Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 909231

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Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

I recently experienced a strong 'epiphany' type of awareness or realization about my anxiety after having an unusual experience with a new therapist. This therapist/PDoc was the first I had opened my emotions to, after all these years, and I felt an attachment to him that brought out a part of me I did not know existed.

At this time of strong emotional reaction, I developed a rather odd awareness of my anxiety symptoms. The anxiety sensation was like a boiling/emerging type of anxiety, then sometimes compartmentalized (like one time I felt it directly in/around my spleen). One time, the anxiety left my spleen and went to my solar plexus--then turned to grief and vanished. This sounds odd, I know, but it was a really intense awareness. I had never felt anxiety like that before.

So I started thinking about it alot, especially in terms of this recent situation, and recognized how I rarely allow myself to feel anger. I knew this before, intellectually, but did not emotionally recognize it. I had later read some research articles about defenses (?), which identified anxiety as a defense against letting yourself feel negative emotions. Like I'm protecting my mind from strong emotions I'm uncomfortable with, such as anger, maybe a form of disassociating.

I have repressed emotions all these years, emotions from childhood trauma/SA/neglect; I actually feel like I have amnesia. I remember intellectually many things that happened, but not emotionally. Emotions remain unprocessed. This is where I see the connection -PDoc brought out those repressed emotions, and I experienced this strange type of anxiety...Does that signify anger trying to surface?

But why would one need to protect herself from feeling anger? I can understand defenses against feeling pain-such as grief, neglect, abandonment, etc., but why anger? My family directly expressed anger (yelling, etc). I was not allowed to talk/say much around my father, but I don't specificially remember not being allowed to express anger. It could be related to voicelessness, not having any 'power', feeling helpless.

But I'm starting to get curious in terms of treatment resistant depression or/and anxiety. It seems the psychoanalytic theories identify repressed emotions as the cause for neurosis, and although from what I understand, it's not backed up scientifically, I am starting to believe this. Or at least in the cases of those of us with repressed emotions. Of course this wouldn't apply to anyone having anxiety or depression for purely hormonal or other biological reasons.

Has anyone here been 'cured' from anxiety/depression after undergoing long-term psychodynamic or psychoanalytical therapy? After opening repressed emotions and working through them?

I'm also curious whether anyone else has felt that boiling type of anxiety-it feels like vibrations, or the compartmentalized type of anxiety? Does that signify anger trying to surface?

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by emilyp on July 29, 2009, at 22:11:10

In reply to Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

My doctor (who is also my therapist) has always said that anger and depression are flip sides of a coin. If you feel one, it is likely that you will feel the other. Or put another way, you can express certain emotions one of two ways; sometimes those emotions are expressed through anger and sometimes they are expressed through depression. And while I don't know for sure, I suspect it does not matter whether that anger is truly expressed or repressed.

Similarly, my doctor is a firm believer that anxiety usually fuels depression. While he always concerned about my depression, he becomes acutely aware when I become anxious (Generally, I do not suffer from a lot of anxiety, so when I feel it, it must mean something is really bad.) He really feels that if the anxiety is not under control, then regardless of what I am taking for the depression, it probably won't work very well.

I don't know if this is exactly what you were asking about but I thought I would respond

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by antigua3 on July 30, 2009, at 11:12:21

In reply to Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

You asked, "Why would one need to protect herself from feeling anger?" despite the fact that anger was present in your childhood. It was in mine, too, and while I can express anger in my day to day life now, I am afraid of anger that arises out of my past.

For me, I'm afraid that if I get angry, I will lose control, become the "bad" girl (as opposed to the "good" girl I've always been) and I won't be able to reign it in. I'm constantly told that I have to express the anger towards my abusers before I can really heal. Easier said than done, for me, that is. I just can't do it.

So I identify anger with losing control, and I don't want to go there. Also, I learned not to express anger as a child because I was afraid it would lead to abandonment (kids believe the world revolves around them).

I also have felt the anger in my body and learning to let it go inside is a good thing to learn. Otherwise, the anxiety grips me. So I try to meditate or do EMDR to get rid of the anxiety, knowing that my body needs to be at peace.

