Unexpressed emotions,rage, and depression

Written by Amie on November 15, 2010 – 4:17 pm -

Admitting anger

I remember years ago when a therapist told me that depression happens when you turn your anger in on yourself. Instead of expressing your anger, you beat yourself up with your anger. You get angry at yourself for having anger! Okay, and? It sounded like a good theory, but then she never really showed me how to get to my anger, how to express what was really going on. More importantly, she didn’t help me learn to get past the GUILT of even thinking of admitting my anger. I would have outbursts of anger here and there, but then I would feel horribly guilty for expressing my anger. When I expressed my “anger” it was never really about what was happening at the time of my outburst. It was the accumulated rage and fury that I had repressed most of my life that would cause me to get to the point of “exploding”. I just didn’t know that at the time. Imagine how much rage someone has that was never allowed to express their truth, their opinions, their beliefs, who they really are. When the anger can no longer be contained, we take to beating ourselves up with self-hate, which in turn becomes depression. When something happens to us and we become depressed, it is almost always because we have not expressed our truth. I am speaking about “clinical” depression mainly, not necessarily “situational” depression. We hold back because we are afraid of not being loved, we are afraid to “be different” than those around us, or we have taken on the belief that what we have to say doesn’t really matter. We were not heard, therefore, why bother expressing ourselves?  When this happens, we feel defeated, as though it is worthless to even try to find a way to get our needs met.

The end of your rope

Anger that is not expressed, or emotions in general that are not expressed, start eating away at your insides. The anger becomes difficult to contain. If one doesn’t find a healthy way to express these emotions, physical illness happens, or one becomes so depressed that the only way out that they can see, is through suicide. I totally understand what it feels like to be at the end of your rope. I get it, I really do. It feels like there is absolutely not one thing that can change how you feel. After years of thinking that my depression would never let up, I can say from experience that it can, and it will let up, IF and WHEN you decide to allow yourself to be heard, and you allow yourself to feel. We all have the right to be seen and heard, and to be honored for who we are.

My anger repressed

One problem for me was that I had no idea how angry I really was (and I’m still working on it). I had no idea that my depression had to do with unexpressed feelings, which in turn created intense anger. I learned to ignore my REAL feelings, thoughts, beliefs, likes, dislikes, EVERYTHING that made me ME. Depression is the result of hiding who you really are. I don’t want to sound like I am over simplifying this at all. I know from experience, there is nothing simple about depression. Once I had one tiny inkling of the rage I felt underneath the depression, I began to see a tiny ray of light-like maybe there was really a light at the end of the tunnel, or at least a big enough space for me to get one toe in to begin the journey toward becoming whole-remembering who I really am.

Being afraid of your rage is normal

I want to tell you that being afraid to feel and being afraid of your rage is understandable. It is normal. I was scared to death to feel how angry I was. I am still working on releasing it. But I will also tell you that feeling the power of my rage empowered me! It reminded me of who I really am. When a person has been repressing emotions for years on end, it is a huge event when they take responsibility for their own well being, and begin to process emotions. It is difficult to give yourself the freedom and the permission to say, “this is who I am”, “this is what I want”, “this is the way it is FOR ME”, “this is what I choose”, “this is my favorite thing to do”. I want to let you know that you do have the power within yourself to take back your life. You have the power to throw away all of the BS that you have been fed all of these years! It is okay to start trusting yourself, and trusting the little voice inside you. It is ok to be angry and to feel the rage boiling beneath the surface. It is extremely important to find healthy ways to release the anger.

Shake your body without judgment!

I have talked about how important moving my body is when I feel strong emotions. It remains one of the best things I can do for myself when I am feeling stuck or overwhelmed with anger or strong emotions in general. I know what its like to not feel like even moving a toe when I was really deeply depressed. However, I want to encourage you to just stand up and shake every part of your body. Dancing is wonderful too, but if you don’t have the energy for that, just stand in one spot and shake. If you are in a place where you feel comfortable enough to make noise, it is also really helpful to make loud yelling, grunting,groaning noises-anything that comes up, just let it out! I know it sounds weird, but I think you will be so pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to do this! Also, I would recommend having someone to help you such as a therapist if you are stuck in the anger, or are afraid to release it. Namaste.

