Let’s go into the wayback machine. When I was a toddler I was supposedly very verbal, outgoing, danced and twirled. When I was four the ultimate indignity was thrust upon me, my parents had a second child. I pulled in, retreated, stopped talking. In hindsight (can’t help it therapy for so long) I was PISSED so pissed. Anger in my house did not exist. Not in a really bad way; everyone was afraid of anger and confrontation and I tuned into that. Also I was a good girl, something that made me feel grown-up so no acting out or tantrums.
I ignored my sister and stopped talking oh for about TWENTY years. The silence had a myriad of reasons for but for this post lets start with being knocked off my pedestal. At twenty-five I noticed I had a sister and we became friends, I talked more but also had my worst depression around that time. Depression will be for future posts.
So after diagnosis, medication, tons of therapy and a patient hubby I communicate, sometimes too much. I get very demonstrative (hands waving for emphasis–New York Jewish Eastern European thing not a bipolar thing) talk loud and fast. At dinner or out and about my husband will touch my elbow our sign that I should dial it back.
Do I still get angry? Yes everybody does. The difference for me is that I can explode. I call it a rage flash, I literally see white and can curse, snap, get snarky so fast there is no counting to ten or taking a breath. Triggers can be different things. I am not patient, I get frustrated easily. Working at the library with the public has been the best training ground for keeping myself in check.
Rage Flash: A few examples of rage flashes before medication. My husband and I went to the movies, we wanted to see “The Theory of Everything” the film about Stephen Hawking. Not a blockbuster. We did not buy tickets ahead of time. When we got to the theater our movie was sold out. I lost it. How could this depressing, fascinating, small movie be SOLD OUT.
Well the answer was probably all the old folks of whom I must now count myself who did not want to see blockbusters were seeing that movie. I ranted all the way home. My husband qualified this episode as “bad” meaning my reaction was so off scale to the trigger event.
Rage Flash: Another movie one, we bought tickets ahead of time. We got to the theater and the machine to print out the tickets was broken. My husband had to wait on line. I lost it again. We of course got in and were not late but what the hell?
Note: You can now buy tickets ahead, have a code on your phone so no busted machine, pick your seat and when you get there stretch out in these recliners. This is the greatest thing that has happened for me in the last ten years beside my wedding.
One more; road trip with my hubby, mom and sis. I was at a new job and we were discussing my vacation time, when it started, what could rollover, how much etc. It turned out I had misinterpreted the rules which my family pointed out to me. Lost it, pounded my fist against the car window. I was frustrated, felt stupid and angry, plus the injustice of minimal vacation time in the United States all hit me in milliseconds. Off the scale? Yah.
After medication it can still happen (hmmph) much better though, infrequent rage flashes. I do PMS pretty badly and if I have an episode of anger it usually is tied to my cycle. I track very carefully and warn my husband so he can keep an eye on me, and I can point to a hormonal reason rather that feeling like the Tasmanian devil.
Also as I have mentioned I am para menopausal, so fun. I’ll take reasons for unanticipated outpourings of emotion for 300 Alex. The anger can morph into anxiety but it is low level, I know what it is and I feel more in control.
When I have a wobble I freeze and if with my husband he will look at me and say “Rage level rising, she’s gonna blow!” I imagine the cartoon character with the red line going up the face and then steam busting out of the top of their head.
Meditation, I know, I read some books, downloaded an app called Calm. This comes up all the time in current discussions around mental health. It seems hippy dippy to me but it is not. It is about slowing your brain, being present. That would be so nice. Take that ANGER I know how to breathe!
Until next time.