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Just Angry


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I've been working really hard to fight my depression since I finally got professional help for it last year. I'm on Zoloft and I've been going to therapy and doing behavioral therapy at home, and generally I'm doing pretty well... but I'm getting to this point where I'm just mad all the time. And it's not like irrational anger, it's anger and resentment that I bottled up most of my life for being treated unfairly by my family and others just for being me (mentally different, female, creative, a tomboy, etc.). And now people will tell me things in their life that are bothering them and I'll get angry for them because it reminds me of what I went through.

On some level this is all good because anger is somewhat empowering, but it's starting to freak me out and make me not want to go to work because I'm afraid I'll fly off the handle about something. I'm going to talk to my therapist on Thursday, but I was wondering if anyone else got to this point in therapy. It's just kind of overwhelming and scary because I don't know how long I'm going to be this mad. I spent all weekend stewing about it and I talked to my husband about it and he is being super awesome and supportive, but I still have moments where I just want to scream. I almost feel like group therapy might be a good idea right now. Most of my friends are really busy with finals at school or work right now and I just need to have an evening talking it through with somebody. Other than that I don't know what to do.

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Hi LegoLady,

Sorry you are going through that. I wish I knew what to say. I myself get angry during a depression and then become more peaceful after it goes away. So I can't be much help to you there although I can understand how you feel when you are so close to anger a lot of the time. I can totally get that!

Maybe it is all that bottled up anger finally being freed. Or maybe it is an effect of your Zoloft or therapy. It might be a temporary situation since you had been wronged for so long and been treated unfairly. Please don't beat yourself up over what is happening to you. You are a good person!

Unfortunately, I can only speak of my relationship to anger. In my case, anger is closely related to the fact that I grew up to become sort of a perfectionist. I always expected a lot of myself and others but was not aware of this attitude of mine. I was only aware of the fact that I got angry at lot. I went through Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I was taught, but took a long time to really learn that I had a lot of unrealistic expectations. I was totally unaware of this before that time. It was as if I expected myself and others to be almost all-knowing, all-powerful and all-perfect most of the time. I had some kind of weird line in my mind. It divided what was acceptable to me in terms of strength, will-power, intelligence, carefulness, and moral goodness. It was a very high standard. I found myself, others and the world were continually falling short of it and I became angry. I was taught in therapy to lower my expectations and demands to lower my threshold for anger but I was unwilling. It took me years and years to finally do that. My life is more peaceful and I am much less angry now than before. I would like myself and others to be ideal but I no longer "expect" or "demand" it.

It was also brought to my attention in therapy that I often treated matters that were not of life-or-death urgency as if they were matters of life and death urgency. This was a source of a lot of anger in me too. Someone driving too slow or too fast on the road, not finding a good parking spot, getting a slow line at a checkout counter in a store: all these I treated as matters of almost life or death urgency. So I was pressured and stressed out a lot. Therapy slowly taught me not to treat non-life-or-death matters as if they were life-or-death and that helped me a lot although it wasenormously hard to retrain myself just as it was hard to let go of my perfectionism or near-perfectionism.

This of course is not advice. I cannot give advice. For one thing I don't know you and for another, the cause of your anger is also unknown to me. I can only speak of what helps me. Hopefully someone here will have something to say that is helpful to you personally. There are a million and one things that could be the cause of what you describe. So it is unwise and impossible for me to give you advice. My hope is that whatever is causing your situation, that it resolves itself somehow so that you attain the best of best possible outcomes. Apologies for not being able to be helpful!

Edited by Epictetus
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Perhaps this is a sign of progress? Most of the posts I read here on DF are very passive.

I became angry a couple of years ago, too. It didn't dawn on me [until I had a very lucid period back then] that I was actually a victim. Poor parenting, bullying. It made me passive all the time. Poor social skills. Poor life skills. But I was MADE into a depressed "whipped pup", and as I said, I had a really nice period while I was on EMSAM during which I became angry. Angry at my father for being an abusive drunk SOB. Angry at my beloved mother for staying with him for almost thirty years. Angry at the kids who could have been my friends but chose to prop themselves up at my expense. Angry at the woman in my life who committed to two other men and not me. And finally, angry at myself for not discovering this sooner. For responding to life so passively for forty + years.

The upshot? Well, I'm a little better, I guess. I've actually started working out. Started going places with OR WITHOUT friends. Determined to fix myself and move on - to live in the moment and make the last days/years of my life the best.

Agreed - hopefully you won't fly off the handle and do harm to yourself or reputation or job or whatever, but turn that anger into energy for the rest of your life. Energy to do and feel and work and be a productive citizen, worthy of whatever goodness life holds for anyone who desires it.

All my best.

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Thanks Ratboy. I can totally relate. There was alcoholism in my family that no one talked about, and the person in question was extremely verbally abusive towards me and my mom when he was drunk, which was almost every day.

I'm feeling a little more in control now. I'm on a few different medications that make it a little harder to control the rage at times, but I got to talk it out with some friends and finally told people what went on in my house when I was a kid. There was a lot of neglect there and I was constantly denied attention, affection, praise, all the stuff kids need to develop normal social skills and self-worth. The second I was old enough to do any given task on my own, I was on my own. Any request for help or if I needed something done was either denied or done begrudgingly while I was told I was being selfish for having normal human needs. And on top of that I was called stupid and a loser and helpless on almost a daily basis. They told me that "the real world" was a cold-hearted place where no one would ever care about my needs and that I should just get used to doing everything. And on top of that, when I had anxiety and depression as a teenager, they denied that depressive disorders even existed because it would be inconvenient for them for me to be suffering from mental illness.

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