When members of The Depression Project’s community told us that “depression anger” is an issue that they often struggle with, we asked them a very open-ended, follow-up question:
In what ways can depression cause you to feel angry?
And, right now, we’d like to share with you a free excerpt from our "Depression Anger" Journal that includes some of the most common responses to this question - in order to:
- Help you feel like you’re not alone;
- Help you gain some added clarity and understanding of your own experience of “depression anger” – since the better you’re able to understand your “depression anger”, then the better prepared you’ll ultimately be to be able to cope with and overcome it1.
Of course, as you read through these responses, please bear in mind that “depression anger” – like all symptoms of depression – can be fuelled by different things for different people, and that for this reason, not every source of “depression anger” may resonate with you. In saying that, however, at least some of them likely will, and as a result, it’s our hope that after reading through this section, you will feel less alone, better understood, part of a community of people who know what you’re going through, and also have a bit more clarity on the causes of your own “depression anger”.
And, with that being said, let us now share with you why anger is such a common symptom of depression according to members of The Depression Project’s community.
Reason Why Depression Can Make You Feel Angry And Frustrated #1: “You Feel Angry That You Have Depression”
As this quote from one of our community members states in no uncertain terms, many people feel angry that they struggle with depression, and consequently endure the negative thoughts, misery, hopelessness, and other unwanted symptoms that this illness can entail. In particular, this source of “depression anger” is often fuelled by resentful thoughts such as, for example:
- “Why me? Why do I have to deal with this?”
- “It’s so unfair that I’m suffering from depression.”
- “This is bull**** – I don’t deserve to feel this way.”
Reason Why Depression Can Make You Feel Angry And Frustrated #2: “You Feel Angry At Being Unable To Control Your Thoughts And Emotions”
As you may be able to relate to as well, if you have depression, then it’s common to find it extremely difficult to control your negative thoughts and all of the difficult, painful emotions you’re battling – to such an extent that it can feel as if those negative thoughts and difficult, painful emotions are actually controlling you. And, as many people in our community have said, this lack of control can be absolutely infuriating.
Additionally, what makes this even worse is that “depression anger” then adds to the uncontrollable thoughts and emotions you’re feeling … which causes you to feel even more “depression angry” … which leads to even more uncontrollable thoughts and emotions … which leads to even more “depression anger”, and so the vicious cycle continues and continues.
Reason Why Depression Can Make You Feel Angry And Frustrated #3: “Depression Leads To So Many Things That Can Make You Angry”
There are a lot of consequences which can arise from depression’s intense, debilitating symptoms that can cause you to feel anger (which is often directed at yourself). In particular, some of these “consequences of depression” which commonly lead to anger include:
- Finding it extremely difficult to function and get things done (including struggling to do what would otherwise be simple, relatively easy tasks such as completing your household chores or taking care of your personal hygiene, for example).
- Depression can also compromise your ability to be the person you want to be in your relationships – such as, for example, by making you feel so exhausted that you don’t have the energy to meet and interact with friends and family; by affecting your ability to concentrate during conversations; by making you feel so miserable and numb that you’re unable to smile, joke and be your usual self around the people you love; and/or by making you feel so consumed with your pain that you don’t have the capacity to support the people you care about and help them through their own struggles in life.
- Depression can also lead to you engaging in self-sabotaging behaviours – such as binge eating, substance abuse, over-spending on “retail therapy” and/or self-harm, for example.
- Depression can lead to decreased performance at school or at work.
- Depression can lead to noticeable weight gain or weight loss.
- Depression can result in memory difficulties, and in you forgetting things that are special or important.
- Depression can lead you to be “hypersensitive” and/or to break down over “something small”.
Like we said, any one of these “consequences of depression” can cause you to feel extremely frustrated and mad (often with yourself), and are therefore common sources of “depression anger”.
Reason Why Depression Can Make You Feel Angry And Frustrated #4: “I Tend To Bottle Up My Emotions And Then I Explode”
Feelings of anger can also arise if, rather than letting out all of the difficult, painful emotions that are part of depression, you suppress them all until you eventually explode. And, as you may be able to relate to, it’s very, very common to suppress your emotions when you have depression because, for example:
- You may be scared or uncomfortable talking about your depression due to the stigma associated with it;
- You may have been taught as a child that being open about your emotions with other people is “weak” or unacceptable in some way;
- You may have had your emotions invalidated in the past when you did try to open up to one or more other people, and so you’ve decided to stop doing so;
- You may not know of any strategies to help you healthily release your emotions.
Reason Why Depression Can Make You Feel Angry And Frustrated #5: “I Get Fed Up With Having My Depression Misunderstood And Dismissed”
Of course, it can also be absolutely infuriating if, after opening up to someone about your depression, that person then doesn’t understand what you’re going through, doesn’t take your depression seriously, and/or in some way dismisses it. In particular, this can often take the form of being told something like, for example:
- “Depression isn’t real.”
- “Just get over it.”
- “You have a mental illness? Then you must be crazy!”
- “I know how you feel” (when that person has never had depression before).
- “We all have bad days now and then.”
- “You can’t be depressed – there are so many people in the world who are worse off than you!”
- “You’re just being negative.”
- “You’re just looking for attention.”
- “It’s all in your head.”
- “Look how lucky you are.”
- “Just do XYZ – then you’ll be fine!”
- “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
End of free excerpt
We hope you've found this blog post about the reasons why depression can make you feel angry and frustrated enlightening ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.
P.S. In addition to helping you understand "depression anger" better, in this journal, you'll also learn a wide variety of cognitive behavioural therapy strategies to:
- Help you manage and defuse your “depression anger” in the “heat of the moment” – so that you don’t act in ways that you’ll later regret, and so that you can prevent it from fuelling and compounding your depression;
- Help you take steps to feel less “depression angry” in the first place, and instead feel more calm, relaxed and at peace on the whole.