Tag Archives: Anger

Too Angry to Hurt?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

rear view of a boy sitting on grassland
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anger is a protective emotion. A slow burn or a flash of rage can both serve the same purpose – to cover hurt. I’m not putting anger in a box and saying this is all it is. Nevertheless, anger as a type of self- protection occurs all the time.

We misplace anger too. You’ve witnessed this. Someone goes off on a meaningless slight, leaving everyone wondering what made him or her snap. By trying to avoid the pain or discomfort of respectful confrontation, perhaps we allow anger to build until it has to release itself.

What are those hurts angry people try to avoid? That is anyone’s guess. The person who is angry may not know.  I remember being so angry I thought it would kill me. It was a direct result of a painful marriage and a victim mindset. Realizing this was an impossible load to carry, I ran to God in prayer and said, “Please change me. This anger has to let up.”

Within a few days, it did let up. Issues I had ignored or blamed others for  were drawn to my attention. I changed, and that protected me better than any anger ever could.

Fear can set off anger too. Rather than face our fears, we yell or stew or react violently at them. Road rage may sometimes be one of these types of anger. Fearing loss of control over one’s life, a driver tries to own the road.  We see this fear in our politics, religions, and fights for rights. Dialogue seems too hard, and open-minded thinking too great a challenge. Most, or at least the loudest voices, would rather argue.

I’ve realized again today that fear is making me angry.  I sat down with my Bible and asked God to reason with me (that is, to help me see his perspective).  He showed me the root cause of my anger and self-pity.  It is because of not facing again  my greatest fear- fear of never being loved or accepted. He showed me how my fear has caused me to shut out friendships (I’ll leave them before they can leave me), and has held me in defeat (how dare I try, I’ll make a fool of myself).

Rising from that Bible study and prayer time, I immediately faced three situations that had me afraid and angry.  This blog post is the fourth.  For reasons I no longer understand, writing on this topic scared me. So here it is.

My hope and prayer is that this reaches you and helps you overcome some of your anger, too.

beautiful blonde downstairs facial expression
Photo by Nikolay Draganov on Pexels.com

Today’s Helpful Word

James 4:4, 6-7a

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? …  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suicide Prevention – What NOT to Say or Do

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Attention:  (If you have lost a loved one to suicide, I recommend you not read this particular article. Instead, go to a survivors of suicide support site.)

If you are reading this because you want to know the best possible ways to prevent suicide, you are not alone. Many family members and friends, if not most, who find that a loved one has fallen into a deep pit of despair, try their best to help.  Love is not the only solution, however.  Stigma guides most people instead of facts.  For that reason, I am glad you are here.

Suicide prevention is a recurring theme at Always The Fight Ministries. After seven years, my point of view on suicide prevention has not changed. We prevent attempts and deaths by increasing effective support for those who hurt. The key to providing effective support is knowledge.  

This is Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S.A.  Suicide is scary as a topic and reality.  Fear can lead us to a thirst for knowledge, or we may hide, or try to make difficulties disappear by using anger.  Here are some of the UNhelpful reactions to severe depression and suicide that I have witnessed or heard, or heard about.   

What to Avoid:  Vitriol, Distance, Distrust, and Bewilderment 

Vitriol

A suicidal person asked a family member to dole out their sleeping pills for safety reasons. Instead, the family member placed the full bottle on the night stand next to the one who was struggling to stay alive.   

“Why save lives? If someone wants to die, why not let him kill himself and decrease the surplus population?” 

“[He] was weak. With all that money, he could have got help. He was totally selfish.”

Distance 

“It is none of our business.”

“Don’t you play the suicide card with me!”

“I don’t know what to say or do.  I’ll leave him alone – he needs his space.”

“If I mention suicide,  I might push her toward it. We won’t talk about it.”

Distrust 

“If someone can hurt himself or herself,  he or she must be capable of violence. This same person might “snap at any time”  and harm someone else!”   [I cannot count how many times I have heard this misinformation.] 

“I do not believe in mental health disability. I just don’t!”

“Depression is not an illness. It is just self-pity.”

