I’ve apparently been manic for who knows how long now. I knew I was a few weeks ago but thought I was moving into a normal level. Over the last couple years the main symptom I guard against while hypomanic is spending money. So a few weeks ago it seemed like I was getting ahold on that and I was hopeful for a period of normalcy.
But these last few days have shown me that my brain just replaced my spending urge with a different one. One that’s honestly worse and more nagging than buying things ever was. And so I’m tired and I’m irritable and I’m legit crying while typing because I’m having such a difficult time with my internal demons right now.
Hypo/Mania isn’t all fun and games. It’s not a high to be coveted. It’s more like a thirst that can’t be quenched. And it comes with this lax perspective on life that almost convinces you (and sometimes does) to do whatever it takes to satisfy that thirst. Even at the detriment to those you love most.
It nags and begs at you until you feel beaten down. And it cunningly and strategically plagues you with unwanted intrusive thoughts. Thoughts you’d never have on your own. About things you’d never thought were good. Things that go against your morals and personal standards.
Some so bad they ruin relationships, marriages, and families and those that try to make it work still end up with scars from the wounds they endured.
Then on top of that there’s the irritability. This rage that shoots up out of nowhere completely unannounced at the first sight of inconvenience. And maybe the wounds inflicted from the rage aren’t always as bad as those that come from the intrusive urges but over time they build.
We subject our loved ones to recurring trauma. Over and over until the somewhat small relationship divide grows into an engulfing pit of dispare that can swallow a family’s love and safety. I remember the moment I realized just how much my outbursts had harmed Travis.
For some reason I was thinking of that phrase “Hurt people, hurt people.” And it made me think of my step dad who was physically, emotionally, sexually, & mentally abusive towards my family. And how his father was apparently extensively worse than he was. He was a hurt person hurting people because he was broken but he hurt less than he was hurt.
Then I started thinking of me and how my husband has mentioned at times he feels I’m verbally and emotionally abusive towards him. I’ve always responded with “I’m not being abusive, I’m just being emotional because I’m hurting. You just don’t know what real abuse is”. Until this day when I was reflecting on all of it in whole and it hit me in such a heavy way. I’m also a hurt person… hurting people.
I cried and cried and felt an awful pit in my chest as the realization sank in that I have abused my husband. I’ve hurt him in ways he’s never been hurt before and in ways that will start to shape his view of the world and his view of me.
After a while of feeling regret and remorse for hurting my husband I also realized some things. Some beautiful things.
1) I’m hurting less than I was hurt and that’s a start.
2) I now have the understanding needed to work on my shortcomings.
3) I have abused those I love but there’s growth and hope because I given true love more freely and significantly more often than any of the abuse.
4) I now realize everyone has experienced their version of abuse and therefore everyone is a hurt person capable of hurting people. Which means I’m not evil or bad I’m just human and the fact that I’m willing and wanting to work on this dark part of me shows so much goodness.
If you’re struggling with the guilt of your burdens harming those you love, try and remember there’s so much more to what defines you and your relationship. Learn to take responsibility for your part but also learn to not let that responsibility overwhelm you. For now give yourself some grace, find lessons in those experiences, and don’t forget to have a nap and a snack!