The Rage

Even with the ever shifting moods of bipolar disorder, there remains two constants. Irritability and reactivity.

Countless times, I have relayed that to others. The potential for emotional reactions is a constant. These are the two trumpeters that herald an oncoming episode. Consider it a precursor to the earliest of symptoms on either side of the mood spectrum.

The Rage, as Clown on Fire termed it in his post On Mental Health: Rage, can be seen across the board as a nearly translucent thread that tethers the symptoms of this disorder together.  From mania to depression, these two symptoms are ever present.  They are the flint and tinder that spark the fire to fuel these episodes.

I am no saint.

The last few posts have been a testament of my failings to maintain my own grace and good intentions.  It is a demonstration of how one simple provocation can cascade into a series of outrageous and vindictive actions.  I can justify it all I want.  “… had it coming.”  “… should have known better.”  But, the simple fact is that the provocation may have had good intentions with terrible wording, and I was in no place to be receptive to it.

Who becomes the victim to The Rage?  Is it shared amongst those who were foolhardy enough to stand in my warpath?  Or is it, in actuality, me who suffers?  There is no consensus.  Any opinions would be just that, opinions.  The Rage is entirely subjective between victimizer and victimee, and even those who stand by the wayside to witness it.  To determine who takes what role is like splitting hairs.  It is my stance that we are one in the same when it comes to vindication and the crusade for justice.

With exception of course.

The Rage is something for me that is not confined to hypomania, as expected.  Anger is an emotion that can perpetuate itself, once set into motion.

In hypomania, it is obvious how anger comes to surface.  Dysphoric hypomania is notorious for unearthing the deadliest of firestorms.  I find myself going on a warpath, slaying everyone who I determine has wronged me.  I feel justified, without rationalization, and perhaps even complete conscious awareness, to execute the worst of all of my behaviors.  In hypomania, if you’re not with me, you are against me.  Sometimes, it turns to paranoia, where I am in the mindset that people are against me.  But mostly, it is a matter of drawing lines.

The Rage exists in depression.  It is something that stems from the original, seemingly benign irritability.  However, it has a different function.  Many people have cited that the opposite of love is hate.  That is certainly not true.  The opposite of any emotion is apathy.  But, in this sense, anger is a life preserver that keeps me from slipping under the surface.

Have you ever found yourself suddenly driven by vengeance, resentment, or bitterness?

The Rage stands as a driving force when the world around me is grinding to a near halt.  It becomes the glass cannon.  As long as it can keep the muzzle aimed away from myself, I can keep from sinking. However, it is glass, and it cannot remain as it is forever.

Once the cannon turns on me, as it eventually does, there is no way to escape the constant barrage of blows it can dole out at me.  I made the cannon.  This glass cannon knows all of my secrets, and is well equipped to take me down and out, for good.  I become hoisted by my own petard, a victim of myself and the very mechanisms I’ve created to ensure my own safety.

When everything lay in ruins, when the episode has subsided and the smoke has cleared, I am the only one remaining to survey the damages. I have no blame, no rationalizations.  It was me, and my gun.

Believe me, I am far from trigger happy.  Luckily, I fear the consequences of my actions more than am I compelled to carry out certain atrocities and revenge.  And I am not typically compelled to carry out dire actions.

But, there are moments where I am beyond my own control.  I often crusade in the name of justice, and often compelled to make an example out of someone.  The same as public executions.  Just like in the days of old when a faction would put the severed heads of enemies on spikes outside of a fortress.  It stands as a warning.  Do not cross this line.  Or else.

That is when the worst of these impulses are carried out.

Otherwise, it is reactionary anger.  I am curt.  I am passive-aggressive.  If someone is too close, I will self-sabotage by driving them out.  For their protection, or my own?  Maybe both.

But at the end of the day, when I look in that bathroom mirror, there is no one to answer to but myself.

