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Handling Anger from Chronic Pain
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Handling Anger from Chronic Pain

Hi All,

Recently there have been more threads regrading anger due to Chronic Pain and the issues it brings. I have struggled with anger since my MVA that left me with life long medical issues and pain. I found that being "angry" often kept or keeps me going. I try to use a negative emotion constructively. When I am in so much pain I think I can't put one foot ahead of another it makes me very angry. So I keep going, keep busy and sometimes mumble under my breath. Of course there often comes a point that the pain over rides the anger and I simply can't go another step. By that time I am usually so emotionally and physically drained that my anger has subsided and I try to reflect on the positive that that anger brought me..

I am not saying how I deal with my anger is correct. It just works for me. I know that it keep me in a career years after I was told I could no longer work. It kept me doing things I was told I could no longer do. It kept my mind busy and active and so on. Now that I am no longer able to overcome or bear the pain even through anger enough to maintain a career, I have projects that I do, like refinishing a antique china hutch. The end results gives me pleasure and I feel my anger is not wasted. In spite of all my best efforts I do occasionally have days that I have my own little pity party complete with tears.

I'll attempt to poll your responses. Please share with us how you deal with your anger. I'm sure my choices will be feeble so please post yours for us. Hopefully through sharing we will learn from one another.  

How do you deal with your anger?    

Respectfully,
Tuck
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My career/job position.
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Escape, reading or movies
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By meditation
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Through prayer
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Other...
12 Members voted
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15 Comments Post a Comment
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401095_tn?1351395370
I used to have pity parties but nobody showed up but me!  so i stopped..and after long term most will internalize anger...least i do bout the pain thing cos i dont really feel like sharing negativity with others...to me pain is sorta negative..not much positive bout it that i can find..other than making me thankful for the times i am not in pain..and that is positive cos most just take that for granted/being pain free//and i do not

i use physical activity for release..it makes me forget..i am known to go to the gym in spite of my pain..i dont lift weights or anything just cardio..and it releases endorphins which in turn helps my pain..i stay busy anyway...but the busier i am the less i hurt..when i sit there all day  and dwell on it//it can become extremely depressing..so i get up and i move...at work i get busy with my patients and at home i just get busy..to me pain can be very "mental" and i do not mean that i do not hurt...or that others do not hurt...only that the brain will prioritize and if it is busy thinkin bout sumpin else..makin it hard for it to zero in on my pain..dunno..but works for me
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356518_tn?1322267242
I use my anger to get things done.
I use that energy to get the things done that I hate doing. Like last week I was so angry and I used that energy to clean my area rugs. If you turn that negative energy into something positive then your doing good. To me anger is a type of energy and it allows me to get some things done that I would normally really hate doing.
You should try this:)
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Avatar_f_tn
i dont know how  people can turn negative energy into pstivive energy.  i wish i  did know.  cause i would do it.  i think maybe i do sit around and feel sorry for myself its like all i can do is think about the pain.  it never goes away and i cant ever get it off my mind!!
i do nothing but sit in my recliner day in and day out and i am getting so sick of it .. i cant hardly stand it anymore!! im beginning to think that  i havent been on the right pain medication.  i know that when i would try to get up and do things i ended up ppaying for it later.., the pain woiuld be so bad!  i dont know.... any advice anyone?
maybe i am just being a big baby... but when the pain is so bad i cant make myself get up and do anything.. how is it that some can do it but some cant??  im at the point of giving up.. i just pray that this new doctor i see tommorow will help me get on the right track!!    god bless and take care everyone!! catwoman
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Avatar_m_tn
I used to have anger issues long before my chronic pain began. I learned to control it over time though as it was extremely unhealthy.

My chronic pain doesn't make me angry, more bummed out. Not having a fix for it does upset me however.
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591295_tn?1293848852
It takes several days of elevated pain, and the pain has to be causing jaw trouble and some headache so that my sleep is deficient; after all that, I am usually a tired, hurting, and crabby. I had such a bad few days recently that I simply couldn't concentrate on anything, couldn't walk without a jaw/neck/headache flaring up, and so on. Unfortunately I had an appt with the GP...she insisted on me starting up on exercises that I had slid back on. Because I was so tired and sick of hurting, I didn't want to listen to that, just wanted to blow off steam and feel sorry for myself for a couple of minutes. In the end I apologised for being so crabby and contrary. Usually I avoid anger that is chronic pain created but not often enough. Hiding away and reading/sleeping until the elevated pain finally subsides is about the best way for me to let the anger/frustration go, so long as I don't focus on what I'm missing out on by lying in bed for most of a day, several days running.

Walking a decent distance is also a good remedy for burning off a bit of the red mist, if you can handle it. I'll add here that my pain is partly from a thoracic back injury, not lumbar, and so walking is ok-ish.
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775302_tn?1253104105
I also wish I knew how to turn anger into positve energy. I find myself feeling so sorry for myself that then I end up feeling worthless and sinking deeper into depression. the only thing that helps me is to talk about my feelings. I know it sounds all kinds of touchy feely and new agey **** but I just need to hear the words out loud and know that someone else hears me too. It is usually my mom that deals with me the best but sometimes my husband will surprise me and listen. Just getting the anger out and feeling that I've been heard. No one else can see my pain. Most of the time I believe that most people don't believe my pain. But internalizing it only makes me feel worse. My mom has also told me that she is glad she can listen because she can't do anything else to take away the pain at least this makes her feel useful. We tend... okay I tend to forget the feelings of those around me when I'm in one of my really bad places and I have to remember life goes on all around me even when I don't move.
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Avatar_m_tn
i'm not sure how related to the original question the following is but, I listen to loud music when i'm in a bad mood(because of the pain), and i find sometimes it releases some adrenalin or something and helps me a bit. heavy metal is best. although not for my poor neighbours.
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606078_tn?1247268153
  I tend to get very angry at myself when I can't finish a project that I have started. And then along with the anger comes the pity party. I go to my bedroom and meditate. I turn my phone off, put my babies on the back porch, and meditate. It doesn't stop the pain, but my anger slips away. I was never one to meditate, but after my DX of fibro/cfs I found that it truly helps.
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Avatar_m_tn
I guess listening to heavy metal is the opposite of what you do Angel, but so long as it works....

and i'm glad you're not my neighbour as my music would make your meditation rather difficult.

