Emotions and the different ways that they outwardly present to other people are endlessly complicated. If they weren’t, managing your feelings and your relationships would be easy! It’s very common for a person to be feeling one thing, but be feeling another thing at the same time or instead of the root cause of the feeling. It’s equally common for something a person is feeling to present as a completely different emotion to an outside observer, like how tiredness can be mistaken for annoyance.
With depression, this is true as well. This disorder deals with persistent sadness and low mood, but in many cases it can seem like anger is the more dominant emotion. Depression and anger are deeply intertwined, and dealing with one usually means dealing with the other at some point. If you or someone you love has depression, this can be a tangled web of emotions to try and sort out, so let’s take a look at some of the ways that depression and anger are related.
Anger Over Depression
It might seem a little roundabout, but oftentimes depression can present as anger because a person is angry that they have depression in the first place. A lot of people can feel invincible in terms of their mental health– in their minds, depression is something that happens to other people, people unable to cope with life’s pressures, but not them.
The reality is, anyone can develop depression, and it’s not a reflection on your personal strength, but many people who struggle with it feel upset that they’re struggling. They feel hurt and betrayed by their own mind and emotions, and may wonder things like “Why me?” or “This is so unfair,” or “I should be stronger than this.” While these thoughts may not be accurate, the feelings of anger they produce in people with depression are very real.
Anger Over Lack of Control
Feeling a lack of control is something that can anger even the calmest and most patient individual, and one of the worst parts of depression is feeling like you’re not in control of yourself. Your mind and your emotions are something that most people feel like they should have total control over, and to have that taken away is unbelievably frustrating.
With depression, you can often feel like you’re completely at the whims of these feelings that overpower you. You might want to feel happy and positive, but no matter what you try, you just can’t. The anger that arises from this frustration gives way to a vicious cycle over time, and can cause a person’s depression to seem and feel more like anger than anything else.
Anger Over Results of Depression
Depression differs from garden variety sadness largely because it affects your ability to function in life. People with depression often oversleep or struggle with insomnia, overeat or avoid eating, struggle with their personal hygiene and household tasks, and have their relationships suffer due to this illness. Performance in work and school can also suffer, and people might even deal with decreased memory, or self-sabotaging behaviors like self-harm, substance abuse, or overspending. Dealing with these effects of depression can give rise to a lot of anger and frustration.
Explosion of Repressed Emotions
It’s extremely common for people with depression to bottle up their feelings and refuse to express or deal with them. Although it’s not healthy, the reaction makes sense. It’s far easier to repress your sadness and unhappiness than to cope with it. However, as it usually does, this practice frequently leads to emotional outbursts, often in the form of anger that seems disproportionate to the situation at hand.
Anger Over Response to Depression
While mental illness is becoming better understood by the world today, there are still a lot of people out there who view it as a sign of weakness or a character flaw to struggle with depression. They can be flippant and dismissive of someone who is going through a hard time, or even outright hostile, claiming that a person is crazy, lazy, or making things up when they relate their difficulties. This, understandably, can lead to a great deal of anger and frustration, both at the individual who is expressing these ideas and at the world in general that allows these ideas to still exist.
As you can see, while depression is seen primarily as an issue of sadness, anger is also an emotion that is deeply intertwined with the disorder. If you or a loved one are struggling with depression and are confused by it presenting this way, know that it’s common and not something to be ashamed of! Treating your depression can help you to feel better, and if more traditional treatments haven’t worked well for you, TMS might be a good choice. Learn more about it here.