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The Angry Part of Illness

Posted Apr 10 2010 12:00am

I was diagnosed in 2005 with an incurable, progressive debilitating neurological condition called RSD ( reflex sympathetic dystrophy ) or aka CRPS.

It felt like my life was over. And, I was mad! Mad at the condition, mad at the doctor who performed the surgery that triggered the RSD. But, most of all I was mad at GOD....

What had I done in my life, that was so bad I should be stricken in the prime of my life? My life had revolved around my family and work. I never hurt anyone intentionally; I obeyed the Ten Commandments as best as I could. No, I didn't attend church regularly because I was on the road every Sunday flying to client sites. But, I still held my Christian beliefs. I spoke to GOD every day thanking him for my wonderful life. I knew I was fortunate. I had a great family and an exciting, well paying job that I loved.

All that changed in Jan 2005, and I was not prepared for the journey that lay ahead. I was not ready to become dependent on others for the very basics in life like eating, dressing and bathing. I felt like a child and it was humiliating. Just getting up in the morning required assistance and then came the day I  could no longer walk at all. My wheelchair felt like a mechanical prison. Everyone looked down on me; everything was out of my reach when I was in the chair.

Anger is destructive and time consuming; I really refined the "Art of Anger".  It was everyone else's fault I ended up in this situation. I no longer spoke to friends and they couldn't understand why I was so mad all the time. I needed to change to save myself....

So, I started the hardest part of my journey. Instead of turning my anger inward, I found other more constructive ways to deal with it. No, I'm not perfect. Yes, some days I still get frustrated and angry. But, I know the signs to watch for and catch myself before it consumes me. 

Here are some of the signs of anger: Learn to recognize them. Seek help from a physiologist or a counselor if you cannot re-channel your energy alone. Join a support group . There are so many good forums out there that allow you to express your anger and frustration without being judged.

Some physical signs of anger include:
  • clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth
  • stomach ache
  • increased and rapid heart rate
  • sweating, especially your palms
  • feeling hot in the neck/
  • shaking or
Emotionally you may feel:
  • like you want to get away from the situation
  • irritated
  • sad or
  • guilty
  • resentful
  • anxious
  • like striking out verbally or physically
  • Suicidal
Also, you may notice that you are:
  • rubbing your head
  • cupping your fist with your other hand
  • pacing
  • getting sarcastic
  • losing your sense of humor
  • acting in an abusive or abrasive manner
  • craving a drink, a smoke or other substances that relax you
  • raising your voice
  • beginning to yell, scream, or cry
Know that you are not alone. Everyone has these feeling sometimes.

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