What Causes Bi Polar?
Bi Polar to me means when one has natural high energy and this is expressed through a way which is not “normal” to society, fluctuating through two extreme states of being high or low. The high state can be described as a manic state where one is very hyper and expressive through their voice or behaviour. On the other hand, the low state can be described as a state of depression where one is unable to get out of bed and do anything except feel very deeply bad for themselves to the extent of not looking after themselves, self harming themselves or even having suicidal thoughts. If you are reading this in this state of mind, please seek professional advice on dealing with such situations.
For myself, the majority of my life I have mainly been in the manic state but at times I have also been in the depressive state, dipping from one to the other. The depressive states were not noticeable to others, as something always made me keep moving in life, never staying in bed, wanting to make the most of life no matter what, even though I never felt like it; I have written 3 blogs on feelings which you can refer to on this.
There are a number of factors to consider which may trigger bi polar.
When I got diagnosed with bi polar, I was told by the doctors that it was caused by an extreme life situation. At the time, I was working in a stressful job and the environment wasn’t right for me, it was intense and felt like everyone was against me in the job. That wasn’t the case, but the way some people behaved towards me, it felt as though I wasn’t good enough for the job so I started to believe this, even though I wanted to do so well for myself.
Looking back I realised I have always had high energy and have mainly been hyper but because my behaviour didn’t seem too odd to those I grew up with, I was being me, nobody thought anything of it, at least the people who knew me my whole life didn’t and thought I was being me, a unique girl full of energy. It was only in the work environment, after being under a stressful environment over some time, signs of manic behaviour started to show through my erratic behaviour and management picked it up as not being “normal”.
It was through this extreme situation, my mental health condition was revealed to show signs of bi polar, which otherwise no one else thought nothing of.
Can traumatic or extreme grief experiences cause bi polar? When one goes through such experiences, it causes one to have intense emotions which they may not have expressed or felt at that intensity before. Not knowing how to deal with these intense emotions can cause one to not seem normal, but what is the normal way to deal with intense emotions? We never got taught this in school! It is something we learn through our life experiences, and how we see others around us deal with them. But what if others around us don’t deal so well with these emotions, then unknowingly especially when we are young, we take this in and react in similar ways.
So from this, is bi polar a way of not being able to deal with your emotions, therefore never being balanced, stable, always dipping from highs to lows? I class myself as an emotional person, but I have never done anything to hurt myself or others and I never would either. I wouldn’t class myself as being emotionally unstable, but I would say I am a very emotional person as I feel emotions deeply. When I am happy I am very happy, when I am sad, I am really sad, there is no balance for me there, I just feel emotions deeply. So am I emotionally unstable?!? I believe that being unstable refers to not being able to cope with the situation, where as being emotionally unbalanced is moving from one extreme state to the other, not having a feeling in the middle. It is normal to move from one state to the other, and as long as it isn’t causing any harm to others or yourself, I don’t see it as being an issue. It only becomes an issue where it impacts your ability to live a normal life.
In terms of other triggers, it could be having multiple things that are imbalanced in your life, and this is a problem if it is causing havoc in your life.
For example if myself being emotional is causing havoc in my life, then it would be an issue. I am either really happy or really sad, not often feeling neutral, mainly I am really happy to those around me and this never seems to be a problem, in fact some people are happy to have me around them.
Sleep is another, if you are sleeping very little some days and hours on end other days, this could be a sign. So the trigger here is when your sleep is interrupted. Not getting good sleep due to noise and light disturbances, over sleeping or just not being able to sleep as you are really energised and wide awake. For me my sleep has been imbalanced my whole life, but I have learnt to deal with it just fine, so therefore it isn’t causing any havoc in my life.
Taking drugs and/or alcohol could also trigger bi polar, as this causes extreme imbalances to your body and one can get addicted and over reliant on the feelings felt after taking drugs and/or alcohol. For myself, alcohol doesn’t do anything to me, I don’t mind a cocktail or two, but that is enough for me to last the night. I never drink more, although I have done in the past, as it does nothing for me, but make me unaware of what I am doing; I prefer not to get myself into such a position. It is when we are unaware of what we are doing when we could be a danger to society, doing things we wouldn’t normally do and where this is extreme is where it could be a danger to society, hence could be a sign of something more than being under the influence of alcohol.
Doing anything to an extreme could be a trigger, as one may become addicted, life is out of balance and this stops one from living a normal life. For example exercising too much, that it takes over your life. For myself there have been periods where I exercised a lot, taking part in extreme challenges such as running a marathon, 3 peaks challenge, cycling 100 miles, etc. But I never exercised to the point it caused havoc on my life, it was a way for myself to release all the extra energy I had within myself and I was still able to make time for family and work too. These days, 3 times a week is enough exercise but I am happy to do more gentle exercise on other days, etc. I have found a way to balance this in my life now.
Bi polar could also be passed on through genetics. This may not be so clear when a parent hasn’t been diagnosed but their behaviour may be clearly reflective of bi polar.
So essentially anything that is out of balance in your life, could be a possible trigger of bi polar, particularly if this imbalance occurs through multiple things over a period of time, fluctuating between two extremes. This is especially true of myself and I have written a whole blog on myself being out of balance my whole life.
Also bi polar can be triggered through a traumatic experience or extreme grief where emotions are not dealt with in a healthy way or genetically passed down through an undiagnosed parent who has all the classic behaviour patterns.