Bipolar Disorder – I’m Not Angry but My Bipolar Brain Is

Bipolar Disorder – I’m Not Angry but My Bipolar Brain Is

My bipolar makes me feel so angry, but I know I’m not. I know I’m not really angry. I know that the signals that I’m angry are coming from my sick, bipolar brain. But I feel very angry anyway. I can’t make the anger go away, even through notable insight. It’s so frustrating and the existence of the anger, and my inability to make it go away, makes me even madder.

Anger and Bipolar Disorder

I have said that anger is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. And according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) I’m right. There is no symptom in the DSM-5 of anger in bipolar disorder.

Okay. But over time, I’ve learned that people with bipolar disorder have significant issues with anger and rage. I’ve learned this through copious feedback and now, my own experience. Anger may not be an official symptom of bipolar disorder, but it’s sure something many of us deal with.

I’m Not Angry but My Bipolar Medication Is

In addition to whatever anger bipolar disorder might bring to a person, I’ve found that many bipolar medication side effects can make you angry, too. There is one medication that I take that ups my anger. When I was on too high a dose, I recall being completely unreasonable and even rage-y to others in a way that was completely unlike me. In reality, I know that my mind is not really angry. But I know that a bipolar medication side effect can sure override that.

I’m Bipolar but I’m Not Angry – Really

Sometimes I'm angry but I know it isn't me, I know it's my angry, bipolar brain. Here's how I deal with an angry, bipolar brain and a mind that isn't angry.I have said before that anger is primarily a useless thing. Anger always hides another, primary emotion, typically, when you get down to it, the desire to be loved. When you work out what is truly bothering you and why, you can successfully deal with the anger and make it go away.

Okay, fine. The trouble is, my bipolar makes me angry for no reason. I know that I’m not really angry. My wise self, my wise mind, is not angry. But there is anger coursing through my veins anyway.

This is so frustrating to me. Because there is no underlying problem causing the anger, there is nothing to deal with and thus, no way to make the anger go away.

And I believe this is what happens to people with bipolar disorder frequently. People with bipolar disorder feel angry, don’t know what to do with it, and thus, take it out on other people. People with bipolar seem to rage for “no reason.” But the reason is the bipolar disorder. It’s the bipolar brain that’s causing the anger.

How to Deal When You’re Not Angry but Your Bipolar Is

Considering I feel bipolar anger pretty much every day, clearly, I don’t have the answer to dealing with it. That said, there are coping techniques for dealing when you’re not angry but your bipolar is:

  1. Use your insight to understand why you’re angry. Don’t get me wrong, you can be genuinely angry about something in your life, but you need to seriously look at your anger with insight to determine whether it’s reasonable or whether it’s just coming from your bipolar brain.
  2. Don’t take your bipolar anger out on others. I know this where people trip up. People seem unable to deal with the bipolar anger and get mad at others. You can’t do this if you expect to have a happy life with positive relationships. Learn how to walk away and deal with the anger without hurting others. I know that burning anger inside is horrible but it’s sure less horrible than externalizing it and losing those you love.
  3. Learn new techniques for dealing with bipolar anger. You may need to go to therapy to truly learn new techniques for dealing with your anger. Take responsibility for your anger and your actions and get into therapy if you need it.
  4. Learn to calm down. You may find that something like exercise, meditation or yoga can help calm bipolar anger overall or when it is acute. Purposeful breathing and counting can help, too.
  5. Communicate to others about your bipolar anger. It’s not enough to have insight when you’re not really angry, other people need to understand this too. Learn to communicate before, during and after your angry bipolar brain rears its ugly head.

When I feel angry but I know I’m not; when I know that it’s bipolar that’s angry, my biggest rule is not to take it out on others. I know this is really hard for some people. But remember, others don’t deserve to suffer just because you do.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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