Winter Blues: Knowing Your Bipolar Triggers

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • I'm so glad February is over. It's been a very tough month, and on this, the last day, I'm feeling harassed, frustrated and tired. So I thought I'd look back over the month and share with you the reasons my depression symptoms have worsened. I hope this will help you spot issues that can affect your bipolar depression.


    Two things started the month off badly. The first was the disappointment that I absolutely could not go on a spending spree for my garden as I usually do. January and February are usually joyous for me as I choose new plants for my yard. Not this year. Money is too tight. Instead of spending $1,000 or more, I set a budget of $150 and wound up at $237. And it wasn't really enjoyable to choose the plants because of having to fight myself every inch of the way. So put down "Big Disappointment" as problem 1.

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    The second thing was that I overbooked myself. In part 2 of Taking Charge of Your Time I said I was ready to add things to my monthly schedule. I was wrong. I felt overwhelmed right from the start of the month. So problem 2 is "Expectations Too High."


    I don't know why the next issue came up. It could be entirely physical reasons, or it could be an effect of feeling overwhelmed and/or downhearted. Either way, I had a lot more heavy fatigue than usual. Almost every other day the tiredness and sleepiness were so bad I couldn't do anything but go back to bed. The one thing I know for sure was that it couldn't be medication-related, because nothing changed there. So problem 3 is "Unusual Fatigue."


    And finally, there were two unpredictable events that interfered with getting my work done and also kept me from doing housework. At mid-month I didn't realize there was one more step and when I came down, I fell hard, landing a good six feet from the stairs, injuring the knee I've had problems with before.


    Then a week ago I woke up in pain to find one leg red, swollen and hot from ankle to about halfway up the shin and calf. This turned out to be cellulitis, a serious skin infection.


    Problem 4 is "Problems Beyond My Control," problem 5 is "Physical Pain," and problem 6 is a result of that - I can only call it "Lousy Feng Shui." It really depresses me when my house gets sloppy-dirty, and it's far gone by now because I couldn't stand or walk for very long.


    Which ones can I do anything about if the recur? Not 4 or 5, certainly, but I could have done better at #6 - I just gave up on housework completely, which wasn't necessary. "Big Disappointment" (#1) - well, I'll get over it, but in my experience, these always slam me back, and I haven't found a cure. I won't set my expectations so high for March (#2). As for "Unusual Fatigue" (#3), my plan is to force myself to keep going to see if activity gets my blood pumping. If I still feel terrible after an hour or two, then I'll give in and take a nap.


    So what things occur in your life that can cause or worsen depression?



Published On: February 29, 2012