Depression, Anger, and Mania: My Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Amu Dodd Pilkington bipolar disorder depressive episode coping mechanisms

I know the darkest depths of depression. I’ve been to hell and back several times when in the throes of depression. I’ll fight with all my might to avoid the darkness at the bottom of depression. That has led to some unhealthy but necessary coping mechanisms.

A therapist would most assuredly not approve of this, but it works for me in a weird, dysfunctional way. Of course, I know it’s not healthy but I also know it has kept me alive. It works. Maybe it’s not the greatest way to deal with depression, but it works for me.

Over the years I have told people many times that anger is easier to handle than depression. This is because you can project anger but you must feel depression. When you need to vent emotion because there is too much to process, conversion works. It’s not healthy, but it works in times of desperation.

Consequences of projection as a coping mechanism

This, of course, does not come without consequences. Projecting anger and lashing out at others always has consequences. This isn’t hyperbolic. That’s a fact. Whether it is hurt feelings, angry responses, strained relationships, or broken relationships, there are always consequences to projecting anger onto another person. Use with caution.

Be mindful. I try. I try really hard. Unfortunately, I am sometimes so desperate to vent excess emotion that I cannot stop myself. It’s self-preservation. I have dealt with psychotic breaks before and fear I won’t survive another.

The side effects of ignoring emotions

Avoiding processing emotion has side effects. It can pile up if you’re not careful. The point of projection is to vent enough emotion to allow me to process some of it without a complete meltdown. It frees up some of my mind and gives me space to work out something and get it out of my head.

It is important to process emotion as you can. A buildup can lead to a shutdown. That’s never good. When I project, I am tackling something and trying to free up space to keep tackling emotion until I can resolve enough to get back to my normally scheduled chaos already in progress.

Anger is a sign of mania and depression

Mania causes anger. Depression causes anger. Which type of episode does anger indicate? Well, for me it’s a little of both. It’s a crossover where I am both manic and depressed at the same time. I get angry and fall into a bit of manic behavior attempting to stave off the worst depression. I do this when everything is too much.

Basically, my anger is a sign that I am battling depression. It’s a sign that I am really struggling because I have mostly learned to control anger. It’s me kicking and clawing to keep my head above water.

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Today, I am angry. I’m working out things in my head and trying to get my mind to settle. It is not my intention to be a monster, but I know I can be when I am so weak that I turn to these coping mechanisms. I know I am weak. Please forgive me for being an awful person. I’m working as hard as I can to fix myself.

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