Connection between depression and anger

Written by Amie on December 11, 2011 – 2:33 am -

Using anger against myself

In my life at this moment, I am observing a friend who is going through a very strong bout of anger. This situation got me thinking about the connection between anger and depression. I know *my* experience with depression and anger. I can step back now to see I was angry because I was holding in all of my emotions and feelings. I used this anger against myself instead of expressing my feelings as they came up. This caused my depression-holding in all of my emotions. My friend, who is incredibly angry right now (to the point of raging and lashing out at others) has never been able to express emotions. My friend is also a recovering alcoholic. However, I use the term “recovering” lightly, because she no longer drinks, but she never went through any kind of rehab, therapy, or AA. The fact that she could stop drinking on her own is amazing, but now the problem is she no longer has the alcohol to numb her feelings. This means the anger is spewing out because she hasn’t learned the skills needed to express herself in a healthy way. Her issues are shining brightly for her to see, but she will not acknowledge them.

Emotions are leaking out

It is interesting, sad, and very scary watching this unfold. I really can’t help her because she believes she has no problem. There is such a fear surrounding the rage and anger, it is like a volcano waiting to erupt. The emotions are leaking out, with the whole thing ready to go up at any time. She is lashing out at the people who love her most, blaming them for her problems instead of taking responsibility for her actions and behavior. Everyone else can see she needs help. She refuses to admit that her behavior is hurting those around her. It is very difficult to watch a person sink lower and lower, especially when you can feel their pain so deeply. The anger and rage is seeping out because her body can’t handle anymore repressed emotions. It has almost reached the maximum amount it can handle. It scares me to think what will happen when it reaches full capacity.

Depression is anger turned inward on oneself

Depression is anger turned inward on oneself. I repressed my emotions, which in turn created anger, which I used against myself. I turned everything into a reason to blame myself and hate myself. Wow. So instead of spewing anger and blaming everyone else, I turned my anger inward. I blamed myself for everything. I even blamed myself for other people’s unhappiness! Wow again. I was convinced I needed to save everyone. I also believed I was responsible for everyone else’s problems as well as being responsible for their happiness or lack thereof. What a burden!!!  My anger had nowhere to go except against ME because I was not able to express my truth to the people around me. I am watching my friend turn her anger outward to blame everyone else for her problems. She is not taking one ounce of responsibility for her life. She holds so much pain and she has made the choice to hide behind her anger. She continues to lash out and to be a victim. Both of these ways of dealing with anger are unhealthy.

 I can’t *make* someone feel a certain way

Everyone has issues from their childhood to deal with. Some have more serious issues, but we all have issues. When we were children we didn’t have the resources or the support we needed to get us out of unhealthy situations. When a person becomes an adult, it is time to take responsibility for their own healing and growing. As an adult, you have the ability to take your power back! An adult has the power to choose to get help or to get the support they need so that they may live the joyful happy life they were born to live. I am not saying there won’t ever be bumps along the way. I guarantee there will be. But we can choose how we want to live. One must start by taking responsibility for their behavior and their actions. I know I am not responsible for another person’s actions. I also know that I can’t *make* someone feel a certain way. What I say or do may trigger a feeling in someone else, but the way they react is up to them. I don’t control how someone feels. Each person must take responsibility for their own behavior.

 Anger is most definitely a good thing

It is interesting to see the different ways anger can be used. I think anger is most definitely a good thing. I believe it is there to alert me to the fact that something is wrong. The way I process it and express it determines whether or not it is healthy. If a person holds in the anger for extended periods of time, depression can most definitely be a result. If anger is used to lash out or to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior, depression may also result. Both of these methods have one thing in common, and that is avoidance. Using anger against oneself and using anger against another are two methods used to  avoid the true emotions underneath. Some people have a difficult time with acknowledging the pain they are feeling. In my case, I had no idea I was repressing emotions. It was such an ingrained habit, I didn’t know to question it. So if you feel angry, first touch base with your inner self to see what you are truly feeling. If you start to tell yourself something negative, you know you are avoiding what is really going on. And if you start lashing out at someone else, you are avoiding what is really going on. It is a process….start by becoming aware of your thoughts and paying attention to how your body reacts to situations. 

