The doctors say I have a mild form of bipolar disorder. Some people, even some I'm related to, have said that I'm a bitch and that's all there it to it. And maybe they're right. Maybe it's in my stars. Maybe it's all genetic or maybe I am just a heinous bitch. Or all of the above. (For those of you who don't know, my bipolar takes the form of depression and anxiety but not the delusional or hallucinatory kind of bipolar.) For the purposes of this blog I want to talk about the anxiety side of things, specifically, my anger that can sometimes boil up and burn everything in its path. We all have rage but mine could become truly frightening sometimes.
I've had temper tantrums, I've thrown things, I've made up foul words after I ran through all the mainstream strong language. That's not really extreme though. When it got really bad, however, my rage would take me much farther than that. I once punched a solid oak door off its hinges that had been installed with an electric drill into a solid oak frame. Punched it, barehanded five or six times and poof! off it came. I remember feeling fire flowing through my veins, in a purely metaphorical sense, and releasing it out through my fist. I don't even remember feeling any pain.
When I was a teenager I once hit my mom so hard across the face that her eyeglasses flew off. I've even been cruel to pets once or twice. These are things for which I am deeply ashamed but cannot change. Those things happened because I allowed my rage, my fire to get the better of me. Instead of expressing it or funneling it into something productive or creative I would stifle it and try to shut it up. And for that reason it would occasionally and unpredictably burst forth in an explosion of uncontrolled anger. Whoever or whatever happened to be closest to me would bear the brunt leaving them scared and hurt and me drained and riddled with guilt. It was, to say the least, not a healthy way of coping.
But not all rage is destructive. As I've moved past "young adult" and into "adult with grey hair and wrinkles to prove it" I've gotten better at coping. I've learned to express my rage in a more controlled way. Maybe "controlled" isn't the right word. I suppose I should say that I've learned, purely through trial and error, hit and miss, to let enough of it out to keep myself relatively sane and yet keep from hurting or scaring those around me. I've even come to appreciate my rage. Allow me to explain.
If you've followed this blog much in the last few years you're probably aware that, last fall, my family dispensed with the junkie situation. Our home and our very lives were almost completely destroyed by said junkies. And I think my anger, my fire, my rage kept me going. It was, for some time, all I had to keep me going. The junkies took away almost everything we had. They alienated all of our friends and family. They sucked up all the money and then some. They took away our peace and quiet and our security. They turned our home and our lives into hell on Earth. I've never been so angry for so long. I've never been so angry, period. And I think that rage kept me going. It kept me getting out of bed every day and doing what I could to keep my family from falling completely apart.
Rage is powerful, there's no doubt about that. It can be powerfully painful and frightening, this is true. It can be powerfully destructive, violent and traumatizing, yes. But it can also be powerfully motivating. You see for years my rage was my only strength; it kept me alive when the rest of me just wanted to give up. It kept me fighting, it kept me hanging on. The junkies took everything we had but they fed my rage and, strangely enough, that's the one thing that helped me survive them.