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Triggers and meltdowns

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

With regards to triggers and meltdowns it seems everyone is different. However, a trigger is an unexpected event so you really cannot plan for them in terms of avoidance. Well, that's not entirely true, by life changing actions we can minimalise them, improve your environment, surround yourself with placid, loving people, improve your financial and employment circumstances etc can help remarkably. Minimalising is not elimination so having carried out all the changes, triggers still occur albeit much less.

For me a trigger results in a meltdown, like hot water running through the veins in my head I become highly emotional (bipolar2). My immediate need is to escape the place I'm occupying no matter where it is. Yesterday it happened. I attended a podiatrist for the first time. The pleasant young lady began asking me questions, many of them associated with the numerous meds and physically issues. My anger built up (impatience). Then after 45 minutes of this she handed me a clipboard of questions. That was the real trigger, that feeling I get when I feel like a school boy going through these motions when all I want is my feet attended to (cause-domineering narcissistic mother). On every previous occasion this feeling arrives I leave, walk out. This time was different, I told her "I'm upset, I think I need to leave". Straight away she realised I was in a mess and suggested I time out for a few minutes, she reassured me all is ok and said I can begin speaking when I'm ready.

About 5 minutes later I began to talk again. At all times she just sat there not saying a word. Clearly this was not your usual podiatrist, she was magnificent. Within around 10 minutes I was sitting on the raised chair joking about Tasmania where she came from. Amazing.

I learned a lesson yesterday- to not over react with a meltdown, to give the person a chance to help, to remedy. To acknowledge that meltdowns dont last forever and by leaving can exacerbate the event. Like all problems good management can mean the difference between a life of turmoil or a life with best management practices to live a better life.

To find a better path is to enter a better life. As always when I left the shopfront to that medical premises I looked up, at the trees and the birds and returned to my life of relative happiness. But today was better than most, I overcame a trigger and meltdown to stay and wait it out.

As long as we improve is all that matters.

How do you manage your meltdowns? Any tips?


8 Replies 8

Community Member

Hi White Knight,

Thanks for sharing your story about yesterday! Definitely a good reminder in the value of patience and open communication!

When I'm irritated and feeling any negative emotions rising I usually (as you mentioned) remove myself from the situation asap and decide to deal with the issue/consequences later. However this isn't applicable for everyone. My psychologist promotes breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques (e.g. looking around the room for distractions) as well.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Bob

Thanks for replying.

Certainly agree with distraction as an effective tool to short circuit triggers.


The problem yesterday was there was nothing for me to refocus on.

I think your deep breathing idea is very effective. Even just prior to sleeping 10 deep breaths help me not off.



Community Member

Thank you for your post.

I get triggered just thinking about visiting my optometrist. So I haven’t been for over 5 years. I had a bad experience with them trying out new glasses for me. They gave me headaches and I was constantly dizzy. I kept my old script and haven’t been back since. I have cheated the system and have been ordering contact lenses from overseas and online. Anything to avoid getting my eyes tested again.

I cope with avoiding these situations. I feel awful about not looking after my eyesight but I get anxiety thinking about making an appointment.

I am so triggered right now about attending a polling place to vote. I wanted to vote early but there aren’t any polling places that are conveniently close. I feel sick to the stomach having to cue up tomorrow.

I am putting on my hoodie and dark glasses and pretend to be invisible.

Tanzi Bee
Community Member

Hi White Knight. I have Bipolar2 and firstly I feel grateful to see a post about was seems from my experience, to be a very unknown mental illness as opposed to Bipolar1 which is presumed if you say Bipolar, so thanks for that.

Secondly I too have a narcissistic mother and whilst all the signs of this illness, I now know were there in my childhood, my mother’s response to every one of my questions was don’t be silly 🙃 

Thirdly I have a hang up about my feet and truly need to go to the podiatrist regularly for callous removal but just don’t. So you have reminded me.

And fourthly don’t try to get away with Tasmanian jokes on me, I have a battery line up ready to respond if people think they can get away with that ✌🏻 😂


No one will see you if you wear camouflage pants. Lol



Loved milking cows in Tassy as a child.


We all have our fears. I suppose some fears get problematic. 


It's really sad to become estranged to one's parent but self preservation is priority. My mother cannot trigger me if she has no access



white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Bob

Sorry, been interstate and returning there next week the return. Busy.

There is strong merit in deep breathing and mindfulness. Deep breathing works best for me and you can do it anywhere, anytime.

Music a trigger of lift can short circuit negative emotions putting you in another frame of mind.


Hi, thanks for your post ..that I missed!!

I understand the fear. Bad experiences can leave scars and as such we take a different route to work to avoid that past accident scene for example.


This is so common I think it's normal. It's only beyond normal when it leave adverse effects on us or our loved ones. Then we need professional intervention. 


Take care