Thursday, September 04, 2008

Anger



Warning: Violent suicidal imagery: may trigger (Please read this first)

I saw Dr. X this morning. I really needed someone to talk to. Until a few days ago I was feeling really good. I felt on track, I was feeling confident I could accept the chronicity and cycling of my mood disorder. I was feeling like I was on the right path, and then something happened.

Something happened that at first made me really irritated and annoyed, and then as I thought more about it I became enraged at how I felt I was treated, and am periodically treated by someone I care deeply for.

Anyways, it doesn't matter what the thing that happened was. What happened was how I later reacted to it. My rage grew so big that I began having suicidal thoughts; violent rage-filled suicidal thoughts. I began thinking of stabbing myself in the chest over and over again so the anger would end, of beating my head until it stopped, of hanging myself, of shooting myself in the head to stop the rage.

Dr. X. and I talked about why I was having such violent thoughts.
  1. First, they were just thoughts. I had no plans to do any of those things. I just couldn't get the thoughts out of my head. So they were obsessive thoughts, thoughts invading my mind.

  2. Second, they all seemed to be about my finding the fastest way to get rid of my anger. All of the "ways" of committing suicide that invaded my head would result in fairly instant death...and a complete end to the anger.

  3. Third, I think they were akin to "cutting"...the more the thoughts came the more calm I became. It was like the thoughts themselves were like my cutting myself to get rid of the pain.

Dr. X was pretty straight forward (well sort of) today about how much anger I have inside me. He seemed to be trying to say it in a roundabout way, so I am not 100% sure what he was saying, but I think he was saying anger is a big part of my depression. We have talked a lot about the anger inside me throughout the years, but I don't think he's ever really said that to me before.

Other therapists have told me my depression is anger turned inwards. I agree I do have some of that happening...but that is too simplistic. I think Dr. X's approach is less dogmatic than that. He recognises there are definitely some biological and genetic components to my depression and that the environmental/psychosocial components are more complex than that. Plus, I am not always angry...but I am usually depressed.

I wish Dr. X would say exactly what he is thinking sometimes, instead of "couching" information in mysterious ways. I think he was saying I need to address my anger. I agree I do feel angry about some things. I told him I am angry my Mom died, I am angry my Dad is an ass, I am angry I lost my job to depression, I am angry I have been anxious and depressed for so long. Who wouldn't be?

I don't think I am usually angry though. In fact, I rarely express anger towards other people. (Maybe my husband...poor guy he gets the brunt of it...but not for no reason most of the time). I am not a confrontational person, generally I am diplomatic and I always am respectful to others even if I am mad at them. For example, I have never ever been disrespectful towards my father, no matter how much he irritates me. He is still my father and I respect that.

I think when I feel well I am not angry. Dr. X says I am a bit wild, suggesting maybe I am feel pent up and that is causing me to be angry.

I do often feel like I am held back, or hold myself back, or pent up; kind of like a Mustang used to running free, who suddenly becomes bridled, broken and locked up in a corral. My corral is my anxiety, that stops me from working towards my dreams (actually it stops me from even dreaming about what I could do) and what I really want to do. The other "corral" is my depression that makes me feel less than capable, or helpless, or that change and choice is hopeless in my situation.

I think I am working hard and making huge strides towards changing and working through and with my depression and anxiety. I am trying so hard to change. I am not sure how to address my anger in a constructive way. I don't want to be mad at people, or get angry when it is not reasonable.

Plus, in the initial situation I alluded to ANYONE would have become angry. I managed to stay calm during the incident. It was only afterwards that I became angry that I allowed myself to get caught in a situation like that. That was when I got angry. I got angry because I felt both taken advantage of, disrespected and treated like my caring about someone was a bad thing.

I think I will need to address anger again in my session next week, because other than me somehow getting my anger out of me, I'm not really sure what Dr. X was trying to tell me.

8 comments:

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Other therapists have told me my depression is anger turned inwards. I agree I do have some of that happening...but that is too simplistic.

I feel that way too. But too that as you said that's not covering all of my anger. Mine stems a lot I think from the A.D.D. because I can't screen anything out and get overwhelmed quickly and when that happens the anger flies.

I wish I had something helpful to say but I am working on figuring out my anger issues too. Best I can offer you is my support and hand as a friend. :)

I look at blogging with other folks struggling with their mental health to be like "group therapy."

Aqua said...

Thanks HBW,

I also look at blogging and the community that visits me and supports me as group therapy. So you do help me in the things you write about and the support you provide me here. I appreciate that.

I'm here for you too in the same capacity.
...aqua

Polar Bear said...

Does your anger come from a sense of helplessness? And does the violent suicidal thoughts have to do with trying to have at least SOME control?

I agree with you - I think it's important to discuss this further with Dr X. And don't be afraid to call him on it - ask him - what is it are you trying to say to me. See if he can put it in a less roundabout way.

Hugs
Polar B.

Aqua said...

Hi Polar Bear,
I think often my suicidal thoughts and plans stem from feeling helpless and hopeless. You are right, it could be abut control. My death is the one thing in life I could take control of if I really wanted to. Even there I feel helpless because I know for me it would be over, but what about my sisters, or my nieces, or my husband. How does a close family mangage the loss of someone they love? That's what always stops me.

Michelle said...

Other therapists have told me my depression is anger turned inwards. I agree I do have some of that happening...but that is too simplistic.

I too have heard this from my therapist (it must be a standing line or else we are all in the same boat).

For me my anger affects my depression in that I do not "do" anger. I grew up never seeing anger so I viewed it as a unuseful or even distructive emotion. When I do not express anger it festers in me and surfaces as depression but again it is not the only reason I have depression.

One other thing that I have learned along the way that helps me in dealing with my anger is the difference between responding to my feeings of anger versus reacting to them - Reacting is as you said you "rage growing so big that you began to have suicidal thoughts" but what was your response? Did you confront the person, write them a letter, talk to them or make a concious decision to "let it go" I have found that for me making a conscious choice about how to respond to my anger helps lessen how I react to it.

I am not sure if that makes sense or not. Basically I am just here to say - I understand and I am sorry that someone you love did something to make you feel this way.

Tamara said...

I know I had much anger, especially toward my parents/abusers, that I could never really allow myself to feel, much less express. When I finally broke through that fear of feeling the anger and raged (mainly in my head and writing in my journal) against my parents, it was a HUGE breakthrough. Until then, I would always turn anger inwards and hate myself. Then I would want to die and the suicidal thoughts would come.

I am now learning that anger can be felt and expressed in healthy ways that are not frightening and don't even, necessarily, involve telling the person you are angry at that you are angry.

Good luck with this because it seems to be a big, sticky issue for many people. I know it has been for me! I hope that you can more easily understand what your T is saying next week. I really HATE when they talk in code!!!

I also think writing about it the way you did on your blog is very healthy. We are all here for you if you want to write more.

Hugs,
Tamara

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

Aqua,
I'm glad you were able to express your anger. I have huge issues with that. I understand the violent suicidal imagery. Your analogy of being like cutting feels very accurate - just knowing that I not only know the exact amount of pills but have more than enough on hand gives me a sense of power and control and has a calming effect.

Good for you for letting that anger out without taking irreparable action on it and for talking about it with Dr. X. I hope things settle down (up?) for you soon. As always, I am available by email if you want to talk....

kara said...

linking the violent thoughts to obsessive hold to release of anger to calm thinking to replacing cutting is very deep. acute insight. i will be mulling this over for a bit.

it sounds as if you are working hard on this anger issue which is a great thing. it always seems to take more time than we allow it though. ergh.