A heck of a thing


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Mental health is a heck of a thing.

About two years ago or so (COVID has limited my ability to tell time), I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have my ex and our breakup to thank because they led me to get help. And now, my psychiatrist and psychologist have set me on the right track, though I still battle my illness every day. I won’t bore you with more than that, as it is just like the professionals tell you — highs and lows mixed with depression and bouts of mania.

Its effect can be catastrophic.

It was only recently that an outburst nearly cost me my job. It was so serious that I took a leave of absence to reflect on what happened and to talk to my psychiatrist and psychologist as to why I am so self-destructive.

I was then diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder and my therapists explained to me that my condition only affects five per cent of the general population — maybe even less. It may seem like a foreign diagnosis to many, but its effect can be catastrophic. Upon reflection, this illness could have contributed to several terminations at previous jobs. My outbursts (never physical), certainly ended more than a few relationships.

I pride myself on being a kind, caring and compassionate person. That’s me 95 per cent of the time. However, despite that, the slightest trigger can send me into a blinding rage where all cards are off the table.

Since a young age, trivial things like stubbing a toe or a computer lagging would lead me to feel inexplicable rage. In my current job, I’ve destroyed a computer, broken three cell phones and unleashed tirades against my coworkers.

These are things that I deeply regret and seem incomprehensible now.

That’s me 95 per cent of the time.

I had always written them off as the typical trope of “Latin passion.” It took me a few minutes living here in Latin America to realize that belief was utter garbage. These weren’t limited to work or the mundane nature of day-to-day life. Things came to a head when the last conversation with my mother took an ugly turn and a became a full-on spat. The next day, she killed herself.

I wish that were the day I sought help. Moreover, I wish I would have sought help before then.

Here we are, seven months later, and on the verge of losing my job. But I’m thankful that my psychiatrist had heard of situations like mine before. As mentioned previously, it’s a rare condition.

I hope beyond all hope that if anyone is feeling out of control and seeing red over trivial or insignificant things, please don’t fear seeking help. It can save your life and wellbeing.

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