My Bipolar Makes Me Hate Everything and Everyone

→ December 15, 2014 - 91 Comments

My Bipolar Makes Me Hate Everything and Everyone

I hate you.

Or, perhaps, it might be more accurate to say my bipolar hates you. Or my bipolar makes me hate you. Or something.

I feel this pervasive negative, black, dark, inky hatred spread atop my “Natashaness” that seems to affect how I feel about everything. Theoretically, philosophically, intellectually, I know that I don’t hate everything. In fact, I know that I don’t really hate anything. But I sure feel as if I hate everything.

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Bipolar – I’ve Forgotten What It Is to Be Normal

→ July 30, 2014 - 56 Comments

Bipolar – I’ve Forgotten What It Is to Be Normal

I was having a very annoyed/angry day. This was annoying me and then that was pissing me off. And I realized this was a thread through my day and thought to myself, “Yup, I have days like that. It’s a bipolar thing.” And then I wondered, “Do normal people have days where they’re mad at everything?”

And then I realized I had no idea. I have no idea if normal people have irrationally angry days. I’ve forgotten what it is to be normal.

[And before someone has a hissy fit because I’m saying that people with bipolar disorder aren’t normal, please read the linked article.]

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Not Every Emotion is a Bipolar Emotion

→ March 6, 2014 - 29 Comments

Not Every Emotion is a Bipolar Emotion

Sometimes I’m Just Mad

As I have stated, over and over, that to experience bipolar disorder is to experience such inflated emotions that they swallow you whole. Bipolar emotions are bigger than you and the particularly nasty ones are bigger than any therapy or coping skill could ever be.

However, not every emotion is a bipolar emotion. Just because I feel a strong emotion like anger, sadness or elation, that doesn’t mean it’s a bipolar overreaction I’m feeling. It’s not necessarily depression, mania or hypomania. Sometimes, people with bipolar disorder feel just like everyone else. Sometimes we’re just reasonably mad.

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Blaming Others for Bipolar Disorder

→ November 7, 2013 - 15 Comments

Blaming Others for Bipolar Disorder

It’s very natural to be angry when something egregiously bad – like getting bipolar disorder – happens to you. It’s not necessarily rational, per se, but it is normal. And when we’re mad about something we look for someone or something to blame. We look for someone to blame for our bipolar disorder. Again, this isn’t a rational, or even conscious thing, it’s really just a natural reaction to an extremely unfortunate situation, but it really isn’t healthy.

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The Reason You Shouldn’t Get Angry

→ July 11, 2012 - 33 Comments

This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago that I thought bared repeating.

There are very few times in life when I think it’s appropriate to be “mad.” It happens, without doubt, but generally I don’t find it very insightful or helpful. There’s always something underneath the anger. Usually it has to do with the desire to be loved. If you track the feeling back, like really, really back, that is what you’ll find.

  • Wife screams at husband for leaving socks on the floor for the 18th time.
  • Wife is angry because she doesn’t feel like her husband is listening to her.
  • Wife wants to be listened to so that she’ll feel important to her husband.
  • Wife wants to feel important to her husband so that she’ll know he loves her.
  • Wife wants to know he loves her so she knows he’ll stay around.
  • Wife is afraid of being left by husband.
  • Wife is afraid of being unloved.

That’ll be $3000 in therapy bills, please.

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The Dance of Anger – A Memoir Excerpt

→ March 20, 2012 - 16 Comments

The Bipolar Burble welcomes author of Hopping Roller Coasters, Rachel Pappas for today’s guest post.

I wrote my memoir as an apology to my daughter, who I tore apart emotionally and verbally for years. But I also wrote the book to quiet some old ghosts. And I wanted to remind people fighting similar demons they are not alone.

My Ugly Dance

Probably like many of you, my “ugly dance” began ages ago – before I was old enough to know my own steps. I was following my very unhappy, sometimes untamably furious mother’s lead. I kept dancing once my daughter was born.

The red hot flashes would come on, the wires in my head would tighten, then pop, and I’d go at Marina. Later I’d kiss her tear-streaked cheek, tuck her in. Flip the light switch with the white kitty and sparkles, and hope my little girl would sleep soundly. Feel sick about what I’d just done, then do it again.

