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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Depression is an accumulation of past traumas, experiences, and repressed emotions stuck in your body

Written by Amie on October 30, 2010 – 7:33 pm -

Processing the underlying stuck emotions

This might be a long post! Please keep reading, as I want to share an  experience I had because I think it might be really helpful to those who are suffering deeply with depression. Once again, it has been awhile since I’ve written. I need to go inward quite often, and I just haven’t been feeling the urge to write. But, now I am, so here I go! I am currently reading The Presence Process for the second time, and it is helping me open up to so much clarity. I have dealt with anger in the past, but nothing like the rage I have been processing lately. The book doesn’t really discuss rage specifically, but doing this process has brought up rage and grief for me. I feel grateful that I am ridding my body of emotions that have been trapped in there for years. I can see clearly now that in order to really “recover” from depression, I must process all of the underlying emotions that are stuck in my body. This does not mean that I have to “rehash” all of my childhood experiences or that I need to try to remember specific details of my whole life. It means that I must allow myself to feel. It means I must allow myself to accept that I am human and I have emotions. We all do. Unfortunately, we have been taught to ignore them, push them away, and basically act as though we are not human. To take away our emotional side means to take away our humanness.

My depression gets really bad seemingly “out of the blue”

Many people have said to me that they feel fine, and then “out of the blue” they feel extremely depressed again. They are confused as to why this happens. I used to wonder the same thing. I would have some good days, maybe a few weeks of feeling relief, and then boom! it would knock me to my knees again, and I would be in a very deep dark place. It has become clear to me that we have so many “unconscious” things going on in our bodies. I think our bodies get to a point where they just can’t stuff anymore repressed emotions inside. Our souls get to a point that they just aren’t willing to help us hide the truth of who we really are anymore. It is exhausting trying to stuff down, hold in, hold back, be quiet, suck it up, stop being so sensitive, stop being different, and basically just be someone we’re not. Years of acting makes for depressed, stressed out humans. Hiding ourselves is exhausting. Hiding the fact that we hate what we are doing, we don’t agree with so much of what is going on around us, and we are not who people think we are is exhausting! Having to defend who we are is exhausting! NEWS ALERT: NOBODY HAS TO DO THIS ANYMORE!

I am being triggered, and I need to FEEL

The Presence Process has taught me that anytime I am emotionally upset, it is because of a past situation (usually childhood) that needs to be felt and processed or “integrated”. In the past when I felt anger I would run from it. I would talk about my anger and I would write about it but I stopped short of processing it. I didn’t really allow myself to FEEL it. What did the anger feel like in my body? I have talked in the past about feeling the sensations in your body. I wrote about it, and I remembered to do that on occasion, but I can see now that I wasn’t going far enough with the feeling part. I skipped the most vital part. In order to really get through depression, or heal it, or whatever you choose to call it, it is imperative to “feel”. It is also imperative to accept the fact that you feel like shit. It has become clearer to me that I wasn’t really accepting that I was so depressed at times that I thought death might be better than staying here if it meant more suffering. Now I know that in order to lessen my suffering, I had to accept where I was (in a very deep dark place), accept that this is how I felt right then, FEEL the sensations in my body (tightening in my stomach, headache etc), and then just BE with this. Just feel. And Breathe! Don’t put stories with the feelings, don’t try to explain away what you are feeling, don’t judge, don’t do things to try to make it go away (eat too much,drink too much, drug yourself, shop, etc). Just let it be, and let it pass through you. I promise it will pass through if you just allow it some space. And, reminding myself that, “this too shall pass” , sometimes helps.

My son wants to go to a party

I want to share an experience with you because I think it might help you see what I mean when I say that an emotional upset today is because of a past situation that needs to be processed. We are constantly being triggered by people around us. This is the Universe’s (or Presence) way of trying to help us evolve and move beyond seeing ourselves as separate from everyone else. Presence activates triggers for our own benefit. So, back to my experience. My son was asking to go to a party at a girl’s house that I had never met. I had never met her parents either. My son had previously told me about the girl, and told me some things that made me think her Mom might not be the best influence for young teens. My son and I have always had a “partnership” type relationship. I am not the authority figure telling him what to do and what is good for him. We work together so that he can have autonomy and freedom to be who he is while having me as a support person who he can trust. I just wanted to say that in order to point out how out of the ordinary my behavior was in this particular situation. I told him that I didn’t want him to go to the party, and gave him reasons that looking back now, made no sense! I was reacting, not responding to him. I was being triggered by him in a way that was pushing me to either see the correlation and step away to have some time to process my feelings, or risk him losing trust in me. I have to say that as I was arguing with him (which is extremely rare), I heard myself saying (in my head), “this is not how I want to be with my son, leave the room.” It was as though I was outside of my body. I knew it didn’t feel like “me” talking, so this gave me a very big clue that I was being triggered, and past experiences were telling me to notice.

RAGE, GRIEF, ACCEPTANCE

I went to be by myself after this. I allowed myself to just sit and be with my emotions. When I feel this triggered (my body almost shaking with nerves, my stomach tight, my head pounding a bit), I move my body. I put my Ipod in my ears, and I dance or just stand and shake my body. This really helps move the emotions. After I moved for a bit, I sat and sobbed for a bit (also very helpful in cleansing the body of stuck emotions). I didn’t “try” to figure out what was going on. However, after about 30 minutes of moving and sobbing, the realization hit me like a ton of bricks! I was able to see that my beautiful son was mirroring something for me. He triggered feelings in me that I had forgotten long long ago. I had learned to just live with these repressed feelings because I learned that my emotions were not important, that I should just “live with it”, “it is what it is” kind of thing. The rage that came out of me was so powerful! It felt so good! It reminded me that I DO have power. The message I heard from deep within my body was that I fought and fought to feel loved as a child. I got the impression from the adults around me that I was not important or special, or worth loving. I tried to do things to get “seen” . As a young child, I was the good girl who was the peace maker, the one who tried to make things easier and better so that everyone would be happy. My son triggered that part of me that felt unwanted, and unloved. I went through intense rage, grief, acceptance, and then love for myself and the little girl that missed out on nurture and love. I can see now how very important it is to allow myself that rage because it has re-awakened my will to take back my power from all of the people who taught me that my feelings didn’t matter when I was a child. I am grateful that I see very clearly now that I am responsible for my emotions and my life. The past can’t be changed, but it can be processed and grieved and transformed into self-love and acceptance. YES, I am lovable and YES I have the power to change my life!

Don’t be afraid to feel rage; it allows you to take back your power!

This is getting pretty long, so I think I will wrap it up. There was a lot more to the “trigger”, but it is so difficult to write and explain in words. I am so grateful for my children and their beautiful nature that keeps them in the present. They are my teachers. They are so lovable that I am able to give them so much love that I even have some left over for myself. I am convinced that our children are here to teach us, not the other way around. I apologized to my son and even tried to explain what had happened. He knows that I am working on “my stuff”. He understands that when I have an outburst, it is not about him. It is about me, and those triggers that I can now see as a gift. So, don’t be afraid to rage (as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else), and to grieve for what you missed out on or for what you lost.  And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to take back your power. It is YOURS. You get to decide what is best for you. Others around you might not like your choices, but that’s OK. We are all different, even though we are all connected. 

A video giving a short overview of what the Presence Process by Michael Brown is:

And “Emotional Processing”


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