When a person with bipolar has a manic or a hypomanic episode, in my experience, judgement becomes impaired and the individual is in danger of making some very bad decisions that end up hurting their loved ones and perhaps themselves as well.
One common side effect of mania/hypomania is extreme irritability which can lead to angry outbursts, fights, screaming, cursing or causing a scene in public. I personally have been through this so much and almost destroyed my marriage during my last cycle. I can be cold, cruel and so hurtful that I leave wounds in the ones I love. After the episode is over, I become full of remorse, shame and apologies. The remorse and guilt I feel afterwards is overwhelming and sometimes it takes quite sometime to gain forgiveness and trust back from my loved ones. When I am manic and cruel, it is truly NOT me talking and fighting, it’s my illness talking. I’m usually a loving, caring and understanding person but when I’m manic I feel like a dark, hidden evil side of me emerges that is disliked by all.
The cruel things I say or do when I’m unstable I don’t truly mean and it’s a challenge to get others to believe that once I’m stable again. So, I become filled with that shame and remorse and try to hard to earn forgiveness from the people I hurt with my cruelty. There have been times when it takes a couple of months to smooth things out with my husband who unfortunately frequently becomes my “target “ for my rage when I’m manic. No marriage is easy but being married to somebody who is mentally I’ll is especially challenging.
I’ve always been a bookworm and a writer and I’ve found that writing long loving emails expressing my feelings and remorse and explaining that I didn’t even mean any of the horrible things I’ve said or done is helpful. Talking about it helps immensely also.
I used to consider my anxiety disorder and bipolar illness my best kept secrets. Only my family and a handful of friends know I struggle with mental illness. Writing this blog is my way of erasing the shame and embarrassment I had about being mentally ill. Now, I’m literally sharing it with the world for a few reasons.
Number one, I have finally realized that being mentally ill is nothing to be ashamed of. There is already such a stigma about it, and by sharing my story with the world I hope to inspire and help others who suffer from anxiety and bipolar (or any mental illness) and encourage others to be open about their illness.
Number two, I hope to offer comfort to others fighting the same battles I do. If I can survive and learn different ways to help stabilize myself, so can my readers.
Number three, I want to personally support any of my readers who choose to share any of their experiences and emotions by commenting on my posts. I will reply to every single one.
You are not alone! How do you handle the remorse you feel after a cycle? I could love to hear from YOU. I want this blog to be a safe place for nonjudgmental and encouraging dialogue.