wanted to write you really quick
about something that I was thinking of–bipolar

It’s strange to me how doctors, therapists,
books, etc. rarely talk about this or make
a big deal about it.

What is a bipolar trigger? Well a bipolar
trigger is something that triggers,
leads to, causes or instigates a bipolar
disorder episode.

For people with bipolar disorder, there
are things that “trigger” and episode.

With my mom, according to her and my
own observations, here are some of hers:

not eating right
not exercising
not being on the right medication
no sleeping
going to Texas to see her family
getting into too many arguments
getting wrapped up in drama that involves friends

That’s just a few the list is much longer but
you can see from the above list some of the
stuff might be considered odd. Like “
going to Texas to see her family.”

You might think, “how is that a trigger?”
Well first remember the rule of why. Don’t
ask why when you no it is so.
This rule states, don’t try to figure out
what is proven to be a fact–just accept
it. Many get bogged down in trying to
figure out why something is with bipolar
disorder as opposed to just acceptance.

For example, “Why does sleep help my
loved one stay stable.” Who cares,
just help your loved one get enough
sleep. Unless you are a researcher,
why ask why?

BUT even though I just said all that,
let’s look at why Texas for my mom is
a trigger. I want to do this not to contradict
myself but to show how you may not know
why and don’t even need to but ultimately
a certain thing is very important.

Okay, Texas. Let’s look at what Texas is
for my mom. First she is from Texas, and
so is most of my family. So Texas equals
seeing family. Texas also logically equals
many bad times for my mom. Why? Well when
she was in Texas she had bipolar disorder
and she wasn’t under the right treatment
plan. Actually she didn’t have a treatment
plan so lots of bad things happen.

With that said, it’s easy to see in my
head how Texas becomes stressful in many
ways and can bring back bad memories.

Even if you don’t have bipolar disorder,
dealing with relatives is stressful.

Anyway, so if we assume Texas equals lots
of stress, and we know that stress is a bipolar
disorder trigger for my mom, we can conclude
that going to Texas can be a bipolar trigger
for my mom and lead into an episode for

Now even if I didn’t know all of this or
I couldn’t figure out all the stuff that
creates stress in Texas, the data or
the results of Texas trips are clear.

According to my memory and my dad,
my mom goes into an episode AFTER coming
back from Texas most of the time.

I hope it doesn’t happen this time
but I am not worried. There is a great
plan and system in place. BUT, if the
system fails and my mom goes into an
episode, I know EXACTLY what to do
in virtually any and every case.

I have thought through all possible
outcomes and have a plan for each. It this
point, it’s a breeze for me since I have
been doing it so long. It takes no effort.

If you are new to supporting someone with
bipolar disorder, you should be excited
because it use to be a nightmare for me.
Trying to figure all the stuff out with
my mom and what to do and how to respond
if this or that happen. Now it’s really

It can be easy for you some day soon. It
won’t happen in 47 seconds but it can




I have to take off for today. Have a
great day and catch you tomorrow.


  1. David,…
    My family is also from Texas. My mother who is BiPolar but refuses to believe that anything is wrong with her 🙂 is from Cleburne.
    I was born in Ft. Worth and my daugther who is also BiPolar but is finally getting the treatment she needs was born in Dallas.
    My daughter’s Fiance’ called this mnornig and she went into an episode last night. She ran out of her medication went for a very late night walk and tried to walk into an oncoming truck!
    She is in the hospital this morning and her Fiance’ said that she signed the papers to go to a Hospital in Auburn, Texas for six months to get the full treatment she needs. She told him that she knew it must be done if she was ever to get her children back from DHS and become a whole wife for him. I hurt for her so much but I am also very proud of her decision to finally do this for herself.
    There are so many triggers it makes my head spin.
    I am grateful that we found each other. The information you provide has saved what is left of my strength and sanity.
    I consider you one of my newest friends. Thank you so very much!

  2. Dave:
    Your post on triggers is so true.
    I have been bipolar all of my life. Until recently, I did not know waht was wrong. I find it helps to avoid situations that cause stress. Or situations where it is not posssible to be in control. If too much is happening at once, I can’t deal with it and I will go into an episode. The feeling I experience most is frustration. Not being able to say or do what need to be said or done. I either, become very angry,(because of frustration.), or go blank not knowing what to do. Waiting for something to happen. I find I if a situation changes suddenly, I tend to have a episode. I think this is because I get locked into whatever I am doing and cannot handle outside stimulus. I find I hate to loses arguements. I realize someone who is not bipolar, is not going to understand. One thing that a supporter can do is let us be right in no critical issues. Avoid arguing. I speak as one who needs help and has few friends, because of my condition. Sometimes you have to lose to win. I know, it is one of Life’s paradoxs. You who support a bipolar person, need to help us by seeing problems down the road that we don’t see.
    I for one, will be grateful.
    C. R.

