Tag Archives: anger

Anxiety Storm

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They always ask me if I’m depressed.

I’ve got Bipolar Type 1 and I cycle super rapidly, what do you think?

No, really, are you depressed?

Let me tell you the truth, I hope you hear me say it this one time because I’ve had enough.

Go ahead.

My anxiety, my stress – if that’s what you need to call it – is at 7 of 10. 10 is call the morgue. My adrenaline has been full on since I can first remember. Fight or flight…. or both.

Yes, that fight or flight reflex can be triggered.

Listen to me. All the time. It’s all the time. Stop asking me if I’m depressed because the answer will always be yes. What you should be concerned about is my anxiety. I’m more likely to have the top of my head exploded from that than I am from depression.

You know, you’d be surprised at how often that’s the case.

Shit.

Bipolar – Urges – So Hard to Repress

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I first recall having these urges when I was a teenager and I was babysitting some kids in my neighborhood. The house was beautiful. One whole wall was glass and was above an embankment leading down to the woods far below. I was sitting in a chair facing the glass. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming urge to throw myself through the windows and down the embankment. Confusion and fear overwhelmed me. To resist, I held onto the arms of the chair I was sitting in. The urge was terrifying. I continued to have similar urges through the years.

Later, when I was in Bible college, I remember clearly standing in line for lunch and having the same terrifying urge. I tried not to whimper as I struggled not to act on my urges. I felt like I had to scream and run around knocking people over and throwing their food trays. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. It was so frightening.

What made it so much more difficult to understand was that two professors at the school had been trying to cast demons out of me. I didn’t think of the urges as having anything to do with spiritual things (more about this another day) and I still don’t.

Through the years the violent urges continued to occur to me with frightening fury. They didn’t stop after college. Sometimes I gave into the dark urges. I would throw things and break them to pieces. I screamed and yelled and threw more things.

Eventually I had three children. I was divorced and raising my kids on my own. The kids were often terrified. Sometimes I did snap and the urges would overwhelm me in public. I frightened some people and made others angry. My brother’s partner wouldn’t talk to me for years because once at their business (they own the family business) I lost my temper and the urge to strike out won. I picked up the lunch room table and threw it across the room while screaming and raging.

The violent urges are still with me. Lately they’ve been growing in intensity again. Just yesterday at school I had to restrain myself from screaming at people and shoving them violently.

I was petrified. What if I couldn’t control myself again?

Last night I was thinking about what I was feeling and I realized that I’ve never told any of my counselors or psychologists about it. I’ve decided to keep track of these disturbing impulses and explain what happens to my counselor. I hope I can get across just how disturbing and powerful these urges are.

Does anyone else experience these kinds of urges? How do you deal with them?

Bipolar depression: Sad or mad?

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When you’re watching for emerging symptoms of bipolar depression, make sure “irritability” is on the list. You’re just as likely to be unusually crabby, intolerant, and easily annoyed during a depressive episode as to be apathetic or despondent.

More research has been done on irritability in major depressive disorder than in bipolar disorder, but results from both groups indicate that from 40 percent to 60 percent report depressive episodes marked by irritability.

“Irritable depression” (that’s a description, not a diagnostic term) is associated with more severe depressive episodes, more frequently recurring episodes, and co-existing anxiety.

A study published in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders in December 2016 found that participants with irritable depression also tend to take longer to recover from an episode and had more “unfavorable illness characteristics,” such as higher rates of substance use and more suicidality.

All of which means it’s even more important to take preventive measures when your irritability meter ticks upward.

bp Magazine’s columnist and blogger, Julie Fast uses the terms “weepy depression” and “angry depression” to describe the different ways she can experience bipolar downshifts. Weepy depression comes with what you might call stereotypical symptoms: feeling sad and hopeless, crying a lot, shutting down socially, becoming physically lethargic and

having trouble concentrating.

With angry depression, she writes, you feel “pissed off at everyone and everything. Kittens and puppies make you mad.” You focus on the negative, finding “garbage in the gutter when there is a rainbow in the sky.”

