Anger and Depression

Someone once told me that Freud said depression is anger turned inward. I’m too tired lazy to look it up and see if it’s true.  But regardless, I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between anger and depression lately.  I’m trying to do all the right things.  I’m taking my meds.  I’m trying to take some time just for myself.  I’m trying to eat right and exercise.  I’m drinking more water.  I’m trying to work through issues.  I’m trying to get enough sleep.

But even with doing all of that, I feel like absolute shit.  I almost burst into tears at work yesterday.  I come home at lunch or after work and close the blinds and the windows.  I just want quiet.  With all the little people running around, I’m being driven into sensory overload right now.  I’m not sure what’s triggering the overload.  I’ve been doing this for a year without this level of distress.

Nothing seems right at the moment.  I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin.  I don’t know what I want or where I want to be.  The only thing I do know is that I don’t want to be around people.  Maybe I should suck it up and go back to school and get a computer science degree.  Then I could be a hermit and still make a living.

A lot of it boils down to dealing with the anger that’s been bubbling up inside.  I don’t like feeling it.  I know it’s not going to kill me, but it sure as hell can make me uncomfortable.  That’s where the depression – anger link comes into play.  I don’t like feeling the anger, so I know I’m stuffing it.  Stuffing emotions never seems to make things any better (at least in the long run).  But right now, it’s all I know how to do.  I’m hanging on by a thread right now.  If I actually tried to feel and/or process the anger, I think that thread would snap.  But by not processing the anger, am I driving myself further down into the depression.

It almost feels like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I don’t know how to move forward, and moving backward just isn’t an option.  I’m at the point where a therapist would be very handy.  I don’t think I can find one where I am and I certainly don’t want to do the internet therapy route.  I’m on my own with this one.  That scares me too.  I don’t know why though.  I’ve spent so many years on my own, taking care of myself.  Hell, I should be an expert at it.  But I just want to crawl into the closet and close the door.

Oddly enough, I did that when I was a kid.  Maybe this is some sort of age regression thing going on too.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I’m miserable.  I’m going to keep doing the self care.  I’m not giving up on that.  Eventually things have to get better, right?

14 thoughts on “Anger and Depression

  1. Things always get better. But, I know how hard it is to see that when in a funk. If it makes ya feel any better, you’re not alone. I noticed how depressed I am when everyone else’s spirits started lifting with more sunshine. Seemed everyone was irritable several months ago; now it only appears to be me! LOL

  2. Fading away says:

    Actually, the anger turned inward is depression idea has made sense to me for the last 7 years. It’s that long ago when I started spending all my time reading and researching depression because I felt like I was in the same place again and again and I feel like I am still there now. I am a survivor as well and am struggling to express my anger in a healthy manner because I have the cyclical habit of stuffing. I feel like I am at a point in my life where I can’t keep living like this. I’m so unhappy and much of that unhappiness comes from not expressing what I really feel. It’s as though my life matters so little so why should I do anything about my feelings or desires? I didn’t think I would still feel this way by my late 30’s.
    I don’t even look my age which people say should make me happy but I still don’t understand how that makes life so wonderful. I don’t want to be alone but I don’t want to be around others. I feel like much of what you wrote and for a moment it was nice to not feel alone. But it won’t change those feelings that are still there. I want it to get better. I want to look forward to something. Keep eating healthy, exercising, taking meds, see a therapist. I know I have to go back. I got out of therapy back in ’99 but it does improve the outlook.
    Think positive. The book Courage to Heal is helpful for survivors. Take care, thank you for writing. It helped me to just read someone else feeling the same things. I feel really alone and lost and every little bit counts.
    A female in Seattle

  3. BC says:

    I have always thought that anger-turned-inward explanation was overly simplistic, but it probably has some merit. I usually feel that my depression is anxiety turned to anger which burns out into depression out a sheer inability to keep up with the anxiety, so that’s probably the same thing! I’m right there with you right now. I want to sleep all the time and avoid everything. For the first time I wonder if I am now clinically depressed. Good luck. I know things will change for both of us.

  4. A pastor of a church I used to go to used to say anger is when you have a goal that is being blocked; fear is when the goal is uncertain, and depression when the goal is hopeless.

    I hate the burden of self-care — of being absolutely and only responsible for myself — when everything feels meaningless so why bother. And especially when I am so lonely and my social world is woefully inadequate. Must be me; I must really be that awful.

    It sounds like you are doing what you need to do — survive this bit, until you get to the place where you can deal without snapping.

    Can you find a therapist you can work with by phone?

  5. Yes, you are right that therapy would be very beneficial right now to help you process your anger. Depression is anger turned inward, but this is a very simplistic and usually unhelpful statement. I do find that stuffing or trying to shut down any feelings especially those that are intense makes me more depressed. I feel stuck in the same place right now except that I am finding much pain in my anger. I don’t do well with anger and even less well with pain, so my depression is up. However, I do have a good therapist and he is trying to balance and we are trying to modulate how much I work through the feelings with not overwhelming me to the point that my depression and suicidal thoughts become too much. It is really a tough situation and I am sorry that you are alone in this. Are there any therapists available to you even if it is by telephone? Take Care, CC

  6. I have no words of wisdom. All I can say is I so know what you’re talking about when you say you just want to be away from people. Today I turned my phone off cause if one more person calls me I’ll scream. I’m so in sensory overload it’s not even funny. And yeah, depression is anger turned inward but it’s a lot of other things too. That one phrase is a bit too simple for a complex issue.

    I miss doing our IM’s. I’ve been avoiding stuff like that for awhile now. … again with hiding from others. Basically, I’m just saying I know what you mean in this entry.