  3. David,

    What do you sugest to me a person who wonders if I am the trigger for my bipolar person. What If i trigger too many bad memories because of not dealing with this illness for 3 years. (didn’t know he had it) If I am one of the triggers, and I am the only supporter who belives in dealing with his illness as you suggest, what now?

    sad and confused….

  4. Yep, i think something trigger my loved ones episode due to proberly the wrong treatment. The psychtrist was trying to figure out a way for him to be able to off to college. Therefore they were trying a different medicine and i guess it was too late by the time they realize he went into a manic episode the manic part of the diease was so out of control. They had to start him over on meds. I agree i think there are things that trigger different spectrums of bypolar diease.

  5. Yep so true David

    My partner had an episode for a week unbearable. After he just come out of it yesterday we discovered seeing his mother unexpectedly after 3 years triggered a major episode he refused to speak to her and his sister made the situation worse by demanding kisses he kissed one but refused the other knowing he would have to do the same for mother. His sister called him BLEEP wont say it and that was a mistake I had to get him out the shop and home quickly as the guilt from the situation riled him so much it lasted a week. He cannot stand his mum due to a very difficult past (obviously no one knows he has this condition and regarded him a difficult child with dyslexia)and like your mum David she never left the bed and couldnt cope) I definately sure his mum is also bipolic she lived on valium for years, years ago. But he still cannot forgive her. She is still driving the family crazy now with her lies and manipulation. He avoids her and that is it and thinking back I notice the cards on special occassions also trigger them and spoils the time christmas is the worse now I can understand why unlike before.

    Take care


  6. Hi. My fiance and I just returned from his meeting my dad for the first time. Dad’s current wife has Alzheimer’s and dad is 80 yo. Anyway, my fiance wouldn’t shower while there (Sun. – Tues.). Reason – something to do with them being older and her chronic illness; the infamous why question I didn’t know about until today. Anyway, I made a comment he’d get pretty ripe by the time we returned by flight (he was going straight to work off of the plane, also) and that maybe I wouldn’t sit with him. Wow. He wasn’t happy. I was trying to make a point, as I’d asked him many times if he wouldn’t like to shower while there. He didn’t tell me how he felt about it until about 7:00 a.m. today.

  7. Also, I didn’t continue the (travel) story. The rental car inspector stated a nick was in the windshield, smaller than a pin point. He was angry over that. He talked about it for a bit on the shuttle to the airport, and after a few statements I told him I’d rather not talk about it. Then he told me I was telling him to shut up, which I did not. That led into him ranting about it and throwing in the bit about the not showering. I was nervous and started laughing. He was very upset then and stated something about how I was so perfect and he wasn’t. This didn’t have to happen ~ it was bizarre.

  8. hi david

    i have been dating my girlfriend now for the past two months, at the beggining of our relationship she told me that she suffered from this disorder. i was naive and said there is nothing wrong with you. however in the past two weeks i have began to see a noticable difference in her.

    we had a huge argument the other night and after that i decided that i need to research more about this disorder. i have come across your material on the internet and i must say i am thankful that someone like yourself has put all this effort in.

    david unfortuantly i am from south africa and the price off your book is way out of my capabilities to purchase, however i am now on a mission to become as pro-active as i can possiably be to my girlfriends disorder. the sad part is that there is no real supporter groups in this country.

    i will try to learn as much as i can from your articals you send.



  9. Does your Mom know that when she dies she can be assurred of eternal life? Many people have an underlying fear of death that they hesitate to share with their family or even their psychiatrist.
    And most religions have a “hope-so” philosophy instead of a “know-so”…

    The secret is to realize that we get into heaven on Christ’s merits, not our own. Nobody is ever good enough to get into heaven…Nobody is pure enough or kind enough…but He IS, and he took our punishment…so the debt is paid, and we are now allowed into the presence of God even though he is so kind and so pure that most of us feel terribly ashamed to face Him.
    If your Mom can just rest in His grace–know that His death way back in history actually did something phenomenal between God and humans–then she can pray to God and tell him all the stuff that hurts her, and thus take a giant step toward her recovery.

    Love and prayers, Gramma Jeanne Adams, who has been rescued from symptoms and from the deepest pain because of this assurrance..

