Pain, especially chronic pain, effects the bi-polar’s sanity in the way sandpaper effects a block of wood. The greater the pain, the lower grit of sandpaper. This is especially true if you are uncertain as to when the pain may subside.
For instance, when I get a even a minor headache, I have an emotional reaction. I cannot tolerate even the smallest stressor, and minor infractions tend to instigate major reactions. When I am in pain like this, I can see myself being a perpetrator of road rage or some other ridiculous act of violence. These are the days my children know not to ask for anything extra – it can only come to a bad end.
I feel guilt about my improper actions (including parenting techniques), but only after the grating has ceased and I can think straight again. While the pain is going on, all I can think about is how much I would like to get rid of it. During the torturous event, I cannot decipher the difference between appropriate and inappropriate reactions. I live on pure and unadulterated emotion during this time. I don’t stop to censor my thoughts or comments (I am incapable of such higher functions), but simply respond with the first thing that comes out.
For those who truly know me, the response is always the same…they hand me a couple of ibuprofen tablets, and state their intention to return in about an hour. It is amazing how well this technique works, and those who don’t know me that well are in awe when they come back to a more tame and gentle version of me later on in the day.
This is yet another test of friendship or partnership, which the bi-polar can ill afford. It is however, unavoidable at some point. (no one gets through life without at least a single headache.) When it happens to me, I simply beg the people I interacted with for forgiveness, expecting nothing of the sort. Whether I am forgiven or not, the guilt is a hot, wet blanket over my head, smothering the life out of me.