  7. You are doing a great job just by nurturing yourself. That is one step to healing. I still have trouble in this area, To love yourself is to heal yourself. I find I can’t love myself yet, and this is not helping my depression. I know exactly how you feel when you say you don’t want to be around anyone right now. I feel that way also, but I manage to get up and go to work, put on my happy face, and “hide behind my shadow” so know one can see how much I hurt inside. I wish you all the best, and I hope you can find yourself a therapist, because talking is so important to the healing process, no matter how long it takes. I have been in therapy over 7 years now, and I have learned to open up whereas before I would not let anyone into my space my hidden world… world of depression.. I write about depression on my blog if you want to see what I have written go to the second page first and read the first entry “Hiding Behind My Shadow” , then read the 2nd then go to the first page. my blog site is…

  8. They do (get better).

    I want to post this comment, not because I am boasting of how much better I am than you (I’m not!) or because I want to rub your face in it, but because I want you to have hope and to see that there can be an end to all this trauma, and this nightmare, (other than what we (beg ourselves not to) dream of so frequently when we feel like this…)

    My abuse was far less than yours, and by far, you had it worse than I did as a kid, however, I still struggled, so very much, to come to terms with the abuse that I suffered at the hands of my cousin (and later on my partner, too) and I fell into terrible PTSD, depression, self-harm and suicidalness… BUT I am almost completely better now, and that’s something I never thought I would be able to say.

    I am now living my own life, completely. I am married to a man that I love, and trust with my life, and my daughter’s life(!) He has been patient with me and helped me to get the care that I need, and now we are happily in love, married and raising our first child together.

    My life is FINALLY resembling some form of a healthy normailty, and I love every day.

    I wanted to share this with you, because I want you to know what is possible: There was a moment in life (a very long, drawn out moment, lasting about 5 years or so…) where I felt sure that I was going insane, and that I would never get better, but would one day give in to that devastating and oh-so-persuasive voice inside that screamed “Just end it!!”… It is over now, but not in a sence that I had ever imagined possible.

    Hang in there. And remember that you are fantastic.


  9. I have been there and know about the anger turned inwards idea about depression. I also think that depression involves feeling trapped and with no way out of the trap. Often the trap or prison is of our own making when potential options to escape are dismissed as unworkable, inconvenient or for some other seemingly logical reason. With my own period of depression I found that taking action, even though it was hard at times, got me going enough to see that chink of light become more than hope that I could beat it. Keep going, your blog is inspiring because you are willing to share so much.

  10. Have you ever tried meditation? It’s not an instant cure, but it’s been found to be helpful, and even for people who don’t struggle chronically with depression and anger. Meditation is something I started experimenting with a couple months ago. It hasn’t drastically changed my life but there are some definite improvements in some areas. If you do search on my site for fibromyalgia you’ll see one significant area it’s helped me with. I was on Wellbutrin and hypomanic when I wrote the post, but I think I get the point across. :)

    I was on the Wellbutrin for about three weeks. I decided to stop after almost two weeks of only sleeping 2 to 4 hours a day.

    I agree with the statement that anger is depression turned inward. Sometimes right after I get into a rage, I cool off and feel really depressed, partly because it’s easier for me to cope with the anger by turning it into depression. It’s not a conscious act really, but I know I can’t and don’t want to act out rage, so I “control my temper” and then become very depressed. I’m chronically depressed, so usually I don’t have anger in the front of my mind. And I don’t think all depression is from anger, but definitely a contributing factor, at least for some people.

  11. Sorry I didn’t include this with my other comment, but this quote from Lincoln’s Melancholy might interest you:

    Previously, Lincoln had responded to his troubles by seeking help from others, either explicitly or implicitly. Now he spent an increasing amount of time alone. “Today, the fact that isolation can be therapeutic is seldom mentioned in textbooks of psychiatry,” writes Anthony Storr, in Solitude: A Return to the Self. Yet, Storr points out, the capacity to be alone, sometimes for long periods, can be profoundly important, as people come to terms with loss, sort out their ideas, or go through serious change. “That solitude promotes insight as well as change,” Storr continues, “has been recognized by the great religious leaders” — including the Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed — “who have usually retreated from the world before returning to it to share what has been revealed to them.”

  12. I have no words of wisdom. All I can say is I so know what you’re talking about when you say you just want to be away from people. Today I turned my phone off cause if one more person calls me I’ll scream. I’m so in sensory overload it’s not even funny. And yeah, depression is anger turned inward but it’s a lot of other things too. That one phrase is a bit too simple for a complex issue

  13. Melinda M. says:

    I am just now finding this because I’ve just really associated anger with depression and I completely understand where you are coming from but I honestly do not see how things will ever get better for me. My entire family – even my own mother – turned their back on me when I needed someone most and I had in recent years been there for them literally in the middle of the night even though I live an hour away. It’s hurt deeply.
    But honestly I don’t feel depressed – I mean, as far as my home life – my immediate day to day life, I am very happy. I have a great job, a great husband (who has had to deal with me dealing with my family) and a great home, very few bills and lots of animals to care for that I love dearly.
    But I feel the days when I let the feelings of anger I feel towards the betrayals and rejections of my family are going to take it’s toll on my marriage and my health and I don’t know how to stop it.
    I have forgiven and forgotten too much hurt my family (mom, dad, sis) have caused in the past and I cannot be the one to back down this time. I won’t do it. And that hurts even more to know they are fine with the way things are. I don’t know how to get past it but I know I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they continue to hurt me. And I don’t want to lose what I have in my personal life. I just need to know how to accept this as my new normal and not feel the anger anymore.

  14. Melinda. I have no words of wisdom. I struggle with it every day. Maybe it’s time to totally sever ties. Live for your chosen family and friends. I wish I had a magic wand and I could make things better.

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