If you live with bipolar disorder, I am sure you have at some point felt the anger and/or irritability that comes with the illness. It can happen with mania or depression. Some of us, myself included, thought that the irritability only came with mania, but I learned we can be feel the same way when you are depressed.
I am going to use some movies to help illustrate these symptoms. First let’s take a trip to ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ First of all, you must see this movie if you live with bipolar disorder. Bradley Cooper portrays a man with bipolar disorder quite well. There is a scene in which he gets pissed off because he does not like the ending of the book he just read. He barges into his parents room and in the middle of the night and starts ranting and yelling. He then throws the book out the window, breaking it. During this episode the police shows up.
In another scene he is looking for his wedding video, getting more and more irritated that he cannot find it. After searching the house he starts to yell. Then his anger shows when he and his father get into a fight, like fisticuffs. His dad ends up with a black eye. As per usual, the police are called and the cop assigned to his case shows up as the neighbors yell.
In one scene he goes to visit his psychiatrist and his wedding song is playing and he gets so angry he knocks all the magazines off the stand then apologizes. When he sees the psychiatrist he tells the psychiatrist how that song made him mad. I am not going to give away all this wedding business. I have to leave you a reason to watch the movie.
Next up is ‘Mr. Jones.’ This is one of my favorite movies about bipolar disorder because it is an accurate portrayal of the illness. From the rooftop to the depression, it captures it all. There are so many examples in this movie. I think anyone who wants to know more about the illness should see this movie.
For some reason, most people have never heard of the movie ‘Touched by Fire,’ only the well known book by Kay Jamison. The movie (which stars Katie Holmes) is about two people living with bipolar disorder who are in manic states and fall in love. Irritability is shown when Katie’s character checks into a hospital with the belief she can leave when she wants. Unfortunately they decide to keep her inpatient, she can’t believe it. She fusses with the staff about it.
There is an explosion of anger on the part of the boyfriend. While manic he and Katie’s character have a fight and he pushes her so hard she falls to the floor. Sometimes this is how our anger comes out, in an explosion, not necessarily physical, but words can be just as harmful.
Personally, I have had explosions of anger. At one point I was on the phone fighting with an ex-boyfriend I hung up on him and threw my cell phone and cracked my windshield. Sometimes when I am depressed I am impatient and irritabile and, unfortunately, I yell at my dogs when they are barking or are being fickle about going outside.
Often times when we act out in anger and or irritability, we regret it, sometimes immediately. I know when I cracked that windshield I snapped out of my rage. We need to be mindful of how we are feeling and acting towards other. This can affect relationships, especially with others who know little about the disorder or our disorder. When we start to feel that anger welling up it is best to be alone, I have found, then I do not end up apologizing for my bad behavior.