Flipping the Bipolar switch

I don’t normally post two days in a row, but I wanted to have a little rant on Facebook and realised it would be so pointless because no one would get the intensity of what I’ve been going through today. And how quickly the switch can be flipped from a ‘slightly depressed’ to ‘crazed rage’. Okay, I didn’t quite reach crazed rage; or I did, but it was not uncontrollable, so it didn’t seem that way.

I am busy with these ridiculous little projects as I think I mentioned, where my deadlines are insane and the pay is crap. I think the employer person hasn’t been able to get anyone else desperate enough to help her, so she hounds me at all hours of the day and night. Last night at about 20:00 she begged me to do a quick thing before 5am the next morning. So, working better at night anyway, I finished around 2am and was laying awake until about 3. Needless to say I snoozed my alarm until about 11, 12, and then had to fly up to start with the other project I have due in about 36 hours. And from the moment I opened my eyes everything just went wrong.

I have 0 cash, but I have money in a Paypal account. However, my country in general and it’s banks are SHIT, and turns out connecting my credit card to Paypal is theoretically easy, if my bank stopped telling me I was entering the wrong card number. Which it’s NOT. So because of this I am trying to feed my cats cheaper food and they are refusing to eat. I’m adding tuna to entice them and now my room, that has no ventilation, smells like fish, which I HATE.  I know this sounds minor, but when you don’t have time or money or energy, it starts grating. Then I realised that my dog’s whole food bowel, as well as the cat bowels, were FULL of ants. And as I look around, I realise that they are EVERYWHERE! And because of the animals I can’t use poison. So I’m drowning ants and fishing soggy pet food covered in ants out of the drain and I am so grossed out I feel like, I don’t know, my hands are going to fall off or something and I don’t know how to get rid of them and I feel like my head is going to explode and I’m going to throw something against the wall and burst into tears and slip into a puddle and cry while stomping on ants and screaming while washing my hands 10 times.

And I think this is kind of the part people don’t understand. Yes, there were a couple of things leading up to it, and someone else might also get mad and drown the ants or whatever. But when I say it feels like my head is going to explode, I literally mean it. The combination or rage and frustration and anxiety and feeling out of control is so intense and overwhelming, that it literally feels like I will spontaneously combust. It’s like my brain is swelling and my whole head is getting bigger and I’m waiting for it to pop open and for brains to splash all over the walls. I was freaking the fuck out, to be honest. I won’t just diagnose myself with a co-morbid something and maybe it’s also a bipolar thing, but I can’t stand my hands and feet getting dirty. So fishing soggy pellets covered in ants out of the sink really almost pushed me too far. As in I felt like fainting too far.

I packed my things and my dog, left everything just the way it was, and went to work at my mom’s house (who’s on vacation). My sister lives there too and she still wanted to give excuses for why I couldn’t come work there, but I had already positioned myself in the spare room. Finally I could focus and get stuff done. I only got back a little while ago and emptied a bottle of baby powder where I suspect the nests are, because apparently that works. I’m feeling calmer now. I still have so much work to do, but I think it’s shower and sleep for me. Nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow. I think this whole thing also taught me the lesson (again) about sticking to my sleep schedule. I think I still got enough hours, but it wasn’t exactly uninterrupted.

It is so difficult to describe to other people what I felt like on the inside today. Had I lost control I might have pulled my hair out or something. And this was AFTER I took Urbanol. It also shows that we don’t necessarily have those textbook episodes of 4 days hypomania/mania, months of depression, or whatever. I’ve had a psychiatrist tell me that rapid cycling isn’t real, but I think I disagree, if one just compares today with yesterday. And of course there were triggers, my switch wasn’t just flipped. I think the big difference comes in that if a non-bipolar person went through the exact same day as I did, they probably wouldn’t have felt like they were losing their minds. Or, maybe just a little bit and not the literal ‘my head is going to explode’ thing.

*Especially if you’re bipolar (but even if you’re not) I’d like to know if/how you agree or disagree with me. And if you’ve gone through these same weird combustion feelings, let me know. Would be great to know that I’m not the only one.*


7 thoughts on “Flipping the Bipolar switch

  1. My mum thought I was Bipolar because my moods go from one extreme to another, amongst other symptoms. I have OCD and reoccurring Depression, so while I was seeing my psychologist, I explained about the mood swings. She said that because my moods changed throughout the day, or every couple of days, they weren’t long enough to be Bipolar, she said it was likely to be Borderline Personality Disorder. She didn’t focus too much on it because I was going through CBT for the OCD, she just told me not to buy anymore lottery tickets lol. Anyway great post, offers a real insight into your experience.


    1. Of course, this is such a good point. I forgot that my doc said she isn’t too sure about rapid cycling because such severe and quick mood swings are more a symptom of Borderline PD. I was diagnosed with that at the end of last year after I tried to commit suicide, but once I was stabilised on Lithium, and saw a new dr and therapist after moving, they didn’t agree with the diagnosis. So I’ve sort of been un-diagnosed. I think there is a lot of overlap between the two. Yeah you should focus on the most pressing thing that is making your life difficult. We can’t do it all at once.

      Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bipolar rage is real. It’s more likely to occur if you are already irritable or elevated in some way, but it’s a real thing. So you can flip from “happy” to “super angry” and still be on the same end of Bipolar.


  3. Rapidly cycling bipolar disorder is most DEFINITELY real! I am a rapid cycler and reading your blog I said to myself “hey, that’s me”! It isn’t pleasant and as you say moods can switch almost seamlessly. I can’t believe that psychiatrists are still saying this isn’t real – walk a week or month in my shoes and they’ll change their mind. It’s not possible to control the rage when I’m in it, so you did really well, to stay as calm as you did and I find that a lack of rem sleep really effects how I am feeling – so as you say in your piece – try to stick to your sleep schedule. And when you let fly – ride the wave, and then its over.


  4. This happens to me ALL the time! I could physically feel it as I was reading your post, I felt the rage for you! I get like this when I forget things or I repeatedly drop things and am really clumsy. I get angry and frustrated at myself which probably isn’t great but I too know what the feeling like you’re going to explode feels like! I’m not a rapid cycler, I’m borderline 1 and 2, so it is interesting to see that it does appear in different types of Bipolar.


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