Most people tend to relate depression with only one emotion: sadness. But that just isn’t always the case. If you think, “I’m not depressed. I’m just angry,” there’s a good chance you could be suffering from depression. Why? Because depression with anger is much more common than you may realize. In fact, I have actually battled a lot with this as a mental health cycle
Depression With Anger and Guilt Cycle
I am labeling this as a cycle because that is how it happens in my life. Remember though that I am not a mental health professional. I am simply sharing my own experiences with you, my readers, and it should in no way be constituted as medical advice.
That being said, depression with anger has truly plagued me! When my mental health is at its poorest I find myself bouncing back and forth between feeling completely hopeless and being an extremely anger person with a very short fuse.
How Depression Manifests
When the depression side is hitting me hard, I tend to withdraw into myself. I feel like there is no point to life and I just don’t even want to try. Sometimes this comes with a strong feeling of overwhelm. More often it is simply a, “I don’t care about anything.” Type of attitude. This is when I tend to curl up into my bed and refuse to get up out of the covers.
After a few hours, or sometimes a day of this, however, and my mood starts to change.
Depression Causes Anger At Myself
After some time of feeling depressed, a part of me realizes just how unreasonable I am being. I know that I have been wasting time, that I’m missing out on precious memories with my family. I know my house is a mess and I can’t get it clean if I’m laying in bed. And this is when anger steps in.
I start to feel angry mostly at myself. I’m a Type A personality and I hate the idea of time being wasted. So I immediately start feeling guilty for the time that I’ve wasted and in no time at all, guilt turns into anger.
Anger Towards My Family
No one likes to be angry at themselves. It’s just a fact. We all want (or maybe need?) a way to push that guilt on to someone else. Depression doesn’t change that. When I begin realizing how much time I’ve wasted, I tend to fight a way to show my anger to others.
I may force myself to get out of bed to do something, and then find my husband left his dirty socks on the floor and I lose it. I have been known to say, “I cannot believe you! I mean, come on, I work so hard to clean up the house and then you do this?!”
Side note here: Remember, by this point I’ve been laying in bed for hours or even an entire day. I’ve not been working hard to do ANYTHING. And I truly know it. But depression causes anger and generally that anger is pretty illogical.
Depression With Guilt
When you lose your temper over a pair of socks, despite the fact that your husband has been helping as much as he possibly can, don’t be surprised when he looks at you like you’ve totally lost your mind!
The same is true when you lose your cool and yell at your kids. I have to admit, I have actually seen fear in my kids eyes because of the anger caused by depression. It breaks my heart to say that and I am very glad that isn’t common now. But at one point it was.
But the fact is, when the eyes of your child look up at you in fear, guilt sets in. You realize just how much depression has stolen control of your life. You suddenly see how much you are hurting your family. At that moment depression brings guilt.
You feel terrible for hurting the people you love so much! And you begin to dislike yourself because of it.
And Guilt Brings Depression
While a healthy person’s mind might say, “This is the problem: I’ve treated my family poorly and I need to do better,” depression doesn’t let me function that way. Instead, unless I fight against it, depression tells me, “You’re such a horrible person! Your family hates you! You can’t ever do better!”
All of this guilt brings me back to curling up under my covers and just saying, “I can’t do this.” And the cycle begins all over again.
Does Everyone With Depression Struggle With Their Anger?
Absolutely not! I am not sure you can EVER say, “Always” or “Never” in regards to mental health. It just isn’t true. In 2013, a study showed that approximately 53% of those with depression also admittedly struggled with anger. I would not be surprised if those numbers were much higher, however, as some simply do not wish to admit such “problems” as anger.
How To Conquer Depression And Anger?
Like all other mental health cycles, I truly believe the depression, guilt, anger cycle can certainly be broken! While I have yet to break it completely, here are some ways that I have come to disrupt the cycle even if only temporarily.
Understand The Problem
Often times for me, anger results from a lack of understanding. I sometimes don’t understand why I feel so poorly and that I “need” to just hide from the world. I know what I should do and I want to accomplish those things but I sometimes feel that my body and mind are fighting against me and I just get angry.
Having a better understanding of the triggers can truly help to stop the cycle between depression and anger.
Treat The Depression
Whether it be with professional help or natural remedies, treating the root of the problem: the depression is certainly going to help with anger over time. My e-book on the side of the screen may help give a few ideas on ways that you can do this.
Manage The Anger
“Anger management” is something that may be joked about at times, but it’s really a serious matter. Sometimes you can’t avoid feeling angry, but as the Bible says, “Anger and sin not.” We have to learn a way to manage the anger in a way that is not going to cause us more guilt (which for me anyways leads to more depression).
Here are a few techniques that have helped me to deal with anger:
- Screaming (alone, perhaps outside or in the confines of a car)
- Being silly (just start making animal sounds at your toddler and it’s hard to stay angry)
- Take slow, deep breaths
- Remove yourself from the situation
- Take a walk
Discuss Triggers Calmly
If you have close family or friends in your life, consider discussing your triggers while you’re calm. Let them know what things are truly a bother to you and ask if they can help. It can also be a GREAT idea to discuss with them ways you would prefer they approach you when depression and anger do show up.
Have You Seen The Depression and Anger Cycle?
Tell me about it in the comments. Do you suffer from it, or have you seen it in a family member? How do you manage it? I would love to hear your story and I would love it even more if you would consider sharing this post with your friends!