Last ten days were vacation time for me.
Two marriages-first one was of a friend’s son. It was supposed to be re-bonding time and relaxing time in a five star resort in the outskirt of Jaipur in the company of some truly close railway friends. And it indeed fulfilled its promise. T
he second one was a close family affair-marriage of daughter of my younger sister. With full family in attendance including my 91 year old bed ridden father (Babuji) , I could not have asked for more.
And the last stop was pure vacation-with my wife and elder son at at another five star resort (Radisson) in South Goa (sponsored and fully paid for by our two sons). It was pure fun and relaxation.
Could I have asked for more.Definitely not.
But there was something amiss during the entire period of merriment, relaxation and bonding with family and friends.
What went wrong- something that a normal human being will find difficult to fathom-my bipolar rage and the collateral damage that it brought.
My rage started right before we boarded the Volvo bus at Railway Officers Enclave Chanakyapuri, New Delhi for Jaipur- and the victim naturally was my wife- whose sole fault was, she was trying to wake me up as the bus was supposed to leave precisely at 6 A.M. My verbal assaults to my wife were uncalled for and uncivil. My anger was without provocation and uncontrolled. It was truly boundary-less.
Normally, I accept mistakes fast. And I render apology for what ever it is worth-at least to my wife. Even though i know, often my rage is unpardonable and collateral damage of the same to my wife is humongous.
But this time i was i unrepentant. It continued to visit me infrequently at Jaipur and on return air journey Jaipur-Delhi-Patna. What was to be a pure Jaipur stay of enjoyment was one of fractured, more bitter and less sweet rendezvous for my wife.
And It did not end there
My wife apart, I fought with every one at sight on return journey. It started with uncalled for angry outburst on my elder son. He is visiting us for few days after a year. i have no clue when will he come next from USA. But I am me and my rage is uncontrollable
More worrisome was the scene I created at Jaipur, Delhi and Patna airports on return journey-in the name of being upright and principled, i shouted at some one trying to jump the security queue (despite his pleading he was running late, his flight had already started boarding), I quarreled with CISF security personnel (my mind said he was more interested in talking to his female colleague and less in speedily clearing the security checked baggage),
My worst behavior was reserved after coming out of Patna airport.
Unprovoked I started shouting at the driver who had come to pick us up. His fault was he was not carrying placard of my name (almost all drivers do not carry at Patna), even though he was continuous in touch with me on mobile. I became more furious as he took few extra minutes to locate me (he had never seen me in past). My shouting continued even after he touched feet of mine and my wife to acknowledge his fault which was not really a fault.
It took quite an effort from my wife to calm me down.
And I thought it was end of it. Little did i know that the calm was temporary lull before another storm.
Another hour went by. Suddenly I shouted at my mother. She is 86 year old. Her fault was she was not replying to calls from my father whose voice in any case is slurred. It did not even occur to me that my mother is 80-90% deaf and there was no way she could have heard feeble voice of my father.
I shouted at my mother more than once.
Eventually I was controlled by my elder son- if nothing else his towering figure-well built 5 feet 10 inches made me cool down -but again temporarily.
Another hour passed- and my rage returned with more venom this time. The hapless victim again was the cab driver. His sole fault was asking till what time i needed his service. Simple answer could have been to give a time. But volcano in my mind erupted how dare he could ask the question. It was his duty to be there till I wanted.
I straight way declared- the driver mad.
Truth was I was behaving mad.
And unrepentant i gave marching order to the driver and another vehicle with more pliant driver was made to report for my duty.
The episodes with my mother and driver were reported by my elder son to my wife.
When she tried to make me see reason- it was her turn to get unabashed bashing.
Flip-flop continued. Till we reached Goa. My rage was now on and now off. Mostly on. Problem with the rage was there was no auto off switch. Once it got ignited it was mostly on auto pilot till i was controlled by my wife or elder son.
Three days at Goa were better. except for the first day-some carry over from earlier days was there.
