“What’s wrong?” seems like a question that you’d want to hear from your loved ones if you were feeling down, right? It means they care about you and have noticed that something seems off. Unfortunately, this empathetic and seemingly simple question can create a “HULK SMASH” reaction from me. Fragile items beware.
Since I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, often times I’m unable to provide a specific event or reason for my depression kicking in. Over the years as I’ve become more aware of my triggers, I can sometimes determine a contributing factor to changes in mood that I might not have picked up on before. Things like a shift in weather, an unproductive day, or even something as simple as a conversation with an old friend that seems to have it all figured out. Maybe it’s a culmination of events like my skinny jeans don’t fit, I burned the pancakes, the dog pooped on the new rug, there are grounds in my coffee, and I really miss being delusional and thinking I was Queen of the North. Sometimes I can look back after a bout of depression or hypo-mania and see that my sleep pattern might’ve been to blame, caffeine intake was too high, or a week of eating like I was on holiday could be the culprit. Sometimes, I got nothing.
It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to determine what caused the transition into depression or mania. It’s truly important to understand our triggers; however, there is a fine line between becoming obsessed or preoccupied with it as opposed to being educated and aware.
So, sometimes when a friend or family member asks what went wrong to bring about a depressive or manic episode, I’ve already asked the question a thousand times that day. There’s no need to get angry because no positive outcome will arise from that exchange, but reminding yourself that it’s okay to say that you’re unsure is key. You don’t always need a reason for your change in mood, bipolar or not. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. Try to keep your inner Hulk suppressed, thank your loved one for supporting you, and let them know that sometimes, Confucius just doesn’t have a flipping clue.