Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Anger management

I have a new technique to fight depression. It's not entirely new, I just recently figured out how to use it every day to feel better.
It's anger. I have a lot of it.
I was always the quiet girl in the background, going out of my way to go out of other people's way to make sure they feel fine. And that made me feel fine. But it also meant that however angry I was at them or at any issues, I kept silent. I didn't even have to bite my tongue. Speaking up for myself or issues I have believed in was never an option. That didn't mean I was okay with that. It was simply my nature. I was ignored and often even abused because of that. I didn't mind. I just wanted to avoid conflict, at any cost. Even if it meant I was never ever getting what I wanted. It made me frustrated. It made my depression that much stronger. I would be bullied into working more for smaller wages. It made me the butt of jokes at parties. It made me stay away from people I loved so they could hang out with people less worthy but more aggressive at enforcing their will. It made me invisible.
Until over ten years ago.
I used to play a lot of role playing games. I didn't realize at the time, but it worked like drama therapy for me. In the beginning, like most newbie role players, I picked characters that were more like me. Timid, uncertain, always supporting the heroes. Then I got invited to a party I knew nothing about. I knew it was gonna be set in the World of Darkness universe. A game that says supernatural creatures exist, but they live in the shadows, so ordinary people never see behind the veil of disguise. Vampires, mages and shapeshifters work behind the scenes, control organizations, run operations, and so on.
I was in good company, I knew everyone at the table, I had my man on my side and my best friend doing the storytelling. I felt safe, so I thought I should not play safe. I chose a character sooo unlike me. I made her an outcast of society, a lone wolf, with criminal records and antisocial characteristics.
Everyone thought I made a mistake. That I could not play such an unpleasant, violent character. They kept saying that until I believed them.
And then we started playing. Imagine my surprise when she became a werewolf. Imagine my surprise when she berserked and started smashing stuff. Imagine my shock when I realized I'm actually enjoying this. Imagine the frustration when I realized that the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with hated it. It was not the obedient good little girl he took home to mommy. It was just a part of me, that was set free on our weekly gaming sessions, but it was enough for him to turn away from me. He found that part of me scary and repulsive. I found that part of me strong, independent, and giving less and less of a damn about what he or anyone else thinks.
That werewolf slowly crept out of the story and into my real life. I could not be happier to meet her. She was the part of me that would stand up and speak up for me. She was the one that could not be sat in the corner. I could only call on her when I got angry. So slowly, over the last ten years, I learned to make myself angry, and then channel that anger to work as a fuel for me to get things done. Luckily, we live in a less than perfect world. There are so many things to get angry about. Pollution, inequalities, abuse, violence, ignorance, you name it. I think about those things and my blood starts to boil. And then I just can't sit still.
It helps me even in the smallest things. I take my mind where it doesn't wanna go, enrage just to get out of the chair, and then do the dishes to take my mind off my anger. And it works, it really, really works. I do chores like I was always supposed to. Sure, the meds help as well, but I really think the main component in my recent recovery is anger. I make myself angry when I am afraid of things until the rage is stronger than the fear. I make myself angry when I'm sad until the rage supersedes the sadness. I make myself angry when I am in pain until the rage flushes out the pain.
I am getting really good at redirecting my anger at whatever I want. And right now I wanna get angry at depression. See which one is stronger.
Personally, I think depression has no chance.


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Wow, you go girl!!

I've read a lot about how some people turn their anger in on themselves and either self harm or develop eating disorders while others turn their anger outwards and shout and yell.

If you can direct your anger outwards in a safe way it's so much better for your mental health than suppressing it and having it eat you away from the inside.

I often say to parents that is a GOOD thing when their children yell at them and say I Hate You because it shows how secure they feel in their parents' love to be able to do that while knowing the parents won't turn against them. It's hard as a mother to hear it but it's so much better than the child saying those things to them self, at least you know the person shouting needs your help!

Good luck with your self exploration!

Kate said...

Good for you to take a negative and turn it into a positive on your ladder to success! I wish you all the best!