Something I have learned about my illness is that my mood fluctuates more often and to a greater degree than most. Sometimes it's quite manageable but when I am more manic or depressed is resonates more furiously and with less control. This can sometimes be seen in my outward behaviour, but more often than not, it's all going inside my little inner universe of chaos, and I am working tirelessly to respond appropriately when actually I want to smash up everything in site or run around yelling expletives.
Imagine your moods on this scale. Most people range somewhere between 20 and 20 with the odd spike here and there. I am constantly fluctuating between -50 and +50. The plus side of this is that I feel everything. I have a response to all situations, am sensitive and empathetic and almost vibrate with realness. However, it also means that I don't always deal with challenging stuff very well. Most people find anger, conflict and hatred unpalatable. They have uncomfortable feelings towards those situations but manage to plough through with some semblance of order and direction. It happens, it passes and they move on. For me it takes a concerted effort to engage, process and travel through those experiences. The indicator spike will be wildly flailing backwards and forwards on the dial. And the mood variance and intensity can trigger a depressive episode or a manic phase. It's all a very fine balance. I have learned that some situations are better to avoid for me or it can have dire consequences. Not for you, but for my head. Lithium helps to "Damp down" the extremes without stopping me being a zombie of no thought or feeling at all.
Emotional self care for me relates largely to being selective about who I spend my time with, choosing my battles very carefully, accepting my difference within an environment that doesn't always suit me and asking for help to deal with stuff that I know will cause me damage. Toxic people are a no go area. I also try and improve my resilience in safer scenarios. Practice makes improvement, not perfect!
So the verbal sieve. My verbal sieve does not always work when required. I am, as a rule, a pretty honest person. Not blunt, but I will tell you how I feel or what I think if it's appropriate. I wouldn't massage the truth to make you feel better. I'd call it as I saw it and help you do it differently if that was what you wanted. But sometimes, without announcement, the sieve of appropriateness goes on a lunch break without my knowledge. Stuff comes out of my mouth from my brain without a check point station and even I am surprised by the outcome. It's like somebody else said it out loud. Now I still don't know if this is to do with a mildly dysfunctional brain or if it happens to normal folk. However, when it happens in company, I am always a little worried as firstly it's a shock to me, but also a shock to the company I am with. Then I also worry if they are going to be offended and tell me off. It's all a bit risky. Let me give you an example. Standing on the touchline with football parents at school. It's very cold and the morning had a hard frost. We're discussing illness in winter, noro virus and the like. My friends says, "But isn't the cold meant to kill off stuff like colds and virus'", to which I respond, "yes, and old people." Now this is actually a statement of fact, not intended to be malicious in any way. It happens so fast, we're not sure I actually said it. The look of horror, quickly turns to hilarity and statements of, "Dear god you're awful!" I don't want old people to be alone, ill or at risk of death. But this weird nugget has just escaped anyway. Like the time I said with rather too much volume, "Gosh his face looks just like a walnut." The list is endless.
I suppose it is all a part of my multi faceted personality. Thankfully noone as yet has punched me in the face for it. I'd be interested to see how many other people are blessed with this foiball. Answers on a postcard please!