35 thoughts on “The Rage

  1. I can’t thank you enough for this post. You know, I’m still trying to figure out the triggers, or how and when will The Rage surface. But to read posts like yours makes me feel less isolated when it comes to it. It doesn’t make it easier, though, to deal with. From where I stand, it is unpredictable, at least for the time being. This being said, my wife realizes it, and there’s definitely some awareness as to its impact on our family.

    • It is unpredictable. I can go from going about my business to having every minor inconvenience be an extreme irritation. I try to prevent irritation as much as possible. It requires a lot. I add fifteen minutes onto any routine. And I have to have routine, but not too routine, or I get irritated that I’m off schedule. You know how everyone has days where everything seemingly goes wrong? It’s difficult to bounce back, and they are usually the start of something bigger. Bad days cascade into bad weeks, etc. I try to tell myself, “It’s one day.” I try to isolate it to one day, one experience. But, I can’t always stop my brain from doing the math.

      Preventative measures are key. Getting my clothes out ahead of time. Taking a shower the night before. Making room and time for unexpected things. And when I’m in an episode, I have to make a lot of extra room. I am more forgetful in a depressive episode. But, that’s a topic for another day. Unexpected physical and mental manifestations of depression.

  2. I’ve seen so many people with bipolar speak about this rage and irritability. I thought myself exempt from it.

    Recently I realized that my streaks of ranting and extremely short temper with trivialities are probably a dampened version of it. The overwhelming irritability and short fuse frustrate me to no end. I don’t usually get upset over much, but when I do, it’s ridiculous in proportion to the trigger.

    I don’t think that it’s dysphoric hypomania for me, since the extremity is not nearly as strong as I’ve seen described, but it’s very much out of character in general.

    • I have a short fuse, and I know it. It is only mitigated by the fact that I do not have the energy and time available to go on every crusade anymore. I have to pick my battles.

      That’s not to say that I’m irritable all of the time. Like I said in the post, it’s a precursor to me for an episode. What kind of an episode is hard to say. But, when I find myself nitpicking, or ranting for no justifiable reason, then I know.

      The problem I have is with the retaliation part. Usually, I do not go at people unless I am provoked. And, I mean provoked in a big way. I know what it’s like for someone to relentlessly screw with me for no reason, and I do my best not to do it. Especially to those that I know are very sensitive. It’s not fair, and it’s far from right. But, when I actually take the steps for retaliation, I usually go overboard. That’s why I try to take a cooling off period before I decide to act. And if that call for action remains, then I try to do so in the most civilized way I can. There’s one thing I don’t want to lose, and that’s my dignity.

  3. I have “Rage” queued as a blog post, too. Seems to be a common thread in so many mental struggles. The All Consuming Rage.
    So glad I’m not the only one, but still so ashamed of my lack of control.

    • Like I said, I really believe it’s a common thread.

      My father has PTSD, and my husband has an anxiety disorder. Both, I have seen go into fits of rage. I think it’s only more recognized in BP, because it’s something tied to (hypo)mania.

  4. I used to have so much rage. It built up and built up so bad it scared me. I had thoughts often about how I could just get rid of someone. I would reason with myself that some people just have no good purpose and they cause nothing but hurt and trouble. I in my bipolar angry mania would think I was able to judge who was worthy and who wasn’t .LIke I’ve said before, I went and got “vigilante” tattooed on my arm and I loved every pain that shot through me. I definitely had rage. But I don’t think that it always is there. I don’t feel any rage at all in me at this point, even when Im manic. Must be some good meds I guess. But I am glad because it would be exhausting to have rage in the under tones of your heart always. I am sure I am capible of it. I am not saying I am beyond it. I had it really bad, but for now, I have rose above it and I believe anyone can.

    • It’s not so much that The Rage lives in everything, as the roots, being irritability and reactivity, are embedded into everything. For me, I know the irritability and reactivity are there. I don’t feel them now, but I know if someone were to carelessly bump into me on this street, right now, without apology, I’d be miffed.

      My kid started pulling things off of my desk today, again, and I was pretty peeved. Stay out of my desk, dammit! For the 1,000th time!