Keep doing whatever works for you.

Regards, Nick.
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547368_tn?1332173665
In my opinion anger is not a healthy emotion unless you can redirect it as many of you have indicated. Using it to get things done, I guess that's what I have done. It releases the negative energy.

Chronic pain sufferers need to turn their anger (we all have some) into a productive emotion. And Worried no one comes to my infrequent pity parties either but most of us need those now and again. It helps me do some soul searching and move forward.
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606078_tn?1247268153
"and i'm glad you're not my neighbour as my music would make your meditation rather difficult. "



Nick;
  Ah, but you see, my hubby is a musician, he plays the keys. He's only a weekend warrior now, but in his day he opened for groups such as Rush, Strawberry Alarm Clock etc...We have music playing all the time, you can hear rap and hip-hop coming from my grandson's room, we listen to rock and classic rock, and we throw some metal in also. As long as it's loud and can take my mind off of things, then I'm usually very happy but on really bad days, meditation works.

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356518_tn?1322267242
When I get angry or mad about anything I use it as a sort of energy. I think well I can get the anger out by working it out and thats what I do. I have my music on loud too while I am working out my anger:)
I wish I could explain how I do it. When I do get angry it takes alot and by the time it hits the point where I can not take it anymore I work and clean and by the time I am done I am no longer angry. I use my anger as a tool to help me do things I do not like doing. Like weeding and yard work or cleaning the rugs.
I really do not like it when someone says to me I "can't do something. I will work and work until I do it and can then say see I can and say to myself I showed them!
I try and remain positive but when I can't I work on that and think about all the great things I do have and can do instead of the things I can't do.
Catwoman,
It really does not take much to get motivated. I will start small on my bad days and just do the bare minimum and before I am done I will have done all the work needed for that day.
Start with something small. You can get a chair and sit and clean out the mail and newspapers/magazines and even sit and clean out your dressers. this will motivate you to do other things as well:)
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591295_tn?1293848852
Now that I can handle it sometimes I play some of the older Heavy Metal classics such as Black Sabbath, or listening to pre-Load Metallica, eg Ride the Lightening, Creeping Death, as well as some newer stuff. AC/DC (not a metal band, just good Aus rock, lol) are playing in Adelaide next March, but by the time I knew that the tickets were long gone. Pity.

Celtic Frost is good for getting me out of a hole of funk; I am writing this as I am playing "Parched with thirst am I and dying". Big guns are needed for the seriously f-ed up days...Napalm Death, Death (eg the Spiritual Healing album), some Megadeth, and Entombed, Soulfly, and others too numerous to mention.

Happier days/nights start with the opposite end of the spectrum: "Ein kleine Nachtmusik", ie Mozart, Telemann, and many others, once again. Followed up with Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Midnight Oil (they are defunct now although Peter Garret, the Environment Minister in Oz's government and the singer from the Oils, joined forces with the rest of the band recently to perform a charity concert for victims of the SE Oz bushfires).

The one danger with music though is making sure that you are not vegetating in a chair but are doing something positive (eg this post)...easier said than done but it really is important to expand on the mood change from listening to favorite music, and creating something or doing something creative, as it helps in lifting up and out of the funk. For anger the classical music and a quiet half hour or so is probably the best bet. Then get up and do something you like doing, eg reading a magazine, riding an exercise bike, playing with the pets - anything.

It took about 18 months, from when I copped clinical depression and finally found an antidepressant that worked, to being able to play some music and to actually feel a tinsey bit moved by it. If you have a tough time of it with depression, it may take awhile to feel up to music - perhaps Death Metal is not a good first choice of music for someone with depression, LoL; maybe some classical or folk is the go there (although listening to favourite metal bands helped me). Although I was hurtin' bad with both depression and chronic pain (unrelated to the depression) some friends and I coughed up the money to see a metal gig with 5 bands IIRC; anyway I normally don't do that because of the inevitable flare up the next day(s); sometimes though it is worth it for the good memories it will bring.

Jumble of thoughts brought to you by:

OtisDaMan  
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Avatar_f_tn
  I do respond most of the time by transfrerring my anger into physical activity, only to find myself in worse shape physically thereafter.  I am having a difficult time breaking myself of this habit.  I almost feel like  I can only feel justified, or self worth if I have exhausted myself to the point of no longer being able to function.  I feel so guilty if I don't clean the house, do laundry, etc.  I know it is ridiculous, but I feel like I have to prove to myself everyday that I really am diabled, eventhough it is more than obvious.  I am so worried about what the outside world thinks, that I just keep going.  How do I stop pushing myself? How do learn to accept limitations?
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Avatar_m_tn
I've used it to declare war on life.
Everytime I'm happy or have what I need life takes it away from me and forces me to start again.  This last time it took away my job, the girl I loved, my health and my hope as without hands what can I do?

So the way I see it is life slapped me with the glove and declared war first, and it's time to accept the challenge.

When I get suicidal I turn the stored anger into a driving force to find a way to earn a living, find succcess, and be happy, to spit in lifes face grab it by the throat and kick it in the balls until it calls me daddy.
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