“Suicidal thinking is caused only by demons that have to be cast out. Then the person is fine.”

“People who attempt suicide and don’t die, didn’t mean it. They just want attention.”

Bewilderment

One spouse pleaded and shouted in frustration because her husband was hiding in a closet, too depressed to face the world. 

“How can I fix my depressed husband?”

“She attempted so many times, it’s just manipulation.”

Misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the facts are the basis for the above reactions and comments.  For helpful reactions that go a long way toward prevention of suicide, click here.

Today’s Helpful Word

Job 16:

“I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”  – Job speaking to his friends while he is suffering

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*speech bubble by STARISOB of rgbstock.com; two woman from kozzi.com

 

Sloooow Dowwwwn. Your Impatience Will Not Help Someone’s Depression Go Away

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

I guess it is simple enough.  People struggling with depression want it to go away. People watching others struggle with depression want them well.

So, we all agree.

Depression is yucky.

Frustration

Bryan wanted to return to work.  His boss was growing impatient. His wife was arguing for him to get off the couch.  His therapist warned him moving too fast could cause a set-back.  Bryan was sick of it all, and especially sick of himself.

Why couldn’t he work like normal people? He hated the stupid mistakes he was making – like drinking too much last night and fighting with a friend.  He was neglecting his wife and children, staring into the television 14 hours a day.  In his negative thinking, fueled by fierce major depression, his life was a waste.  Maybe everyone would be better off if he was gone.

Bryan never attempted suicide. If he had, it would have been no one’s fault. His boss, wife, friend, children, and Bryan had reason to feel frustrated and impatient. A sense of normalcy was challenged. Their needs were unmet. It hurt to suffer and watch suffering, however they did not know what to do.

Fragility

The therapist encouraged him to take small steps forward. “Go ahead, get off the couch and eat dinner with your family. Then the next day, maybe do the dishes or go for a short walk.”

In the midst of a major depressive episode even little tasks can seem overwhelming.  Exhaustion comes quickly. Eating dinner or taking a shower can, in many cases, be all a person can handle each day for a while.

Bryan tried.  I saw him begin to feel more like himself. Eventually he worked half days, and then returned to his old schedule. Here’s the truth – no one was able to make his depression heal faster. Depression ran its course, and Bryan had to take it slow.

Another man pushed himself too hard and ended back in the hospital.  I too tried to sign up for too much too soon. It is frustrating being so fragile. All the while, depression is fueling  negativity and self-loathing.

No “Fixing” 

When you want to “fix” your depressed loved one, or express anger at someone’s slow recovery, take a step back. Maybe go for a walk yourself. Learn about depression; ask your loved one what they are feeling. Practice careful acceptance and avoid judgment.

Anger does not produce what we all agree is best – putting depression behind us.  Yes, depression is yucky. It challenges all involved. Patience is how to beat it.

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*MOTORCYCLE by SULACO229 and SLOW by ALBION on rgbstock.com

 

To Survivors of Suicide Loss: Let There Be Peace this Thanksgiving

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Patty was angry. Her sister had ended her life two years earlier, and left Patty in turmoil. Why had she done it? She knew she could have reached out to Patty and their other siblings.  She did not have to die.

Pastor Jones barely mentioned the past, uttering in generalities the story of his friend’s suicide thirty years earlier.  He was a fellow pastor who had called Jones and talked about feeling depressed.  Then he was gone. It did not require a doctorate to diagnose the guilt Pastor Jones carried on his face.  

These are only two of dozens of survivors of suicide loss I have met. They approach me, most often to tell what happened. They are not asking for advice or platitudes. Their tales are rarely welcomed in polite company, and they see in me someone willing to listen without judgment.

In every story there is one running theme: the question why.

Why suicide? Why did I not stop them? Why did they not ask for help? Why did I not listen? Why. Why. Why.

A Different Perspective

Sometimes I fear my story of surviving major depression and attempted suicide will only serve as a morbid reminder of pain for those who have lost someone to suicide. However, that has not proven true. Instead, as far as I have observed, my story helps those left behind with a perspective they may wish they could hear from their deceased loved one. 

