Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bipolar Irritability (Part 2)

In my earlier post, which I actually wrote in the late afternoon on Monday, and then republished so it would have Tuesday's date (which is when I said I was coming back from my vacation), I said I was quite irritable and wasn't feeling like responding to comments.

And there were a number of people who commented on this post, and I planned on responding this afternoon, but then I realized these comments necessitate another post. By asking the question about comments, I somewhat negated the importance of my original post, which was that I am learning to figure out why I get irritable, trying to deal with the causal factors, and attempting to come up with solutions.

For me, irritability, anger, and rage are huge issues. When I think of all the years I didn't understand they were bipolar symptoms, I literally want to cry. These days, some authors write about them as symptoms and I believe that's critically important.

The key questions for me, which few--perhaps no authors--answer are: Why do we get irritable? Is it because of hypomania or mania? Is it because our feelings have been hurt, and we don't know what to do with those emotions and so it comes out as anger, rage or irritability? Is it because we feel so deeply in general?

Or is it because we feel like we give so much during periods of hypomania (I'm not sure if it's the same with mania) that we're spent when the episode is over. And now we want others to give to us in return, but we don't feel they do--or at least not with the same passion we gave to them when we were hypomanic. All interesting questions, don't you think?

These were all things I thought about in the middle of last night, and I realized that responding to comments was a part of suddenly needing people to give back, rather than a problem with my blog or my readers. And writing about my irritability made it go away, and thus I can respond to comments, and it's now a moot point.

Having said that, I would like to thank all those who responded to this post, including Girlblue, KJ, Gianna, Bradley, Catatonic Kid, Robin J. Foote, Tamara, and Marja.

FYI...here's how I feel about comments when I'm not irritable:

1. In the past I have responded to all comments because I truly believe that everyone deserves a response.

2. I no longer leave comments on blogs where people don't respond to my comments unless I have a personal relationship with them and we email each other offline, or they frequently leave comments on my blog.

3. For me, part of the value of blogging is developing a sense of community and that's why comments are so important.

4. My feelings do get hurt when people don't respond to my comments, or perhaps equally important, I feel it's a waste of my time. The point is that I only spend so much time online each day because as I've written before, it doesn't make me feel good to look at the screen for hours on end. And...if I take the time to respond to a post, it's because I want to show my support for the person who posted or to share information that I think might help. I truly dislike being ignored, and thus after commenting a few times and being ignored, I usually stop reading the blog.

5. However, now that I've read other people's point of view on comments, I'll think about the subject anew.

What's great about my earlier post and this one is that writing about something that was troubling me enabled me to heal once again. Thank you one and all!


catatonickid said...

Hi Susan - glad the solution was found in the processing! It's nice when that happens, isn't it?

I read a great article by Germaine Greer on rage recently, which proves relevant to you, I think. She's sort of an anger queen in her own right so I like to think it's experience talking.

Anyway, GG says:

"Rage has nothing to do with creativity, nothing to do with communication. Rage cannot argue. Rage is the murderous child of inarticulacy."

So in your finding the words to express what was going on for you yesterday you articulated the impossible...? And thereby discovered the solution!

The article, in case you want to read it, can be found at: The Rage Epidemic

Tamara said...


It is so interesting that you would write about anger, rage and irritability today. I just talked to my T about a meltdown I had last Sunday that had been building over a few days. I felt like everyone hated me, I was very lonely, yet I had all of this coiled up energy inside, I was barely managing to be nice to my husband (even though I knew I wasn't mad at him), loud noises were about to kill me and my nerve endings were just raw. I felt I had no choice but to go back on a bit of Zyprexa because I really couldn't stand the feeling. I did blog about it and that helped a lot and maybe I could have made it without the Zyprexa - I don't know. Anyway, long story to say that my T pointed out that I was angry and not allowing myself to feel it. True enough in retrospect. I have spent 45 years turning my anger inwards and NEVER expressing it outwards. I am trying to learn to feel the anger, recognize it as anger and stop myself before I turn it on myself. I had not thought about it in terms of my bipolar. Seems maybe I should find a way to pay attention to that aspect to and see how it all fits together.

Anyway, great post!


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Catatonickid,
I haven't read Germaine Greer in years. Thanks for quoting her and also for letting us know about the article.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
I'm glad my post helped. I feel there are so many facets of this illness that can be controlled if people are aware they're symptoms.

While medication may work for periods of time, in my experience, for the long-term I believe we have to solve the issues that caused the illness--whether or not we take medication.

And then there are a host of wellness activities I engage in on a daily basis to reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and just to have fun!


discoverandrecover said...


Anger/rage -

Niacinamide (B-3)- (the amide, not niacin - that helps with other things)....

Almost hesitate to mention this - you've had some poor results with so many natural methods....

Most the time, if people try it, and it doesn't work, it's because they aren't taking enough....It's water-soluble, and most of us lack it - I take 3,000mg per day....

Really helps with anger/rage....

I really liked what catotonickid had to say - wow! Good stuff!!


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Duane,
It's always worth trying something new and thanks for pointing out the dosage. That's helpful.

I believe that extended hypomanias may diminish certain vitamins or minerals so conceptually I agree that something like this could work.

We'll see if it does in practice. And if it doesn't for me, it might for others.


marja said...

I don't know that there needs to be a reason for irritability, anger and rage. Isn't that just another part of our mood disorder, a mood that comes upon us with no reason at all, caused by biological malfunctioning in our brains?

I used to have these, but with the meds I'm on now - and because of where I've come to spiritually - it seldom happens anymore. When it did, there were triggers - but almost anything could then be a trigger. It didn't take much to set me off.

discoverandrecover said...


For 'bipolar', niacinamide works for many...

But, you raise such a good point - what works for one, doesn't work for another...

Amazing how different we are....and, as we search for "wellness", I think we all benefit greatly from talking about what works for us....

I really enjoy this site! - Sorry to have been a stranger for so long - been very busy lately.

Yours in wellnes,


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Actually for me, I don't believe it's biochemical. Rather, I believe there are causal factors, which I mentioned in my post.

I sometimes think that when people think everything is biochemical, they feel they can't change their behavior.

But, whether they pursue spirituality, music healing, meditation, deep breathing or any number of other wellness activities, I believe they can change their symptoms and behavior.


Wellness Writer said...

I agree. If there's anything I've learned in writing this blog, it's that everyone is different, and what works for them is different.

Glad you dropped by. It's nice to have you contribute.

P.S. I've been offline for 10 days, and am just getting back to posting.