What can I do so others don’t suffer from my attacks?

i have been diagnosed with bipolar in the past when i was around 22 yrs old. i am 30 now. my attacks aren’t as bad as they used to be but when i get stressed everyone suffers cause of my illness. i then start to get depressed and cant seem to think straight.then i become angry with myself but take it out on my loved ones. i personally don’t think its all bipolar but most of it lack of confidence and esteem. projects around the house become a challenge for me as well like mowing the yard or fixing things. i don’t know what to do or how to treat it. what do i do??

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What’s that saying?  “We always hurt the ones we love the most?”  I think that is because the ones that love us the most are there for us at our best and still there at our worst.  Everyone has a “worst.”   While we don’t like our worst, and hope that others don’t see it, they do.  It usually turns out that our loved ones are always the ones that are around when we hit our worst.   They are also the people we tend to feel the most comfortable with and so we don’t give a second thought to unleashing when angry.   If it was a room full of strangers though, we probably would express our anger much differently and not take it out on them, which, if you think about it though, it is quite odd.  I mean, we are not likely to see strangers again and if we yell or have a fit, its very unlikely that our rampage would impact them.  Yet we always choose the ones closest to us to lash out at.   It seems that comfort level  makes all the difference.  However, as I have learned in my own experience, their patience does begin to wear quite thin.

I had some anger issues and some huge self esteem and confidence issues that needed to be addressed as well.  Things didn’t happen overnight, and it took a lot of practice, but here are a few things that I learned to do.  These are just suggestions that I had been given from my various doctors over the years, so hopefully they can be somewhat helpful as a starting place.

ANGER

    • WALK AWAY
      • Sometimes I need to just walk away for a few minutes when I get real angry to catch my breath.  I am not completely walking away from the situation itself, but just for a few minutes to calm down, catch my breath, and be able to address the situation in a more calm, and reasonable fashion.  THIS has not been a skill that was easily learned though.
    • TAKE A DEEP BREATH BEFORE SPEAKING
      • Saying the first thing that comes to mind without thinking about it fully can end up biting you in the butt.  Words can often sting much more than actions and are much harder to take back or repair once they are out there.  If you take a deep breath and say the sentence first  in your head, it might help you with your “brain to mouth filter”(as I like to call it)  so you don’t say something you don’t mean (even though you said it in anger and didn’t really mean it, the recipient may not understand that).  Once those words come out, they are out.
  • WRITE, WRITE, WRITE
    • If you find that you are angry with yourself, write it out in a journal.  If you tell the journal everything you are thinking or feeling, no one is going to get hurt.  The journal won’t talk back, it won’t judge, and it will be there when you need it again!  Sometimes, once you get everything out and onto paper, you feel like a weight is lifted off you.  (At least I do)  Maybe writing isn’t your thing, but art is.  Get out those art supplies and do some drawing or painting; or exercising, running.  There are many outlets to express the anger without hurting anyone one.  Try a few different ones until you find one that is right for you.

SELF-ESTEEM/CONFIDENCE

  • FIND YOUR WEAKNESSES
    • Make a list of all the things that you feel you are inadequate in, or that you think others look down on you for or think you are inadequate in.  For each thing on the list, list the reasons why you think that or why others would.  Now, take that list and sit down with either a close friend, or your doctor, or anyone that you are really close with and that you know would talk to you honestly.  Go through the list and ask that person if those things are true.  It is very possible that what you think you are lacking, is really just a distorted perception.
    • Once you find the ones that are distorted, you have to find a way to correct the distortion.  Correcting the distortion really depends on what the distortion is.  For example, if you believe that you are a horrible runner, correcting the distortion would be to continue running, keep track of your scores and compare them with other runners.  If they are comparable or better, then you obviously are not a horrible runner.  So, you have the proof, then you have to believe it.  To believe it, keep reinforcing it to yourself either by continuing to run and compare scores, or continue to tell yourself the facts in your head.  That sort of thing.

Those are a few things my doctor had me to do to try to change my way of thinking about my weaknesses.  I don’t know if that will work for you, but it did help me.

  • FIND YOUR STRENGTHS
    • Just like you did with the weaknesses, do that with your strengths.  If you can’t come up with any strengths, or the list is small (mine always was), enlist the help of that trusted person to help you.  The key is to have an outside person with an objective opinion and who will be honest with you.  If they see these things in you, then you should be able to see these things (or so my doc would tell me).  Looking at the list of strengths whenever I would feel badly about myself would help remind me that I do have some good things to bring to the table and not all of me was lacking.
    • For those things that were in your list that were weaknesses, try to get those in your strength list.

Once you start to feel better about yourself, I think the daily tasks will become easier too.  Feeling so bad about yourself really weighs on your and takes a lot of energy (I know this all too well!).  Feeling good about yourself will give you that extra energy and then completing those daily tasks will make you feel good as well!

The most important thing though, is to discuss all of these issues with your doctor.  Your doctor will have ways to help you that are specific to you and to your strengths and weaknesses.  I have just given a few examples of some general things that I had received from my various doctors to help me with my anger and self-esteem issues.    We are all so different so it is very important that you talk to the one that knows you best, your doctor, and keep them apprised of these issues and the progress with them.

I hope this helps a little bit!!!

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