“Intermittent Explosive Disorder” I heard the psychiatrist at the mental health hospital say, along with several other diagnoses. He didn’t explain to me what it was or why I had it, so I had to go home and look it up online. I was quite surprised in some ways, but completely understood in other ways. There is a horrible stigma that goes with IED, and I am writing this to bring awareness and to maybe help get rid of this stigma and other stigmas that we with mental health disorders experience.
So what is Intermittent Explosive Disorder? It is described as a behavioral disorder characterized by extreme expressions of anger to the point of uncontrollable rage. Some causes of the disorder are physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, PTSD (which I also have), or growing up observing a parent or caregiver display the uncontrollable rage. I am lucky to not have frequent outbursts of rage but when I do I often cause harm to myself and property, and also mental anguish to anyone who has to witness the rage.
“10 Things I need You to Know About My Intermittent Explosive Disorder”
- No, I have never been arrested. Just because I have this disorder doesn’t mean I go around beating people up.
- I am not throwing a fit like a toddler. I can be dangerous to others but more so to myself.
- I am usually triggered by extreme stress, so my episodes are not frequent. Yet, when I am triggered it gets Hulk ugly.
- I cannot control what I do during an episode. In fact, I cannot remember some episodes.
- Do not touch me or try to stop me unless I am about to kill myself or really damage myself. Warning, you may get hit without me knowing it if you do.
- Let me destroy my own property. Just move yourself and your stuff out of the way.
- Give me time. I will eventually collapse in tears. Let me cry. Again, I am not ready to be touched. I don’t want you to hug me. Just let me know you are there.
- No, a shower will not make it all okay. It may however be enough to help me cool off so I can rest.
- No matter what time of the day it is let me sleep. It takes days and sometimes weeks to get over an episode.
- Do not be afraid of me. It just causes me to have more guilt. I am afraid enough of myself.