Having bipolar disorder can be tough and dealing with irritability is an ongoing issue that I experience while having this difficult mental illness. There are times when I feel extremely on edge and it seems that nothing is going right in my day. The smallest occurrences can throw me off my game and I find myself feeling frustrated and upset over the smallest things. Although the irritability gremlin has tried to get the best of me, I am always learning new techniques to battle this overwhelming feeling, and there are many things that we can do to deal with irritability.
I find myself increasingly irritable when I fill my body with any amount of caffeine and coffee is not a friend of my bipolar disorder. If I drink caffeine in the morning on the odd occasion, even one cup can tip my brain into an irritable mode. I instead fill my water bottle and remind myself that I need water to keep my brain working optimally, so hydration often helps to ease the overwhelming feelings.
Although living in a big city has its benefits, traffic often fuels my irritability and I have been known to speed, swear, and scream endlessly when behind the wheel. Most days, I am calm and collected, but when a person cuts me off in traffic, I may often take it personally.
To add to the fire, I often play loud music in the car that contributes to my anger, but a calming classical station may actually help take the edge off, rather than booming electronica beats that encourage my irritable mood. I also have been known to glare and feel edgy while in a line up waiting for a latte and I may not be understanding when it takes the barrister 10 minutes to make my drink, even when she is dealing with a significant line up of customers. I forget that the world does not revolve around me and it is best to practice patience with others. When I am feeling irritable, it infuriates me when people do not return a smile, but perhaps I should not take it personally, and consider that their reaction has nothing to do with me, but is merely a reflection about how their own day is going.
Tips for Dealing with Irritability
It is impossible to just snap out of feeling irritability just as it is not possible to snap out of feeling depressed or
manic. However, I have developed some strategies over the years and I thought to share them with you as the following can help ease an irritable mood:
- Avoid busy places, line ups, and driving at all costs because it may add fuel to your irritable mood. Consider asking a friend to run necessary errands that involve line-ups such as going to the grocery store.
- For us ladies who experience pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), consider making the effort to apply self-care for your situation to help ease the symptoms, which will no doubt contribute to calming your irritable mood.
- Avoid tasks that require a great amount of concentration or stimulation because they may cause a great amount of distress.
- Your shower and/or bath tub can become your best friend and use it often to submerge yourself in warm water and try to stay there for 15 minutes or more to calm your racing mind.
- Ensure to get enough exercise even if that means taking a short walk around the block to blow off some steam.
- If you are able to work, then allow yourself to take breaks because taking a ‘time out’ to sit near the fireplace and/or pet your fellow fur baby can ease your irritability.
- Stick to a sleep schedule ensuring a solid 7-8 hours a night and try your absolute best to not take a nap as applying a healthy sleep routine is key.
- Focus on mindless tasks because your concentration can be affected, so it may be necessary to clean your house rather than doing your taxes that day.
- Remember to take deep breaths and be mindful of your surroundings as irritability can often cause your brain to spin out of control.
- Consider if being alone is better for you as we often tend to snap at others and unknowingly cause hurt feelings.
If you are finding yourself feeling irritable all the time, then discuss this concern with your doctor, but remember that experiencing irritability is often a symptom of bipolar disorder. We sometimes just have to ride the wave and be assured that we can deal with these feelings by applying self-management strategies to help get us through the annoyances. I have found that irritability eventually passes and it does not have to overtake us because we have the power to manage it even when it feels impossible.
Do you deal with bouts of irritability and what self-management strategies do you employ to deal with the overwhelming feelings?
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community