Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou
Anger is one of the hardest emotions for me to handle. When it plagues me, I feel like an awful person. Being sweet and faking that nothing hurts me is easier. However, after awhile, I can no longer hide my frustration.
The honest truth is that anger is a normal emotion. Yes, it can motivate people to do terrible things. However, channeled correctly, anger can lead to good actions such as standing up to a bully, fighting a corruption, not allowing others to take advantage of you, or helping people to realize the pain they cause others.
You can choose how you react to your emotions even though you cannot often choose your feelings. When you hide from a feeling like anger, it often only grows stronger and more self-destructive. That is why admitting to my anger has been such an important coping skill in my recovery.
“You have depression? But you are one of the happiest people that I know! That can’t be possible.”
Friends commonly blurted this out to me. Confused, I giggled nervously in response while trying to hide my confusion. How was it that my outside looked so much different than my inner feelings? Apparently the mask that I wore worked well. In fact, the optimistic, naive girl that I pretended to be kept not only others but also myself guessing my true identity. Pasting a smile on my face covered up the tears streaming down as I gazed at my image in the mirror. Brightly lit eyes drew away attention from red streaks on my arms. Everyone seemed fooled by my facade – even me.
“Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places.” – Franz Kafka
Eating in front of fellow students at school causes me great discomfort. Although I have done so a few times, I usually end up in tears. Fear of judgement overwhelms me. Thus, I attempt to find quiet places to be alone as often as possible. In these safe havens, I still stress about food but my anxiety decreases. Occasionally, someone will stumble upon me and stare, confused by the girl munching on a Clif Bar. However, I normally am left undisturbed.
Suddenly, I realized that I am using a coping skill to manage eating. Although this hiding seems cowardly, it actually helps me to function. Sure, I could attempt to interact more with other students or eat in front of them. However, right now, my introverted side craves silence. Each day, people and senses bombard me. Although I long to be normal, I need to take things slow and not push myself too hard or fast.