Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Anger

Anger is not a four letter word. But nobody likes it when I'm angry. I've been angry, at times really angry, over these last few weeks. I've been angry at depression; angry at what it takes from me, angry at how much it limits what I can think, feel and do, and yes, angry at the unfairness of it all. Unfairness is not a place I usually go, but what can I say? I'm human.

I'm human but not superhuman. Sometimes I get angry. I want to punch, kick, fight, and scream. I say bad words and call depression unkind names. I think it makes perfect sense to be angry. I don't think it's bad or taboo, yet anger makes many people very uncomfortable. With the exception of my therapist, who usually says something kind like, "I get that," most people change the subject or try to talk me out of my anger. Why?

Doesn't anger make sense to you? Wouldn't you be angry, too, if your life was periodically hijacked by an out of control, physically and mentally life-sucking illness which changes the very nature of who you are? Isn't it unkind to lose, through no fault of your own, that for which you've so diligently worked? Wouldn't it piss you off, just a bit, to suddenly be unable to work, to earn a living, and to watch your finances shrink? All of that time, effort, and education for what? This? This is not what I worked so hard to get, and that angers me.

Wouldn't you find it maddening to have your brain hijacked by unforgiving, dark thoughts, too scary to share, to feel isolated and alone, to have extreme difficulty socializing? Of course I'm angry! And for you to respond to my anger with fear, which is usually followed by suggestions beginning with, "Well, if you just did 'xyz' you'd feel better," is not helpful. That would be nice, but that's not how depression works.

Depression doesn't make sense. Half the time I don't understand it, so I don't expect you to understand it either. That's not what I'm asking. Depression is a frustrating conglomeration of symptoms which often change from one day to the next. It's messy, and ugly, and demanding, and scary. I think it makes perfect sense to be angry.

Sometimes it even feels good to be angry. Anger requires emotional energy, something depression rarely lets me have. Anger is not a four letter word. It's a normal human emotion to having something, in this case life as I knew it, stolen from me.

Don't let my anger frighten you. Please. And don't try to talk me out of it either. Be honest. Try, "I get that," or even, "I don't get it, but you can tell me anyway." I'd rather that than useless, feel good suggestions which may placate you but leave me feeling discounted and alienated. Let me talk about it. It's okay if I'm angry. I wish it didn't distress people so much.

7 comments:

paullamb said...

Every word of this is true. Have no doubt that "I get it!"

Jean Grey said...

I find that a lot of people in mental health are just focused on treating the mood- with a pill or skills or whatever. But severe depression takes away your ability to function, so it destroys your life. So it can take a lot more than a pill to fix it, I think. Somehow you have figure out a way to put enough of your life together again to make it livable.

tsjoj said...

Dear Etta, I am a long long term follower of your blog but, first time comment.
I really appreciate your last two posts which so eloquently describes what this fucking illness does to so many lives.

This too shall pass for both of us I hope. Your courage and blogging has been a great solice for me for many years. Thinking of you.

Ted

etta said...

@tsjoj: Thank you for comment and for letting me know you've found solace here. I appreciate that.

mohaverat said...

I am a new reader to your blog and I am amazed. It is like you are in my mind and my body feeling the things I have felt and the thinking the thoughts that I have thought. thank you so very much for your honesty. It helps to know I am not the only person who have had my thoughts.

The Real McCoy said...

Oh, I wish I could say that I don't understand the anger, but I do, all too well. Anger that I'm depressed, anger about the things that MAKE me depressed ... Per usual I don't feel I have much useful to say, other than "I get that." I'm rooting for you.

Anonymous said...


I relate with being angry. But I am also frightened of other people's anger as they of mine. You certainly described the dilemma elegantly.



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