When thinking about bipolar symptoms, anger is often overshadowed by mania and depression. I think that this anger or rage isn’t spoken about by people with my disorder much because it feels shameful. The things that happen when I am suddenly having an episode of rage are tough to talk about and embarrassing but if I don’t talk about it who will? So even though it’s embarrassing and hard, I’m going to tell you about my symptom of rage.
It is not just anger. It is something much deeper than that. When these episodes happen for me, it is often right before bed and there is no trigger or warning. I will be relaxing on the couch when all of a sudden it hits me like a truck. There’s no stopping it and it’s always sudden. I usually curl up into a tight ball as all of my muscles tighten. I can’t speak, though sometimes I will scream or grunt if Ben tries to talk to me. Sometimes I will pull at my hair or make balled fists with my hands. That’s what is happening physically.
Mentally, it’s a labyrinth. A labyrinth according to dictionary.com is, “an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way or to reach the exit.” In my mind, I know that I need to calm down but I just can’t find a way out. There’s static in my head as I try to breathe but find my chest closed tight. What’s hard to understand is that there is absolutely nothing causing this rage, it is simply just there. Episodes can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more. Ben does the best he can, keeping me safe, and waiting for the rage to pass.
Once it’s over I usually fall straight into a deep depression feeling nothing but shame and guilt. I try to remember that this is something that is out of my control but it’s hard to think that way. I’m so used to trying to hide my bipolar symptoms that I forget that there are things about being bipolar that the world doesn’t get to see. Being bipolar is complicated and I’m still learning to navigate my labyrinth.*
*Sidenote: This was probably one of the hardest posts I’ve written so far. Ben is the only one who knows about and experienced this symptom of mine. If you suffer from episodes of rage please know you aren’t alone and that you don’t have to feel ashamed. You are loved and you are not your disorder, you are much, much more. ❤