One Simple Piece of Advice About Rage

January 23, 2010 at 6:28 am | Posted in Dealing with Mania, My Fascinating Mood | 1 Comment

Artemis the Huntress

Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt. When Acteon accidentally caught a glimpse of her in her bath, she turned him into a stag and his own dogs ripped him limb from limb. Lately, that's been me.

Lately I’ve been fuming pretty much nonstop, to the point where I resolved to write an entry on “How To Defuse Anger.” I felt like I needed to research it, though, because I have no idea how. You see, I haven’t been angry for years. When I quit my antianxiolytic, I found myself getting more and more irritable. Since I quit it entirely, I’ve been brooding nonstop about real and imagined indignities.

This unsettles me. I have been a peaceable, easygoing creature for years. When I think back, I realize that I’ve been calm and sweet … since I started an antianxiolytic. Before then, when my rage-bomb went off, it was thermonuclear. Now it looks like I may have been drugged into sweetness for all these years. Uh-oh.

I did have one piece of advice: Do whatever it takes to restrain yourself from throwing a carpet-chewing fit. If you do, people will lose respect for you and busy themselves trying to thwart you. As usual, though, I can’t follow my own advice. Allow me to give an example.

In order to get to the office at 6:30 a.m., I have to leave home more or less in the middle of the night. Two days ago, as I was pulling out of the parking lot outside my condo, I saw a guy in a hoodie standing on the corner. I don’t know about you, but when I see a guy standing around idle, I figure he’s up to no good.

As I rounded the corner, I saw that this dude had his dick out and was yanking on it while glaring at me intently. “Well, there goes the neighborhood,” I thought. And as I drove off, the new Dr. RandR began to spin up into a hissy fit. I wasn’t shocked — while it didn’t impress me, it hardly struck fear into my heart. Rather, I felt boiling impatience. Great, now I have to worry about this stupid dickweed jumping me. I couldn’t remember if flashers are suppose to be dangerous or not. Damn it, I thought, this is a matter of property value. A lot of single women live here, and we don’t need random guys hanging around jerking their willies. I decided to go back and give him what-for.

I felt no fear. I knew that confronting this guy wasn’t sensible, but I persuaded myself that it was The Right Thing To Do. I wasn’t planning to get out of the car, but I was ready to give him the rough side of my tongue. I have a gift for invective, and I can reduce a roomful of rowdy 18-year-old guys to shocked silence by reeling off slang terms for acts they’ve never even seen on the Internet. Heck, I’ve drawn a carving knife on a woman-beater. (“Are you going to stab me?” he jeered, puffing out his chest. “Yeah,” I said flatly. And he ran like the coward he was.) So I was ready to rout this guy like the Romans at Cannae.

Of course, he was gone when I got there. I drove around, but was left impotently grumbling, “If I ever see that [adjective describing an obscure and terrible act][insulting noun] again, he’s going to be sorry he was born.”

I knew this was stupid as I was doing it, but white-hot outrage made me reckless. As I took off again for work I thought, whoa, I am dangerously pissed. I’m going to have to learn some anger management techniques. And irritability can be a symptom of hypomania. So is reckless driving, another sport I’ve taken up recently. So, off to my shrink. I’ll let you know when I’ve figured out constructive ways to defuse anger. As always, feel free to suggest things in the comments.

Love to all.


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