      Irritability isn’t enough alone. It is coupled with reactivity to create impulses. That’s what the medicine does for me. It takes away most of the reactivity, and only some of the irritability. Hence, The Rage still exists.

      I agree that people can rise above it. I’m not sure everyone can get rid of irritability completely, because it exists in non-Dx people. But, I think if people are mindful of it, the threshold can be signifcantly raised. As for reactivity, that can be helped, but with a lot of practice. Or medicine. Or both, I suppose.

      • yeah, in my case I have more of an opportunity to not feel as much irratibity because I don’t go out in public much or work. I do have some in me though, as far as irrirabitity with my kids and my parents sometimes lol.

        • Family was made to make each other irritable and all manner of terrible emotions to prepare us for the world. I hold firm to that!

          Right now, I want to shrivel up. When there is an absence of irritability, there are occasions where there is an overwhelming anxiety.

          Anger is an emotion I use inappropriately. It’s always been so commonplace in my life, that it’s more acceptable to exhibit than another emotion. Anger is a crutch for depression, and a catch for anxiety.

          I’ve been meaning to write a post about anxiety as well. Anxiety is a horse of a different color entirely.

  5. I like how you refer to it as “The Rage”. I have had rage before, many times, but can say that it takes allot for me to get to that point… usually.
    When I am hypomanic it comes so very easily though and I like to hide it behind a little humor to try to disguise it.

    • I can credit “The Rage” to Clown on Fire, exclusively. I borrowed the term, because it’s brilliant.

      For me, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get to where The Rage is born. But, it takes an incredible amount of provocation to have it surface. The irritability has an underlying presence, typically. It becomes more pronounced as episodes build on top of it.

      Now, if I’m in the midst of an episode, if I am caught just the right way, it doesn’t take much. But, it has to snag me at a sore spot.

  6. This is something I struggle with too, even when I’m not actually struggling with it in the moment… It’s always there, alive, like a misplaced lion taken from Africa and put onto Antarctica. He’s always there, sometimes just hiding away from the unwelcoming world. When he emerges is unpredictable as is the way he presents himself and the result of him expressing himself.

    Irritability is most uncomfortable, and anger and rage scares the shit out of me (whether they are coming from others or are my own emotions). I’d say that it’s the emotion range that I struggle with the most. I just wish I never felt it, but I know like any other emotion, I do and always will.. so it’s beneficial to explore it and learn how to channel it in less damaging ways (rather than trying to always push it back down and not let it have it’s place).

    Remember that you’re allowed to be angry and irritable 🙂

    • Sometimes, I can get to the point of where I scare myself. But, that’s only when I believe that is has gone as far as being out of my control. There is a point at every emotion in me where there is a breaking point. Most of the time, I feel that I have some reigns on it. But, there is a point where those come loose, and it runs wild and free. That is the point where I become terrified. Especially if it comes to something as powerful and unpredictable as anything within the anger column.

      Irritiability for me is a constant. It’s inconvenient more than uncomfortable. But, I realize that these emotions are well within the scope of “typical”. The extent to which it takes itself is different from “typical”, however. And the behaviors associated with it are maladaptive, for me anyway.

      I see myself go into these rages and I think, “That’s not me.” It’s not. Yes, we all have the ability to be petty, vindictive, outrageous, and even at times, aggressive and violent. For my entire life, I have gone to great lengths to temper that beast, and do no harm. I practice that policy, and I typically don’t do it intentionally. But, moments remain where if I am provoked enough, I will strike. Like an animal that is backed into a corner.

  7. I can’t tell you how this article resonates with me. It captures what I’m going through so exactly. I spent a lot of time not being able to admit that I had a problem, thinking I was just a jerk but when I realized that I was hurting myself at least just as much if not more than the most important people in my life (and one in particular), I had to accept that I needed help. I’ve been getting better at channeling and dealing with The Rage recently but I still have so long to go. I’m trying not to let the fact that I will always struggle with this get me down but it’s very difficult. It looks like many of you are in the same boat. I feel a little less hopeless for reading this. Thank you. 🙂

    • I’m really happy it helped.

