This entry is part 20 of 31 in the series The Hope Toolbox

Do you struggle with angry depression? Keep reading to find out and practical ways to manage it.

The Day I Didn’t Get Out of Bed

Do You Have Angry Depression?

One morning this summer when I didn’t get out of bed, I was at the end of my emotional rope.

What I’m about to share is with zero pride, but it’s part of the story.

Our family went through an incredibly difficult time with our children’s behavior this summer. My husband and I were forced to make decisions no parent wants to face. When our family reunited, the level of supervision our children required was unbelievably strict.

My resolve was strong at the beginning. I was determined to do whatever was necessary to heal my children and keep our family whole.

But as weeks turned to months, my patience dissolved into stomach-sick exhaustion. Continual fights with insurance companies and school districts wore me weary and left me frazzled.

Call it depression, but the reality is I was really pissed off.

One day I quit doing everything. I was sick to freakin’ death of the kids fighting. I was sick of their constant bickering and whining. I was sick of the rules, rules, rules.

I WAS SO SICK OF EVERY.SINGLE.COTTON.PICKIN.THING.BEING.A.FIGHT.

Sometimes my children acted mean. It was not fun to parent mean children. (It hurts to admit that truth.) I knew the reasons and all about childhood trauma, but at some point, when you are living with it day after live-long day, the reasons do not matter, quite frankly.

I was furious with Medicaid for not approving more help for us. They honestly expected me — ME, a parent, to care for children with THESE behaviors, that educators and trained mental health professionals could not handle!? That was the most stupid thing I’d ever heard.

I was mad at my husband because he was available to be mad at.

I was mad at the other kids for being around and having needs and it was summer and I didn’t have time for that when I was trying to deal with their siblings exploding all over the place. Couldn’t they see that?! The other kids would talk to me about something, and God forgive me but I would stare at them and think, “Seriously? Are you really talking to me about this right now?” Add that to their therapy list for later.

So, one morning I just quit.

The night before I had said something terribly hurtful to one of the kids. When he quipped a sarcastic, cutting remark, I snapped back, “If you don’t like it, get out! If you can’t obey, I don’t want you in this house anymore!” Then I went upstairs and went to bed.

I knew I should be sorry for saying it, but I wasn’t sorry.

I knew I should apologize, but I didn’t and I wasn’t planning to do it.

That morning, I heard the other kids get up. I stayed in bed.

I heard Mike get ready for work. I stayed in bed.

I heard Mike call work and tell them he would be staying home that day. I stayed in bed.

I went back to sleep. Mike took the kids out for the day. I slept off and on through the day. I checked my phone. I read a book. I hid in my room.

It felt great. It felt terrible.

Screw it. Let someone else deal with the mess for awhile. I was done.

At one point I tried to get up and do something, and I actually could not make myself do it. That did scare me a little.

The next day, I didn’t get up again. I knew Mike was worried about me, but he was getting frustrated too. He had to go to work. Because of our kid’s serious behaviors, we hadn’t been leaving the teens in charge. I managed to drag myself up, but after 30 minutes of listening to them crab at each other and snap at me, I was done.

I stared at them. I told them to do what they wanted.

Watch TV all day? Fine, I don’t care. Hit each other? Go for it. Knock each other out. Eat cookies for breakfast? Have at it.

I sat down on the couch. Then I laid down. I was done.

The older teens mostly took over for the rest of the day. It was totally unfair to them and wrong of me. I could barely handle our childrens’ special needs, let alone expect them to manage it. When Mike came home, I went back to bed.

That evening Mike went back and forth between talking to me with support and sheer frustration, but he couldn’t get me to move.

Bedtime came, and my 13 year old son, Josiah, came to tell me goodnight. He paused in the doorway. In the dim evening light, I peered at him over my now-stale bedsheets.

I could tell he wanted to say something. His voice was gentle as he said, “Goodnight, Mommy,” and softly closed the door.

My throat felt full and tears dripped onto my over-smushed pillow. My teenage son who still calls me “Mommy” touched my heart. For his sake, if for no other reason, I would get up.

Moving Again

The next morning, like someone who was recovering from the stomach flu, I got up with shaky legs. I re-entered the world.

I apologized to Mike. I apologized to the older kids, one at a time, with tears of regret. It was hard to look them in the eyes.

These last couple days had been hard on them. Taking care of the younger children had been tough, but my behavior had scared them even more, and we all knew it.

I apologized to the child who took the blow of my harsh words a few nights before.

There would be a couple days of re-establishing my authority. The kids had gotten away with lots of extra stuff while Mom was away.

No matter. Mama’s back now.

 

Do You Have Angry Depression?

Consider these thoughts about anger and depression:

  • If you are dealing with depression, prolonged sadness, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help from a doctor or therapist. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911 or seek help immediately. Help is available — it IS possible to get better! Check out this post for more resources: Q & A with a Therapist about Depression
  • Does all depression have anger in it? Maybe, maybe not. Mine always does.
  • It’s been said that “depression is anger turned inward.” That’s an oversimplification of a complex issue, but it’s fair to say anger is an important component to consider for all types of depression.
  • Men often express depression with outward signs of anger and hostility.
  • When I’m mad at the world, I use depression as a way to tune out. I’m mad that the world did me wrong or isn’t helping me with my problems. I want to quit. For me, getting out of this low place involves changing my thinking errors.
  • Anger is fear. If you dig down deep enough, at the root of anger every single time is fear. (For more on parenting children and teens with anger issues, Bryan Post resources.
  • God is the great healer. He does not want you to stay stuck in the pit. Meditate on Psalm 40.

 

Helpful Resources

The Hope Toolbox Printable Kit for Depression and Sadness

The Holiday Hope Toolbox

Free Online Depression Course

5 Things the Church Needs to Know About Depression

A Depression Solution: Speak!

The Feeling Good HandbookThe Feeling Good HandbookGet Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God's DeliveranceGet Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s DeliveranceGet out of That Pit: A 40-Day Devotional JournalGet out of That Pit: A 40-Day Devotional Journal

Do You Have Angry Depression? The Day I Didn't Get Out of Bed because of depression, anxiety, and stress.

The Hope Toolbox

NEW! We listened to customer feedback! We’ve updated the My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit. For the same price, it now includes 20 beautiful pages (up from the previous 9). It includes a daily journaling page and much more. Check it out here.

New! All The Hope Toolbox Resources on one page for your convenience. Bible verses, daily journaling prompts, clickable links, free printables: The Hope Toolbox Resource List

My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit: Now revised to include 20 beautiful pages!

My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit

hope for depression

Today’s Bible Verse:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1-3

Today’s Journaling Prompt:

How much does anger factor into your depression and grief? What do you do with your anger? How do you manage it?

Helpful Websites

NIMH: Depression: What You Need to Know — National Institute of Mental Health, can order a free booklet

 

 

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