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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Posted in Depression, Kids/teenagers and depression, Self-love | 7 Comments »

7 Comments to “Unexpressed emotions,rage, and depression”

  1. Sandor Szabados Says:

    To show and express anger is frowned upon in the Anglosaxon culture. The mature person controls himself; fits of anger are only acceptable in children . Such repression, however, causes both psychological and physical harm because it denies the body release, which like a pressure cooker without release valve, will eventually explode into violent rage.

  2. zoey Says:

    Hey, thanks a lot. I have a very hard time controlling anger and I’m only 12. My therapist says it is something called emotional depression. I just can’t get over it. I cut and hurt my self a lot of times. But thanks for helping.

  3. Amie Says:

    Hi Zoey,
    I sent you a private e-mail, just wanted to make sure you got it?

  4. Amy Says:

    Hi. I am so depressed right now I can barely think straight. I have so much repressed rage that I am at the point where I will be homeless next week due to my father putting me down most of my life. I was a productive member of society until last year and then received several DUI’S within one year. I self-medicated and only took it out on myself and lost completely everything. I was staying with my father until a few days ago and now am with a friend just for a few days and then have to call a shelter. I am scared but the only other alternative is to go back to an extremely unhealthy situation living with my father who is financially well off where I am penniless. To give you a brief idea of who he is, he most likely shot my dog when I was five years old. They went hunting together. The dog dragged himself back to home almost but died and my mother found him and just knew because of how he abused her. There is no proof that he shot him, but what are the odds when they went alone? He manipulates everything and I have been quiet and meek listening to him put me down for six months when I guess I only wanted some sort of support at the worst time of my life. I need help. Thanks for any input at this point.

  5. Anders Hansen Says:

    I am dealing with a life of repressed anger, now 40 years old. Nice family, tradition of avoiding conflict. What you wrote is incrediblely clear. It took me to the core of my issue, the underlaying feel of unexpressed self and how painful that is.

  6. Amie Says:

    Hi Anders,
    I’m so glad you are here. I really understand the “nice family,tradition of avoiding conflict”.That awareness will be so helpful in your process of honoring your true self. It is painful when we start to uncover what has been buried.Take your time, be gentle with yourself. Much love, Amie

  7. Rajesh Says:

    A really nice and safe way to express the repressed emotions

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