I'm depressed because I'm angry because I'm depressed because I'm angry because

Something obnoxious happened: a misunderstanding with a client, the barista forgot about my coffee order, someone cut in front of me in line. This caused a temporary flare up of anger against this malicious, hateful, insufferable— no, it’s not a big deal, I’m calm, collected, non-confrontational. I’ll just let it go.

But I can’t. Even though it happened hours ago, it triggered something. As time goes on, I find myself getting despondent, tired, unfocused, irritable. Why do I feel like shit? It’s that thing that happened, it must have made me depressed. Why the hell am I letting myself get depressed over something that doesn’t matter anymore? I’m better than this. Come on, get it together! What’s wrong with-- stop it, this is just making it worse. Calm down, relax, stop beating yourself up over nothing. It’s the depression talking-- yeah! and I’m supposed to be coping with depression and I’m failing! Agh, I just keep going in circles, stop it-- Oh, look how self-aware you are, isn’t that nice for you, being all smart and introspective, too bad you’re stuck in this failure loop–

and so on

This self-referential downward spiral of negativity has happened to me a number of times. It usually starts with some emotional trigger that I’m ashamed of and attempt to bottle away. The pressure slowly builds until it explodes in something akin to the internal conversation above. Fortunately it is never long lived, and like a virus, it just has to run its course and leave me exhausted and out of it for a bit.

I could try not bottling up or finding more constructive ways to vent, but I don’t always know how to do that.

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Yeah, I can relate.
I never considered myself an angry person, but when I look back on the last 8 months, I have been angry a lot.
Mostly over seemingly trivial matters.
But in the moment it feels like a big deal.
One thing that helps is if I am upset, I ask myself, "What is wrong with right now? What is wrong with this exact moment?"
The answer is almost always, "Nothing."
That helps me stop chasing my tail.
A shower or a walk usually change my state for the better too. If I can distract myself for 15 minutes, especially away from the computer and apartment, my emotions and mind usually move on.

I think it’s important not to reject your thoughts or emotions. This just causes the recursive cognitive dissonance that you reference in the title of the post. By reacting to your thoughts, you are creating more thoughts and negative emotions. Instead, choose not to react.

To borrow a technique from meditation, first focus on breathing, then simply acknowledge your thoughts and emotions. Name them if you can. “This is Anger. This is Sadness. This is Regret, Impatience, Worry.” Recognize that you are experiencing them and in between those acts of recognition, or whenever you can, return your focus to your breathing. You can close your eyes if you like - it helps me, at least.

I’ve found that doing this for even just a few minutes can help a lot. Try for five, for starters. It seems like a small amount of time until you actually try to sit still and practice this!

Hope this helps,

Irritability is a huge part of my bipolar disorder. And, when it’s raging, so is my anger. And, let me tell you, I can throw down a verbal beating so nasty, so full of hatred and bile, that there ain’t no mistaking what kind of mood I’m in.

Turns out, irritability is a symptom of bipolar disorder. And, you can feel it whether you’re going through a low-energy phase (depression) or a high-energy phase (mania or hypomania). With a little medication, I’m MUCH less irritable. And, MUCH MUCH MUCH less angry.

I learned that my unconscious anger/rage was leading to my conscious anger/rage.

A few resources that helped me:


And the book mentioned in that blog post, The Mindbody Prescription - http://www.amazon.com/The-Mindbody-Prescription-Healing-Body-ebook/dp/B000FA5SJS/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

He also wrote another, more recent book on the same subject - The Divided Mind - http://www.amazon.com/The-Divided-Mind-John-Sarno-ebook/dp/B000SEHJOI/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

They have drastically helped me understand that what I bury or dismiss instead of face the feelings about (get pissed off, cry, be annoyed, etc.) that I have when something happens.

As a result of the books, I turned to journaling my current frustrations, concerns, worries, insecurities, etc. to help me face the feelings. Basically, I just think of anything that can be contributing to my current mood and start writing about it and within a few minutes, I find I’m “facing” those negative emotions and bringing them to the surface (and out of my unconscious).

It’s complicated to explain and sounds whacky, but once you experience it you will understand.

Hope this helps you or someone reading this.