I’ve come to realise that underneath everything, I am a very angry and irritable person. I’m quick to fire up and very slow to burn out. I’m a seether, a grudger, a hater of all things. Would you have guessed?
One of my friends once told me that when I get angry she knows it’s real, she knows that something must have really pissed me off, because according to her, I don’t get angry. But I’ve mentioned it before that I would rather hold it inside me than let anything come out, and that I would rather suffer than anybody else. Unfortunately for me, I think that just makes me an even angrier person. It has no where to go, so it grows and shrinks, grows and shrinks, and then just fucks up everything.
Because it never really goes away. I’m always angry. Always always always. It just needs something to light the fuse of a full blown raging fire that causes me to want to lash out at everything I hate and everything I love. Everything pisses me off after that. Oh you asked me a question more than once? Stop. You interrupted my train of thought? Just, no. You asked me how my day was? Back the eff off. There’s an eyelash in my eye? Well that’s just the fucking be all and end all. Seriously, it doesn’t take much; I don’t cry over spilt milk, but I’ll rage and rant and potentially almost throw a fist through the wall. It scares me sometimes at how angry I feel myself getting on the inside, and the things I know that could happen if I just took the safety switch off my brain and actions. If I wasn’t so aware or intent on bottling my emotions then…I worry what could happen.
Anger and irritability are the hidden symptoms of anxiety and depression. They’re probably the most common, but no one expects anger to be because you’re anxious. Everyone expects anger to emerge because something has pissed you off, not because your body has confused itself on it’s fight or flight response. People expect anxiety to primarily activate the ‘flight’ response; I mean, wanting to avoid things or maybe shutting down. And yes, that’s a big part of anxiety, flying from a situation is my go to whenever I get anxious, but we often forget that it is ‘flight OR FIGHT’ (or maybe sometimes both). The fight response doesn’t necessarily mean busting up the nearest anger trigger (though sometimes it does), it can sometimes just result in intense irritability towards everything around you. When your anxiety triggers for seemingly no reason, can you really be surprised that conflicting, unwanted, and overwhelming physical, mental, and emotional experiences might make you lose control? When you’re sat in a group and everyone is talking over each other and shouting and pushing, getting a little angry at the situation wouldn’t be such an unimaginable reaction, right?
Researchers have actually suggested that ‘anger attacks’ are common (yet often ignored) symptoms of unipolar depression and anxiety. Anger attacks are similar to panic attacks in the physical sense; increased heart rate, sweating, dizzyness, discomfort, shortness of breath etc, but differ in the sense that instead of a feeling of impending doom and de-realization, it’s more an intense desire to attack yourself, others, or things. Researchers also suggest that anger attacks come down to feeling trapped with little control or few options, rather than overwhelming fear or anxiety.
Yet, despite this, telling people I’m angry because I’m anxious doesn’t seem to be enough. Telling people I’m angry because I’m depressed doesn’t seem to sit well with them; depressed people aren’t supposed to feel anything other than sad, upset, or empty; depressed people want to curl up in a duvet, not rant and throw things. You’re not angry because you’re depressed, dear, it must be something else.
No. How about I tell you that anger is my biggest tell. Like an obvious tick in a poker game, anger is what gives my depression away to me. Anger is what tells me that if I don’t watch my step, I may just lose my footing over that very high up edge. Anger is what tells me that it’s getting bad.
Sometimes I feel it in my bones like every cell in my body is resonating with irritability. Sometimes I want to rage so badly that the only thing I can do is hurt myself. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can breathe. I am a person who gets angry, more often than I’d probably like to admit. But…my anger is just a preface. It’s a sadness that manifests because I feel completely out of control with myself. It’s a sadness that is fed up of being sad, and is seeing if things will change if it tries to be something else. It’s a sadness that doesn’t know what else to do. It doesn’t stop me from being angry, from seething, from fuming, from lashing out and being bitter, and it doesn’t stop it from being irrational and completely unprovoked. It’s just another part of me that I’m trying to deal with, albeit this one is a little more explosive. I’m an angry person, but it has it’s reasons.
Until next time, thank you.