Bipolar Anger is not Simply Anger

In this piece I write about having racing thoughts and how they can interrupt me in different ways. My writing here does not always flow. My thoughts go one way and then another and is written as such. My husband pointed this out to me and it would be a disservice not to publish it in order to truly demonstrate how my bipolar mind works.

I feel most feelings very intensely. When I am sad, it can feel like the world around me is crumbling and this is similar when I feel angry. For me, anger is not simply anger. When I feel angry, I can feel irritable. But these days, I have surpassed feeling irritable. What I feel now is agitation and it is a strong, sick feeling of anger on steroids. To me, feeling irritable is definitely not a good feeling, but agitation, for me, can feel like a living hell where I literally feel as if my body will either implode or explode.

Irritable: easily annoyed, impatient, upset or angry (

Agitation: psychological and physical restlessness, inner unrest, turbulence, inner conflicts and upheaval (

When I feel irritable, I feel on edge, annoyed and impatient. When I feel agitated, I feel emotional and physical restlessness where I need to move my body. I also have inner conflicts between my voice and the worst part of my inner psyche: my self-hatred voice which is the darkest part of me and often takes over. My body can feel rigid and my filter is completely gone. I can make snide remarks, one after another, under my breath, and many times they are geared toward my husband, who does not deserve any of it, but it’s always those closest to us that bear the brunt of our emotions. When my husband calls me on it, I either feel justified in my obnoxious remarks, if I am still too far into the agitated state or I feel such severe remorse that my self-hatred voice barges in and says the cruelest things to me and about me. Those statements are so inappropriate and not realistic, yet I go along with it as I believe I deserve it as punishment. This is most definitely a type of self-harm: saying to myself, I’m a fucking moron, I am stupid, can’t control myself, a terrible wife, a terrible mother, a terrible friend, etc.

This is where it is extremely important to have a plan with loved ones. My husband needs to let me know when I am being a bitch to him, or in general. Sometimes I am already aware of it, while other times I need more time to process or simply have no awareness of it. What is essential, though, is that we talk about it and I do not mean only apologizing to him. I mean that with an apology, I try to talk about what was going on for me. I could’ve been triggered while taking a walk and seeing too many people without masks on or I could’ve been cut off while driving. Sometimes, I am not aware of any trigger which also must be communicated to him and is part of the Bipolar experience. It’s a work in progress for us but it’s an important aspect of our relationship that only benefits our communication with one another, as difficult as it is.

My “bipolar agitation” also takes form with my racing thoughts, as when, for example, I am having a conversation with my therapist, I can misunderstand something she says or feel angry about something she says, as I can have difficulty processing so many thoughts at the same time. I can feel such intense agitation, as if whatever she said is a catastrophe that brings me to confusing conclusions that feel terrible. I end up feeling rage and intense anger that can bring on a panic attack, as my mind tries to substitute those intense feelings with more intense feelings of terror. I do not like feeling angry and have always had difficulty with this feeling. This is another work in progress, in terms of allowing myself to feel the anger while also dealing with it in a healthier way.

So much of my agitation and anger is about control. I often feel out of control, in terms of my emotions. On Saturday, after weeks of only feeling bits and pieces of hypomania, I really experienced it at a higher level. I was so happy and prayed that it would continue for at least a few days. I was realistic in knowing it would not last forever. When I am hypomanic, the world feels and appears differently to me and it is truly awesome. It lasted a little over a day and then I sank quickly into feeling depressed, tired, not wanting to see anyone or do anything. It happened so fast and there was nothing I could do about it. I was unable to control it. I sometimes have this belief that I should be able to completely control my emotions and then become angry with myself that I cannot do so. I am able, at times, to see that it’s unrealistic, given that there is organic biology involved that I, literally, cannot control on my own. Another work in progress.

I like to think that feeling feelings intensely can be a good thing, certainly when feeling happy or excited. My difficulty is that I feel and experience most feelings intensely and it is exhausting when they are not “good” feelings. This is part of my experience and matches what many people with bipolar disorder experience. Feeling agitation and anger is very difficult for me but I plan to continue to work on coping with these feelings in healthier ways. Again, another work in progress.


The Wrong Door

It started and I kept going along, ignoring yet feeling it. It came on more slowly than before which fooled me into believing it would come and move on its way. Then, things piled up…symptoms piled up: irritability, trouble sleeping, severe anxiety, fatigue, difficulty feeling connected to others, decrease in appetite…I wanted to keep ignoring it and only described my symptoms to my therapist but never used the word “depression.” My therapist did and questioned if I was falling back but I told her I wasn’t, that I wasn’t totally under water and could still be around people. That held true but not for long and then I could no longer ignore it. I could not say the word out loud though. I emailed my therapist and simply said, “I am depressed.” Of course when we saw each other next, the word was voiced and owned by me.
In the past, my depressive episodes would come on very quickly, sometimes within days from 0-100. Feeling the symptoms pile on one another so quickly is terrifying and does not allow you any time to breathe. This episode is different, certainly not better, but different.
This feels as if I walked through a door and realized it was the wrong one to go through but once I turned around the door was gone and I was stuck in the wrong place. I entered the wrong door to the wrong time to the wrong place with no way out. I walked into utter darkness and even though I can’t see anything, this isn’t the only phenomenon that scares me. It’s not just about being alone in the darkness, but feeling alone. I cannot conjure up feelings, thoughts and memories of those I love very often and hold onto them. The frustration of that only leads to more fear of being and believing that feeling alone is my destiny.
This door has led me to the wrong world and I am seeking an exit. This world is vast, empty and scary. Not only is it desolate but it is not allowing me any comfort. It is not allowing my brain to think clearly and to picture my loves, hold on to them and use those images and visualizations in my head to calm me.
This fucking sucks. I’m anxious with no precipitant. I am numb. I am sad. I am scared. I am irritable. I am so very tired. I feel so alone. I feel I am a burden. My inner dialogue is terribly rude and offensive toward myself (and these are only a few examples): I’m stupid, a bad person, a bad wife, a bad mother and this reel goes on and on in my head throughout the day and now feels normal. My body is in the world but I am not. Life is happening around me but I don’t feel I am a participant.

As I work with my therapist on talking through the many aspects of my current experience, I am also working with my psychiatrist on a medication increase. There is no easy fix and it can take 3-4 weeks to begin to feel a positive effect from this increase which is not easy to tolerate when I feel so stuck.

I didn’t mean to walk through this door into this world. I simply didn’t know. The writer, Dejan Stojanovica, wrote, He tries to find the exit from himself but there is no door. I think I walked through that door because I believed it would rid me of my inner pain, that I could “exit” my self but once through that door, it turned out to simply be a mirage. It wasn’t real. There never was a door to walk through in order to leave my self. This world that feels wrong is actually my world. It wasn’t a mistake, I was merely taking the next step that I had to take as it was the only way to go. I, somehow, need to keep walking though, not to find an exit, but to find an entrance.