themighty logo

Why I’m No Longer Ashamed of My ‘Bipolar Rage’

How many times have you been angry?

Anger is normal. Irritation, agitation, etc. etc., all completely natural reactions.

Rage is different. Rage can be violent; it can be uncontrollable; it can be frightening to those around you, and even to yourself.

Those with rage issues are often encouraged to seek programs such as anger management, where coping mechanisms are worked on, roots of the anger manifesting inside you are sought, worked through, hopefully resulting in a better way to handle the escalation from anger to rage.

Now, let’s talk about bipolar rage.

People have this idea (this misconception, rather), that bipolar disorder is confined to a swing of a pendulum between two extremes: Mania (often mistaken for happiness) and depression.

People don’t know all of the different sides of bipolar disorder, and all of the different emotions it can manifest as. People don’t really know about the rage.

Hell, I don’t even want to talk about my rage. It’s loud, it’s messy, it’s confusing, it’s sudden, it’s uncontrollable; it’s a part of myself I never want anyone to see. Yet, it is exactly that: an undeniable part of myself that has been laughed at, mocked and dismissed for as long as I can remember.

Make fun of me all you want as I lose control, but this is who I am.

Let’s step back for a second.

I have a short fuse. I’ve known my entire life. There’s a difference between a short fuse in someone with bipolar disorder and someone without it. Someone living without bipolar can have a scale (if you will), a preset threshold of what they can take before they snap. I do not have that. I go from 0-60 in one second.

Am I proud of that? No.

Do I enjoy it? No.

Can you honestly think any sort of attention this brings me is in any way a positive? Can you think I really wanted to be seen screaming, crying uncontrollably, snot and tears running down my face as I continue, determined to get my say of loud, slurred and nearly unintelligible words in as I’m laughed at, scoffed at and told to “calm down” and “stop being so melodramatic?”

(I’d really like to know the ratio of how many times this has actually worked as opposed to not, in any situation, by the way.)

Can you really think I want anyone to see me fall to pieces like this?

I can’t understand what goes on inside the minds of others, just as others will never understand what goes on in mine every day, but I can say (not that it matters to whom I wish it did, since my success rate of this is at 0 percent up to this point), that the answer is no.

No, I don’t.

But you know what? This is a part of me.

I feel things. I feel things intensely. I feel things more intensely than a lot of people. The way I break down, the way I handle stress, the way I snap and “act crazy” (as it has been so eloquently put in the recent past) is a part of me, and I am not going to be ashamed of it anymore.

I will no longer feel guilty for who I am based on the inability of others to understand it. Nor will I hold myself responsible for their flat-out refusal to even try.

What I feel at times is ugly, because the negatives I feel can become so overwhelming that I feel consumed by them. But with that comes the ability to feel things such as happiness and beauty and love just as intensely, enabling me to feel their warmth physically hum and radiate from inside of me.

The bipolar road is not an easy one. It is not without bumps, it is not without broken promises, broken hearts (yours and others), shame, guilt, confusion and loss. Admittedly, there are times when I feel it is a road not worth traveling. Then, the voices stop, the tears subside, my breathing slows, my rage calms, I no longer scream at the top of my lungs and I am able to pick myself up from wherever it was I had collapsed, and for a few hours, I am gifted with a beautiful time of crystal clarity.

I have survived another one. I am still here. I have beaten it. I have beaten it, and I will beat it again.

“I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done.”

“I could have married you if you weren’t determined to act like this.”

These were not voices in my head tonight. These were words on the other end of the telephone.

Translation: our destruction is your fault.

Translation: I could have married you if you didn’t have a part of yourself which I refuse to try to understand.

I’m not sorry. No one should be. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong for being who you are, even if you don’t fully understand yourself yet, because I certainly don’t. But I’m working every day to do so.

Yes, I still have rage attacks. Yes, I still have psychotic episodes. Yes, I’m still figuring out all my triggers.

But I will never allow myself to be laughed at or belittled for it again, and neither should you. Each day you awake is another day you have kept going.

Each time you come down from a bipolar rage, an attack, or pull through an episode, it is a victory.

Do not let anyone take that away from you; you are a warrior. We are the lions, and the lion disregards the judgment of the lamb.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash