Mania is most commonly associated with feelings of joy and euphoria, an elevated mood is the terminology, people think Mania is all fun and games all the time. It is not, there is a dark side to Mania which includes anger and irritability.
Anger and Diagnostic Criteria
There are a number of symptoms of Mania, which is described as an ‘elevated mood’ that focus around positive experiences such as joyfulness, energy, euphoria and happiness in general. For many this is the case, however there are also symptoms under the DSM 5 which add heightened irritability or anger into the mix. Everybody experiences Bipolar Disorder differently, for some Manic episodes will only come with the euphoric feelings, whilst other people experience only anger and irritability during a manic episode. I can go either way and j=have experienced both euphoric and agitated mania.
It is also possible to experience a mixed episode otherwise known as agitated depression, which is where some of the symptoms of mania – irritability, agitation, anger etc. are mixed with feelings of depression and low mood. However agitation can be purely from a manic episode.
How it Feels
Manic agitation is like an internal flame burning way too strongly, you feel hot and flustered. When I am agitated I feel like a ball of destruction walking around, ready to snap at anyone for anything. I notice at work that my expectations of others increase and I become increasingly frustrated with underperformance, or what I now deem to be underperformance. I lack patience, everything is an inconvenience to me and I want everything to be done yesterday.
This can lead to very destructive behaviours such as risk taking and getting into fights, as well as posing a threat to your relationships if you unleash this anger on those around you. You can’t help it though, the feeling is not at all triggered at its root and can be set off again by the smallest of things. It feels like nothing can calm you down from the rage filled path of destruction you will likely be on.
There is so much energy inside that you just do not know how to release it, let alone doing so in a healthy constructive manner. It just builds to the point where you feel like you are going to explode.
What to do?
When I am agitated I usually try and stay away from unnecessary social interactions. I force myself to hold back before I say something incase it is hurtful and sometimes it works, other times it comes out anyway. Exercise is useful to help combat the physical energy and give you a release from the built up tension. Whilst this might seem counterproductive I try to avoid relaxation methods such as meditation, long baths or walks, because I am too impatient for them to work and I end up feeling worse. Instead, I keep myself occupied by writing or drawing or playing games, something to keep both my mind and my hands busy. I still struggle with the impatience, I want the task to be complete already, but I am able to focus somewhat and get some comfort from doing this.
Do any of you experience this? Do you have any methods that work for you? Leave me a comment or send me a message and let me know, I’d love to hear others experiences.