I have a monster that I cannot control.
You likely wouldn’t guess that I have a very mean, very aggressive side. My bubbly personality and constant quest for positivity serve to hide the monster within.
I do not fit your typical description of someone who struggles with depression, at least outwardly. Unless you’ve seen me at my worst, it would likely surprise you just how quickly I can flip. One minute it’s clear skies and smooth seas; the next I’m unleashing a fury on my household over a minor disturbance.
Many describe depression as “anger turned inward,” but mine is much more destructive than that.
The best way to describe my depression is like Marvel’s The Hulk: when controlled and managed, I am rational (Bruce Banner, per see). I am able to logically recognize when aggressive impulses start to rise and I can easily take control.
…But when things around me feel like they are spinning?
I lose control.
My system defaults to rage. Before I know it, the monster I’ve worked tirelessly to tame is in the driver’s seat and is eager to destroy everything in our path.
It would be a lie to say I am taken hostage on these destructive crusades; I can clearly see the damage being done. It feels like a runaway train and I have no clue how to make it stop.
I can hear my rational, inner voice screaming at me; she’s warning me of the dangers ahead and pleads for me to let off the gas. My rage monster is stronger, more persuasive; she’s had her claws in me for too long and can skillfully turn those fleeting requests into muffled, background noise.
When the dust finally settles, I am alone in the wreckage. My monster vanishes, leaving no evidence of her existence. A mountain of shame builds, and I’m left to salvage whatever remnants of the destruction I’ve caused that’s left.
It’s a harmful cycle of reaction plus regret that I have wrestled to suppress for as long as I can remember.
Sometimes I defeat the monster;
sometimes the monster defeats me.
Under normal circumstances, I have managed to keep my rage monster locked away, hidden from any suspicions. But I would describe the current circumstances as anything but normal.
The ‘new normal‘ has now become our way of life and has eliminated the things I desperately need in the process. I’ve recently come to realize just how much I relied on the built-in routines in my life. The structure I rebelled against was actually my safety-zone, one that gave me a real sense of security.
That feeling is gone.
This is uncharted territory for all of us, and at the same time, it feels strangely familiar. This feeling of struggled isolation brings me back to my battle with postpartum depression. Reflecting on that dark period of my motherhood journey, I am utterly baffled at how long things went undetected.
But that’s the thing about rage in depression, it’s the red flag no one is looking for.
I find myself having those same feelings now. I want to escape, but I physically cannot. When I try and claw myself out of this hole, the deeper I sink. It doesn’t just disrupt my day, it completely uproots my foundation. And with each impulsive outburst, the more unworthy and unloveable I feel.
Depression has a way of clouding any rational thoughts you may have; it convinces you that the darkness will be here indefinitely.
For some, it can be the ultimate opponent.
I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for me.
If you’re beaten and torn from fighting your monster, it’s time to call in reinforcements. It takes a great amount of vulnerability to admit our struggles and seek help from others, but I know first hand the damage that can be done by suffering in silence.
I will not repeat my past mistakes.
I’ve taken that first step. I put my pride to the side and asked my support system for help. The weight hasn’t been lifted completely, but it doesn’t feel nearly as heavy with help carrying it.