Sunday, August 08, 2010

Rage Reaction, Part I

One Woman’s Journey

As many of my friends know, I am bi-polar and I fly into rages with very little provocation. I have injured myself on occasion, but fortunately have never injured anyone else. I’ve had the police and even the fire department called on me and I’ve called the police on myself. Most of the time, I’m a rational person and people usually describe me as “sweet.” So how does a “sweet” person find herself in front of a karaoke bar being restrained by two of her best friends while she tries to pummel first a very imposing, muscular doorman, and second a (fortunately) thick window? I’ve been wondering that most of my adult life.

I rate these episodes on the Fugita scale because they resemble tornados. They seem to come out of nowhere, do a lot of damage and leave a wake of debris that needs to be cleaned up once the shock wears off.

Usually something triggers it—some person or issue. It starts with a temper tantrum in which I yell obscenities, throw things, break things, and rage around. That gives way to what I call “the screaming heebie-geebies”—primal screaming until I lose my voice. During this phase it’s as though my brain splits in two. Doctors always ask if I “hear voices” and I always say no, but the truth is that I know what the phrase “she was beside herself” means, as there is a voice that sounds as though it’s on my left side telling me things like, “this is inappropriate behavior,” “ladies don’t use that kind of language,” “you’ll lose your voice,” and “you’ll never be able to sing again.” I count this noisy out-of-control/split personality thing as one phase even though it seems to have two parts: verbal and non-verbal. The Voice is there throughout.
The second phase is crying and apologizing. The first time I recall this happening, my husband kicked me out of the house and I paced up and down the sidewalk mumbling, “This shouldn’t be happening to me. I have a Program.” At the time I was active in Overeater’s Anonymous, working the Twelve Steps with a sponsor and I couldn’t understand why I was going off. No one in those days mentioned dual diagnoses or medications or anything. The crying and apologizing usually lasts until I become dehydrated and have no tears, or exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open.

The final phase is, of course, sleeping it off—unless you count all of the amends I have to make later, or how long I had to keep the cast on when I broke my wrist during an F-Four. The karaoke one was an F-Five, and I’ve been barred from that establishment (not that I blame them).

So, what the heck is going on with me? Am I an overgrown, over-aged spoiled brat? Am I crazy? Or is this some sort of strange seizure disorder? Well, we haven’t ruled out the first. I carry a card that says I’m the second. (No, I’m not certifiable; I’m certified.) And we’ve ruled out the third. But, there is a fourth explanation and I find it fascinating. “Stay tuned for Part II.”

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