What do you think of when you hear the word, “depression”? If you’re like most people you could probably rattle off a few key things:
● Sluggishness or lethargy
● Changes in sleep: difficulty waking, staying asleep or falling asleep
● Brain fog
● Feelings of worthlessness
But what about anger and irritability? Most people don’t think that a spark of attitude, chronic grouchiness or a major blow-up would fall under depression. But it can! In fact, I often see this with clients both male and female. In fact, I find women are less likely to identify anger and irritability as a part of their depression as they fight the stigma that ladies are supposed to be sugar-spice-and-everything-nice. Or, they chalk it up to motherhood overwhelm and just another piece of the pie as they juggle children, work and/or managing a home full time.
So what’s the connection with depression and anger? Often when we are feeling pain we react defensively to try to protect ourselves from greater injury or discomfort. Let me see if I can explain it with a story. I call this story, “Puppy In An Alley.”
Imagine that you are walking along downtown St. George, UT and you hear whimpering in an alley by the parking garage. You look and see a sweet dog with a broken paw. You can see the injury and the pain on this poor animal’s face. It’s panting, in distress and clearly in need of assistance. You reach out to guide the animal from it’s corner with a plan to take it to the vet ASAP. But as you reach in, it recoils, bears its teeth and growls a low but serious warning to back off. Why? You’re just trying to help!
Here’s the thing, despite it’s clear need for help that dog is hurting, scared, overwhelmed and hyper aware that even the gentlest nudge is going to send a rocket of pain through it’s world. So it puts on a defense. It’s not a conscious choice. It’s a reflexive action. We often do the same.
Depression can be disabling. Simply getting out of bed can feel like lifting the weight of the world. Putting on a smile can be exhausting. And then when your partner needs ‘just one more thing’ or your kiddo’s soccer game gets rescheduled… it’s just too much. We feel that rocket of pain and overwhelm and go defensive. We push back, push away and lash out. The result can damage relationships and feelings of shame, regret and confusion can make recovery all the more challenging.
It’s so important to get help for depression. If you are struggling with any of the symptoms discussed above, with or without anger and irritability , I encourage you to call my office for a FREE 15 minute consultation to see if counseling at Guided Wellness could be a good fit for you. If not, I will do my best to refer you to resources that could help you move in the right direction. Why would I do that? Because you are deserving of wellness, health and I just know that there is an adventurous life out there with your name on it. You got this. The first step on the path is yours to take.