lady dealing with depression and anger

When Depression Causes Anger and Guilt

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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

quote "depression is anger turned inward"

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:

  • Journaling
  • 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!

Person letting out their anger. Words say, "Depression and anger: A mental health cycle"


  1. Taylor

    This is such a great informative post. Thank you for writing

  2. Therese

    You express yourself well and give an eye opening account on what someone with depression go through. Keep writing.

  3. Lorraine Thomas

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate. When I get depressed, I hold in emotions. If I hold them in too long, I start snapping at people. It is usually my husband and kids. Which afterwards, I feel so guilty for. I agree, acknowledgement is the first step. I believe in this so much! I love journaling. Thanks for the other tips also.

  4. Julie Shreve

    It is such a vicious cycle. Thank you for sharing! I find that my depression and introversion leave me with riddled with guilt more often than not and it makes it so very difficult to get up and do the things that I’m feeling guilty about not doing. I can definitely relate to the sock thing. We have a laundry chute that is centrally located in our house and only a short distance from all of the bedrooms. Yet laundry piles up for days and no one, myself included, will take the extra 8 steps to send their dirty clothes down the chute. I get angry with my family for it, but then feel horrendous guilt because my pile is bigger than everyone elses. It’s not fair to them. Thank you for your tips on getting it under control.

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