Bipolar

Bipolar can be such a contrary Bastard

I think the worst aspect of my condition is the moments of utter stomach churning childishness that emerge from nowhere, which can often have catastrophic consequences.

You can be bowling along, almost convinced the bad days are behind you, then wham!.  One of my triggers is to be reminded of my previous misdemeanours, however innocently they might be raised, at which I feel a sense of acute embarrassment , linked to irritation that it was raised at all, the combination of which is almost guaranteed to send me into a tail spin. The feeling is like you are falling through the air, grasping at anything you can on the way down. By that I mean, you look for excuses, or blame the other party, or question the facts, or whatever. But what you rarely fail to do is take the issues fully on the chin, and move on without demur.

The really frustrating thing is that your reaction is not predictable. In other words, there are such occasions when you can carry off the matter with mature aplomb, convincing yourself you are finally starting to grip the matter and progress.

Quite why it should be so erratic I don’t know. Was it tiredness? Was it food related? Was it related to some other less obvious factor. The problem is too complex to work out.

Certainly it has much to do with the way the brain is wired. When one first learns to drive, for example we go through a period of feeling consciously incompetent. And that is why it’s a guaranteed basis for family bust ups. Dad or Mum sit next to you and when you kangaroo the clutch and burn a red light, their immediate reaction is to say’ do you know what you just did – you jumped a red light’ . Given you are consciously incompetent, you know exactly what you did wrong, and don’t need this insensitive idiot next to you to remind you. Hence most of us blow up. But most people only encounter that type of emotional issue rarely, so the blow up is forgotten.

With Bipolar, your senses are so heightened that there are many such moments, often laughably trivial to the other party, and though you’ve been there and done that as they say, you never move on from the driving lesson feeling. It makes us very frustrating and hard to understand.

I write this at 4 in the morning to ‘note to myself’ that I’ve done it again. Luckily the person on the receiving end seems ‘to get it’ and the damage done was fixed.  The trick – though hard to pull off – is to be brutally honest with yourself at such moments and address the feelings and deal with them. If hearing of you past errors leaves you squirming with embarrassment, then earth it straight away, and maybe say ‘I feel so embarrassed to be reminded of that awful thing’ and possibly the person who cares about you might say, ‘ oh I’m sorry for bringing it up’. Or whatever, but owning up to your foibles is surely better than bottling it up.

I’ve learned something tonight and I will be better for it

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