Sunday, 26 May 2013

Anger and Depression

I am in a good mood today. It is a nice day outside. My daughters are bringing their daughters to my Mom's place for a visit today. My son is here in Vancouver helping me get the boat organized. In a day or two I will head up to Yellowknife to see my other daughter. I am feeling productive.

Days are not always good like this one. Sometimes I just get depressed, and angry too. I have a fair bit to be angry about. I committed my life to a relationship that failed me. I ended up with a disease that has left me with nothing and I have to wait two years to die unless I commit suicide. I struggle to go out at during the day and at night and don't really know where to go regardless. My legs are useless, my arms are weak, my outlook shadowed; it's not a happy picture.

Those very things that spark anger in me also spark depression. Those two emotions are often wrapped up together, thrown into my bleak space wrapped in a ribbon of suffering. Despite my best efforts, I simply cannot keep these dark beasts at bay. Despite my best efforts the anger and depression find a way to seep in through the cracks and cuts in my emotional space.

Some days I just get one. Some days it's just the anger that hits me or just the depression that hits me. With anger I find it passes more quickly, like a fire burning hot and cooling fast. Depression is more pervasive, subtler, sneakier. It creeps over me without notice. Then, with no warning, I feel it's full weight as if I had a blanket smothering me. Anger is transient; depression is persistent.

What do I do with these two? How do I manage them, and me, as I go through this process?

The first step is to recognize these emotions and accept them as a normal part, not only of what I am going through, but of life in general. Each of us feels these feelings on some level or other on a regular basis. Everyone I have ever met has had "bad days" or has gotten irrationally angry. It just happens. In my case these normal feelings have something to chew on, a way to grow and fester. I just have to see them for what they are.

The next step is to realize that these are passing emotions. Just as clouds in the wind and waves on the ocean, these feelings will rise, crest, and pass. What I have to do is to allow myself the freedom to feel these feelings and then let them go. While I am in the throws of them, it seems like they will never leave. Inevitably they do; sometimes quickly and other times slowly, but always.

Finally, in those situations where I just feel overwhelmed by it all, I need to reach out, to let others know what I am feeling and how those feelings are impacting me. I can share the good feelings and just as importantly I can share the bad feelings. Sharing; that's how this blog helps me.


  1. You are neither alone nor immune on this one!

  2. I know. Life does this to all of us.

  3. Richard,
    I find it interesting that on a day when you say, "I am in a good mood today. It is a nice day outside. ... I am feeling productive." you would go on to talk about your depression and your condition.

    I know you are in a horrible place, and it is far from easy, but couldn't you spend a little more time wallowing in the "Good mood" rather than turning to the feelings of anger and depression for blog material?

    Just a thought, based on years of friendship, and offered with the kindest and best of intentions.

  4. Fair comment, Chris. This blog was reflective of a mood expressed to me by another person with ALS. She has been struggling with both anger and depression lately.

    I spent much of my day wallowing in the joys of my children and grand-children, enjoying their company and sharing a great day. My day was filled with the giggles of little children, the chatter of my daughters voices and the energy of a full room.