The Holidays Made Me Mad

December 28, 2021 Natasha Tracy

This year, the holidays have made me mad. Now, there's a lot to unpack in that statement, but I want to start with that simple statement because that's how it feels. I feel mad, and I feel mad because of the holidays. Not surprisingly, that's not all there is to it, however.

Feeling Mad at the Holidays

Saying that I "feel mad" isn't very accurate, however. What would be more accurate is to say that I feel highly irritated and agitated and that these things produce a hot, negative, spikey energy inside me that feels like anger. It's is not that I feel angry at a person. It's not that I feel angry about an event. What I feel is this horrible irritated, agitated feeling connected with absolutely nothing -- or connected with absolutely everything, depending on how you look at it. The fact that this is happening during the holidays simply makes it feel like it's the holidays' fault.

Feeling Irritated and Agitated

Feeling irritated and agitated is a bipolar thing. My irritation- and agitation-o-meters go up when I'm in a mixed mood, usually. As a reminder, a bipolar mixed mood is a mood where both depression and hypomania/mania symptoms are present at the same time. A severely irritated mood is a gateway criterion for bipolar hypomania/mania, and agitation is a symptom of depression. Both feel absolutely awful, and both beg to be taken out on other people. And having them together feels like the devil itself is in your brain, looking to impose ill will upon everyone.

Feeling Like the Holidays Made Me Mad

And I suppose feeling like the holidays made me mad makes it worse. During the time when we're all supposed to be holly and jolly, I feel like I want to plot someone's murder, and this feels especially sinister. But, as I said, I'm not really mad, and it's not the holidays that brought this about.

Dealing with Feeling Mad Because of the Holidays

If you're feeling agitation and irritation because of the holidays, like me, there are some things you should do:

  • Do not take this out on anyone. I know the feelings are powerful and horrendous, but that doesn't make it okay to take them out on others.
  • Recognize that this is the bipolar. Part of having insight into bipolar disorder is about recognizing what it does to you and what it does to you is not always related to extreme sadness or spending sprees.
  • Take a deep breath. Once you realize that it's the bipolar rearing its ugly head and not you, take a deep breath.
  • Flesh out all the symptoms. If you're feeling "mad because of the holidays," that might not be the only indication of a bipolar mood. Make sure and look for other symptoms too.
  • Get help. It may be the case that the presence of severe irritation and agitation is a major warning sign for you, and you need to get help immediately for your bipolar disorder. Pay attention to this. Even if you feel like it's not an emergency, still talk to your healthcare team about what is happening to you so that if things get worse, everyone can be ready.
  • Make a plan. Your plan might be emergency help -- great -- or your plan might involve extra counseling sessions, discussion with a partner, meditation and relaxation work, as-needed medications, or other techniques you have found helpful in the past. No matter what, realize that this is a real problem, and a real plan is needed to deal with it. And don't forget to include a stop condition -- this is a condition that means stop everything and get help immediately. If you're not there now, you might get there, and you should plan ahead for what to do if that happens.

And once you've put those techniques into practice and those stop conditions around you into effect, you may just have to ride these feelings out. I know I do. I'm going to feel the feelings in their fullness when no one is around and recognize their neurological antecedent. I'm going to recognize that this isn't me. I'm going to recognize that I'm just fine -- it's only my brain that's messed up. And I'm going to recognize that while none of this is okay, it's simply part of my experience as a person with bipolar.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, December 28). The Holidays Made Me Mad, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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