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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How depression feels


My husband and I are in the recovery stages of bronchitis (which is why I was absent for a few days). Sometime during this bout of a widely recognized illness, I thought about how it could be related to Depression. I had to type the following notes on my phone, but I decided to share them with you:

“Many people compare depression to having the flu. You do not feel like getting out of bed. You feel lethargic. You definitely do not want to go to work. 

“But, there is no shot for depression. There are no antibiotics to help. There are no sick days for depression and you definitely cannot call in sick for four hundred days in a row.”

Now, let me go a few steps further. Imagine that almost no one knew the symptoms of the flu (or take away the obvious ones such as coughing and fever). Pretend very few people knew how to treat the flu. Suppose most people did not recognize you were ailing at all, but continually told you to “cheer up” and/or “keep your chin up” or some other nonsense that didn’t help you a bit. You have unexplained pains and fatigue. You probably have GI problems and most of all, you can’t think straight more than half the time. But, no one understands you or your problems which frustrates you to no end.

Throw in the fact you don’t “get over” depression in a week or two but usually carry it with you for several years and you have an idea, just an inkling of what depression is like.

Depression is not “just the blues.” It is not “short-term.” But, there is help out there. The depressed person just has to look a lot harder than someone with the flu.

 

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A = ADHD; B = Bipolar Disorder


A is for ADHD, otherwise  known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and A.D.D. But, it isn’t always a bad thing. Many people thrive with ADHD. Do a search online for this and you’ll find a ton of advice about dealing with it.

B = Bipolar Disorder — “Bipolar mania, hypomania, and depression are symptoms of bipolar disorder. The dramatic mood episodes of bipolar disorder do not follow a set pattern — depression does not always follow mania. A person may experience the same mood state several times — for weeks, months, even years at a time — before suddenly having the opposite mood. Also, the severity of mood phases can differ from person to person.” (WebMD)

Ginkgo is a natural supplement used by some wi...

Ginkgo is a natural supplement used by some with ADHD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

J is for Journal


Journal

Journal (Photo credit: basykes)

One of the most important things in my life is keeping a journal. I highly recommend that each of you Keep A Journal, especially if you suffer from any form of mental illness.

A journal can serve multiple purposes. You can write about whatever you want and whenever you want. You can write about bad times, good times and everything in between. You can ask questions and see if your mind can come up with an answer without really thinking about it. You can write your goals and dreams 100,000 times. You can do the same with resolutions and plans on making either of those come true.

What I often do is make specific plans to do something important such as write every two days or more often and then not follow those plans. That’s why I write them again and again and again.

Sometimes I think I’m lazy and/or that I really don’t care. But, if I don’t care, why would I write down “I will write every two days?” If I’m lazy, why would I have twenty or so notebooks that have writing of some sort in them (even if it isn’t related to my current “work in progress”)? I must care if I’m bothering to remind myself, and I must not be totally lazy if I have so many journals and other writing already.

“It’s called a pen. It’s like a printer, hooked straight to my brain.” – Dale Dauten

So, what is it? I think my pen connected directly to my brain and came up with at least a partial answer to this question in the rough draft of this piece about Keeping a Journal. I’m not 100% sure, but I think I’m afraid of putting my writing “out there.” I’m afraid of recording my thoughts and then sending them out to anyone.

Having found at least a partial answer for myself, I challenge you to ask a question in your journal and let yourself write until you find an answer.

J is for Journal

J is for Journal (Photo credit: basykes)

Brought to you by the letter "J"

This is part of my “A-to-Z-Challenge.” For more information about Mental Health, see “C is for Counseling.”

C is for Couseling


First, let me Apologize (A) for starting the A-to-Z Challenge late. I signed up for it with good intentions and I actually had high hopes I’d write something for each day of the challenge. Granted, this is Boring (B) but I can only say that I let myself procrastinate and fouled up.

C is for CounselingCounseling is also known as analysis, psychotherapy, and talk therapy. I can tell you that it will help anyone who has a mental health issue or two. The best type of therapy is called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” It helps people understand their thoughts and feelings. Awareness of the thoughts in your mind can profoundly influence your behavior.

From now on, I plan to write about Mental Health. For each letter, I will attempt to find a word, a term or a phrase dealing with a mental condition. But, don’t take this the wrong way. Having a mental health issue is not always the same as having a mental illness despite anything you may have read before. I had intended to write “A is for ADHD” on April 1st, but the condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not always a bad thing. Many people thrive with ADHD or ADD, as it’s sometimes called.

Counseling

Counseling (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)