Just recognizing this is huge.
Good luck,
antigua


 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression?? emilyp

Posted by Phillipa on July 30, 2009, at 12:09:26

In reply to Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by emilyp on July 29, 2009, at 22:11:10

Exactly control the anxiety and it doesn't turn into depression. I've said this for years to various professionals and they always said on no depression. Thanks for validating Phillipa

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by Sigismund on July 30, 2009, at 15:22:41

In reply to Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

If repressed anger causes depression then those cultures which truly repress anger (poor Asian ones?) should have high rates of depression. IMO, our culture is saturated with anger, so if there is repression it has not been very effective.

OTOH, I think there is a connection between the two. Anger can offer a way out of depression, particularly if it is kept in proportion.

Mental illness is one of those beasts that changes its shape and will continue to do so. We don't hear much about hysteria these days. By the by, I found out that thing about 'the wandering womb' that some bright spark made up before we had the wonders of science to dazzle us. The reason the womb was wandering was because it was in search of semen, which is kind of obvious when you come to think of why it might have been up and about.

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by Sigismund on July 30, 2009, at 15:26:39

In reply to Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by antigua3 on July 30, 2009, at 11:12:21

>For me, I'm afraid that if I get angry, I will lose control, become the "bad" girl

Of course, if you get angry and then lose control (lose your temper), there is a justifiable loss of face, don't you think?

The thing is how to be angry without losing control.

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression?? garnet71

Posted by nellie7 on July 30, 2009, at 15:43:06

In reply to Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

Anger is a very uncomfortable and painful emotion. I find it to be the most difficult to bear, with only guilt being worse.
Perhaps people who suffer from extreme levels of anger prefer to transform it into something which is physically more bearable.

 

Re: Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??

Posted by moose1 on September 1, 2012, at 13:49:07

In reply to Repressed anger causes anxiety/depression??, posted by garnet71 on July 29, 2009, at 21:51:29

> I recently experienced a strong 'epiphany' type of awareness or realization about my anxiety after having an unusual experience with a new therapist. This therapist/PDoc was the first I had opened my emotions to, after all these years, and I felt an attachment to him that brought out a part of me I did not know existed.
>
> At this time of strong emotional reaction, I developed a rather odd awareness of my anxiety symptoms. The anxiety sensation was like a boiling/emerging type of anxiety, then sometimes compartmentalized (like one time I felt it directly in/around my spleen). One time, the anxiety left my spleen and went to my solar plexus--then turned to grief and vanished. This sounds odd, I know, but it was a really intense awareness. I had never felt anxiety like that before.
>
> So I started thinking about it alot, especially in terms of this recent situation, and recognized how I rarely allow myself to feel anger. I knew this before, intellectually, but did not emotionally recognize it. I had later read some research articles about defenses (?), which identified anxiety as a defense against letting yourself feel negative emotions. Like I'm protecting my mind from strong emotions I'm uncomfortable with, such as anger, maybe a form of disassociating.
>
> I have repressed emotions all these years, emotions from childhood trauma/SA/neglect; I actually feel like I have amnesia. I remember intellectually many things that happened, but not emotionally. Emotions remain unprocessed. This is where I see the connection -PDoc brought out those repressed emotions, and I experienced this strange type of anxiety...Does that signify anger trying to surface?
>
> But why would one need to protect herself from feeling anger? I can understand defenses against feeling pain-such as grief, neglect, abandonment, etc., but why anger? My family directly expressed anger (yelling, etc). I was not allowed to talk/say much around my father, but I don't specificially remember not being allowed to express anger. It could be related to voicelessness, not having any 'power', feeling helpless.
>
> But I'm starting to get curious in terms of treatment resistant depression or/and anxiety. It seems the psychoanalytic theories identify repressed emotions as the cause for neurosis, and although from what I understand, it's not backed up scientifically, I am starting to believe this. Or at least in the cases of those of us with repressed emotions. Of course this wouldn't apply to anyone having anxiety or depression for purely hormonal or other biological reasons.
>
> Has anyone here been 'cured' from anxiety/depression after undergoing long-term psychodynamic or psychoanalytical therapy? After opening repressed emotions and working through them?
>
> I'm also curious whether anyone else has felt that boiling type of anxiety-it feels like vibrations, or the compartmentalized type of anxiety? Does that signify anger trying to surface?
>
>

I know this thread is 4 years old, but I'm curious to know what has happened with you since you had this experience. Did the anxiety lead to more feelings you didn't know existed? Was it because you finally felt "safe" enough to let those feelings out?

Have you been "cured" of your symptoms?

Thanks!


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