Is Depression actually Anger turned inward?


A lot of people say that depression is just anger turned inward. While I would not say that is the only thing that causes depression, it might be what starts some cases and anger definitely brings down someone who already has depression.

I can’t tell you exactly when my depression started, but I am now aware that I carry a lot of “pent-up” anger. I’m angry about a lot of things I don’t want to share, but I will tell you a few things that angers and saddens me every time I think about them.

I grew up as the oldest child in a poverty level home. Our low-income caused a lot of anxiety because we had to move every two years (or more often). The “new” residence was often in worse condition than the last. I’m old enough to remember party-line telephones, but we often didn’t have that luxury. We had an “outhouse” instead of an indoor bathroom at most of these houses and other children always made fun of our “second-hand” or “hand-me-down” clothes.

To make matters worse, my parents separated when I was twelve. I had four siblings at the time and the youngest was only two. Instead of fighting to keep us, Mom left and went to live with her parents — 200 miles away. I remember Dad hiring someone to watch us, but I honestly don’t recall if she worked more than two months. This left me as a substitute mother by the time I was thirteen. Dad came home from work as early as possible, but I was still “in charge” for at least one hour every day after school and usually half a day on Saturday.

You might not believe it, but that is not the worst part! I sometimes wonder if I would have fared better mentally if Mom had stayed “200 miles away” and we only visited her 2-3 times a year. But, that isn’t what happened. She came back in July of my thirteenth year. The reunion apparently didn’t work out, because she only stayed until Christmas break. This repeated the next year and the next. My maternal grandmother died sometime during my fourteenth year, but I don’t even remember if Mom was with us or with her. When I was sixteen, Mom came back and stayed a whole year. During this time, we moved to Missouri for 2-3 months and then moved back to the same house we had left in Kentucky by Christmas. Mom had a sixth child three months after I turned seventeen (my b-day is in February if you’re wondering). Before long, maybe as early as July, Mom took my newest sister to Grandpa’s house and stayed there for at least six months.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, I’ll stop here and tell you. I’m angry with Dad and Mom because of their divorce and because I had to become a “Mom” at thirteen. I also feel like Mom abandoned me — not once, but several times! It hurt me every time she left. Even after I thought I forgave her, I was still angry with life itself. When my mother died last year, it took me a while to realize why I felt “abandoned.” It took two or three months for me to even admit I was angry at her, angry with her being gone again!

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W is for Writing


 

A tub full of writing.

This is my collection of notebooks, journals and steno pads – all with my writing in them. There’s also about four of my favorite books on the far right.

I am a writer. I don’t write every day and I don’t have a scheduled day or time, but I still consider myself a writer.

But, what does writing have to do with Mental Health? It does a lot more than you might think. Besides keeping a journal or diary, writing can help you heal in a lot other ways. Sometimes, just putting yourself in the process of writing helps you feel better about yourself. In other cases, such as Stephen King, writing is so much a part of you that you can’t heal until you take it back up. Look up ON WRITING by Stephen King and read what he says after his leg was broken in about eight different places.

But, my experience with the healing quality of writing came while dealing with grief. When my mother passed away in March of 2012, I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I wrote in my journal several times with some form of “Goodbye Mom,” but it never seemed to be enough. I couldn’t figure out why.

Then in February of 2013, I was writing a scene where my character saw someone’s ghost go to meet Jesus. In it, this ghost told me nobody could hurt her in heaven, there was no pain there and she would always be happy.

Suffice it to say, I had not sat down with the intention of writing anything other than the ghost disappearing. I was in tears before I finished it. I’d finally realized what my mother would tell me if she could. Instead of saying “Goodbye,” I had the ghost say “See you later.” That’s what Mom would have said if she’d had the chance. When my character answers, I honestly felt like I was saying, “Yeah, see you later” to Mom.

My grief didn’t go away, but I healed quite a bit on that day. I’d finally told my Mother that I’d see her again some day and thanks to something I wrote, I knew I would.

Ghost

Ghost (Photo credit: Pétur Gauti)

On Writing

On Writing (Photo credit: Jody Art)