7 thoughts on “Having an Advocate and Knowing your Triggers

  • April 27, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for an informative and personal article. Well written and gives a powerful insight into living with this disorder.

    • April 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

      You’re very welcome, Brenda. I am so happy that you were able to take something from the article. All the best to you.

    • April 28, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Hi Diane,

      Crowds can be very overwhelming at times. I’m happy that you’ve found a time that works for you. Hopefully we’ll be able to offer some more information for you on ways to help ease that anxiety. I know how terrible it feels.


  • April 27, 2015 at 11:13 am

    The “triggers” you mention caught my attention because combat vets, and I’m sure all others who have PTSD from other traumas, have triggers that can set them off. That, of course, led me to want to ask this question, because I’m a combat vet with PTSD that I’ve lived with since I returned from Vietnam in December 1966, and I know for a fact that a trigger can send us right back into combat seeing things around us that aren’t there. For instance, a loud cracking or popping nose like a car backfiring can trigger a reaction that puts us on high alert thinking we are in a combat situation and must act accordingly. These triggered events are very real.

    What I want to know is if people who are bipolar have tried living with highly trained dogs traine3d to detect a trigger and react immediately to calm a vet with PTSD down so they don’t have a flashback? If not, it might be something to consider.

    The VA has done a lot of work with these dogs and has found them to be highly effective.

    Something else it took me sixteen years to learn and then I learned it be accident is that drinking too much or taking drugs can lower your ability to deal with triggers. After Vietnam, I drank heavily for sixteen years and then, for physical health reasons, I stopped and I then I discovered that drinking too much also tended to increase the reaction of a trigger so the flashbacks and my reaction to them were much worse. But when i stopped drinking my ability to manage the PTSD trigers increased dramatically.

    • April 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hello Lloyd.

      First I want to say thank you for your service. Your I do know of some people who have bipolar disorder and have Therapy animals. My own best friend is a 170lb bull mastiff, and while he has not been trained to be a certified Therapy Dog, he is, without all of the titles, exactly that for me. He notices my mood shifts, sometimes before even I do, and practices a stop and hold technique if I start to restlessly pace. It’s amazing how he does this on his own without be trained. But, it’s wonderful as it allows me time to stop, breathe and collect myself.

      In Canada our guidelines for what is considered a Therapy animal are quite different than the US. I do know that there are a few groups that work to place PTSD animals with our soldiers and first responders. We have some psychiatrists who recommend therapy animals for people living with PTSD and can help their clients find services to work with them and an animal as well. Here is a link to The Canadian Service Dog Foundation to explain it a bit better than I can.

      Your points about alcohol and drugs are spot on! I’m happy that you were able to stop using alcohol and better manage your triggers. Thank you so much for reading, and leaving such wonderful comments. I wish you well, Lloyd.


  • April 27, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I admire your openness in sharing your journey. You’re turning your illness into an opportunity to help others heal.

    As an introvert, I get overwhelmed with crowds, which triggers my anxiety. I do my grocery shopping after dinner, when very few people are in the stores.

  • April 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Great blog…..you really do not know the value of a patient advocate (in any medical situation) until something happens and you DO NOT have one. Sometimes it is just impossible to communicate what we are feeling and what works best for us.


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