Mania vs. Anger
Mania is truly uncontrollable. Anger stems from ongoing frustration and has a developed cause. I picked the topic of this week’s blog post a few days before my extreme temper flare-up at my family Monday night of this week. I watched a David Letterman interview Kanye West a while back and really liked Kanye’s call for people, and not just people with a mood disorder -- but all people, including and mainly himself -- to do their best to speak softly and stay composed especially when angry. I liked that part of the interview because I suck at this type of self control. I have had anger problems my whole life; pair that with being a smartass and you can bet I have no problem finding trouble.
Back to last Monday night… I had been living with my sister, dad, and mom in close quarters for probably the first time since I voyaged off to boarding school at the start of 8th grade. Before Monday night even rolled around, I was smart enough to know that I had had enough. Whether I was or was not being paranoid didn’t matter. I felt like the people I was living with were just being too goddamn nice. I know that’s not usually what pisses people off, but I was getting real tired of the whole show. Like I said, I really haven’t lived with this portion of my family since I was little. They say kill ‘em with kindness -- well that’s exactly what was happening with me.. I was being pelted with happiness and kindness bullets time and time again. Monday night rolled around and I snapped big time. I had a whole ton of grievances to air knowing full well I wasn’t going to get any answers. It got worse…
My parents have a track record of playing doctor. They have made it their specialty to judge just exactly when I am and am not stable. It’s a terrible thing. It makes me itch when I’m around them these days because I start to feel like the whispers between them, about my condition, is a normal and ongoing thing. THIS FREAKS ME OUT! I have been put in some of the most terrible spots semi-imaginable against my will because of the lies my folks have conjured up. They stare at me and watch me because they can’t explain my behavior. How I act looks peculiar to them simply because they don’t really know who I am and what my normal pattern of behavior is. I can’t stand being watched and monitored. My paranoia, which can lead to mania, can also manifest just simply as anger and anger alone. It’s probably safer to expel paranoid thoughts when they begin, even if it’s in anger, so that others around you are clued into your rational thought process.
The catch 22 - a large warning sign to mania is, in fact, anger. It just makes matters worse. Here I am, living in close quarters with my family, a family that has led me to three unnecessary trips to the psych ward, and I’m getting pissed because I feel like they’re starting to look into things regarding my level of sanity yet again. Well, perhaps I had the wrong reaction, but my temper spiraled out of control. I was doing everything in my power to walk away initially. The niceness never ended. I couldn’t be nice back because I had nothing nice to say. Cabin Fever was on HIGH. I stormed into dinner with a large pepperoni pizza while the rest of my family had salmon, and I outlandishly took over. As it relates to my book, I have had a feeling that there is a large part of the story that I am unaware of. A missing link in the tail. Little by little I have picked up on clues about certain things that my parents know, but are seemingly keeping secret from me; the secret I think they’re keeping has to do with a part or parts that they played in my personal affairs. I’ve been holding the anger that I feel from this betrayal for a long time. I had reached my breaking point with my companions so I decided to lay it all out there - a lot of stuff I will never be able to prove but felt compelled to let my folks know that I wasn’t done digging. I tried to make as little accusations as possible. Neither my mom or dad came clean. My mom played it more cool and stuck to her usual script of not knowing what I was talking about. I’ve seen this before with many other things; The little miss I’m positively innocent act. I never buy that shit because my mom is always up to something. My dad, on the other hand, listened to everything I was saying -- a little too closely. I didn’t get any of the answers I was motivated to get that night, but I know my rage, intense rage, had merit. I wasn’t elevating into psychosis like people with bipolar can propel themselves into. They/We allow our anger to disorganize our thought process and scramble basic logic shooting us straight toward mania if not at the very least hypomania.
After dinner, I took my meds, including the max allowable dosage of clonazepam, an anti-anxiety and a pill that really helps me fall asleep and reset for the next day. My rage wasn’t going anywhere. I had reached the tipping point. I TOOK IT TOO FAR! I decided if they were on the look-out for mania and unstable behavior I would happily play the part. With my sister, dad, and mom constantly questioning my stability, I gave them instability. They wanted psychotic; I gave them a real psychopath. I was in hysterics.. I had no cruel intentions, but lacked no shame in arising fear in my family. Was I wrong? YOU BET! I was lashing out over things that happened in the past; things that I was presuming as well as actions taken against me. I was also lashing out because I didn’t belong in this cottage any longer. It’s hard to live under another man’s roof when the two of you can’t seem to ever find middle ground. This summer, despite these last few days up at my parent’s cottage, things went pretty well between my dad and I. We seemed to find a level of respect for one another’s life. Sounds kinda dramatic that we literally went into this summer with zero respect for the ground the other one occupied, but all we ever do is butt heads when we're around each other. I screwed up the ending of this summer because I lost it. But boy, do I have to watch out, I got the same temper as my old man. Maybe worse… damn.
In the end, everybody gets angry from time to time. Some are clearly better at controlling their anger than others. The important takeaway is to understand that mania is not just some pissed off mood. It is complex and hard to understand by the people seeing it in front of them, as well as, being practically indescribable for the person going through the manic episode. Anger and rage are generally reactionary. There’s a line of reasoning for one’s increased temperament when it comes to anger. To all parents, siblings, and friends of a person with a mental illness -- try not to jump to conclusions and judgments of a person’s mental state just because you know they have a preexisting condition; we have the right to regular emotions including frustration. Playing doctor and assuming to have an all knowing answer can be forever scarring.