Love this video! Just one example of moving your body. Remember, there is no right or wrong, just move, even if you are just standing there shaking one foot and nothing else. The Power Wave Dance by Gabrielle Roth.


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My pain is still my pain even if there are other people who have it “much worse” than I do

Written by Amie on November 9, 2010 – 10:51 pm -

My pain is not that bad compared to others! Argh…..

I feel the need to talk about this because it has “triggered” anger in me lately. I have realized that for most of my life, I have put my own pain in the category of “not that bad” compared to many other people. This is true, there are so many other people who have had horrific things happen to them. It is difficult for me to even hear some of their stories. I usually end up in tears. However, just because others have had worse experiences and maybe more pain, it does not discount my pain. I can have deep compassion for others, while still honoring my own experience. I think it is common for us to be conditioned to shrug off our own pain and suffering because, “we should be grateful, we are so lucky compared to other people.” Again, I don’t mean to discount others’ pain either. That is not my point. My point is that everyone has some emotional pain and/or physical things that have happened to them. Each individual must honor their own situation, and know that their pain and suffering is just as important as everyone else.

I shame myself

I think it is very important to honor the fact that your pain is just as valid as the next person. When I tell myself that “I should be grateful, I have xyz, and I am able to do xyz”, I feel guilty for talking about my pain. I shame myself for even thinking I have a right to have pain, anger, sadness, emptiness etc. I can see how we are conditioned to always look at the other person, and give them empathy and compassion. Don’t get me wrong, these are incredible things to give someone. But, not always at the expense of ourselves. A friend of mine was talking about another friend who, “is so giving”, and “he gives of himself constantly”. Then in the next breathe he told me how depressed his friend is and that he isn’t taking time to honor that in himself. “Others are suffering more” he thinks. This could be true, but it also might not be true. And, it really doesn’t matter if it is true. What matters is that he honors himself so that eventually he will be able to help others on the same path. I truly believe we need to heal our own wounds before it is possible for us to help others in an authentic way. I was able to go through the motions many times to help others because I felt my pain was “nothing” compared to what they needed from me. However, inside I was dying, and when I don’t honor the part of me that is suffering and needing nurturing, my own pain gets worse, and in turn makes it nearly impossible for me to help others.

Guilt and Shame

I feel angry that my own pain and my own situation was discounted. I am also angry that I learned to start ignoring myself and my needs because I got the message that I should just be thankful…for my family….for my health….for all of the material things…..blah blah blah. Please don’t misunderstand…..I am beyond grateful for these things, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore that inner voice screaming my truth. There have been times when life just did not seem worth it to me. But I suffered rather than tell anyone. There were times when I wanted to just give up, and on some level I did. Then I attached shame and judgment to it. You know what I mean,”how can I think these things? ” I am so lucky to have what I have and be in the situation I’m in.” The main message I sent myself was that I should not ever “complain”. I was being an ungrateful baby and I should look how bad other people have it. Ugh……….starting now…..this is the affirmation I will use when I hear myself saying, “I shouldn’t feel xyz…..or “Why can’t I just be happy with the way things are”………Affirmation: I honor my feelings, and my feelings are valid regardless of other peoples’ experiences. This affirmation helps me to remember that I am, in fact, responsible for my life. I take more of my power back by doing this.

Honor yourself

Honor and accept yourself and honor your feelings. Your feelings are valid regardless of what someone else tells you and regardless of what your shaming judgmental voice is telling you. Your experiences are valid, and you have a right to feel exactly as you feel. Breathe…..breathe…..honor….love yourself……you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Remember the mean voice that is telling you to discount your own pain is NOT who you really are. That is the voice from the past that conditioned you to believe untruths about yourself. Just BE with YOU. You are worth being with and you deserve to be heard. Namaste.


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