Who’s Feeling Homicidal? I Am, I Am!

AlwaysLast month, ManicMuses wrote about irritability and how she deals with it in her first post, Irritability – My Special Compass Point.  I have to say that I applaud her for having a plan in place for when this flag is thrown, and I am also incredibly envious, because I rarely visit irritability-land, I go straight from being calm to being filled with murderous rage.

Case in point.  My aunt is in town this week.  I love my aunt very much, but she lives on her own and has a difficult time sharing space with others (even a decently large space), and is very set in her patterns and behaviors.  Okay, that’s bound to happen when you live alone.  You aren’t constantly taking other people’s preferences or rhythms into account, and the only one you have to be considerate of is yourself.

She was married when she was much younger, and lived with a different man – with whom she became quite serious, I believe they even discussed marriage – years ago.  But she has spent most of her life as an adult keeping her space as strictly her own.  And of course there’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s exactly the way it should be, actually.  She works hard and pays a mortgage and every damned piece of bric-a-brac in her house should be arranged to within a millimeter of where she wants it.  Likewise, she should be able to behave however she wants, be loud, leave dishes out, whatever.  In her house.

But when she is staying in someone else’s, or when we share a hotel suite during visits to family, she needs to realize that other people need to be factored into the scenario and their lifestyles accounted for.

Up until now, this may just seem like me ranting and venting and blowing off steam.  I won’t deny that I’m cranky – to understate the situation vastly.  Here’s why these words have a place in a blog on mental health.

This aunt is my mother’s sister.  That matters because I know my mom discusses my struggles with her family more extensively than my dad does, which is fine with me.  I am an open book about this crap, and the more informed people are, the better.  Not only that, but my aunt very recently had extensive, long-term involvement with a man who carried a bipolar diagnosis.  Apparently neither of these factors taught her anything about actually being around someone who is bipolar (and apparently nothing ever taught her that everything in life does not get to be done exactly as she determines it should).

I realized several weeks ago that my moods were in a more highly reactive place.  I was still functioning and keeping it together, and I still am now, but I have to be more aware of triggers and emotional lability.  It’s been some time since I had a full-blown mood episode, and I would very much like to keep it that way.

Tonight, two seconds of direct interaction with my aunt and I was thinking, Irritability, what the hell is that?  She doesn’t make me irritable, she triggers me so that I become a full-blown, raging bitch in the blink of an eye.  I run for the nearest exit, because I don’t particularly enjoy taking my mood symptoms out on other people.  It’s unkind and it’s counterproductive.  It won’t teach her any lessons about the best way to deal with me when I get this way, and she does try to be understanding and sympathetic.  And as for counterproductivity, when my moods amp up, the best thing for me to do is go somewhere calm and quiet and trigger-free to bring myself back down.  I know I am not unique in this method of symptom management, but I also know that I am hyper-aware of my symptomatology presentation.

And yet I lack the logical progression with many – most – things.  I don’t go from calm, to sensitive, to irritable, to annoyed, to angry.  I go from cruising along at normal (for me) life level to wanting to strangle someone or smash something in ten seconds flat.

Why is that, do you suppose?  For those of you who have dealt with PTSD, and of the bloggers here this may only be Ruby, do you think that could play a role?  Am I really missing symptoms and signs that are blatant in situations I know to be pretty high-stress?

Answers, thoughts, and suggestions from my fellow bloggers (on this site and on their own), from readers, from anyone at all would be very much appreciated, because I don’t particularly care for this aspect of myself.

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5 thoughts on “Who’s Feeling Homicidal? I Am, I Am!

  1. Always,
    I haven’t had an acceleration of a mood episode from 0-60 in many months…miffed to irritated to irate to wanna strangle. I decelerate quite rapidly though into a depressive state. I’ve become so hyper-vigilant when it comes to mood lability that I also run to the exits at the least indication of either pole. I have to decompress in quiet too. I am getting better at using my positive self talk. I let myself feel the emotion for a bit, recognize when the thinking is heading to the netherworld and change course. Let it pass through. Had one of these yesterday. Only took 15 minutes to get on the right side of the thoughts. All that CBT with my therapist has paid off!!
    The key is awareness. You have a wonderful sense of self-awareness. Of your triggers, your emotions, your behaviors. Pat yourself on the back!
    Shelly

    • Shelly,

      You are such a sweetheart, thank you. I guess if nothing else I can pat myself on the back for trying to do everything in my power not to inflict my moods on others.

      I’m glad that you are aware with your mood changes, too, and that you are able to sort of “re-wire” your thinking that way. I didn’t do too much CBT, at least not formally, the way my therapist instructed me to. Writing every damned thing down. . . I get the point, thank you! But reading your words, I’m wondering if I should re-visit that particular technique – not for my manic-depression, but for my PTSD. A lot of the key to dealing with that (at least for me) is trying to be aware of what triggers symptoms.

      Thanks!

      Always

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  3. I tend to be able to put on a happy or at least a neutral face through all sorts of other people’s absurd behaviors and needs. It’s a great skill to have, but internally I suffer a great deal. I always find that it’s much more enjoyable for myself if I just let some of my human emotions through. Let people around you know what your needs are. They can balk all they want. Sounds like you have the upper hand in this situation seeing as you’re playing host.

    • Brandon, I know what you mean about the “happy” face. I also know what you mean about letting your emotions through. I don’t do much of the latter, because I am not good at moderation. If I let some out, I let it out, and then you could knock the people around me over with a feather.

      Playing hostess can be a double-edged sword, and I am lucky not to be playing it alone. You do have to accommodate your guests and see to their needs, no matter how they are behaving or how you are triggering from it. So it’s nice to have someone else around who understands the situation. When my internal warning light turns red, I can flee.

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