Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Anger - The Forgivable Emotion

Anger is one of the scariest emotions. The fact that it is indeed an emotion seems to often be forgotten because of the reactions it can cause. Unfortunately, to add to it's bad reputation, it is the emotion that seems harder to control than just about any other.

Now, I've had people tell me I'm using my condition as a crutch, or an excuse, and that I could control it if I wanted to but I'm not trying hard enough. I would like to politely say to those people: what great news! That means you must also be able to fully control your seizure, your asthma attack, your diabetic shock, your heart arrhythmia! That doesn't go over very well, as you might imagine. In all reality, you can take medications, go to doctors, and learn techniques to deal with the condition to the best of your ability, but when the body decides to disobey - and yes, the mind is an organ in the body - you're kind of in its hands, hoping it won't be too traumatic and doesn't last too long.

So with that said, back to the issue of anger and it's havoc. With mood cycling, as I suspect with anxiety disorders and other conditions, anger is unpredictable. In my case, more often than not,  it's a side effect of a hypomanic episode. Hypomania, as I've described previously, includes (but is not limited to) anxiety, irritability, jitteriness, panicky feelings, high amounts of energy, inability to focus, and plenty more. You can see how this is a pretty strong recipe for anger, especially bursts of it. The additional disadvantage of anger in a hypomanic episode, however, is that the anger doesn't particularly need an obvious trigger. Here are some of the characteristics I have felt:

  • You feel attacked 
  • People that you normally love irk/frustrate/annoy you
  • Your anger feels overwhelming; like it's going to consume you and you're going to explode
  • It scares you; you don't recognize yourself
  • In an attempt not to upset others, you withdraw into yourself; 
  • It makes you literally feel like you're losing your mind, because it's not you
  • You become depressed and anxious because you may have upset others 
  • It often carries with it other extreme emotions, such as sadness (uncontrolled crying is common)
  • You feel ashamed and embarrassed because you don't know what's happening to you
As is true with many hypomanic symptoms, the anger can go as quickly as it comes, though it may still linger in the background for a while. It's an incredibly painful experience for me. I am the type of person who can't stand to see a dog tied up outside of a coffee shop while it's owner runs in for two minutes because I'm afraid the dog is scared and lonely without its owner. I bend over backwards for people I care about, often at the expense of myself, and kindness is one of my most valued traits in myself. Yet when these bouts of anger get me, I feel like my brain has been usurped. 

Anger is an emotion people don't want to talk about. They feel it indicates a fault or a weakness. Oddball that I am, that made me want to write about it all the more. I have, in the past, been the victim of others' absolutely wretched anger - more than I've ever described on here and than most people know. I forgave them, easily. I understand how awful it can be. I understand that you often don't even remember much of the episode. I understand the inability to understand what's going on with your brain. I understand how truly grotesque a feeling it is for the person it overtakes. It doesn't mean it's simply "no big deal". It means that, to me, it's forgivable and that while I wouldn't wish its internal torture on anyone, I do wish that people would be a little quicker to try and understand, and a little less quick to judge. 


  1. Bravo Maya, This is so well written and I relate to it all. The person that says you can control it if you want to and you're using your condition as a crutch, is plain ignorant and intolerant and honestly isn't showing love or understanding and frankly those people leave my life immediately. I know that sounds harsh but what good are you doing them or them doing for you??

    I too bend over backward for people, take on more than I can handle often, the kindness gets to be a real pain some days but I still think I wouldnt change it for the world. I do try to think before saying yes to things. I warn people I have to think before I answer so I need a bit of time. If I dont warn them they tend to think I dont want to do whatever it is and get pissy.. lol

    The anger.. oh boy is it frustrating.. I can fly into a rage at any given moment when coming out of a hypo manic state. There were years I lived in that anger and those rages, thankfully they don't come as often for me now!

    Maya if I could offer any advice to you it would be to accept and love yourself for who you really are under the illness. It makes things easier to deal with.. Much love to you, I send peace and happiness your way!!

    1. Thank you, Shauna. I agree on the people in my life. In fairness I think a few of the people that have said it don't really understand what I go through because on the surface most of the time I seem happy and smiley and energetic. So then when I say something is because of my condition they think it's an excuse. But I am weeding most of those people out of my life - or they're weeding themselves, and to me if they cannot handle it, it does sound harsh, but then I'm better off without them. Not that I don't understand if they can't handle it, but either way I don't need that negativity in my life.

      That's smart on the waiting to answer before saying yes. I've started doing that much more lately, or explaining nicely that I just cannot. Now that I am very open about my condition, I'll honestly tell people (friends, not so much business colleagues or something) that I'd love to do xyz but right now my anxiety/other symptom is so high that I really can't. They seem to get it now.

      Yes, the anger. It's so frustrating because I feel like I need an exorcist or something! It comes out of nowhere at unsuspecting situations. And you're right - it always comes out right before I crash down from a hypomanic state. Interesting that we have the same experience. I am working very hard on the loving myself underneath everything. I've had a lot of emotional trauma at the hands of others and it has taken me so long to start to trust myself again - which makes the anger even more frustrating. Thank you so much for the support! Sending the same back to you!!

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