      For me, capturing the essence of The Rage in writing is like attempting to bottle lightning. I didn’t think I did as great of a job as I could.

      I wish I could sit myself down in that moment and describe it. In a way, it is like lightning. It’s electric, deadly, and only happens for a split second. It has to be under the right conditions. Like thunderstorms. Just the right mixture of cold fronts and warm fronts, and there you go. However, it’s far less predictable.

      Again, I’m always happy to help another person. The worst feeling in the world is when one thinks they are the only.

      The Rage isn’t too much of a problem in my life. I don’t know why, but people in my immediate vicinity can handle my anger and wrath more easily than crying and self-loathing. I feel that is one reason why many of my emotional expressions come out as anger. I’ve been conditioned to believe that is the only appropriate manifestation.

      That makes it a dozen times worse. Because, The Rage feeds into itself. One rationalization becomes the justification for another outburst.

      My temper has a hair trigger, but it’s really not that bad. I can’t say I’ve done anything (while sober) that was completely over the top. Unreasonable, yes. Unfathomable, no.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      • You really nailed it.

        My anger has resulted me in losing relationships and me realizing that having ‘normal’ connections with people isn’t realistic because when I’m raging, I’m impossible to be around. It becomes a bit of a cach-22 because at times you feel you have to be alone to shield the people you love from the worst of you but it also means that you end up losing them in the end so trying to do the right thing results in you ending up alone anyway so it feels like a no-win situation a lot of the time. It’s been the single worst part of this whole process. On the up side, my self-loathing seems to have waned and now I just feel embarrassed about not being able to reign in the beast as effectively as I should be able to, even if it has been getting a bit easier.


        • I feel that Catch-22 with more things than just the anger. I’ve said to my husband on multiple occasions, “There are just some things in this world that cannot be unsaid.” I stand by that. I refuse to open my mouth about something unless I really mean it. I will pound my fists into a wall or scream into a pillow before I will say something that will unintentionally wound a person in the worst way. I know what that feels like. You don’t get over it for awhile.

          The thing about the Catch-22 is this. I have shielded people, and they have drifted or just plain ran away, feeling as if they were forced out. The people who stuck around were the people who knew me. These people knew I would do it. They knew that I would intentionally drive them out. And they were willing to face the firestorm. Now, those are the people that are worth keeping. If a person wants to stay around me, knowing good and well that there is a distinctive chance they will get burned, then they are worth my time and attention. They are worth me taking measures to protect them, instead of suppressing it, or hiding it.

          Like I said before, the anger is something odd that seems to be more tolerable in my immediate circle than my melancholy. That’s bad. That can give me enough fuel to really do some damage one day. Self-loathing isn’t something well tolerated in my family. It’s a pity party, etc. It’s sitting around feeling sorry for yourself when you should be doing something about it. What the hell am I supposed to do? I can’t change this. I can’t just will myself to feel better about everything when I’m in a depressive state. If I could, I would. There’s no magic button or word. It’s something that has to take it’s natural course, of course, with certain safeguards and aids put in place.

          I feel no embarrassment for myself. I’ve said this before. I will not apologize for who I am. I have spent my entire life apologizing for my very existence on this planet, and I’m not going to do it anymore. I am who I am. I have done, and am doing, everything I can about my maladaptive and undesirable behaviors associated with these overwhelming emotions and emotional rollercoasters. If a person has a problem with it, then by all means. There’s the door. Use it.

            • Ha! Please don’t. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. Those people are few and far in between. It makes for a lonely existence sometimes. And then, dealing with the fallout of The Rage is worse than anything else. Having to look that person you love in the eye. For me, it’s having to look into my son’s eyes, fearful, puffy, glistening with tears. It is enough to break my heart.

