I have a lot to do today. I have webpages to fix, uni assignments to write, a family to tend and friends to see. Which makes it very unfortunate that I also am experiencing a high.
Usually my highs are the sort that make everything very easy because I just sail through my tasks with so much energy and all I need to do is keep a lid on it. (Yeah – ha ha ‘all’).
Sometimes though, I get ‘hangry’.
Which for bipolar peeps, is not when you are so hungry you get angry. No, this is when you get a certain type of high that means you are so wired that you are angry at everything. You get angry at the way people are moving. You get angry at the way the bench in the kitchen is skewed. You get angry at the particular colour blue the sky is. You get insanely outraged at people breathing – at your own breathing. The very atmosphere in which you are existing vibrates with your vexation.
And yet, if you’re very good at hiding it, on the outside to others you just may seem a little off. Maybe slightly irritated. Although for some of us, this can manifest into full blown rage. A good article I have recently read about this very thing, put it into perspective for me. I encourage you to read it also.
I grew up with my rages – they were free-range, not contained at all.
I raged at everything and because I grew up in the bush, everyone just thought I was just a feral bush kid. Usually my rages hurt only trees or fences or cars, sometimes though it was my brother. One instance, involved a teenaged me, a knife and my brother. Fortunately no one was hurt, however on that occasion I literally saw red and lost all control of my mental faculties. I had no idea at this stage -neither did anyone else – that I had bipolar and this for me, illustrates the importance of early identification.
My anger high is associated with racing thoughts that dig me into a hole. At the start, I can think broadly however once my anger fixates on one particular thing, the bottom of the hole begins to narrow, but I don’t realise it while it is happening. By the time I do cotton on, my thoughts are still racing, but usually between one or two things only. And because there are only a couple of things to think about, the thoughts bounce around faster than if there were more.
It feels like my head is a pinball machine which has just gone into bonus speed round.
Once I figure out what’s going on, it might take me a little while to remember that I actually DON’T like wallowing in the anger pit I’ve made for myself. Sometimes, this takes a bit of convincing! My strategy for controlling my anger, is music. I stick it in my ears, I turn the volume up and I let it soothe the savage beast. It is usually not just any music though, I have to find the one that doesn’t annoy the crap out of me. When I do find it, it’s never usually the same. One time, it might be the hits of the 80’s, next time round may be Viking Metal, and the following round might involve some soothing Indie. Whatever sound it is that my psyche is looking for, I may have to stick with it for a couple of days.
The trick is to recognise what is going on and to remember my strategy to help me (and everyone else!) to get through it. I am pretty lucky in that I have only had one real ‘incident’ that could have resulted in the death of a loved one, jail time and a life time of regret. And I don’t think that is overstating it. I was fairly bent on destruction because I could not see anything else and had fallen down to my primal base. The thing that has stopped me going there again, is my awareness that it happened.
So now, in the time that I have spent writing this story to you guys, and listening to some sick tunes, I have un-spiralled my mind and I although I still feel the rage inside of me, it is somewhat dulled. If I need to, I will plug my ears with beats that don’t annoy the hell out of me and hopefully, ride this sucker out.