Recently, NPR highlighted the fact that anger and a short temper can be signs of depression. Traditionally, the primary symptoms associated with depression were feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, and/or loneliness. Now it looks like anger should be added to that list. As I was listening to this I found it interesting, but not applicable to me. No one who knows me would likely say I’m an angry person. But if I am being honest with myself, I am.
When I was younger, before I understood what was wrong with me, I was angry a lot about the fact I seemed to be different than the other kids. I was angry at God most of all, but there was plenty of anger to spill over to other people.
Even now I have a short temper, but my anxiety actually seems to save me a lot of fireworks in this area. I might be furious on the inside, but my social anxiety tells me to keep my head down, not make a scene, it really isn’t worth creating a fight.
Yet I would have never thought this anger, and the way it interacts with my depression and anxiety, were actually parts of those mental illnesses. Depression is a complex illness, that can present in many ways. Chances are your depression is not the same as mine and is different too from other cases of depression. Understanding the whole spectrum of your emotions is the key to moving forward, and given the lack of understanding I had surrounding my depression, that was a real challenge. This of course only makes me mad at myself for not realizing this before, because it turns out depression is a reason to be angry. Now that I know a little more though, I can start to let that anger go, and start to let the healing begin.