My sweet girl with the pixie cut and bangs accepted my apologies. Over and over.

Then Came Angry Adolescence

This was the start of the ground-rumbling, mother daughter meltdowns. Marina screaming with her fists clenched. The head banging and threats, because by now she was angrier than me.  We had a long, rough ride … five schools in five years, a blur of ambulance rides and overnights in the ER. And two years locked in a residential treatment center for sick, angry kids.

After a decade of pushing to find better meds, better psychiatrists, better therapists for both of us, Marina and I have started to heal.

Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Ready to Take On My Mother

I think I’m ready to tune it out, just take a hit of my Tension Tamer tea. A few back and forths to my therapist for a quick fix, and I’m so close.

Anger and Mental IllnessThen a call from my brother once Mom’s been on a marathon spiral, and I flash back … see him six years old, backed in a corner while she goes at him with his orange, plastic Hot Wheel tracks. I’m in my ugly dancing shoes again. I have a long, seething rant. Then I hate myself for hating her. Because this is who this woman is . . .

A mother who would tell her child she was going to read her obituary in the paper. Then come in her room the next night and pick her up because her child was sick. She held me, my long gangly legs dangling down her side while she cried herself, like she did every time one of her kids hurt.

I lob back and forth, between the orange Hot Wheel tracks, and my head on her shoulder while she rubbed my back. I volley between the mom screaming she’s going to drown the cat. And the one who hugged and kissed my dad, and danced with him in her bare feet–him in his slippers–in his last days.

She hasn’t changed in the 50 years I’ve known her; and probably never will. So guess who has to be the one to shift gears if she’s going to hang up her “ugly dance” shoes?

One of the hardest things in life is letting go. You fight to hold on, and you fight to let go.

The tricky part is figuring out what, or who, you can hold onto–or how to hold them at a distance that works. So at the same time, you can let go of what you need to leave behind.

Memoir Excerpt: Hopping Roller Coasters

“You used to tell me you probably had cancer,” Marina said. “Why did you say that to me, Mom. Why?!?”

A few tears spilled as she let herself go back in time, to when she was just five. Hearing her mother say she may be dying … leaving her alone and unprotected. Feeling her sad, angry eyes on me now, I want to kick myself in the ass. I’m speechless and ashamed–and touched. Touched that of all the things she had to get out in this family therapy session, it was the fear of losing me that came first.

Still, I couldn’t admit that I screwed up, though I could see it clearly now, and I started thinking again about other hideous things I’ve said to her. I squirmed in my seat, thinking about all the baggage she’s hauled over the years. And I remembered what her therapist, Ericka told me privately earlier: “She’s holding a lot inside. When it surfaces, she’s going to vomit it all out. It’s going to come gushing.”

I wasn’t sure if Marina could ever understand, even if I could admit my mistakes. I didn’t completely get it myself. But I remember growing up incensed about the make-believe games in our house. I hated the pretending.

“Rachel was angry, even as a child. It started way before there was tension in our home,” my Mom would tell relatives.

She didn’t remember her bad days, when she couldn’t bring the reins in.

“You’re going to wake up in a box!” she’d scream between clenched teeth, shaking her head agitatedly. You could practically visualize the internal wheels spinning as she paced with her dust cloth, thinking out loud under her breath …

“That’s a lie! I never said that!” she told me years later when I summoned up her demons and threw them in her face … I was furious. Why couldn’t’ she see I needed her to acknowledge it? I needed an apology, damn it.

Now it was my turn to dislodge my tail, the one I’d stuck between my legs just now, when my daughter exposed me in front of her father and therapist.

Instead I said, “I never said that to you, Marina.” I’d taken only a split second to process what I’d just heard.

“You DID!” she shrieked, her face burning red. “You used to tell me you had cancer.” The tears were flowing full force now.

I fell silent, but the memory was surfacing. I couldn’t fix it now. Still, my baby had to hear how very sorry I was.

