Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spiraling

I am angry.

No. I am very angry. I am chock-full of boiling, seeping, seething, festering anger.

I am a volcano. A vat of swirling, churning, molten anger, barely contained under a thin outer crust. It's that thin layer that keeps the public safe, shielded from the anger that I've been internalizing for so long.

But, like any good volcano, sometimes the pressure builds up inside, and the lava comes out. Innocent civilians are occasionally in the way, and they get burned. It's not intentional, of course, but it's not something that's under my control, either.

It's this anger that makes the doctors think I'm crazy. It's not the opposite of depression, exactly. That would be happiness, or, failing that, inner peace. But the anger seems to fall on the other end of the continuum - not an opposite, but a counter-weight. The depression is so passive - all I want to do is lie down, sleep, forget. I don't want to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone, be anyone, talk, move, breathe, nothing. The anger, on the other hand, is a nice, active anger. It bubbles inside me. It makes me restless, fidgety. It requires action on my part. I can't just lie down and be angry. You can't sleep on the anger. It comes bursting out at the slightest provocation, scalding anyone who happens to be nearby. Does the mere fact that I alternate between these two states of mind make me bipolar, like the doctors want to say? Is the anger a mere manifestation of the depression? Am I angry because I'm depressed? Am I depressed because I'm angry? It seems like the two go hand-in-hand, but I can't for the life of me figure out the connection between them. To me, it all seems like a meaningless spiral - no beginning, no end, and no purpose whatsoever.

I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that I'm angry *about*, with no success at all. Life is hard, sure, but billions of other people out there have it worse than me, and they somehow manage to make it through each day without freaking the fuck out over every little thing. How do they do it? I'd like to know. Is everyone this angry inside? Do they just do a better job of controlling the outbursts? Or do they somehow manage to float above the everyday bullshit that brings me down? I can't figure it out, and I can tell now that it's getting to the point where I need to get some more help than I have right now. Either I need to get some less annoying children and a husband who's around more than two hours a week, or I need a refill on my anxiety meds. Or, option three, I need a nice therapist who can help talk me down off the ledge.

I am angry when my children don't do as I want. Or when they act like, you know, children. I am angry because my husband is a workaholic, because I'm a single parent, because I live in a house with my in-laws, because my house won't sell, because I'm poor, because life is life, and that's it. Overall, my children are pretty decent. I can't make them not small, and I can't make them self-sufficient overnight. I can't do shit about my husband except leave him, and I can't afford that. I can't fix the economy, and I can't make anyone buy my house. I can't make my in-laws change. This is just life. And it's a lot like everyone else's life, and in the great grand scheme of things, it's really not that bad. But for some reason, I can't quite manage to cope with it as well as other people. Hence the anger.

2 comments:

Julie said...

Maybe it's BECAUSE you can't change those things? Powerlessness makes me feel pretty angry, and it's hard to be patient when I don't feel like I have many choices.

It helps a little to concentrate on what I can control -- FWIW. Maybe it'll be useful to you, too.

For example, when I'm driving to work I sometimes think, "I could just keep driving. They wouldn't realize until tomorrow that I was gone." And the second that thought crosses my mind, I realize that I am really choosing to stay. It's a small thing, but it makes me feel powerful for just a minute, and it helps fight off the feeling of being stuck.

Ninotchka said...

I just read a book by Thich Nhat Hahn on anger. It was interesting to say the least. I think we all have it in us and like all other negative emotions we harbor, it is a choice. An insidious one but one nonetheless. He likens it to "seeds" within us that we water. When we "water" the seeds of anger, then it grows stronger than our resolve and/or power to control it. But we can always learn other ways to deal with it. As for the root of your anger, I'm with Julie that it has a lot to do with feeling powerless. Otherwise, why would we care so much? It's hard not to care sometimes. This I know.

In your case, I do think enlisting additional help is in order. Whether it's upping meds, talking to someone (else), tackling it from a research angle & learning more about it, what have you...

I'm in your corner, friend!

(whew - there, I'll shut up now; I was interrupted by a phone call whilst posting this and it took me forever to get back to it -- sorry for "stalking" you.)