Wrestling With Overreaction

I recently told someone that one of the key elements of bipolar disorder is the overreaction. While it is true that all kinds of people overreact to things every day, it is often the caliber of the overreaction that sets a bipolar reaction apart.

A couple days ago I found myself falling into the overreaction pit when somebody told me I had “a bad attitude.”

Well, yes. I was cranky, irritable, and had a headache… and when people tell me I have a bad attitude, I often wonder if they realize that my attitude isn’t exactly reigned in like that of the general population. Steep frequent mood swings often leave a pile of attitude carcasses in its wake, but I haven’t been able to manage this any better than I have, say, been able to snap my fingers and become un-depressed.

So you can believe that if I started out that conversation with a bad attitude, what transpired in the next 30 minutes left me with a villianous attitude. Far worse than just bad, this attitude put on an eyepatch and punched a baby elephant in the face.

The difference between this overreaction and most was that I found myself walking down the path to overreaction quite aware of what was happening, without seemingly being able to stop myself. I cringed as a series of pissed off mutterings were followed by some polite mutterings were then followed by something, like a swarm of bees in my head, that began telling me how insulting this was and how it was imperative that I do something about it.

We wrestled, the overreaction and I, until I nearly had it pinned down. I was doing deep breathing, I was swatting at those bees, but then… I was presented with a wild card that I really wasn’t expecting.

A panic attack.

An earthquake began in my hands, traveling up my arms to my chest. My chest wouldn’t hold air, and as it escaped, so opened the floodgates of tears and mucus and lip biting.

I lost. The overreaction overtook me, and I spent the rest of the evening quite miserable.

I did, however, learn something that I didn’t know before. Whatever is inside of me that helps overreactions transpire has a weakness. Now that I’ve seen that, I find myself holding a considerable amount of hope. Hope for overpowering those overreactions, and hope for a more stable attitude.

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2 responses to “Wrestling With Overreaction

  1. I hear you. The argument with the Monkey rages in my head all the time and I, too, have been told I over-react. Sometimes i agree. Sometimes hearing that just makes me want to rip someone’s head off.

    here is my way on thinking, though…. If you were experienced a bad moment and your attitude was less than desirable, who was the IDIOT who thought they would get a GOOD response from walking up to a bear and then poking it with a stick? “My those are NASTY looking claws and teeth!”

    I have issues with people who look at me, knowing my CONDITION and have decided that they can just blame MY issues for EVERYTHING THAT . GOES WRONG. “Oh…you are over-reacting. OH…you misunderstood. OH,…that did not happen that way…”

    Is having bi-polar a weakness? Hell yes, but mainly a weakness in that it is others see it as an OPPOURTUNITY for them to bleed their issues all over me while saying, “OH, this PAIN you feel from the knife in your side that my hand is on is ACTUALLY all in your head, seeing as how you suffer from the bipolar thing.”

  2. Pingback: Friday Favorites – The Inaugural Edition | MANagING maNIA

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