BP lesson: Anger. One trait of both (hypo)mania and depression is irritability that can morph into unnecessary anger, directed at someone (or ones) we feel has wronged us. In my case, I go on the attack when I feel someone is “being mean” to me or another I see as defenseless. It may stem back to my childhood, when I was powerless to fight back against bullies. I’m more likely to think the worst of someone than I am to give them the benefit of the doubt.
The problem is, whenever I let emotions take over, I stop thinking clearly. I’m unable to differentiate between perception and truth. I blow things completely out of proportion. And the results are never what I want or expect them to be. In trying to protect myself, I make the situation far worse.
Never mind that I could be completely misunderstanding the entire situation. Never mind that thinking the worst of another’s motives puts my own on shaky ground. I have learned-or think so-from much painful experience, that when I start feeling self righteous, when I start feeling my emotions take over, it’s time to step back from the situation. I’ve written many posts and messages on social media when I was angry, and saved them to my notes app to look at when I’ve calmed down. Nine times out of ten, I’m glad I did. I should not have sent them.
Unfortunately, sometimes I forget. Even when God is right there with me, speaking to me, reminding me of how these actions have turned out in the past, I insist on speaking my mind. I insist on putting the other person in their place. When I do this, when I ignore the Holy Spirit’s advice, I hurt someone. I have lost friendships. Some family members keep me at arms length. All because I could not control my emotions.
The really sad part is that now, because of medication and counseling, I can recognize, (but only after I’ve blown up and done irreparable harm to a relationship,) that I was very, very wrong. But it’s too late by then, and I have to live the rest of my life knowing I caused pain to another. Knowing that my actions cost me a relationship with someone I care about. That’s one of the hardest parts of BP, is living with what I’ve done.
I believe this is what happens when students take guns to school. Bad enough to be a teenager, with low self esteem, fluctuating emotions and immaturity, but throw in bipolar anger and you have an extremely volatile bomb waiting to go off. When people blame it on bipolar, this is what they’re talking about. Type 1 is more likely to do this kind of thing, because their emotions are more intense and actions more risky, but as you can see, Type 2s are just as likely to hurt another. The only difference is using words instead of a gun. Instead of ending a life, I end a relationship. Sometimes irrevocably. Sometimes I wonder which is worse.