Anger and depression often go hand in hand, just like other moods and emotions.
For example, take the quotes “anger is depression turned inward” and “depression is rage spread thin.” If you think about certain situations in life, it can make sense.
Personally, I remember having a lot of anger in my younger years. In school I was mostly obedient, but at home I would act out. One particular memory comes to mind.
I went on a vacation with my father, sister and some family friends to Las Vegas. This was around the time I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and later depression, so I was taking different types of medication. I was depressed and angry, and therefore acted out and was punished by not being allowed in the pool when everyone else was.
I remember feeling that no one understood me, and now I think that’s what the main cause of my anger was to begin with, besides family issues. I always felt that no one understood my depression and other mental issues, and my only way of expressing that was through anger and acting out.
With some more years under my belt, I understand anger and acting out was not the best way to get attention for my issues, since it clearly didn’t solve any problems. To this day, I still have not found a fully effective way to make others understand what I’m going through, but I’ve also learned how to deal better with depression overall and any anger that results from that.
I also realize that depression and anger are deeply interconnected, at least for me. The bad reactions I received from expressing my anger would lead to me bottling those angry emotions later on, which would lead to more depression.
Some experts have shed light on how closely depression and anger can be linked, but how they are still separate and distinct.
Paul Hauck, a psychologist and author in Illinois, said anger is the result of a person making a demand and not getting what they want.
Psychological depression results from self-blame, self-pity and pitying others.
He gives the example of losing a job. A person can become depressed thinking about not being able to pay bills and feeling betrayed after being fired. When thinking about the circumstances, the frustrations might not go away and the person isn’t getting what they want, so then there is anger. However, it depends on the individual.
“The things we have to say to ourselves to make ourselves angry is different from the things we have to say to make ourselves depressed,” Hauck said.
Carol Landau, a clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Brown University School of Medicine in Rhode Island, said there are differences between different severities of depression and anger. She discussed the connection between anger and less severe forms of depression.
She said if people were not allowed to express their emotions, like anger, due to a neglectful, violent or absent family as children, then that sets them up for depression and other problems later on.
Anger is not necessarily a bad or good emotion — it’s natural — but how you express it is the issue. Women who are prone to depression tend to brood over a problem instead of telling people why they are angry. These women also tend to express their anger indirectly.
One way to deal with anger and depression is to go through dialectical behavior therapy, which focuses on a woman tuning into how she feels and thinking about actions and emotions more.
Never underestimate the value of friendship.
“If a woman has a confidante to help her, it really can buffer depression,” Landau said, because then the woman can talk over some of her emotional issues.
More ways to deal with anger include taking time before responding, admitting that you’re angry, don’t allow the instigator of the anger to gain control by you acting out, and if needed put off a discussion until a time when your anger is less.
Also, it is important to learn how to relax physically and psychologically when managing your anger.
Although women are thought to get angry less than men, this is not true, though it is still more acceptable for men to express anger than women, she said.
“I think it fits more with social role behavior,” Landau said. For example, a woman in the business who is “tough minded” or “hard” is considered a bitch, while a man in the same situation is not judged in the same way.
For more information: