It should come as no surprise that most of the time, I prefer my dogs to fellow humans. Yet, I do have a soft spot for my therapist — and Madonna, obviously.
My therapist is a very cool woman even though she regularly annoys me, otherwise known as pushing my buttons. It turns out that I’m the kind of person who needs to be challenged, because I can be very creative whenever I need an excuse to do anything. Last week, she helped me face something I’d been happily ignoring for a really long time: my anger.
I’ve been working with my therapist intermittently for the past couple of years, since my mum died. Losing my mother has been the most complicated heartbreak I’ve had to live through. Being sad for no apparent reason and bursting into tears became my new normal. Like a wave, the complicated bundle of feelings called grief would take over, and slowly, I would ride it out. Or that’s what I thought.
In reality, I struggled. I wanted to run away from everything and everyone. I felt a tightness in my chest, and panic would set in. So run I did, all the way to USA. Yet, because one can’t really outrun feelings, those disrupting little monsters came with me, making me crash and burn stateside.
The fact is that anger has been a faithful companion of mine since I was a little girl. I just became a pro at hiding it and chose to be “the good girl.” Do you know who doesn’t get into trouble with her parents? Good girls. Who avoids conflict at school? Good girls. And so on.
I learned to hide my anger and buried it deep.
My anger always resurfaced nevertheless: at my body, at its malfunctions, at my perennial state of dread regarding my health. Anger toward those who have let me down, whether doctors or others who were supposed to be there for me.
Philosopher and author Alain de Button sees within anger “a symptom of hope: the hope that the world can be better than it is.” In this sense, anger can be a driving force for positive change. I think that’s the point my therapist was making when she brought up my anger.
Being angry means challenging others, whether friends, lovers, or doctors. It means speaking one’s truth, ugly parts included. For me, allowing myself to feel anger requires a great deal of self-love. Giving myself the opportunity to be angry seems like the most daring of actions, and that’s where I struggle. I simply don’t think I deserve to speak my mind, mostly for fear of rejection.
Instead of getting angry at my body, I must get angry at the doctors who dismiss me. Instead of getting angry at my ability to be “normal,” I need to get angry with those who shamelessly treat me as damaged goods.
I’m still working on doing something about (but also with) my anger. While playing Rage Against the Machine super loud can help, I think my therapist wants me to do something more meaningful with this bunch of displeasure I carry inside. And she’s right, mostly because burying it has hurt only me. It needs to come out.
Endometriosis patients know about being patronized, dismissed, and ignored. Our disappointment and frustrations sit heavily on our shoulders, and any feelings of anger are perfectly justified. It’s up to us to do something with those feelings, whether by raising a formal complaint, amassing the courage to ask for a third opinion, or telling those who openly judge us to walk in our shoes. Anger can be a force for good and an act of self-love.
We just have to give ourselves permission to feel anger, without judgment, and decide once and for all that we can, and should, let it speak our truth.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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