Living With The Rage
The Rage Within
Something that people fail to understand is rage. Sometimes, anger management does help curb the anger and bring calm to those who just have basic anger problems. However, for those who experience the highs and lows of mental illness (In my case, Bipolar), the rage isn't as easily managed or remedied. I use the term remedied because that is what those of us who experience it wish we could find. That being said, what defines rage derived from mental illness? How is it different from someone who just experiences road rage and anger issues? I want to address these questions, and more, throughout this article.
People have developed a stigma against rage in those who experience it. In fact, people are arrested daily for something that they have no control over. Yes, medication and therapy can help calm someone down. Not everyone wants to become dependent on medication though. This stigma puts a wall up in society that separates those who experience this uncontrollable anger, and those who just don't understand. This stigma, this wall, must be torn down.
For starters, What is the definition of rage? It is both a noun and verb. As a noun, it is violent, uncontrollable anger. As a verb, it is the expression of that anger. How does that differ from someone who has anger issues? Uncontrollable. That one word makes a world of difference. It isn't something that can be simply 'Gotten over'. In fact, telling someone who is in a rage to get over it could spell disaster and danger. With medication, routine, and trigger awareness, it is possible to control the chances of the rage being released.
When it comes to rage with mental illness, it is more than just an anger that gets out of control (and out of hand), it is a taxing event that can damage both the one raging and the person/place/thing that is being targeted by the rage.
Now for the nitty gritty. Full disclosure and a look inside my mind. I am in my 30's, I live with Bipolar, and my manic states are full of rage and hostility. I manage it with a routine, trigger awareness, and medication. However, it doesn't always help me suppress the anger that's in me. When I go into a rage, I am very verbally aggressive, and I have only exhibited force out of rage in one event. It is scary when I go through this state of mind. Many questions fill my mind after, the main one being "What if I get worse?". That is a common fear I believe. Many people who are like me dread the decline that can come with mental illness. My main issue with my rage, and the primary reason I sought out help, was I enjoyed it.
When I say I enjoyed it, it wasn't the actions I would take, or the words I would speak. In fact, the rage scares me more than anything in this world. What I enjoyed is the emotional release on a grand scale. It isn't healthy, I am aware of that, but it isn't uncommon. I have had the pleasure of speaking to others and hearing many people's stories. These stories all ended the same way, a cry for help. Whether that help come in the form of professional intervention, or a solid support system, that help is still desired greatly.
It would be impossible to verbally or write out the exact experience, but I will try. When I am engulfed in my rage, I am blind. I do not see friends or foes, I see people in my way. I do not calm down easy, and few people have been able to calm that beast that rears its ugly face. It is mentally taxing and diminishes hope and sanity. People look at me and assume it is a temper tantrum, which isn't totally inaccurate. They just don't seem to understand, that though I do not wish to play victim, I am hurting from it too. So, when you have this rage, what is the answer to curving or controlling it?
Control and Management
As far as control, it isn't possible to control. It is possible to manage it though. For me, the answer was medication and patience. On a side note, that is another stigma that many people need to educate themselves on. Medication in itself isn't bad. It can have bad side effects, and many times, one med comes along with others to add balance. Others have to understand that there is absolutely no shame in experiencing rage and uncontrollable anger. Furthermore, seeking help and medication bares no shame either. We need to encourage those we love to get proper help, to find healthy coping methods. And if you, yourself, are experiencing this stigma. Don't! Make yourself healthy, take that first step. Find a way to be a better version of you.
With all that being said, I want the world to see me for who I am, not for the rage that lurks within. So I make sure to manage it the best I can. I do this, not only for other people, but for myself and my children. That is why I wanted to share this so badly. It may not be the best written article, but it is a true piece of my mind, a mind of mental illness. You are not alone. It is not uncommon. It should be addressed, not cast out.
I want to know about your personal experiences with rage. Leave some comments, share your story, help beat the stigma. That way, one day, we can find acceptance for who we are. The only way that will happen is to make yourself heard. If no one wants to hear what you have to say, then they are not worth your time. The closed minded will always try to bar our progress, but those who truly care will understand. Thank you for reading, I hope this helps someone.