Almost everybody gets angry now and then. The reasons are legion and, of course, the anger doesn't have to have anything to do with mental illness. When it does, though, its expression can be magnified, irrational and/or out of control.
Irritability and anger can be part of bipolar depression, hypomania and mania. It can go from just going around grumbling and snapping to punching walls - or people.
I myself can be irritable, but rarely for an extended period. As for anger - I first had to be taught how to express it, then later how and when not to. I internalized my anger for a long, long time, which only increased my depression because I was turning it on myself.
I became a victim personality after years of being teased, harassed and dominated. A therapist had to tell me it was okay to be angry.
And later another therapist had to teach me how to recognize when expressing anger was counterproductive. I had a situation at work where my boss and I were getting into fights every day. She'd bring me a stack of work and say "get this done by 2:00." Every single time, it was an unreasonable request. I'd say, "That's impossible," and off we'd go.
The therapist told me to say, instead, "I'll try." Bingo, end of fights. Just like that. I still wouldn't get it all done by 2:00, but my boss knew I had tried.
Today my life is fairly quiet and I don't get too angry too often, but when I do, I admit I express it badly. I blow up and SCREAM at my cats and send emails I really shouldn't have sent. My judgment is poor when I'm pissed off.
A reader recently asked, "Why do bipolar people have so much anger and irritability/agitation with other people at times?" Right off the bat, I can think of a couple of answers: (1) because bipolar people may be more likely to have those feelings, and (2) because others are more likely to have a hard time dealing with us, for a variety of reasons.
Do you have irritability/anger issues? How do you express them? How do you deal with them?
Published On: February 29, 2012
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