In response to me talking about my depression, a dear and wise friend told me, “Anger is depression turned inward. So I encourage you to explore that. What are you angry about?”
Anger…I never considered myself an angry person. I’m a depressed person. I’ve been depressed since childhood. Pen and paper helped me explore my anger. And once I got to writing, oh boy! My hand could not write fast enough. As it turns out, I am angry that my mother fell short of meeting my emotional needs.
I’m also a fatherless daughter, which compounds the effects of an inadequate mother. When a girl doesn’t have her dad, who could she possibly need more than her mom? But my mother’s needs came before my own. My mother’s needs were so insurmountable, so suffocating that I spent much of my life holding my breath waiting for her wrath—which came when I could not meet her needs. And, if my mother wasn’t happy, she allowed no one to be happy.
I’m angry she didn’t meet my needs. I’m angry I couldn’t be happy. My father left my life shortly after my first birthday. I’m angry because he left me when I was just a baby. Between the ages of five and ten, my mother verbally and physically abused my stepfather. I’m angry that my mother was so caught up in her emotions that she was oblivious to the fact that I heard all of the yelling, watched all of the fighting. She didn’t even have the decency to tell me to go to my room. When her gloves were off, I was invisible. I’m angry I was invisible.
I’m angry she left me to navigate the world on my own while she seethed rather than soothed, made me feel like nothing instead of nurtured, was jealous and not joyous of my relationship with my grandparents.
As I explored my anger I found life easier as a depressed person than an angry one. Anger requires action while depression permits me to not feel or focus on anything other than my depression. Depression overpowers me. Anger empowers me.
For the first time, I met my anger, and my sad, inner child found a bit of peace. I found healing in such a revelation, in the coming to know what has remained hidden for so long.
To read more from Kristin, click here.