05/25/2014 10:54 EDT | Updated 07/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Depression and Anger Can Go Hand in Hand

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When we hear the word depression, we often imagine a person who is listless, sad and isolated. Rarely do we think of the angry, depressed person.


Anger is a big part of depression. I know because I've been through it. Anger is potent -- you can feel it all over your body. Anger is an emotional reaction to pain or to a hopeless and frustrating situation. As such, anger is a motivator. But anger also cycles rage and defeat. In depression, anger turns its energies inward.

To an onlooker, an angry depressed person seems irrational and highly emotional. What's going on with him or her? It can get pretty tense and become an ugly situation. To understand this issue better, let's look at anger from the perspective of someone depressed. I'll use my own experience, which you can read more about in my book Heart of Love Evolution, which got a positive review from Tom Shand of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Depression is a highly personalized experience, but anger is always a part of depression for everyone. It is a reaction to pain. Anger is insidious and demands immediate action.

Your mind cannot fully define your pain. The mind can only comprehend pain to a limited extent, and then it simply lets the body react. So you hit and kick, tear hair, throw pillows and tantrums. You feel like you have lost control of yourself, your life and of everything.

Rage controls your body. It is the repression of logical thought and self-control. The body reacts instantly, both physically and explosively. There is no time for reason or calm. The body simply reacts.

Rage carries with it an undeniable urgency and an abandonment of life. Things have to change now! The more urgency rage has, the more that life cannot go on. Something must change or happen now, for there is no more time to wait. You say things like, "I can't take this pain anymore. How can I go on to the future when this moment sucks, when it is so bad that I want to die?"

Rage is a denial of any thought that speaks of future possibilities for you. So you lash out at family and friends for not believing as you do. You cannot escape or get out of the way of rage. It is a fire rampaging through your soul, burning you up. It consumes and haunts you. It severs your connection to family and friends. It eats away at your heart which held love, joy and hope.

You are left with the furious beating of the heart, of the mind, and of the soul against which it sees as an invisible barrier between itself and others. People are frightened, confused and even angry at you. They don't know how to cope with someone who is so angry. Their lives are busy and they don't have the time to figure you out. Most of them abandon you and you judge this as a further injustice to you. You start thinking that you don't like those people, that you hate them, and so you don't need them. They don't love you. You are alone. You isolate yourself until very few people actually want to be around you.

So you sit and cry. You scream your head off. Rage is all around you. And then you collapse emotionally as if from a heart attack. There is a silence of thoughts and of emotions. There is no motion inside of you. You feel dead, so you think you are dead. You know you aren't dead, but you are numb to all sensations. You have forgotten what it feels like to live.

So you withdraw into yourself.

When this happens, it is a change from before, when there was a need to speak to someone. Now the only person who understands me is me, so I speak only to myself. This is when despair becomes most dangerous. The thoughts that contemplate death or destruction of the self are not voiced. They are silently listened to, accepted, and used to form ideas on how to kill the self. This is the time where I will say to you that I am fine, that I am doing okay, that I will see you next week, but I am really thinking that next week I will be dead.

I never believed I was irrational. I believed that no one understood me. I became a black mass of darkness that raged and cried. I was fighting to survive and in that sense, my anger was good. But anger also isolates and destroys relationships. Either way, there has to be an awareness of the role anger plays in depression.


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