Thursday, March 13, 2008

Losing It

So, I've been having a difficult time lately with my anxiety and depression. Last night I lost it. I feel really bad for my husband. He sort of kicked off my break.

He was washing pots for dinner and knocked over my jar of pickle (a *mild* acid used for removing firescale from silver) and flipped out because he thinks it's going to kill us all. I made the mistake of calling it an acid at one point and he did not like that. Really it's not that bad - I mean, I wouldn't want to bathe in it or anything but I can stick my hand in there if I really had to and wouldn't be too bad off.

Anyway, he started yelling and I got mad because he's the one that knocked it over. And when we start yelling we really yell. You'd think someone was being beaten but we're just loud. But when I'm on the edge already sometimes it doesn't take all that much to cause me to crash. It's not his fault (normally I can just tell him to shut the hell up and be done with it) but the situation just hit me.

If you've never known anyone with anxiety or manic depression (bipolar) it's a little freaky to see them lose it. In the past I have punched walls. In this instance I had a hammer! LOL I was hammering some silver before the spill and afterward I was pounding that hammer on the steel block with all my strength. I think I scared hubby.

Losing control is difficult and extremely painful. And exhausting. It's a rush of energy that feels like it will take control - and it's usually an angry energy that wants to scream, hit, punch, kick, bite, and escape. Don't worry - I've never hit or hurt anyone else. Just myself. This time I found myself holding my breath and squeezing my head as hard as I could. Not sure why...I've never done that before. But I didn't really want to punch a wall. I was trying really hard not to cry but of course that's impossible. They are angry, hot, unwanted tears that are squeezed out of eyes shut so tight they hurt. My knuckles were so tight that my fingernails left marks in my palms. I wanted to pull out my was like I was fighting an internal demon, trying to stop myself from doing any harm.

It lasted about 3-4 minutes. Hubby left me alone (I had found my way into the bathroom by this time) and that's probably best. As much as I *want* him to come "help" there's nothing he can do and I am a little worried about what I'd say or do if he tried to "help" ... sometimes his way of helping is to say "get over it." ... Yeah, that's not so helpful.

When it gets to this point, taking medication doesn't really help. If I had taken it (I should have obviously) just five or ten minutes before this snap I probably wouldn't have flipped out. I just hate taking pills. I already have to take medication every night. So of course when he asked me if I'd taken my pill I got ticked because I hadn't but I didn't need to be reminded of that fact.

Finally the rage and energy left ... I can't even describe how these things happen. If you've never experienced it you might think it's all just in my head. But trust me. I could not control myself - or I could, but only to a point. It was a fight to not hurt myself. I won. :) I usually win. When it's "over" I am exhausted. Like I just ran five miles at full speed. My head hurts, my eyes hurt, my entire body feels like jello. It truly is exhausting.

That's the point when hubby can come in and hug me because he knows it's over. I'm sure he feels helpless and that probably drives him nuts. He's a typical guy...he wants to fix things. And he can't "fix" me. Finally, after eight years together, I think he gets that. When I first tried to explain to him my disease (and yes it is a's no different than having's a chemical imbalance that I have no control over except through medication, nutrition, and sleep) he didn't get it and did not understand why I needed medication. I had a boyfriend who once convinced me to stop taking my meds...yeah, he changed his mind after about two weeks. =D

I feel fine now. And even while I felt like I was falling off a cliff last night I managed to complete two orders. I definitely consider myself a "functional" bipolar...I have a very close family member who is not so functional. They aren't diagnosed bipolar, but they do have such severe anxiety that even leaving the house can be impossible. I haven't had any episodes like that in years - thank God. And even the kind of break I had last night is generally rare with me - at least not in this extreme. The last 'big' one I had was in November 2006 and it was bad. But I'll write about that later.

If you know someone who has depression, anxiety, or some other "mental" disorder - don't treat them like they're fragile or like there's something wrong with them. I never use my disease as an 'excuse'. I accept what it is and do what I need to do to cope and survive. But being Bipolar does not make me crazy or unaccountable for my actions. I still have responsibilities to meet and thankfully the logic part of my brain tries to fight forward in the breaking moments.

This has become a ridiculously long post. I hope no one thinks badly of me. My goal in talking about this is to try to raise awareness. To help others understand. I had a coworker tell me once that anyone who killed themselves was obviously selfish and pathetic. She didn't understand how anyone could do that. I told her - I understand it and I've tried it. You should have seen the look on her face. Utter shock. I'm such a happy and positive person ... normally.

You never know what is going on underneath the surface.


Rosanne said...

I understand and I'm glad you posted this. If it helps just one person have made a difference.
Keep talking about it! You could help someone else "come out of the closet". Being bipolar is not the end of the world and can be treated. People just have to take the first step and get the help they need. Or help someone they love get that help!
Mental illness should be treated the same way as a physical illness. Unfortunately there is that stigma about it. Hopefully, in time, the stigma will lessen. In fact, I think it has lessened a bit over the years. But it still has a ways to go.

Lady Language said...

I certainly don't think badly of you and I have a lot of friends who have experienced depression and manic episodes. Half of my family has been on medication at one time or another for mental illnesses (I have a big family!) and so far I have escaped the need. I have taken natural remedies to ease anxiety and some of my obsessive compulsive tendencies and it helps.

Have you ever picked up the book Women's Wisdom? It has been a useful resource for me.