For me, suicide seemed the only option after months of struggle with depression. If we wanted, we could blame me: I did not reach out for professional help until late in the process.  We could blame professionals: I was under their care when the suicide attempt occurred. We could blame the support person I reached out to who did not respond well. 

We would be wrong. There is no one directly to blame.* Suicide and suicide attempts result from mixed-up minds and torn-up emotions.

The person on the edge of a suicide attempt is not thinking about all the pain their death will bring to loved ones. Rather, they are thinking everyone will be better off.  They are not necessarily selfish, but unable to see beyond the suffering that is the only reality they comprehend.  They have not generally lost their faith.  Irrationality is due to a mental problem,  not reasonable cognitive choices. 

As supports, we only know what we know. There is no shame in not understanding how to help someone who may have reached out.  We are only human. There is no guilt to carry for being fallible. If we could change the past,  would we? Yes.  It is not too late to make peace with that.   

Anger, grief, confusion… these are natural after the death of a loved one to suicide.  Our loss is legitimate. We hurt. We want to blame someone, to find a reason for the senseless. Often, with nowhere else to look, we blame ourselves.

Allow yourself to feel, and hear this from someone who has been to the end.  The answer to why will never come, at least not in the way you want it to. Your loved one did not even know why. At least 90% of people who die by suicide do so because of impaired judgment and impulsivity. If they left a note, those “reasons” were constructed from confusion. 

Often, the holidays stir up memories of loss. Gratitude might come harder. This Thanksgiving, let yourself rest. Resign blame and be at peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 28:7

 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

*********Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*In the case of someone “driving” a person to suicide, extreme circumstances, such as Michelle Carter who urged her boyfriend to kill himself,  would be called murder. This post is written to the vast majority of survivors of suicide loss who cared directly or indirectly for the life of the one who died. 

Why and How Would I Forgive that %&*$# ? Part One.

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

images (17)The longer you refuse to let something go, the longer you are chained to it.

We think we are in control when we hang on to hurt and blame. It is our anger, we want to own it!  We have the right to be angry because we were maltreated, our lives were ruined, and we were damaged. Because of someone else’s actions or inaction, we have suffered. How dare they? We have every reason to hold them in contempt, darn it!

Picture walking a big dog down the street. It is untrained, and is dragging you into yards and traffic. It smells another dog’s presence and forces you into a race. Later, you could claim you took the dog for a walk.  In the end of your version of the story you come out on top. You are the owner, the one who is right, and the dog is victimizing you by making your walks challenging.

Theoretically only, one of your options on the walk is to let go of the leash. Truth is, if you gave the dog freedom to run away your physical battle would be over. Later, your story could be that you once owned the dog, it made walks challenging, and so you let it go. How powerful you really are! Now you are free of the animal and the trouble that came with it.

In a similar way, letting the person or persons who brought you pain ‘off the leash’ so to speak, frees you from the mental difficulties that come with holding on. This does not mean they get off scot-free from wrongdoing, so please allow me to explain what I mean by ‘let go.’

Lawfully and morally, if someone commits a crime against another they ought to receive the punishment due them. Bringing legal charges against such a person protects you and perhaps others from further harm. With that said, you and I know there are deeper issues to wrestle in matters of forgiveness.

What does hanging on to anger look like?

  1. Thinking about the offense
  2. Thinking about the resulting harm
  3. Thinking about blame

For years I tried to forgive a person who lied to get what he wanted. His choices uprooted my life in significant ways. Whenever the consequences of his actions confronted me, I took a wrong versus right stance with me being right, of course. The events played in my memory as I searched for anything I may have missed.

A list of harm done became longer as life continued to unfold consequences. When his name came up I thought about him with disdain and distrust. How dare he get that promotion? How could other people be so blind? He is lucky I don’t go to his superiors. 

I felt powerful in my resentment. Yet because of my spiritual training, knew it was an obligation to forgive him. By trying to do so, I managed to conjure up moments of good feelings toward the man, but they were all temporary and required much effort. Before long, old thoughts and feelings would rise.

How does hanging on to anger feel?

