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Anger Suppression and Depression

“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ― Gautama Buddha

Have you ever considered what anger is doing to your mental health?

Left unaddressed anger can become poison for your system. Yet, from early on, we are taught to be gracious and kind. People around us encourage us to be forgiving, understanding and polite. We are told that angry people are bad people, and thus we strive to always be “good” by suppressing any anger or resentment we might feel.

A physical problem

Anger can only be bottled up for so long before it begins to manifest itself physically. The first sign is chronic fatigue. You begin to find yourself lacking energy. Even when eight hours of sleep is achieved, the body never feels rested. This fatigue soon morphs into chronic pain, which is the second sign of repressed anger.

Chronic pain presents itself as muscle stiffness, lower back pain and neck pain. At this point many people may seek help, but in the form of bio kinetics or physiotherapy. These methods may help ease the muscle stiffness, but the pain never really goes away because the anger is not addressed. Old injuries are remembered and are blamed for the new feeling of discomfort. This is where psychological help is needed, as often people don’t even realise what is going on internally.

When anger gets the best of you

Without seeking help, the constant pain and fatigue begins to make you feel irritable. This irritability extends to violent outburst and increasing isolation. Work begins to feel like a chore and daily activities go neglected. At times one may begin to dabble in drugs, alcohol and other reckless behaviour; all these signs of depression that do not fit the definition of “sad and quiet”.

Psychology Today best describes repressed anger: “When anger is repressed, it will attack the self. Why? Because anger is an attack emotion that only responds to one internal command – attack! That’s all anger knows. So when it’s expressed to others,  the anger wants to attack the other person. When it is repressed (turned inward) then of course the self will be attacked. Remember, anger knows no civilization and doesn’t even know you, (Yes, that’s even true of your own anger). Anger will simply attack.”

Accept anger and stay calm

For as long as society makes you feel like anger is a shameful emotion, the vicious cycle of anger and depression will continue. For tips on how to manage your anger, take a look at the MYD Heart Toolkit for staying calm and dealing with anger by clicking here : Toolkit for Staying Calm in the Face of Anger

Written by Ros Limbo.

For more writing by Ros Limbo,  click here.