Anger, unfortunately, is such a natural and common thing in my life. I hate that that is the way it is…but it is. Having BPD, one of the challenges I face is the continual “back and forth” between Anxiety and Depression. Most of the time, there is more of a subtle curve or wave back and forth between the two. When I start getting “worked up”, the anxiety increases. I get the shakes, I get claustrophobic, my muscles tense and my jaw clenches. (these are signs my wife tells me tip her off to my anxiety building). When I get depressed though, I start shutting down. I feel anger towards my self…I self blame, and beat myself up over even the slightest of things. Usually the more people try to cheer me up, I receive it as patronizing, and it puts me lower in my depression. (You can see here where being the supporter of someone suffering from depression can be a losing battle. I’ve told Sherry many times…”don’t take it personally, there is literally nothing you can do or say that’s not going to make this worse.” She ends up feeling helpless, and can begin blaming herself. It’s a terrible position to be in when the person you love shuts down and is completely unwilling to give you even the slightest form of cooperation.) Both anxiety and depression, for me, when they hit that “10/10” point (1/10 being slight anxiety/depression, 10/10 being severe) they manifest themselves as anger. I’m just speaking for myself, as I know everyone is different in how they are influenced and affected, but anger, unfortunately, is far too often my landing strip.
It can be such an extremely vicious circle…and this is an area that I know most people just “don’t get it”. It sucks, it’s frustrating, and it can completely take over. This is the days where being my wife…or anyone around me, SUCKS!! I’ll give you an example. I’m a finishing carpenter, and with that I am often times working alone. There are times at work where I’ll start getting anxious, wether it’s triggered by something as simple as not getting a mitre to fit, something I’m thinking about, or just “clutter and noise” in my head. (I’ll explain “clutter and noise” some other time) If I can’t get myself calmed down, the anxiety grows and grows until I have to have some kind of release…and this often comes in the form of anger. Then whatever it is that I’m angry about, I start obsessing over it…and as I do that my anger gets directed towards myself. I beat myself up and hate on myself, and as this happens, I shift into depression. The more I dwell on how awful I feel that I am at the time…the more I beat myself down, the deeper I get into depression. As a result I shut down…I don’t care about anything. It is in this shut-down mode where I don’t care about anything at all, that my depression and focusing on “what a terrible person I am” often leads to guilt. That guilt then turns into self anger, which then builds up anxiety…and you can see the cycle.
There are exercises that I do to try and “self-regulate” and shift my focus as a way of coping with the anxiety/depression, but for now, unfortunately, it’s a demon I battle every day. The sad truth is that I’m really angry far too often, and the “trigger” is usually something far to fickle to be making fuss over. It’s embarrassing, it’s humbling, it’s so far beyond frustrating… but its true. No matter how hard I work, and how much help and support I receive, when it comes my ongoing battle with BPD… my mind is my own worst enemy. It’s hard to not feel like giving up…but hearing your nine year old daughter say “It’s ok, daddy. You’ll get better” sure helps.