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  • Writer's pictureTom Robinson

Beware of fainting-fits, beware of swoons! Triggers in mental illness - dealing with other people!

I have missed writing in recent weeks as I was concentrating on other things such as editing my own writing ready for publication (massive job), and working as a handy man; converting a stable previously used as a workshop back into horse accommodation (don’t ask!)

But weirdly, both events have brought with them some highly irritating issues, and, being susceptible to mental illness, this could potentially have knocked me off my perch, but…

The great news is that neither have rocked me in even the slightest way and this is important to note, not only for myself, but for all other sufferers.

And today, I will explain why.

Previous relapse pattern

My illness was created by other people’s behaviours & reactions towards me.

There’s no arguing that, I’ve analysed it with deep-tissue introspection and it’s what happened.

Being a sensitive soul (I don’t apologise for this because it is, in fact, a strength) I was propelled into a chasm of despair which manifested in the most horrific episodes of depression and mania.

A repeated pattern of illness then occurred whenever anyone rocked the boat.

This upsetting ‘trigger’ (whatever it happened to be) would then dredge up ALL the horrors of the past; the let downs, the failures, the people who promised everything and delivered nothing, those who risked losing me, those who thought of their own feelings first with no consideration for mine etc, etc, etc, and before I knew it I was hurtling into the void of despair again, powerless to do anything about it.

BUT – this time it’s completely different.

Triggers in mental illness

There are always triggers for anyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness whether that be depression & anxiety or the more sinister versions of bipolar, schizophrenia, anorexia, bulimia, personality disorder, psychosis, or any form of addiction or dependence.

Having studied this from my own perspective and lived experience (and now that of many others too), I can confidently say that:

“All triggers for relapse stem from relationships with other people. AND, all root causes (if you go far enough back), stem from the behaviours and actions of other people too.”

Recent let-downs from other people (both in the publishing process and in my private life) have confirmed this (now obvious) fact.

But the amazing news is that a disaster relapse into depression and self-loathing has been averted this time, and in fact, these individuals have done me an enormous service because:

I now know that I have evolved so far past the illness that trivialities such as this will not even remotely stir me

The truth is that stupid and thoughtless people (with ridiculous and hurtful behaviours) are now so far beneath me that I give them absolutely no airtime whatsoever and am able to rise above the discourtesy immediately, and without any cause for pain or worry.

What I have come to understand is that when you have survived the brutality of severe bipolar disorder there is little else that you can’t overcome and other people’s insensitivity is frankly, petty and irrelevant.

The important point for other sufferers is that I have not only evolved past the illness itself, but I am now far more resilient as a result of it too!

Who knew this could happen?! I continue to be pleasantly surprised at every turn!

Insensitive people won’t get this but…

There’s absolutely no point in trying to explain any of this to a non-sufferer or ‘unawakened’ soul because they simply won’t get it at all.

They may even laugh at you when you try to explain! (This has been the case for me – forget it if this happens because it is them that are at fault and not you).

But the fact is that those of us who are susceptible to illness (and/or are highly sensitive types), do not do well when others behave thoughtlessly.

We tend to think differently because:

  • We expect others to treat us as we would treat them

  • We have high expectations of people

  • We tend to take things to heart

  • We are more empathic

  • We feel things more deeply

  • We think more deeply

  • We put others before ourselves

But what’s the result?

Oh yeah, people ride roughshod over us and then we suffer terribly – well NO MORE! Ha!

They really should be teaching kids this kind of thing in school – i.e., do not expect people to always treat you fairly or with respect. Rise above it. People are weird. People do not necessarily have manners or have been brought up the same, people can behave like insensitive t***s!


I’ve recently started looking into spiritual practices such as 'Taoism' which is a Chinese philosophy based on the writing of Lao-tzu.

In this instance, there are five points which I deem to be ESSENTIAL for when dealing with past trauma and potential triggers coming from other people.

This needs to be taught in school so that people can avoid the repeated trauma as adults!

The key points are as follows:

1. With care, I aid those who are extended expressions of my nature

2. Be true to me

3. Connect to the world as I want to be treated

4. Connect to those outside my nature with decisive action

5. To those unwilling to accept me for my true nature, no action is required: Just silently let them be themselves as I remain myself

Moral of the story

  • Don’t expect everyone to treat me fairly

  • Be very aware of triggers

  • Insensitive people do not have a clue about mental illness and/or triggers so let them fall away

  • Don’t expect too much from other people, rely on myself in the first instance and stay true to my morals and principles. Rise above and move on!

And finally, something funny!

On a completely different note, and because I do not want to give this whole sage one more minute of airtime, I have continued to note down my dreams.

I mentioned recently that I had lost the ability to dream due to the pesky antipsychotic ‘quetiapine’, but now that I’ve finally extricated myself from it they are back with full force!

I’ve had a recurring one about the Duchess of Cambridge of all people, which has been more prevalent in recent weeks!

Last night she was confiding all sorts of royal secrets to me in Windsor Great Park. We were hiding behind a bandstand sneakily smoking Marlboro lights and laughing like school kids!

Absolutely hilarious and proof that even in my unconscious I am not bothered by petty fallouts with stupid people! Lol!

Thanks for reading,

Speak to you soon,


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