  8. Sometimes when I get into the rage, I get this weird feeling in which I wish I could burn people with my eyes. I just want to glare at everything with hate and disdain, and I want that burning to radiate from my eyes. Do you ever do that? When I remember it, it makes me feel like a bad person. Ultimately, my rage usually gets turned on myself because I am enraged at myself for feeling rage toward people who don’t deserve it. Not a fun cycle, that.

    • Sometimes, on my worst days, I go out into the busy world I know as Downtown Pittsburgh. And I look around at the absolute filth around me. The car exhaust fumes plume in my face. In a gust of wind, my face is pelted with road grime and soot. People bump into me on the street, on a very clear sidewalk, without even apologizing. Creepy men undress me with their eyes. And everyone is hooting and hollering about nothing in particular, making fools of themselves.

      I ride the bus with disgusting people who clearly haven’t bathed in days or reek of alcohol. Children are sneezing and coughing all over every surface. The floors are coated in some sticky substance, pulling at my shoes. The inane chatter of pretentious teens from CAPA fills the air around me, and I just want to scream. It all drives me to a breaking point.

      So yes, I do share your disdain for the human race with such misanthropy on certain days. Not that I’m ever fond of strangers, and have faith that the human race is actually good. I’m not, and I don’t. And that’s kind of the uglier side of me. But, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows out there. I can’t see the world through rose colored glasses, because I have difficulty blatantly lying to myself. It just is what it is.

      • See, I do have faith in humanity, which is odd because I’m also very cynical. I think they’re reactions to each other or one is a reaction to the other or something. I think I am a misanthrope at heart. Sometimes I really just do hate everyone, and I think they’re concerns, fears, everything–is just so meaningless. People are out there contentedly leading meaningless lives, and they don’t want anything more. What about deeper matters? But that’s the problem with me–I’m too serious. I’m actually less serious than I used to be, which is saying something. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted there to be a meaning for everything. Even if I don’t know what it is, I like to think that it exists somewhere.

  9. Thank you for writing this post, your blog is teaching me so much about myself and my son. The rage that you describe is what my son lives with every day, along with terrible, overwhelming anxiety. He is seeing a therapist and a child psychiatrist and they have him on Zoloft and Risperdal. They have not diagnosed him as bi-polar, but have said it is a very strong possibility. I agree with that, especially since mental illness touches the lives of many in my family, including myself. I was diagnosed as having generalized anxiety disorder and depression, but as I look back on my life from the time I was a child, I think there is much more to it, to me. I am doing every thing I can to help my son, but I don’t know if I trust what his doctors are telling me. And as far as the meds he is on, I don’t really see a big difference in him yet..If you have any advice for me, I would appreciate it so much,

    • I think I just commented on one of your more recent posts, but I don’t know if you’ll see it before I’m writing this.

      First, thank you for reading this post. Like I was trying to relate to another reader, I think this is completely benign compared to what the actual rage is like. I can’t catch lightning, and when I’m in the storm, that’s not even on my radar. I should make it though, kind of like a storm chaser in a way.

      My son was diagnosed last year with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I don’t know if I believe what the doctors are telling me. My husband has been diagnosed with various anxiety disorders throughout his lifetime (OCD, GAD, PD, etc), and had a significant speech delay, according to his mother. My mother tells me I struggled with anxiety and was a very sensitive child. It would not be a surprised to me if these were early manifestations of mental health disorder.

      I’m hesitant to agree with ASD, because my son only has a few features of ASD that could cross into the realm of anxiety disorder. He has a significant speech delay, and has sensory integration dysfunction. Outside of that, there is nothing else. There is no pervasive behavior. In fact, he seeks out playmates. But, he will freak out and run away from a crowded, loud situation. He is affectionate, and can understand different tones of voice and different facial expressions. He knows about emotions, and displays them frequently and appropriately.

      How old is your son? And what do they have him on? I’m going to have to put a disclaimer on this. I am not a doctor, and I’m not claiming to be one. I am a patient, a student of psychology, and an elementary music teacher. These are opinions and not medical advice.

