Bipolar can unleash a torrent of unwanted consequences in its wake. Yet, one single emotion can be responsible for sabotaging relationships, careers, or simply ruining plans for the day.
Anger or full-blown rage, when hurled at those we care about the most, can leave us with painful guilt for inflicting that hurt. Indeed, living with uncontrolled, seething irritation can leave us confused and isolated.
There is a distinction, say experts, between seeing red occasionally and the long-simmering irritability and rage that can, during both manic episodes and agitated states of depression, last for days on end. With bipolar, it’s more common to erupt over a disproportionate trigger—a minor annoyance that would not set off most people.
A 2012 study published in the medical journal Bipolar Disorders suggests that people with bipolar have greater rates of anger and aggressive behaviors, especially during acute and psychotic episodes. Another study from 2004, from the Journal of Affective Disorders, found that at least one-third of patients with bipolar described angry outbursts called “anger attacks.”
Our thoughts and behaviors can either fuel our emotions or reduce them, says Amy Morin, LCSW: “So, if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger, you can change what you’re thinking and what you’re doing. Without fuel, the fire inside you will begin to dwindle and you’ll feel more calm.”
It’s essential to recognize our triggers and then learn to master keeping our emotions in check. If exposure to the onslaught of negative news is a surefire way to rile you up, unplugging is key. Instead, seek out positive stories or watch comedies. It’s also rare for anger and gratitude to coexist simultaneously, so try journaling about what you’re grateful for each day.
Also, time-outs aren’t just for kids. Walk away for a short break if what’s in front of you is too much to handle in the moment. Daily exercise can help channel anxiety and anger by stimulating feel-good endorphins. So can listening to music or switching gears to a calming activity.
Jeffrey M. has been seeking help for his anger most of his life. “I hear this noise, loud inside of me, turning and turning,” he says. “I’ve identified it and am trying to understand what causes it, to learn coping strategies, how to recognize that feeling coming before I let it go, when it explodes and goes away.” Read more >>
With bipolar’s depression and anxiety, I struggled to be confident. After growing tired of feeling hurt by every slight, I discovered two effective ways to combat negative emotions.
By Debbie Jacobs
I used to find it very difficult to interact well with others. I was often hurt, and I reacted with anger—directed at others by being stubborn and directed at myself with self-deprecation. Underneath it all was the root problem of feeling unworthy and allowing others’ opinions and behaviors to affect my sense of self-worth or personal value.
When we are managing depression, we’re often very sensitive. And in that state of mind, it’s so easy to take things personally, which undermines our self-worth. When we do this, I’ve found, we end up feeling bad about ourselves; we feel unworthy, not good enough, undeserving, or that we don’t matter.
We have cultivated reactionary behaviors around this dynamic that ends with us feeling bad, invalidated, and devalued. The good news? I’ve also found that this is something we can change. Read more >>
Whether you live with bipolar or love someone who does, you can find comfort, wisdom, and strategies (maybe even a good laugh!) in these inspirational books. We can lose ourselves in the power of the written word, compelled by the raw emotions, deep insights, and humorous takes offered by others like us—people who share our...
Mood symptoms such as overspending, hypersexuality, anger attacks, and self-isolation hurt those around us. A simple apology is just the starting point of making things right. When Our Actions during Bipolar Mood Episodes Harm Others Olivia S. of Colorado got up one morning to unexpectedly find two of her four grown children in her living...
Enhanced primary care helps reduce ER visits October 1, 2020, CHAPEL HILL, NC—Integrating primary care services and behavioral health services appears to reduce emergency room visits among people with severe psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder, a new study suggests. American researchers, using the customary term “serious mental illness,” noted that individuals with such conditions...
I’m an expert in bipolar management, yet I still have frequent mood swings and deal with symptoms regularly. Shouldn’t I have “solved” this by now? Shouldn’t I have “recovered”? Bipolar Disorder, Expertise, & Mood Management I’ve been writing books about bipolar disorder management since 1998, and my webpage started in 2002. How is it possible...