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Anger Issues

I turned 43 recently, and over the past couple of years I've realized a couple of things about myself that just are. They're just part of the fabric of my personality and they're not going to change.

I am a very messy person except where my closet space is concerned.

I have never really liked any kind of beef stew, however many different ways I try to make it.

I am an extremely angry person.

I say the last with no particular pride or shame--it just is. It can be somewhat daunting to realize that one would be better placed in the Red Lantern Corps rather than the Green Lanterns, or even the Blue. But it's just kind of there. And while I've had an interesting relationship with anger my entire life, I've been circling it a little more closely lately.

Anger has been a good friend to me. It has given me energy and purpose when I could otherwise find none. Anger has also been an obsession, impeding my progress and tainting relationships. The trick is--has always been--to somehow balance myself between the two. To feel the clean energy of anger without becoming mired in the swamp of wrath. And it's a really, really fine line. Especially because one of the ways my depression manifests is in displays of anger. It tricks me into thinking I'm not falling into an episode, because, hey! Look at all this energy! Look at all this anger. But then you run out of things to be angry about, and it is a hell of a crash. So you wind up spending a lot of time looking for things to angry about. The election was a godsend to my avoidance techniques.

My most recent wake-up call was when I did one of those Facebook end-of-the-year word clouds. "Trump" wasn't the center word, but it was right next to it. How, I asked myself, did I give that man so much headspace that his name shows up so prominently? Now, I know how--this year, campaigning against DJT was seen as just important as campaigning for HRC. But still. That's an awful lot of bandwidth.

My therapist, M., has been trying to get me to let go of things I don't really like. Get rid of all but the most essential of oughts, musts, and shoulds. I'm even rethinking the day job I've held at various institutions off and on for twenty years. If I want to get out of bed voluntarily before 2:30 in the afternoon, a reason to do so is kind of key. I'm trying to find something that I have enthusiasm for. My life is safe, but it doesn't make me as happy as I could be. I need to find something that enthusiasm for it motivates me as much as anger motivates me against others.

I'll still be angry, because G-d knows there's plenty in this world to be angry about. But anger doesn't have to be a substitute for purpose, and it doesn't preclude happy.


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