      When I was in college, I wrote a very long paper against medicating children. This was based on a lot of research I had done with studies and other published materials. And, there was a little slant. I, personally, was victim to a misdiagnosis and five years of taking medicine that didn’t work. Zoloft actually left behind a permanent side effect of motion sickness and benign positional vertigo. I went through hell trying to get off of the Lexapro, because I would get violently ill after it had cleared my system. All because one doctor screwed up and insisted that I had MDD.

      Now, I finished the paper with this one thing. I would only be in support of medication if that was the last option, and the dysfunction was so severe that the child was losing time in school, and seriously deviating from typical age-appropriate developmental patterns.

      I have to ask, if they think your son has bipolar disorder, why are they giving him Risperdal? Risperdal is not a mood stabilizer, it’s a second generation antipsychotic. It’s aim is to treat mania and mixed episodes. Does your son have paranoid episodes or something of the sort? Anyway, it would be odd that they would not include a mood stabilizer of any kind in there, and still treat him with an antidepressant. But, I do not know. I am not a doctor.

      I do know this. If you are questioning your son’s diagnosis, or anything about treatment or the doctor, get a second opinion. Get a third and a fourth if you have to. Unfortunately, I am limited in my resources here in PA. There is really only one authority on child psychology, and that’s our children’s hospital. I could get him diagnosed by a private psychologist, but I would have to wait until a year from his previous diagnosis. His insurance will only cover one diagnosis a year, per set of symptoms. Personally, I feel it’s a diagnosis they stick every kid who won’t talk with. But, only time will tell.

      Anyway, you don’t have to answer these questions if you don’t want to. And if you still want to talk, but in a more private setting, you can contact me at

      • Thank you so much, I just needed to vent to someone that actually understands. Like I said, I am questioning what the doctors are telling me, I have done a lot of my own research. I have an appointment with a child neurologist and I hoping that he can give me appropriate answers concerning my son. He is 13 years old, and he is only on meds for the last few months. I was always very against them, no matter what the doctors told me. But, his behavior at home was becoming violent and his rages where overwhelming his life. He went from an honor roll student to practically failing, and his anxiety is debilitating at times. I will most likely email you soon, so I can paint a better picture for you. Thank you for your input, I am just looking for honest opinions from people that know what they are talking about. Sometimes, I do not think those people are the doctors..

        • This is coming from the patient now. As a patient that became symptomatic at the same time as your son, it is clear that something needs to be done. But Risperidal?

          Are we even sure it’s mania? I was talking recently with someone about how extreme reactions to anxiety producing stimuli can mimic manic symptoms. Have they even tried Prozac or any benzodiazepines? The anxiety is what seems to be most pressing.

          I was just about to write something about anxiety and touch base on some of these things. I’d love to discuss it with you.

  10. I have two very close guy friends that have shared their having the rage, that it’s becoming more frequent and how its affecting their lives and relationships with their loved ones. I myself have witnessed one of them having it. I feel for them but that’s all I can do. I have no idea how to help.

    • I’ve found that men are better at engaging in that behavior than women. I’m not sure what it is that tempers women. But, I’ve always had the suspicion that I have higher testosterone levels than a typical female. Hence, the reason why I am enticed to be more aggressive.

      Firstly, a person has to want to be helped. That’s all I can say there. If they can’t recgonize that this has become a serious problem, and a dysfunctional behavior, then they can’t be receptive to help. That’s the first place to start. After that, I would recommend seeing a psychiatrist to ensure that it is not related to a underlying disorder. If not, they know where to go. Anger management. If they aren’t inclined to do that, then they may benefit from self-help books. I know I do.

  11. “Luckily, I fear the consequences of my actions more than am I compelled to carry out certain atrocities and revenge.”

    I think I like this best. It shows that throughout, no matter where your mind goes, there is always a touchstone of Lulu, something tethering you to reality as it would be were you not in an altered mood state.