For more excerpts or to order Hopping Roller Coasters at a discount:

Personal Story of Medication Noncompliance

→ December 7, 2011 - 27 Comments

It is politically incorrect to say medication “noncompliance.” I suppose this is because it gives the idea that the person taking medication is “complying” to some authority figure and not consciously making the decision on their own.

I get that. But whether you call it medication noncompliance or medication non-adherence, the result is the same – the person is not taking their medications as prescribed by a doctor.

And medication noncompliance can lead to devastating consequences not only in the short-term but in the long-term as well. One reader shares her experience in her own words.

A Story of Medication Noncompliance

. . . I got manic in September without being aware of it. I was over productive, spent a lot of money, barely slept, very irritable . . . While manic, I thought I was normal, since I was stable since several months. I was only on a small amount of an antidepressant, mood stabilizer and a tiny amount of antipsychotic.

All this disappeared suddenly. I was out of energy. I was barely able to move, depressed and the most important: productivity disappeared. Couldn’t move or concentrate . . . for the first time of my life maybe, I started having anger crisis, uncontrollable ones. It was like I push a button and become extremely angry. I went through irritability before but never knew such anger. It was all verbal, no violence but very embarrassing.

I got so angry and stupidly stopped my medication.

Why Were You Angry?

I was mainly angry because high productivity was over. I was angry and frustrated, thought I finally became stable. I was angry for being bipolar. I didn’t want to live (by the way I always think about suicide even when I am high). I hated myself and this life and wanted to punish myself.

I wasn’t thinking logically. What I was thinking: I was taking medication and all was fine for several months and in spite of all this, I had mania so why to continue to take the medication! Plus I wanted to suffer physically, to have tangible pain.

What Happened When You Stopped Taking Your Medication?

Drug NoncomplianceI stopped taking medication although I knew from previous experience (several years ago) that withdrawal is terrible. I thought that since I was on low doses, the effects won’t be that strong. Well I discovered I was wrong.

The first week I was doing more or less fine. Then I started feeling dizziness, nausea, restlessness. I started feeling than something inside me was boiling. I was extremely tired, empty. I could feel that even my eyes were empty. I was very irritable.

I told my therapist (psychologist) about messing with my medication. He tried for several sessions to convince me to take them again. At the beginning of the third week, I couldn’t continue anymore. Told the psychiatrist, he told me to take a mood stabilizer for few days and an antipsychotic and wait. But my situation was going worse. By the end of that week, I agreed with both the therapist and the psychiatrist that I needed to be hospitalized.

I had to be hospitalized because I couldn’t continue on my own. I was about to collapse. I was crying all the time, not able to work, extremely irritable and tired. And I didn’t trust myself that I could force myself to take medication as prescribed. Any single trigger would have pushed me to stop or to take an overdose. I was very suicidal.

I took me 4 days on an IV antipsychotic to start to improve. What helped me the most is that I knew I was safe there, protected against myself.

How Do You Feel Back on Medication?

I am on more medication now. I am still angry about being bipolar but dealing with this in the therapy. But physically I am doing better and I am less suicidal. And I trust myself that I can control myself concerning taking medication.

How Do You Wish You Had Handled the Situation?

I should have told my doctor first place that I stopped the medication. I should have been more aware about the symptoms of mania. I should have set a system or informed my family about the “warning” symptoms of mania. But overall, I took a good decision by asking to be hospitalized.

Wanted to share it with other bipolars and tell them that it is very very bad and harmful to stop medication.

If You Want to Change Your Medication

As always, it is your right to change your treatment plan but as this reader has shared, if you do it the wrong way, you may end up in the hospital or worse. Whenever you make a change it needs to be overseen by a doctor.

And if you do make a mistake and stop taking your medication – be honest and tell your doctor so they can help you. This person did the right thing by admitting she needed help. She got it, and now she’s able to share this message with you. Listen to her.

Angry at Bipolar: Dealing with the Anger of Mental Illness

→ March 16, 2011 - 44 Comments

Also known as: I’m Mad at the Jungle

People don’t like it when I get angry. They don’t like it when I rant. On my very own blog. On the internet. Sheesh people, I am human you know.

