Learning to Deal With Anger Caused by Chronic and Mental Illness
Living with chronic and/or mental illness naturally leads to a wide array of feelings and emotions.
Many times it can be difficult to even pinpoint one particular emotion you are experiencing, more like you are a ball of emotional twine all rolled up together.
But there are times when certain feelings rise above the rest and make themselves known. Anger is one such emotion.
Anger that you are sick.
Anger that you are hindered from the things you want to do.
Anger that normal activities are 100% more difficult for you.
Anger that other people don’t get it.
Anger that other people don’t want to get it.
Anger at yourself for feeling anger at others for something that’s not really their fault.
The list could go on, but we’ll stop here and instead focus on what we can do about that anger.
Anger is a normal, natural human emotion. There is no reason to feel guilty about feeling angry over a difficult and frankly unfair situation.
But unrestrained anger is not healthy. Allowing your anger to run rampant, or worse yet, feeding into your anger is only going to lead to more anger and make it even harder to cope with the situation you are in.
We may not have complete control over the thoughts that come into our mind, this is especially true when you have a mental illness, but we can choose what we focus on.
Do we sit and dwell on the the things we can’t do? On the ways others treat us? On our own failings?
Or do we find things we can do and put our attention on that? Do we choose to primarily associate with the people that are understanding and kind? Do we acknowledge our shortcomings and look for ways to improve?
The Bible truly has the best advice for how to endure burdensome circumstances, because the author of the Bible Jehovah God, is our creator and knows what we are made of and what is best for us.
Here are some scriptures I have found truly useful in my life:
“Let go of anger and abandon rage.” - Psalm 37:8
“Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry.” - Ephesians 4:26
“The one who is slow to anger has great discernment, But the impatient one displays his foolishness. A calm heart gives life to the body.” - Proverbs 14:29, 30
“Seek peace and pursue it.” - Psalm 34:14
Letting go of anger and not letting it control you may be difficult, but it is definitely possible. Finding things that help you relax and feel calm are key.
The next time you are angry acknowledge that anger, but then acknowledge something pleasant. Go outside, look at pictures of your favorite animal online, listen to some calming music, read the Bible, color a picture, the list is endless.
At the end of the day it really boils down to what thoughts are we feeding or focusing our attention on? Because it is those thoughts that will have control over us. We can take charge of our thoughts and feelings!
Resources: Keeping Anger Under Control