I’m beginning to examine some of my triggers. For example:
I don’t do well in loud, crowded places. The Air and Space Museum does me in. As does any stadium/large venue concert. I can’t handle being bombarded with that much stimuli, without becoming really agitated. And anxious. It’s sensory overload, for sure. I don’t do well in loud restaurants, and riding the Metro during rush hour has been known to induce foot-stomping temper tantrums and anxiety attacks. Crowded airports? Forget about it.
It’s like I have some sort of social allergy.
I genuinely like people. I really do! Just as long as they use their indoor voice, and keep their distance. Heh.
I know that it’s possible for me to manage this trigger. I mean, I’m already doing it to some extent. When I can help it, I just avoid situations that are going to set me off. And when I can’t avoid it, I just have to figure out strategies for working around it. Case in point: I love visiting NYC, but I know that it will overwhelm me. So, I usually have my iPod with me, and will frequently need to find quiet spaces to duck into, like an art gallery or an unpopulated part of Central Park, to just sit with my thoughts and decompress.
I’ve always attributed this to my status as an introvert. I’m an INFJ, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But maybe it’s actually due to my status as a Bipolar Super Star (trademark pending). Or some combination of the two.
It’s occurred to me that maybe I should stop looking at this diagnosis as if I’m navigating my way through something brand new and uncharted. Maybe a better approach is to just look at my world through fresh eyes, and recognize that I’ve already developed some strategies for coping with things like these triggers.
Huh. I guess it’s all about perspective.