Advantageous Coping Skills: Ways to contain impulsive outbursts of emotion and rage. Strategies for thriving with bipolar disorder.
A VERY common problem we experience when living with bipolar disorder is the impulsive outburst of emotion and rage.
These impulsive outbursts can be very difficult to contain, especially once you are already riding an emotional roller coaster.
Here is a basic guide for how to prevent impulsive outbursts before you get on an emotional roller coaster:
1. We must have the awareness that impulsiveness in our emotion and/or temper is a problem.
We must be aware that we actually do lose control OR can lose control of our emotion.
2. Just like mania, our impulsive responses have triggers…we must learn how to identify when we FEEL TRIGGERED…then we can identify the trigger.
For example, I feel triggered when someone pokes one of my wounds…my family is really good at poking me in my wounds…as a result, at times I do lash out with anger and I am out of control.
When I am triggered for an emotional outburst of rage or emotion, the thoughts and feelings I get within me are similar to when I was a child. I feel that no one is listening to me and that my needs are being ignored and will not be met. I feel scared, whatever is taking place is a threat to me and it is beyond my control.
However, before I have the time to process this, I have already lashed out with anger or emotion.
This is why awareness of the triggers is NOT enough.
3. By having awareness of our triggers, we can identify the kind of environments and situations that make us most vulnerable.
I have learned that I am most vulnerable to emotional outbursts in environments and with people where I feel very safe, such as home.
I am also highly likely to have emotional impulsiveness over text-messages because it is a contained form of communication. Those text-messages are classified as books…I have written books by text messaging.
However, in my work I have learned that environments that cause people to be the most vulnerable are environments where there is NO EXIT or NO WAY TO ESCAPE from whatever is doing the triggering.
PLAN OF ACTION
When I am triggered, the best thing I can possibly do for myself is give myself time to PAUSE…for me pausing is often stopping my current action…walking away…getting alone time and nurturing myself to gain containment.
STOP the trigger…just PAUSE…stop talking…stop doing anything
REMOVE OURSELVES from what is burning or poking us causing us to lash out
TAKE ALONE TIME (this prevents us from doing harm)
To nurture myself in the heat of emotion, I breathe deeply into my belly until those intense emotions stop churning and I physically contain myself either hugging myself…wrapping myself tightly in a blanket…or in my cocoon hammock chair (that I love and highly recommend)….then I pray and make art (from my Mandala coloring book)
What do you do if there is NO trigger, what if you just snap?
Bottling things up inside when we have bipolar disorder is setting us all up for disaster.
I encourage you to participate in the group I facilitate “team THRIVE” located at www.facebook.com/teamTHRIVE.