  1. Depressed mood.
  2. Fear
  3. Paralysis
  4. Continued pain

Whether or not depression in this case becomes clinical is not the point; we are not happy when caught up in an anger cycle. In my case jealousy grew. I wondered what was wrong with me and questioned how did this lying %^&$* have success and I not?

Fear blossomed. Maybe doing the right thing never works out. Maybe I’m incapable. Maybe it will happen to me again. Maybe I cannot trust anyone. In part, this fear paralyzed me in relationships and goal-setting. In some ways it restrained me from reaching out. All the while,  continuing to blame this fellow for my difficulties fed pain in my heart.

And I felt powerful in my bitterness.

The dog was pulling me into alleys and dark tunnels. Blinded because of not forgiving this man, I lost sight of a few important things. His action altered my life temporarily while my choice to hang on to the offense helped to cripple me for years.

Stay tuned to part two of this series.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

 

Sit , Emotion, Sit! Proverbs 3:16 Put to Practice

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

I came home a few days ago angry. It was the quiet kind of angry that sneaks up on a person slowly. Or does it? More likely, I had managed to stuff it for a few minutes before it could not be denied anymore.  

My stomach roiled. Typical tension and pins and needles sensations were there, too. Most obnoxious were the thoughts – racing toward nothing and refusing to leave. Food, busyness, social media, online shopping, and television were some of my favorite escapes when strong emotions would not take a rest.

This time though, I exercised a new technique and sat with the anger. Literally, I sat down and asked God why I was so upset. Over a few minutes, an idea occurred. A friend had offered criticism while interrupting and talking over my explanation. There was good reason for annoyance, however was there truth in what she said? Anger was rising from my fear she may have been right.

Studying the situation more critically, I concluded her assessment of my motives was incorrect. Anger still agitated my stomach, and all the physically uncomfortable symptoms were active. Then the unimaginable happened.

I sat some more.

It felt horrible. I wanted to hide, to bury this struggle under something more pleasurable. Nevertheless I stayed, acknowledging God, the hurt, and discomfort.

Sure enough, it subsided. The whole exercise had taken about twenty minutes. In that amount of time I could have eaten that leftover beef roast or checked Twitter dozens of times, and felt and resolved nothing.

Taking the time to ask God for insight and ride out a strong emotion had actually made it go away. Annoyance disappeared as reason and forgiveness took over. Not relying on my limited understanding had led directly to peace.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 3:16

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” 

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

 

Get Angry!!

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

Yes, get angry! Be upset that someone treats you like an object. Be offended when your voice is not heard. If you are hit, sexually attacked, insulted, and taught you are worth nothing, then be mad!

If your family rejects you, doesn’t believe your story, or tries to control your behavior, be irritated. Squinch up your eyes, throw back your shoulders and scowl if significant persons lie to you.

Be livid when people use your looks as a basis for judgement. Fume when bigotry excludes you from the country club, the pool, or the church. If religious folk treat you like less-than, be incensed! If the world mocks you for your beliefs, economic status, or size, be furious!

There is nothing wrong with anger. What’s sad is when a person does not believe they have a right (or reason) to combat maltreatment.  Learn to recognize when wrong is done to you. Then think very hard about what to do next. 

Make sure that anger is pointed in the right direction. Do not allow anger to destroy you. Why go from one poison to another? Bitterness is the poison we drink hoping someone else will die (author unknown). No, be angry at the prejudice, intolerance, holier-than-thou attitudes that incite hatred. Stand up and be angry for justice, not only at injustice.

Allow your anger to forge a path for energy, but be sure to adopt assertiveness, not aggression.  Leave violence out of the picture. Harshness, controlling behavior, and abuse of yourself or anyone else do not belong in your repertoire.

You are unforgiving of ignorance, not the ignorant. You feel infuriated by how long you have allowed others to pin you back, but this fuels your desire to make tomorrow better. Rage may not quite describe the intensity of your reaction to abuse, but while you used to be a victim, now you can be the conqueror.

Be angry, and live your God-given life!

*****

NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

*photo from qualitystockphotos.com