  10. my x husband was the same way.in reading these notes it’s like carbon copies of each other but with small differences. for the rest of us planning and then visiting someone is a fun experience but for him i could never understand it . most of the time it was with his family he had gotten so difficult that i just stopped going to see my family i kept in touch other ways …and hour and a half of an episode EVERYtime was very stressful. we’d get there everyone was upset …we’d get there late which he did on purpose,most of the time if it was summer he HAD to wash and wax the car first about l0 minutes before we had to leave. it happened with his own as well he’d be excited make the plans but that day he’s start losing it…boss everyone around about what they should wear and what they were wearing was right…my kids would change clothes till they just say “guess what I’m not doing it anymore!” he would pick a fight …tell me his family didnt really like me he would go with our son and leave us my daughter and i home after we were standing there ready to get into the car….then he’d pull he didnt feel well so i’d say you’d better call them then there was a fight because he didnt want to call….finally after hours of this he’d get ready and rush everyone to get into the car….on the way he’d pick an arguement,sometimes it would just start as a debate about presidency or issues in the world then it would get personal..by the time we got to his families house which is l0 minutes down the road we were exhausted and he was happy and ready to socialize…and as the family we were left worn out didnt want to get out of the car and confused..happened every single time…so when he lied and told me his family didnt want me at big holiday functions i was relieved…he would take my son and my daughter and i were left home to have our own thanksgivings and christmas……for xmas he never would help with the tree decorating it was always the kids and i….for the big morning he would come down all excited then the morning always became a downer ….how much did you spend and it didnt matter what anyone got for him he would voice how much he didnt like it. in reading your note i guess it was the stress of going things ,but it also became a major stress for us. instead of looking forward to holidays we learned to dread them. the kids would have their b-day parties when he was out of town..it was easier to do things without him… we carved pumpkins when he was out of town, we put up and decorated the tree if he was home he criticized and picked a fight. i would feel guilty but he didnt care and we wanted to enjoy what we were doing. i of course was the problem he didnt have one….we went for a few months to marriage counsling both of us were told things yet he was constantly throwing it up to me about how i was told to do certain things never him doing what was suggested for him…”you never say nice things about me , where are my positive strokes” i’m not really in the mind set to give positive strokes to someone who enjoys and went out of his way to abuse me in every way he could think of ….he got his positive from that always made him feel energized after a big confrontation…then i was a mess and feeling sick for a week and he was happy as a lark.

  11. in our situation he would leave to go out of town for the week after of course being sooooo nice to his customers then screaming at us, breaking things ,not taking his medication until he was going out on the road…..it gave him power over us because we of course were all scared….. i was constantly trying to get little kids out of the way and it was very real danger i felt with every episode. then he would finally leave all of our moods completely switched we were happy and then the phone would ring control from the road….if you didnt answer he’d call and not leave messages you knew who it was. the three of us felt like we were on vacation for the week but then the dreaded friday would come and the mood darkened we’d start arguing with each other ..he’d call and say he was coming home and the house had better be cleaned and the jobs he had assigned done and then maybe he would tell us we could have a good weekend..he’d tell the kids if your mother did what she was told i wont yell all weekend. so guess who subconsciously got blamed. things would be absolutely perfect! never good enough he’d find something so he could have another episode….so all weekend we would spend trying to stay out of his way, or escaping him……25 years is a really long time to live that way and for many years of that i hadnt even heard of bipolarism . at first i knew it wasnt me but then staying home with the kids and not being out with people all the time it was easy for him to do a little brainwashing and make me believe if i wasnt so stupid i wouldnt have to put up with his screaming i must like it. i found myself being very confused especially when he was home then my head could clear during the week…it wasnt me he didnt want to fix it , he knew if he didnt take his medication what happened and he used it as a way to control us. i was going under and asked a dr. to help him she told me i had to fix myself i couldnt fix him he had to want to do that for himself and he didnt. he was having a good time. told me he was going to get a motorcycle and if i didnt ride on the back and be his “motorcycle mama” it was grounds for divorce. and money spending was unreal for just one out of the four of us…he didnt get the motorcycle…went to canada during the sars scare for lasar surgery for his eyes to correct his vision and didnt want to wait….i was GOING to take him…i had two small children getting off a bus from school that afternoon and what if canada didnt let us back in? he didnt care so i refused to take him of course he was divorcing me …..got his sister to take him and took his meaness out on her for two days.he has five of them and they all enable him to act badly..one told me i had a nice life and had to decide what was more important to me…sooooo i waited until the kids were of an age they didnt have to go for visitations and were old enough to be able to put up with it. and i filed for divorce ..i locked myself in the bathroom with my small dog for hours because i didnt know what he would do to me. i knew when the papers were coming. I was done living in fear and watching my kids being raised in a home that they didnt feel safe or secure in . we had to live together till the house was sold from march to october the episodes never stopped….he began drinking more and more ….the day before i had even mentioned divorce he wanted our sons college fund money and i didnt give it to him…so he had all of his paychecks direct deposited into his own account and gave me what he thought i should need for the week..then would go out of town with us having no way to get money ..i wasnt working.it was like he was trying to break me like his father had his mother..his mother became an alcoholic i wasnt about to. now from a distance he still tries but i dont see the episodes…..he will send me the child support but not the maintenance he owes just that little power……when he picked up our son a couple of weeks ago he laid on the horn and yelled from the car but the nice thing for me is he leaves its to bad he didnt want to help himself he knew it was important to take the pills he knew to take them for his job….so now thru therapy i’m becoming whole again gaining back what i allowed him to take from me without even knowing what was happening. my kids are happy and feel safe….i told him a million times if he didnt need to get help to make me happy he needed to get it for himself and he’d say its you and i’ll be dumping you so i told him to do it for the other people that will come into his life….he never has .