At Goa it was total rest. Lazy days. Nights full of time. Sleeping at appointed hour. Waking up later than normal. it was pure relaxing.
And I left Goa today for Delhi. It was Vistara flight. Again there was repeat my shouting at some one breaking the security queue at airport. I was stopped by my wife before scene turned ugly. But worst was still to come. And totally unprovoked- victim this time was air hostess. She was trained to be polite. I am still wondering why did i shout at her. Mere look at the vegetarian meal. It had mushroom mutter in the money. My anger was why Vistara was serving mushroom to me, second time in four days. Poor girl. How was she supposed to know I do not take mushroom. For that matter how did even airlines know. Shen she tried to placate me, i got angrier- almost ready to do Tandav-Nritya. Attempt of my wife to calm me down was futile.
Then suddenly i felt full of shame. It did not happen intrinsically.
The passenger next to my seat had asked for a diet coke. Air hostess took a while to bring it. And apologized for the delay. The passenger’s reaction was you are so sweet. Till then i had not realized, my co-passenger was a celebrity. An upcoming young singer -Rahul Vaidya. He was coming to delhi for a concert. All air-hostesses knew him by name. Still he was so simple and humble.
I started looking for cover for my misbehavior.
Then suddenly out of thin air the same air-hostess returned with a different meal for me. She had taken my diatribe in stride.
She was a true professional.
I could just mumble- thank you.
Then it dawned on me- enough is enough -I called the air hostess. And rendered proper apology to her.
With that ended the story. Almost. Till it happened again.
I have been reflecting on the week that was. Any one can get angry- for reasons real or imagined. I am no exception.
But what was so special this time. I know “uncontrolled anger and rage are colonial cousins in Bipolar Disorder, the illness i suffer from. I know rage is defining trait of hypo-mania and mania. Rage is also common in rapid cyclers and in mixed states (where both mania and depression are present concurrently). I also know there are also phases of Depression known as -agitated Depression where rage is not rare.
But I also know. Occasional rage and anger apart, I have reasonably controlled my anger. I have learnt my own form of meditation to calm my mind. I often plot my mood. If I shout at some one in office, i render apology immediately. And these are few and far between. More often sufferers of my rage are near and dear ones but there too frequency and intensity has lessened over years with practice.
Then what happened last one week. Moreover as I have been in remission for long.
Well Bipolar Rage has no reason. It arrives when you expect least and its collateral damage is truly heavy.
Still there has to be reason.
For evening out my moods it is ensured by my wife, that I take medicines and go to bed by ten pm- it is my curfew time to keep me well. And I almost follows my wife’s commandments.
But it is almost. Not always.
My professional life- of a Management Consultant- means one of tight deadlines of deliverable. My health requirements is to sleep at ten PM. My work requirement often is night out. This time just before heading for Jaipur, it was work continuously for 72 hours without sleep.
Lack of sleep in itself both a cause and effect of mania. But I am not in mania either.
So what happened. I take two main medication- one mood stabilizer and another atypical-anti-psychotic. My mood stabilizer has calming effect. But anti-psychotic some thing quite different. The moment I take it, I go to sleep with fifteen minutes for next ten hours. And then also I have to be woken up. So only way I can work for 72 hours is that for three nights I do not take the prescribed medication. Plus side is, if I do not take this particular medicine I just will not get sleep.
And this time work pressure was so intense, there was total non conformity with medication- including my life saver -mood stabilizer.
The obvious result was return of extreme irritation, unprovoked anger and rage.
Back to my wife’s close watch, I returned back to prescribed medication.
But the rage has done its damage.
Question is have i learnt the lesson.
Probably yes, Probably no.
I will know as and when i am able to control -the unprovoked anger next time.
But hopefully I have learnt the lesson.
Till then I count the debris left over by the Bipolar Rage.
Problem is how do you tell others it is not you.
And even if it is not you- how to differentiate between normal anger and bipolar rage