The Rage

I never admitted to myself that I’m an angry person. I didn’t want to be an angry person, that’s not in my introverted comfort zone, something reserved for those who express themselves outwardly, not crumble onto themselves inwardly. I’ve always thought of my anger as simple self-loathing, and have dealt with it in typically self-loathing ways – eating disorders, self-harm, drinking, getting into bad relationships, etc. Textbook stuff. But I never called it anger.

I’ll never forget beating a VCR with a baseball bat (don’t ask) on a suburban lawn and hearing someone in the group of people I was with say “that’s an angry girl”. And I was. I was 18, I was miserable, depressed as hell, I had massive issues when it came to eating (or not, as the case often was) and was starting a slow but steady self-destruct that would end up in self-injury by the end of the school year. I was a freshman in college. When I heard “that’s an angry girl” I brushed it off. I wasn’t angry. Angry people get into fights and stand up for themselves. I never fought and I certainly never stood up for myself. I wasn’t angry. A bad person, perhaps. A damaged person, for certain. But angry? Never.

Of course I was in denial. I was full of anger, full to exploding, all the time, the rage roiled and seethed inside of me. I was furious that my brain tormented me every moment of every day, second guessing myself and beating myself up all the time, the only outlets were self-harming in some way or another. I was so angry, and I had no idea where to put it, other than punishing myself. But still I told myself I wasn’t angry. An angry person doesn’t burst into tears at the drop of a hat. I did. Still do. Always have, and probably always will.

The years passed and my anger grew, and I punished myself more and more. By the time I moved to NYC after college and a summer job that destroyed my confidence in my chosen profession, I stopped eating and began cutting all the time. I dropped to under  100 pounds and was covered in self-inflicted wounds and scars. When I moved to Los Angeles eight days after September 11th, I had begun drinking. The anger/shame/depression spiral had destroyed my relationship, and I ended up moving back home with my parents after my engagement was broken.

But I wasn’t angry.

The years passed and I became more and more self-destructive, and we all know how that turned out three years ago when I was in the coma. And anyone who’s been reading the blog this week knows what then happened last week. And even then, even after years and years of intensive therapy, of being told over and over that I have so much anger in me that I lash inward, punishing myself for my own feelings, too afraid to confront others because the tears come so quickly, and with the tears comes the dismissal of my feelings, because no one takes you seriously when you’re hyperventilating through sobs. Why would they? It’s not as if you were angry, just a weak crybaby. Someone to be dismissed or mocked.

No, I wasn’t angry.

I wasn’t angry at my disease, wasn’t angry at all the relationships that had been trashed, the dreams that were unrealized, the backbreaking work that had gone unnoticed or had little to no appreciation. I wasn’t angry at the medications that packed so much weight onto me that I look like a monster now, not angry that I still can’t seem to do anything much without tears pouring down my face. That’s not frustrating at all. Neither is being kept in a psych ward for a week because I can’t control my own emotions. Nothing made me angry. I’d just be over here, silently crying, as my brain screamed for an outlet, some way of releasing the fire that roared inside.

I’m not an angry person.

I’m a lover, not a fighter. I try to be the peacekeeper in situations, the negotiator, the one who kisses booboos and gives hugs and tells everyone else that everything is going to be okay. I’m the four AM phone call when your boyfriend breaks up with you and the one who gives advice when you don’t know what to do. I’m the one ready with open arms and an open heart, to fix all your troubles, and I am happy to do it.

People like me have no time to be angry.

Even now, writing this, the tears pour down my face and my inner voice howls over and over.

Selfish. Self-indulgent. Whining. Braggart. Self-righteous. Stupid. Fat. Ugly. Worthless. Pathetic. Nothing.

But never angry.

I passed angry a long, long time ago. What I have inside me is a forest fire. An atom bomb. A tsunami. And the only thing that keeps it from destroying everything in its path is writing it out, and the precious few people who haven’t discarded me like so many others have. It’s a slow, white hot burning, destructive in every way but let out in small increments on the page, through tears, or seethed through a smile. To release it would be catastrophic. I mean, I might do something foolish, like go on a bender, destroy my apartment and end up in the psych ward, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

So no. I’m not an angry person. Whatever gave you that idea?


The Rage — 21 Comments

  1. OK…I hear you. So now what?

    I didn’t know one could be angry and still cry at the drop of a hat (like me). So I am asking not only out of concern for you but also because…I don’t want this to be me. But I can see how it could be.

    Keep writing. Keep putting it out there. You have an audience, not for the spectacle, but for the chance to applaud the victory, when it comes. And it will.
    Fawn Amber last post: Pole Dancing 1- Fawn 0

    • Acknowledging that you are angry, and that you have reason to be angry, is a huge first step. After that, it’s about finding healthy ways to vent the anger so that it doesn’t blow up atom bomb style.

