Beneath the Anger

Do people ever ask you why you seem to be so grumpy lately? Do you ever find yourself snapping at others easily or just feeling yourself tense up for no apparent reason? Do you question yourself about why you seem to be so angry?

Anger can sometimes be a significant part of living with a chronic physical illness. There are many things that one can feel angry about. The anger is not limited to just the initial shock of the diagnosis or to the adjustments that it forces one to make. Anger can persist throughout various moments in the life of a person who has a chronic illness, and for many different reasons. Do you ever wonder what that seemingly random uprising of anger is about? Think about what is beneath your anger.

Lying underneath your anger may be feelings of sadness and pain. Not everyone is comfortable with allowing hurt, pain, depression, or sadness to be consciously recognized and felt. Sometimes it is easier to just be angry rather than sad. Other times one may be experiencing a sense of not being understood by others, which can follow with feelings of loneliness and isolation. If a person is not aware of these feelings or does not have the words to describe them, an uncanny and unidentified frustration or anger may emerge. There are moments when people are reminded of a life prior to their illness as well. These moments can also serve as catalysts for feeling angry. The underlying reasons are infinite, and although there are certainly shared experiences among different people, it is helpful to figure out your specific reason in a given moment.

Sure one can just be angry because something unfair happened or someone did something that was anger-provoking. However, many times when living with a chronic physical illness you may be left wondering "why am I so angry right now?" Rather than let the anger wear you down or push people away, really think about what is beneath the anger. Maybe keep a journal and track events that have occurred and how you felt at each moment, or try to make sense of it by speaking with a psychotherapist, or maybe meditate. There are multiple paths to coming to an understanding. Find what works for you. Some might think, "what's the big deal about just being angry?" There is no big deal; however, if you find yourself angry more often than not you do not have to live that way. If it is possible to feel content more often than angry, why not? Don't you deserve that? If your answer is no then I would encourage you to think about what is beneath that as well.