    (But you know me, hopeless Ruby, always trying to pull out the positive strands – even in terribly negative circumstances, and regardless of how tenuous they may be. 😉 )

    • No, it’s true. That is the silver lining entirely. I wanted to post this, because I want people to realize that I have similar anger management problems as others. I am not always this kind, altruistic creature. There is a monster inside of me. Sometimes it rages, and sometimes it curls up in a the corner and cries. This is the other former, a side that I rarely speak about.

      Unfortunately, the consequences of my actions really only apply to those that I love. Otherwise, I can be ruthless when I tear into someone. I feel awful about it, because I have been on the receiving end of it. However, when I am provoked, I find that I justify my own behavior through just that reasoning. I was provoked. I was taking that person down a peg. It was necessary. I did so in defense. Things of that nature.

      While some are true, I do not have to carry them out to the extent that I do in some instances. It becomes even more difficult when it comes to two people who both have mood disorder. A person begins to rationalize to me that they couldn’t help the provocation, that they were having a bad day, their lives have been difficult lately, etc. It is difficult for me to take that as an excuse.

      An apology would be nice, and then I would be more receptive to hear them out. But, I don’t take excuses. I suffer from a mood disorder myself, and I have a greater level of control and empathy than others I have faced. If I can do it, and I know that I have been severely hindered by other complications such as various forms of abuse, then I expect that others can do the same.

      I am always ready to apologize when I have realized that things have gone too far. When I have gone too far. Especially to a particularly undeserving victim I perceived as a threat. That’s a different story entirely. But, when someone is out and out attacking me, I go for the throat. Even if they misdirected their emotions toward me. I don’t care. It’s unacceptable.

  12. I noticed my rage and hatred issues worsen during pms week. I was deliberately bitchy and insulting this week.I felt bad but I couldn’t combat the rage inside of me . Now the hormones are calming down and I am just irritated, which is pretty much the norm with my anxiety and cyclothymia.
    It gave me an epiphany though.
    I do push people away to save them from me, as well as to save me from them, since I am such an empathetic sponge I soak up the emotions around me and it acts like a poison.
    I also realized that I’m not quite the gruff bitchy girl I seem to be, it is just a self protection armor formed over many years of having people go for the soft underbelly and leaving wounds that never heal. I never mean to be mean or rude, but tis better to have prickly spines protecting you than to open yourself up to more knives in the back, or at least that’s how my mind has come to see it.
    If only the meds could cure this crap instead of just allegedly “manage” it, I might be able to deal with my emotional baggage, but kind of hard to do when you can never entirely get off the roller coaster ride.

    • Hey Morgue! Welcome back! I’m glad to see you!

      I would definitely say that hormone fluctuations associated with menses play a huge part in this. Lamictal and hormonal birth control don’t play nice. For me, the birth control lowers the amount of Lamictal in my system. So, whenever I’d be in an “off week”, it would often spark and episode. That is why I decided that continuous cycle birth control was my best option. I couldn’t take the risk of sparking full blown episodes every single time my estrogen and progesterone dipped, while my Lamictal soared.

      It’s interesting that you mention empathy. I have actually had a draft banked about the emotional life of an “empath”. Star Trek invented the term to describe the special ability of a half-Betazoid. Instead of having full blown psychic ability, they only pick up emotions.

      I have had that sixth sense my whole life. I am an emotional sponge too. Good, bad, and everywhere in between. Sometimes, I purposely distance myself from others temporarily because the emotions start to bleed into each other. It gets to a point where I can’t separate what I’m picking up versus what I’m actually feeling for myself.

      So, I take particular care to distance myself from particularly toxic people. Like my family. LOL.

      But, like you said yourself, there is this layer of emotional armor that resulted from years of surviving toxic people and the environments they create. After I got involved with my husband, had a kid, and started treatment, I too realized that I’m not actually a mean person.

      In a way, that actually hurts more than thinking I was just a mean-hearted bitch. It means I care. And worse, it means that I can’t deal with watching myself be mean with others. That even includes people I don’t like.

      So, I guess admitting that I am aware of these things is the first part. The next is being mindful, and stopping myself from doing it. And I guess the last one would be to stick to the plan!

      Easier said than done. Puh!

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