  2. Banshee, I heart you. Seriously, your expression of this stuff is good for me to read.

    That and your just awesome. Seriously. I am buying you a coffee some day.

  3. i just want to give you a hug. that’s all.

    when did you have time to go through my journal though? because this (again) is dead on:

    …and with the tears comes the dismissal of my feelings, because no one takes you seriously when you’re hyperventilating through sobs. Why would they? It’s not as if you were angry, just a weak crybaby. Someone to be dismissed or mocked.

  4. I understand….<3
    My rage has sometimes come out on those I love. Now it is my practice to be cold, to try to freeze the flame of rage so I don`t hurt those around me and I work through anger physically (usually chores like washing dishes if I`m in enough control, moving furniture and vaccuuming if I`m not). Sometimes I roar and sometimes I say awful, awful things that haunt. Cursing has saved me at times. I eat, I swallow my rage. I eat. I am huge. Still I lash out when it all gets too much. This is a problem as I am mother of a teen with an attitude (and his own rage). I`ve found no cure for rage other than taking action of some kind. Divorce helped. Work helps. Creating helps.

    There`s overwhelming unfairness in the world. It gets to me. Lack of justice breeds the rage. I am asking myself now if it is indeed better to be ignorant of the crimes in the world or be in an exhausting state of rage constantly. I want to help change the world, I know I have to be peace to do so. I thought I was at peace enough to contain the knowledge, now I know not now, not right now. Breathing.

    May the rage in the world become positive action. I take a step, crying in rage, and lift the laundry basket. There are mountains to move.

  5. I didn’t understand until after I had my son that anxiety/depression could manifest as anger. I’ve always been an extremely high-strung person (which is funny, since I appear so casual & laid-back), but it reached a new level after I had him, almost 3 years ago. It wasn’t like that after I had my daughter, 3 years earlier, or at least if it was, I didn’t see it then. But this time, I went to my doc & told her: “It’s not post-partum depression…I’m not SAD, I’m PISSED OFF! At everyone…at everything. At myself, for not being able to just get over it. At other people, for just being SO STUPID ALL THE DAMN TIME!” I was crying the whole time I was telling her this. She gave me a BIG hug & told me that it was time to get me back on medication for my anxiety order & depression, and that I DID have PPD, which was stirring up shit w/my existing issues. 3 years & several meds later, I’m still angry…but I’m comforted to know that this is a part of my disorder, and *I* own it, I just have to try very hard not to let it own me. Some days that’s MUCH harder than others, if not impossible.

  6. I love you Miss Banshee. I love you like only a crazy person can love another crazy person. I missed you tons. Welcome back.

    • Yeah, what she said.

      I have no idea how you can write so honestly and beautiful about what you are going through, but you are one of my heroes.

      <3 xoxox

  7. Oh, MissB…Big, sloppy, embarrassing-for-both-of-us hugs to you. Love ya bunches, even if we don’t “know” each other. Keep your head up…you deserve as much happiness and love as the world has to offer.

  8. Oh, honey.

    The best therapist I ever had told me once that I was an angry person, too. And she also told me: “You are angry because you are in psychological pain. When you don’t deal with that pain, you become angry.”

    So it’s not that hard for me to believe that you are angry, because I recognize that underlying pain. And I will be one of your biggest cheerleaders, because you deserve to find a way to deal with that pain.

  9. Wow.

    I’m not an angry person either.

    Except, I just realized I might be.

    …and with the tears comes the dismissal of my feelings, because no one takes you seriously when you’re hyperventilating through sobs. Why would they? It’s not as if you were angry, just a weak crybaby. Someone to be dismissed or mocked.

    That’s me, right there. I don’t deal well with confrontation. I lose it. I cry and I can’t talk when i cry. Nobody reacts well to that.

    So, yeah. I understand.

    I’m so glad to have you back, and have you writing again, Miss B. Really and truly.

  10. Ahh…but I’ve come to know women don’t cry when they’re sad as much as when they are frustrated. Usually that frustration is feeling unable or not knowing how to express the turmoil within. I look for the different kinds of tears in women I know, and I jump in with a rope around my waist when I see those hot angry tears. At the very least, one needs a friend then.

    PS: I call my inner storm The Fury. I’m not the first. I’ve named it–I own it.

  11. YOU ARE SO BRAVE. Please remember that. It takes fucking guts to deal with emotional issues that eat you up inside, but you’re doing it.

  12. I to cry when I’m angry. It took years to see the anger for what it was, and to learn to talk steps to deal with it without completely breaking apart. Thank you for sharing this, it helps knowing I’m not alone with this issue.

  13. I just wanted to tell you that I get it. I get it on so many, just a thousand levels.

    Please don’t ever stop writing it all out. There is solidarity in knowing that you are not alone in fighting ‘the crazy’. There is a comfort in k owing that other cool, normal people also lose it occasionally and have to spend some time in the hospital.

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