  12. Yes I am learning this. My husband got very manic about a year ago. This was when I made the announcement that I was pregnant with our 2nd child. Well, because of this I am sure we are done having kids. I don’t think our marriage would survive another major episode. This was his biggest episode EVER. Before this he was actually rather stable without meds. I say without meds not because he did not need them but because we not know he was bipolar yet. We just found out because of this last episode that he had. We are still trying to find the right meds etc. It is getting much better. This new found illness sure does explain alot of his behaviors for the past 20 years that I have known him.

  13. I have a daughter with bi-polar. She is very agrumentive, wants things done her way right now or else. She wants to be in control of others in a group home where she is. I don’t know what triggers her, but there are times they have to hold her down she gets so mad. When she does something that is inapropriate, and they are doing something fun for the weekend they keep her home in a basement while they are gone. They say it is her behavior that causes all of this. I don’t know to much about bi-polar and I know she isn’t on the right medication for whatever she has. What can a person do in cases like this? I don’t like to see her do all of the things she does, and feels sad. Could you explain?

  14. While traveling time change can also cause an episode. Many a trip has gone wrong because of the stress of preparing to travel, time change, dehydration from flying, and of course seeing family. Found out the hard way this week that energy drinks also can contribute to an episode. Watch that caffine intake-can be a real trip.

  15. Melissa, this message is for you, I just read your story and I have been experiencing a similar situation with my husband. I am going to encourage him through his therapist to admit himself in the hospital real soon. The part when you said that he makes you feel bad and he is feeling happy is so true. If I am happy he feels as if I am happy without him. He is a truck driver and I was so happy to have him out of town right now. In the past several months things are worse. He accuses me on little things that are not a cause for saying things like he wants to divorce me. I never told him I wanted to seperate from him although he is the cause of alot of the problems. I am trying to be understanding and support him to get his help but seems like the more the worse I am made to feel. We will be married 14 years coming up and I really hope and pray that he gets the help that he needs. I appreciate you honest and candid comment. I really understand how you feel. It seems you are at the point that you know that you were not the problem. I finally realized that this year. He was just diagnosed several months ago. So, again thanks and best wishes.

  16. Your stories sound familiar. Married 20 years, divorced for 11, and now we are trying to make it work again for the last year and a half. But these episodes are really bad. Why is he nice to everyone and yells at me or just shuts me out and pretends I am not there? After each episode he leaves for weeks and comes back happy. Yes he is on medication, gets help, and has everything he needs. Any help ouy there for me?

  17. Was married to bipolar person for 20 years, divorced for 11, and for a year and a half we have been trying to stay together. These eispodes are bad. He won’t talk to me, because angry when approached, blames me for anything, or just yells and slams things. Seems to me like it comes out of nowhere. He’ll eventually leave for weeks and come back happy. He gets help, takes meds, but what about me? Any help out there for me?

  18. Thank you for reminding many of us the importance of recognizing the triggers & collectively planning the appropriate responses to deal with each episode. It really helps a lot especially when it’s approach is with no assumptions but objectively because we are dealing with not only the mind but also the soul that lives with unexplainable inner torment that’s sometimes triggered by environment,past events,unresolved issues, unhealthy relationships, etc. The list goes on. It would be very helpful if others would share their experiences that work for them.

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