[THIS WAS THE CONTENT OF bp’s NEWSLETTER DATED 2/16/17. You can find bp magazine’s presence at: http://www.bphope.com/ ]

I’ve passed this along to you because I suffer from angry depression and have since I was very young. It defined me for most of my life. Today, it is one of the leading indicators that alerts me to how I’m doing. For example, if I’ve been doing reasonably well and suddenly I’m bitchy with my mom for no reason, I’d better take a look at myself and see if I’m sliding down the sheer walls of the well of depression. For me, it might also indicate that I’m manic. I don’t think it only happens to me when I’m depressed. If I’m unreasonably angry and I’m aware of it, I can examine myself and see where things are going wrong. When I’m in the midst of an episode it can be hard to recognize that things are going badly. Sometimes the anger is a wake-up call alerting me that something is amiss. Sometimes I become aware of that anger by seeing what it does to those I love.

Bipolar – Danger Signs

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solar-flare-1Now that I’m taking 120mg of Latuda again I can consider the signs I was having that I was going into a crisis. I believe it’s important for me, for everyone, to know what happens before we reach a full-blown disaster so we can take precautions and get help early. That said, I recognize that it is often difficult if not impossible to tell when we’re slipping. It’s like standing on a beach when the tide is out. You’re talking to a friend or looking at the beautiful water or a sunset. You’re not paying any attention to your feet, which is unfortunate, because your feet have been slowly sinking into the sand. Now, when you try to move, your feet stick and you fall on your face because you didn’t realize what had been happening while you weren’t paying attention.

The biggest sign that I’m crashing is that I lose my temper violently and in an instant. Most of my life I have been consumed with anger and ill temper. It has kept me from getting to know my family. My father, who is gone now, was as bad tempered and mean with me as I was with him. We reacted to each other like lighter fluid on a bonfire. I believe that he also suffered from Bipolar Disorder.

In addition to a catastrophically hellish temper I was angry all the time. I don’t mean mad. I mean angry like I wanted to hurt someone. My adrenaline was (and is) on all the time. To this day my muscles are hard as rock, cocked as if to lunge into flight or fight. Even after a massage my musculature remains as solid as steel. I never relax.

Over the years I’ve taken medications that cause my face, my jaw in particular, to violently jerk and I can’t talk. I look like I’ve got a massive tick in my face and I sound like I’m hiccupping. Now, when I’m stressed, the tick comes back. As a matter of fact, I’ve been having it happen daily now even during Christmas vacation when I don’t have the pressures of school work. It really frustrates me. It’s so remarkable that people stop talking and stare at my face. It stops conversation dead.

So this time, when my temper soared uncontrollably and I saw my family react to my words as though they’d been slapped, I realized I was in trouble. I thought I was just feeling my temper returning. I felt like I was keeping it under control. I didn’t realize others noticed it until we were celebrating Christmas Day at my brother’s house and I was talking to my daughter and her fiancée when suddenly Sydney stopped short and looked at me as though I’d just stabbed her. I shut my mouth fast. I knew I was in trouble. I had to stop myself from talking the rest of the day unless I was paying attention to what I was saying and how I was saying it.

My med provider and I had a backup plan in place incase reducing my Latuda to 80mg didn’t work. I was to return to the 120mg dosage immediately. So that’s what I did. I couldn’t wait until I was able to get back in to see her in three more weeks. I’m feeling much less volatile now.

I know it is rarely as easy a fix as returning to a medication that I already know works for me. It’s never that easy. This time was an exception for which I am grateful.

We, you and I, impact those around us. Our behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We have a responsibility to control our behavior for our own health and for our family and friends. It’s funny that I say we need to control ourselves because that’s exactly what I’ve never been able to do. Not till I got well medicated.

The take away – be vigilant for signs of crashing. Then take action swiftly.

Bipolar – Stress is Killing Me

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I am a stress junkie. I live in a perpetual state of messy stress. I am Stress.

I’ve developed a muscular tick, especially in my jaw muscles, that causes my muscles to hysterically violently spasm. I know this probably sounds strange, but I’ve got this amazing “tick” in my face that sometimes causes my jaw to clench so violently and my tongue to jerk around that I can’t speak. At first it seems I studer. But that’s only at the beginning.