And I’m not an angry kind of person. I have a theory about why you shouldn’t be angry and I try to use the idea that there is no reason to be angry, and allow anger to roll off my back. It usually works. [push]One might suggest it would be absolutely nutty not to rant. Pixels, it seems, breed ire.[/push]

But I think all sick people have a right to be angry. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a good idea to live in that anger. It’s not a good idea to spread that anger. But for fuck’s sake, you’ve been given a life-long mental illness that requires too many doctors and debilitating psychiatric medication. You have the right to be a little angry about that.

I’m Angry at My Brain

But there is a problem with being mad at bipolar – there’s really no one to yell at. It’s really hard to yell at your brain. It never seems to work. It morphs into yelling at yourself; which isn’t the point at all.

I’m Mad at the Jungle

A couple of weeks ago I was fairly catatonic with depression. And so, not moving, I watched many of the shows on my PVR; one of which is called Off the Map. There was the following scene:

A woman comes upon a girl angrily cutting her way through the jungle with a machete. The woman asks her if she’s angry. The girl says yes, she’s angry at the jungle.

The girl is sleeping with a beautiful man whose wife is in a coma. He feels ever-so-guilty about seeing anyone else even though his wife’s condition hasn’t changed in four years. He told the girl when they started seeing each other it would always be casual and he would never commit. But the girl, naturally, fell in love with him anyway.

So the girl, hacking away with the machete, says she can’t be mad at the man for being withholding, because he always said he would be, she can’t be mad at the wife, as she’s in a coma; so, she’s mad at the jungle.

Angry at Bipolar: Mad at the jungle

See, I’m mad at the jungle.

I’m Angry at My Life with Crazy

There is no point in being mad at bipolar, depression, hypomania or crazy: they’re not going anywhere. There’s no point in being angry with medications and nasty side effects as they are what they are. There’s no point in being angry with “evil” doctors because they’re doing the best they can. And there’s no point at being mad at the effects crazy has on my life as that’s not going anywhere either.

So I’m mad at the jungle.

(Granted, there’s no jungle around these parts and I don’t own a machete, but I love the phrase.)

I’m Angry at Stones on the Beach

A typical therapy suggestion is to go to the beach, envision a stone as whatever you’re angry with, or your anger in general, and throw the stone into the water as far as you can.[1]

Arg. Therapy annoyance.

I have tried this, and many similar things over the years but it doesn’t make anything change at all. Not a thing. Ever. I suspect that’s because there’s always new pain with bipolar disorder. Bipolar never passes. Mood disorders just kind of hang around fucking up your life.

I’m Mad at the Jungle

So, as I understand there is no real cause or cure for my anger, I try to just let it be. I feel strongly that the anger deserves acknowledgment. Then I let it go. I say “hi” now and then, and wave goodbye.

But I’m mad at the jungle will be my new catchphrase. Because fuck it if I don’t just feel that way sometimes.[2] And I think that’s reasonable.

[1] To be fair, I have found some success with this and similar methods on other issues. Latent anger from things like abuse. Those things are just different because they’re in the past. They’re not coming back to clobber me in the skull.
[2] Just an FYI. It’s actually the case that I just increased a medication and that’s causing most of the anger. But somehow, it feels just as real as any other kind.

What Happens When Your Doctor Gives Up On You?

→ July 19, 2010 - 8 Comments

I have had two doctors give up on my bipolar disorder (mostly depression) treatment. One almost a decade ago, and one just a couple of months ago. I didn’t take the most recent doctor abandonment all that well, as I’ve mentioned. In fact, if I saw the woman today, I’d still want to call her a cunt. An unfeeling, malpracticing, cold-hearted cunt. It seems I’m still a little upset about it.

A Doctor Giving Up on You is Unacceptable

But regardless as to my personal feelings about this woman, I feel that a doctor dismissing a patient without referral, medication, treatment or care, is unacceptable. It leaves the ill person with few visible options outside of suicide. A depression, suicidal person with no options. Peachy. These doctors are killing people through their own ignorance.

So, what should you do if your doctor gives up on your treatment? (You know, other than call them nasty names online, which I heartily recommend. It’s cathartic. HealthyPlace isn’t a fan of such things, however.)