What to expect when reading bi-polar wife

Thoughts and feelings of living with bi-polar as a wife, mother, and person in the world.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Apparently I have TRAPs

Don't worry, its not a STI or another mental illness. Avoidance apparently has been my best friend. TRAP stands for TRIGGER, RESPONSE, AVOIDANCE pattern and CONSEQUENCES.

So, a mega twat from work says something really nasty in a meeting. I either become sad, angry or fearful, I revert to an avoidance behaviour and then I feel rubbish. Apparently I do this a lot. Getting stuck in TRAPs exacerbates low mood and TRAPs joined together like a sick Christmas paper chain result in being depressed even more. Avoidance behaviour for me usually involves crying, zoning out, eating, sleeping, avoiding conflict, being subservient, emotional fatigue (where you lose interest in everything and just can't get going), running away, or anything else that will shut off the feelings that make you uncomfortable and shatter your joy. Run for the hills, hide under the duvet,deny all knowledge, look at the floor - I could go on.

I am so damn sick even I am beginning to wonder if there is any hope for me. Thankfully, the CBT group mirror reflects 9 other emotionally unbalanced friends, so I will carry on regardless. Bless them all. We all look tortured after this session, realising that we are actually going to have to push out of the comfort zone, and expose ourselves to our worst nightmare. Dealing with other people.

So, I have to implement TRACs ( Sorry about the acronym overdose), which means TRIGGER, RESPONSE, ALTERNATIVE COPING mechanism. So when twat colleague says something that makes me wither, I have to take a deep breath and say, "I disagree with your comment and your behaviour is unacceptable." When the therapist tells us this, we all giggle and do the opened mouthed and prolonged, "Nooooooooooooo!" It feels liberating to think I am actually allowed to do this. Even if I don't actually carry it out, the knowledge alone sends my happiness soaring. I am also told that guilt is a waste of time so I have to bin it. Apparently normal folk do this stuff all the time and think nothing of it. They dismiss rubbish and resolve conflict, and walk freely through the maze of day to day life. I find this fascinating.

What I also have to learn is that a new bag, or top, or scarf, or all of those things will not resolve the conflict or make the terrors go away. Hiding is not a solution. This behaviour lulls me into a false sense of security and doesn't challenge the fear. Really a TRAC is throwing the bucket of water over the wicked witch. I am required to turn up at work in my magic red shoes, banish all negativity and focus on the wizard and finding my way home! My colleagues will now be the munchkins and my therapist is Glinda. This does mean that every now and then the flying monkeys will try and get me but really, all will be well. The witch is my nemesis - she is my TRAP. When I am finally well, I will return the the normality of the farm, and realise it doesn't hold the fear and control it once did. Life will no longer get the better of me.


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