We were hanging out at my mom’s house today and while I was speaking with my brother I continued the tick that was already forcing me to stop talking and clench my teeth together and giving me a headache I completely drowned in a sea of cascading ticks. I could hardly breathe. The “stammering” continued to get worse. I felt panic rising. My daughter told me to stop trying to talk. Let it go. Be silent.

I have been to my doctor, my med provider, my counselor, my neurologist to see what is causing this horrible thing. I won’t bore you with all the things we talked about or the exams I had, but I will tell you what seems to be the cause… Stress. It’s in my head. Seriously. I’m finally able to admit it really is in my head. That’s the place I have to deal with it… in my head, my brain.

As long as I can remember my muscles have been tight and hard as a rock. Stress is doing that to me. Always has. I have to stop it. I’m getting angry even thinking about it right now. The anger is so easy to feel when I’m unable to stop the ticking, even with my jaw firmly shut. I want it to stop and it isn’t stopping. It’s making me more angry and at the same time I’m becoming more depressed about it. Stress.

Imagine being Bipolar and having such a high level of stress that while the violence of depression and mania are being mostly controlled at this moment by medications I cannot control my stress. Yes, stress is making it easier to slip into depression, but I’m not able to control it and I can’t help myself.

After searching my life and things I could do now I was unable to find anything to help me. Maybe. A year or so ago I learned about this thing called “neuroplasticity”. Basically (the bit relevant to me I think… thought) neuroplasticity is remapping my brain, physically changing it, through something called “mindfulness”. I’m not going to explain what it is now. I encourage you to learn about it yourself. (Follow the links at the bottom of this message to learn more.)

Over the next 8 weeks I’m going to engage in a program developed by the University of Massachusetts called “Mindful Based, Stress, Relief” or MBSR. The workshop presents material that is real world science based. Lives have been, will be and are being changed by MBSR.

Why am I doing this? Because I can’t stand the tick anymore and there is no medical reason for me to have it. I do have Stress. I am Stress. What am I stressed about? I’ve no idea. I can be at home alone and my face will spasm and I’ll bite my tongue or my arm will jerk and my soup will fly with the greatest of ease across the counter. In fact, it did the other day. It’s making my face dance in an absurd parody of calm. My cheeks and tongue are twitching as well as my arms and legs even as I write this.

Stress. Being Bipolar and being Stress is a messy combination, physically and mentally. It seems to me that a science based program that reduces stress is worth giving a try. As the saying goes… It can’t hurt. Right now this spasming is hurting. Hurting a lot.

I’ll try to keep you posted on how I progress and hopefully experience relief from my stress. You probably know how Bipolar is… sometimes you can write and sometimes you just can’t. I’ll do my best. Consider me a lab rat that is exploring a serious way to deal with my stress, depression, anxiety, and a mass of physical and mental problems I have.

I need to heal. I need to be able to talk and eat, to write and relax. (Ouch! Sorry. Bit my tongue again.)

I need to reduce my stress. I think that’s the key.

Stress. I must master it and all the aliments that can come with it before it drives me crazier and hurts me physically. MBSR. Check out these videos. They’re short. They’ll explain what I couldn’t talk long enough to explain to my brother what is. Tick. Spasm. Tick. One after the other endlessly crushing me.

Seriously, watch one or two videos. At the very least they might give you insight into me. You read what I’ve typed, now watch something I’ve watched and learned from. Get to know me a bit more. It couldn’t hurt.

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness – Liberation from Suffering
TEDxBoulder – Mindfulness and Healing

If you’re curious the program I’m doing is here: MBSR

Bipolar – The Pain I Cause My Kids

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I saw my counselor yesterday.

Hours later I let my control go again and hurt my baby’s heart (she’s 17). She’s the one that takes it all in and thinks the things I sometimes say or do are real and I mean it. It’s confusing when sometimes they aren’t and sometimes they are. I can’t stand the anger that has been rising.

Time to figure out if it’s in response to yesterday being the one week anniversay of my father’s passing or if I need my meds adjusted or if I’m just being selfish and witchy.

Your Friend

Robin