This past weekend there was a prolonged period of anxiety and increased stress, as I mentioned in a previous post. Here’s the thing about me and my bipolar brain, when I spend that much time in an elevated state of anxiety or stress I start to find an outlet for all that negative energy, and it’s not always healthy. It triggers what I call a “stress reflex” and there are a few different ways this typically manifests for me: emotional eating, retail therapy, wine, smoking, or arguing.
In this case since the pantry was empty, I’d given the kids all my cash, it was way too early for wine, and I’d quit smoking, so in my blind stupidity, I started an argument. I don’t know why or even what the argument was about now but I’m pretty sure I started it.
Now, as much as I would like to say I argue kindly, I don’t always. Many times I get loud or cuss or say things that are not nice. Even though I’ve taken more than one course in compassionate communication there are only so many times in an argument where “So what I hear you saying is…” will go over well with me (or the person I’m arguing with) and those chances tend to be in the beginning. Well, to be completely honest I usually jump headfirst into an argument so I pass right over those opportunities. This was definitely a case where that came into play, and rather quickly.
I think I just needed a way to get all the negative energy out of my system and although the argument did do just that it was definitely NOT the way I would have preferred and, as most arguments do, had the potential to be devastating if it had gone too far. I had let my brain lead the way into dangerous territory and failed to heed the warning signs my mind was reeling at me: “Stop!”, “You’re going to say mean things”, “You’re going to push them away”, etc. My brain was on lock-down and was going full-steam ahead into argument territory.
If there’s a possibility to end it easily I typically will try but my brain’s compulsion to “work it out” and “get to the root” takes over and all I want to do is talk about it endlessly, something not unusual in extroverts and even more common in extroverted bipolar folks like me. Let me tell you, this is absolutely exhausting for the person on the other end of this experience.
Fortunately for me, although I don’t always fight fair, my wife usually does and she is generally the one who pulls us back into a calm dialog space. This was one of those arguments and we came comfortably back together easily and enjoyed the rest of the day. I continued to struggle with finding my own inner calm and center due to the emotional upheaval but having her near helped and by the end of the day I felt back to normal.
So there you go…a bipolar argument, my way.