 

 

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A retreat, a mantra, and who I know I am

Written by Amie on November 14, 2011 – 1:54 am -

My new mantra: “Be Who You Know You Are”

Before I get to the part about creating my new mantra, I want to share my weekend experience with you. I’ve been digging deep for the past three days, focusing on inner growth. I went on a retreat called, “the art of living”. Writing, creating art, singing, and movement were all included. Even though this is something I chose to do, I arrived with feelings of resistance. This is pretty typical for me though. It is an interesting process. So many times when I know I will be doing deep processing, I feel resistant to it. I know it is fear based. I think it is normal to be afraid of what I might find when I start digging around! In the past, I have often chosen to run from the experience, but for the past few years I have chosen to push myself past my comfort zone. As long as it is *my* choice to push myself, I am able to do it. If someone else tries to push me, that is never a good thing. Growth has to be a personal choice. Each individual knows when and if they feel ready to look within, and if they feel safe enough to share with others. For me, safety is a very important detail. I completely shut down emotionally if I don’t feel safe. It is the way I protect myself from being too vulnerable with someone I don’t trust. We all have things we do to protect ourselves, and this is a very good thing.

I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth

The nice thing about the retreat was that we always had the option of not participating. I suppose I could sit on the sidelines and never participate, but then what would be the point of going? It is so incredible to be in the company of others who are on a similar journey of self discovery. When others share what is true for them, there is always someone who is helped by their sharing. What a gift! I participated in some of the exercises on Friday and Saturday. I also chose not to share during a few of the exercises. It was interesting to notice how empowered I felt by knowing it was *my* choice whether or not to share. That, in itself felt great. I think this is a very important part of the healing process. I have to know *for sure* that it is my right to make choices and decisions for myself. This did not come easy for me in the past. I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth. I can say this is definitely no longer the case! Step by step, I have learned to speak up for myself and to put my foot down when something doesn’t feel right to me. It took me a very long time to trust my inner voice and to follow it. It was scary at first for sure! As I have said so many times before, depression will stay with you as long as you keep choosing to drown out your true voice. It is a process, so be gentle on yourself!

More about the retreat

Singing in a circle of women is so incredibly powerful! It is amazing to me how beautiful all of the voices sound together. Many of the women have been afraid to sing in the past. It was something new to them to hear their singing voice. I was always a bit shy about singing. In the past year, I have been focusing on my throat chakra, which has steadily helped me gain confidence in my singing voice. Feeling the vibration of my own voice is just amazing! Feeling 20 other voices along with mine was just beyond words. It felt wonderful! I really encourage you to use your voice as much as possible! Sing in your car, sing in the shower, sing whenever you can! It really is a healing tool. The more you sing, the easier it becomes to use your voice to speak your truth.

This has always been one of my favorite body movement videos. Always listen to your body, as it will tell you exactly how it wants to move. The key is to notice the judgments going on in your mind if there are any, but don’t believe them.

The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers

Another part of the retreat was movement. I have talked on here quite a bit about how moving my body helps me release emotional energy. This happened again for me at the retreat. As I said at the beginning of this post, I was feeling resistant at first. I finally broke through it on the morning of the last day. We did a meditation/movement exercise, and the flood gates opened! I cried and moved and then cried some more. It felt so good to release a bunch of stuff I had been holding onto this whole week. Without going into too much detail because other people are involved, I will just say I lost trust in one person this week, and two people did things that triggered one of my biggest wounds. Each situation seemed insignificant at the time. However, after reacting to 3 different scenarios with the same core feeling, I knew it was a healing opportunity for me. One of my core wounds is that of feeling disregarded. In the past, I felt as though my voice, my opinion, and my true self were not heard or considered. Because the Universe is so amazing, it keeps giving me chances to heal this wound. People are in my life to help me heal. I know that sounds weird, but it is true! The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers! Really, I promise you.

Helpful tools used in my journey through depression

All of the exercises we did at the retreat are tools I have used on my journey through depression. The retreat gave me the opportunity to go deeper in my healing. I am grateful for this. Now I will finally get to the  part about my mantra. I want to share this experience because I want to encourage you to make one for yourself. I have had many different mantras in the past few years. They are so comforting, empowering, and nurturing. It always amazes me to hear what others come up with for their mantras.  The process requires you to really listen to your inner knowing. When you ask yourself what your mantra should be, your body will respond. You may have to listen closely, and you may have to change it around a few times before you feel it is the right one. I had to play around with mine for awhile before I knew it was right. Also, we were asked to put a rhythm to the words. Some people even put body movements with theirs. I knew in my body when I found the exact words needed for my mantra. After the events from this week, I knew my mantra had something to do with being who I am and not being afraid to be that 100%. So, my new mantra is, “Be Who You Know You Are”.

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