Anger is Anxiety is Anger is Depression

You find yourself shaking. Physically shaking. What’s going to happen? What are the consequences? Should you say something? Maybe you should rehearse that conversation in your head a few more times. Prepare for every possible response you can think of. Know how you’re going to handle every possibility. It’s nerve-wracking. You can’t screw this up. It’s important to you. If only your heart would stop racing…

Sound familiar?

Anger = Anxiety = Anger = Depression

One of the things I’ve discussed with my psychiatrist over the years is that repressed anger can manifest as either anxiety or depression. Or both. I think Yoda had something to say about this path leading to the Dark Side, too.

And OH MY, do I have a dark side. And a lot of repressed anger. Expressing my anger usually doesn’t work out very well for me, so I internalize it. The anxiety builds as I bite my tongue and try to stuff down my feelings, afraid of what would happen if I were to let it out. The depression kicks in when the scenario that has made me angry never changes, and I’m stuck in a pain loop. At some point, the pain becomes too much, and I explode in a torrent of emotion that ends up resulting in the very bad things I was worried about in the first place.

I never seem to learn.

What sorts of things might someone like me be so angry about? The unfairness of the world. Big issues like social injustice. Personal tragedies like the death of my father. My rather poor state of health relative to the wellness of my peers. The cruelty of former friends.

That sort of thing.

Some of these things are completely out of my control. I can’t end child hunger in our country or protect the vulnerable against bullies and bigots. Some of these things I can personally affect, but there are still limits to what my efforts can accomplish.

Logically, I know that life isn’t fair. But in my heart and in my mind, I cannot accept this. I also know that I can’t control other people’s behavior, and the saying goes that I can only control my reaction to it. Except that I can’t. If I could control it, I don’t suppose I’d be in the position to write about this subject. My reactions are often not conscious. And even when I make a conscious effort to stop thinking about something that isn’t healthy for me to be ruminating on, my subconscious takes over. That thing shows up in my dreams,  or when I see a name, or hear a song, or autocomplete suggests part of a text conversation that now lingers as a painful memory… Triggers are everywhere.

I’m trying to let it go. My brain won’t let me.

Last week, Tom held me one night as I literally shook with rage. This morning, I tried to process some of that with my psychiatrist. Weeks and months and years of processing. And I get angry at myself for not being able to “get over it” like “normal” people are supposed to.

And the cycle continues.

Christina Gleason (972 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I’m a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. I am not ashamed to admit that I am in the care of a psychiatrist, who assures me that people in therapy are often better adjusted than “normal” people who are not, because at least we know what our issues are and are working on them. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Empire: Four Kingdoms. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


Comments

  1. Oh honey, do I know that feeling. All too well. I probably – okay no wait – I do, need therapy to deal with my issues – but it seems easier to let myself continuously cycle through the very cycle you mention. Please, find comfort in the fact that you my dear, are not alone.

  2. My levels vary, and for me it’s more anxiety than anger/depression, but I know how it goes. And it’s so frustrating that no matter what we do to help ourselves that the cycle seemingly goes on and on. But you’re working with someone and that’s the best place to start. And continue. And I’m glad you’re sharing here.

    Sending virtual hugs, my friend.

  3. Thank you both. I hoping that, by writing about things more and more, I can teach myself to repress my emotions less, and hopefully that will lead to some healing.

  4. McKenzie says:

    Thank you for sharing how anxiety and depression have to do with repressed emotions. I am glad you are finding more and more out about it and aiming for healing!

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