I get articles about PTSD and depression…Every so often one of the articles tells me how I feel and why. Don’t just don’t. This particular article was about depression and stated why I feel depressed. The article did share one of the causes of depression but it is not my cause for depression. Over years of counseling and hours of introspection and continued research…there are many reasons why people are depressed. Loss, unmet expectations, chemical unbalance, medication to name just a few. I learned for me that depression is a coping tool. Yup. Depression curbs my feelings of rage. I prefer to be depressed than to unleash the boiling rage that gets triggered from time to time. Yes, I read the article and yes, it is a good one if (there is that pesky word) the source of my depression was loss. Yes, at times I do feel depressed over loss. Loss opportunities, loss relationships, loss childhood but mostly I am trying to keep my rage under tight control.
I started counseling over 10 years ago totally unable to connect with my emotions. Part of the counseling sessions my counselor purposely tried to get me angry. He became quite frustrated with me because I could make it vanish. He pointed out that he worked with people long enough to recognize when a person was suppressing anger. He was amazed that I could make it totally disappear and be completely calm. On one such occasion he stopped in the middle of the conversation and asked, “What did you do with it?” I was puzzled. “With what?” He continued, “You were getting angry. But now you are completely calm. What do you do with the anger?” Nope, I didn’t know where it went – at the time. Then I told him I shifted it down. He probed….”Down where?” Months later I walked into his office…..In a sing songy voice I told him, “I found it.” Bubbling and boiling deep within my mind was a lake of broiling rage. Occasionally a trigger will puncture through and I can go from calm to white hot in a split second. I use depression to keep that morass of misery under control. Many of my sessions were designed specifically to drain off some of my angry feelings. I learned that other emotions hide behind rage. Hurt, fear and frustration are the 3 main culprits. In my childhood, rage was safer that hurt or fear. Frustration dogged at me constantly. I am learning to curb my frustration by giving myself more time to work things through. I am learning to differentiate between what hurts and when I am afraid. Yes, to me, those two feel very similar. Quite often fear was because I was about to be hurt. Rage was safer than either one of those emotions. I also learned that allowing the rage to bubble and boil deep inside of me becomes like a driving force pushing me through pain and exhaustion. Eventually it all catches up with me and I collapse completely. Pacing myself was not taught. I am terrible at learning to do this. But I’m working at it. Eventually, I may get my emotions evened out a bit more. Eventually, I will learn how to process each bit of fear, hurt or frustration without relying on rage to copy with those. Eventually, I won’t need to use depression to keep my rage in check. But today is not that day. Tomorrow doesn’t look much better. Summer break is one day away. I can cope for one more day.