In addition to my technical problems my moods have been off, way off. In the never ending quest of "why," which I know is bad to focus on while down, I have been running myself mentally ragged. I should be pursing the "how" as in how do I get back on track so I can identify why I fell off originally. This misdirected process has caused a lot of anger and frustration with myself- bad habits that existed before my diagnosis were popping up again. I've become use to dealing with episodes or a severe mood swing but have yet to conquer the small daily things that are necessary to maintain a consistent balance over all. I've had a slow and steady derailment for the past couple of months.
The entire month of March was pretty much filled with some form of underlying anger that I couldn't shake. I tried all of my usual techniques but I still felt like I was grinding my teeth just to keep the cynical, misanthropic comments from firing out of my mouth. Everyone and everything just seemed to annoy me, even while doing the things I love. Rock climbing annoyed me, the people who went with me annoyed me, my bike annoyed me, the roads annoyed me, having to get up and work out annoyed me, painting annoyed me, the space in which I paint in annoyed me, and all of these activities failed to do what they do the best- get rid of the extra energy and provide endorphins.
I wasn't receiving pleasure from any of my workouts so I cut back, but this was not on purpose. I would wake up and just focus on how frustrated I was which lead to thoughts of how annoying it is to pull my running shoes out and put them on my feet. Finding socks pissed me off. Lubing my chain pilled me off. EVERYTHING I loved about my day had me clenching my fists at my sides, ready to explode at something or someone. If the stuff that usually brought joy was stirring up these feelings then you can only imagine how I dealt with the things I didn't like or that were mild annoyances prior to March. Not very good would be the understatement of this century.
I had to hide in order to keep myself from snapping at people. The default action for almost all my moods except well balanced one is to hide. Everything little thing everyone said or did was the end of the fucking world as far as my brain was concerned. Checking out at the art supply store- some teenage know-nothing popping their gum, confused as to how to ring up a paintbrush and looking at me like it was my fault they had to put any effort into their day. I was convinced every driver on the road was put there by some cruel deity playing a massive joke on me. No one seemed to understand any of the common sense I thought was common, like don't step directly in front of me and stand there because your spacial awareness skills are that of a plaster wall. If anyone called me I would be pissed off that they didn't just text me. Assholes know I never answer my phone, why the hell are they calling me?! The world outside of my house was put here just to annoy me and all the people in it were sent to do it's nose hair plucking style bidding. It didn't matter who it was, it was all people- the way they talked, the subject those chose to talk about, their chosen vernacular, their voice- EVERYTHING. No part of my day helped me calm down.
This is the level of stupidity my anger got to. I should be ever so grateful that I'm able to be at an art store purchasing new brushes and doing what I love so much. I should be thankful I have friends who are calling, for any reason they might pick up the phone with me in mind. There are people out there who give a shit about me and I was too pissed off at the fact that my phone was squeaking with which ever annoying ring tone I had chosen. The other drivers on the road didn't have this effect on me prior to March, it was like they all leaked out onto the road at once. I knew that wasn't true and that my perception had been distorted by my annoyance with life.
I have no idea where this came from, a month long perpetual state of anger. Luckily I didn't give in and say or do something I would deeply regret. Except for the couple of pharmacy technicians that received my wrath. There are a couple places I can't go anymore. Those around me were effected but I'm lucky that they understand that in those moments the person they see isn't me. I always make it a point to apologize. I appreciate the people who put up with me and I want them to know that I am aware of the circumstances my disorder puts them in. I can't stop being bipolar so I thank them for their efforts, even if it's as simple as not punching me in the face.
The break in my mood came from a metaphor someone shared with me during a peer support meeting. I told the group about my unexplainable anger and someone referenced the river of pink slime that is underneath the city of New York in the 1989 movie Ghostbusters II. In the movie this supernatural fluid reacts to human emotions and anger is the specific emotion that allows this river of slime to grow and actually start influencing negative behaviors in others, pretty much making everyone want to kill one another. She said that my anger is like that river of slime and I can keep feeding it with my negativity or I can fight against it.
That made so much sense. While I was wasting my time trying to figure out why I'm so mad I have been feeding the underlying anger itself.
It's strange to think that after a month of intense irate struggle and daily self loathing my perspective can be turned around by a comedy that had Dan Aykryod as one of the writers and Bill Murray as the star. Mental health works in the most mysterious ways. But it's the best metaphor for what had been happening all during the month of March. There was a lot of anger inside of me and I was feeding it. I still don't have a clue what caused it but that doesn't matter because I needed to take control before I could establish a possible cause. I'm bipolar, there might not be a single cause to be found, it could just be another chemical shift in my brain.