Smile When You Refer to me as Moody
Saying that a person who is bipolar is moody, is like saying a person with an IQ of 161 is smart. You think? Being bipolar, or having a mood spectrum disorder, certainly involves walking a tight rope that bridges the chasm between being manically exuberant, and deadly depressive. But it also encompasses a range of emotions that are normally not associated with mood.
Take irritability, please. I wish someone would. Everyone gets annoyed upon occasion, because of the traffic, or the whining of the mosquitoes, or the incessant questions of a toddler. “Patience is a virtue-have it if you can; found seldom in a woman-never in a man...” Or, you may reverse it and express the same sentiment from the male perspective. Either way, the saying acknowledges that trying to remain patient in the light of adversity, can be challenging.
For mood spectrum disorder sufferers, irritability is an emotion that is often infamously referred to as the “bipolar rage.” I believe that many of the road rage incidents are caused by people with mood spectrum disorder, because of this rapid onset of irritability, coupled with the possible ability to counter perceived slights with a powerful automobile, is just too much to resist.
The other day, at some point mid-afternoon, I experienced a relatively short period of irritability, that would make the term moody, as used to describe my mood, ludicrous. It began with a chicken. I have written-humorously-about the challenge of existing anywhere within range of the raucous din of hens, but there is nothing funny about the way that aural pollution penetrates to the core of my psyche.
Use any analogy that applies: it’s like having someone kick you in the shin bone, and then, for good measure, doing it again in the same place; it’s like having the tea kettle go off, with the person who put it on, nowhere to be found; it’s like listening to that wood pecker, hammering away on the siding of your house, knowing the damage that was being done, with no way to stop it.
This chicken repeated the same discordant note, with alarming regularity, and the sound permeated my very soul. I had the radio blasting KWNE, the generator going in the immediate vicinity, and unless I wanted to maintain my Skill-Saw cut indefinitely, I was still subjected to the continuous din of this chicken. Fortunately for the hen, I have managed to plan ahead, having a spray bottle of plain water, readily stationed just outside the house of horrors, for my sadistic pleasure.
Not once, not twice, but three times (“...Three civil brawls...have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets...”) that bird went off, and I followed suit. The third time I patiently-but methodically-herded that hen, and her sixteen sisters, all the way to the other side of the orchard, firing my water pistol, with consistent, if inaccurate, streams of water. Predictably, when I ran out of water, they beat me back to the hen house. But it did result in five minutes of quiet, after each visit to the scene.
Then I decided it was time for lunch. Where was that lettuce? I knew it was in the refrigerator somewhere, but I had already ransacked the frosty interior, with no success. No problem. I’ll just empty the contents of the lowest shelf, out onto the floor, and proceed from there. Fortunately, as misguided as the extreme may have been, I lucked out before I had created chaos, and retired with my lettuce to the counter.
The calm was short-lived. In attempting to close the broiler door of the oven, I found it would not cooperate. There is a little trick to it, that I thought I had mastered, but not on this occasion. The door would still be wide open, if Annie hadn’t closed it, the first time she entered the kitchen afterwards. She is so talented.
Whether I am experiencing mania, depression, or a “normal” mood, irritability can have me walking a tight rope, until the feelings pass. Other times, that hen can be joined by multiple members of the chorus, and it will not phase me.
So, I guess if you are going to refer to me as moody, you had better be willing to back that up. Otherwise, I’ll be chasing after you with my squirt bottle, at least until I run out of water.