We Interrupt This Program

Old TV with StaticRheumatoid Arthritis Guy had another post all lined up and ready to go this morning. All I had to do was click the “publish” button in WordPress, and it would have been out there for everyone to read – even before I started typing these words.

But I’ve gone through such a swing in the past few hours, that the words that were written in that other post now seem to be the furthest thing from my mind.

Last night, a couple of hours before going to sleep, I was overcome with a feeling of intense range. I was angry that my hands had hurt for a large part of the day. I was angry that most of the pain was in my fingers and not my wrists; this little detail alone accounts for probably a ten-fold increase in pain. I was angry that I had difficulty writing earlier during the day, even though I had placed an extra-wide grip cushion on my pen.

I was angry with a thought that had just passed my mind: that I should to buy a loose shoulder bag in order to more easily carry stuff around the house. (For some reason, when I use both crutches I’m not left with a free hand…so I often try to compensate by either dangling something from a finger or squeezing it under my upper arm.)

I was angry that, through no fault of my own, everyone around me is forced to deal with the struggles of living with rheumatoid arthritis.

I was angry that rheumatoid arthritis was having such a pronounced effect on my life, and I didn’t know what to do.

So I cried. I cried alone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else about the feelings that I was experiencing. I was too scared that I would take my anger out on them. (I have done that in the past during such moments, and have always come to regret it.)

I wondered how I was going to release all of my anger…it felt like it would never pass. As soon as I told myself that I was indeed angry, and that it was okay for me to feel this anger, I immediately felt a little better. If nothing else, at least, having these feelings of anger began to make a little sense.

And I begin to realize that, as with depression, recognizing that I am angry is the first step in moving through it. The second similarity is the understanding that I need to process these emotions in a manner that will cause the least harm, to both myself and those around me.

Too often, in the past, I have had my “angry at the world” periods. I now see what was wrong was not my anger, but how I released that anger. Not only did these stages last way too long, but I pity the person who dared to cross my path during those times. Now – I know that taking out my rage on others was wrong. Then – I knew that taking out my rage on others was wrong. But like I said, I still had not learned to open up the release valve in a healthy manner.

So I still have that simmering sensation inside of myself, but one positive thing is that the overall level of anger is lower than it was than last night. The second positive thing is that I was very aware throughout the entire episode to not take my anger out on others – even if it did mean secluding myself for a short while.

And as I try, little by little, to turn my thoughts back to the positive, I would like to share one small victory I had last night. Up until then, I had not been able to wear my ulnar deviation gloves for a period of more than one hour. Only one time did I get up to ninety minutes. The goal, eventually, it to be able to wear these gloves overnight as I sleep – but the muscle strain that results from forcing my hands to align correctly reaches a point where I cannot take it any longer.

Last night, after the worst of my anger passed, I realized that I have been wearing my ulnar deviation glove for almost two and a half hours.

This accomplishment, though small, is something for me to be happy about.

And I think I just might look for that shoulder bag to carry items around the house. I think it will make my life a little easier.

If you have any hints on how you release your anger in a healthy manner, please do share.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy.

*****

Updated: Kim at RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) Sucks just posted some eloquent words on the relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and anger.

7 Comments
7 comments
  1. Millicent says:

    May I suggest scream therapy? I have used it in the past when overwhelmed with anger or frustration, & I am here to tell you that it works wonders. Not only that…once you scream bloody murder a few times, you can’t help but laugh at it all, & somehow the anger & frustration lessen. I am thinking of you & hoping that today is a good day all around!

  2. Cathy says:

    I like Millicent’s idea of scream therapy!

    For me, I always go through the same process with flare-ups – feel sorry for myself, cry, get mad and then decide this isn’t going to get the best of me and become determined to find the cause of this disease.

    Also, don’t forget your Rescue remedy during this time. Takes lots!

  3. Mallen says:

    Having a good cry usually helps me. But with you being a guy, I don’t know if it has the same effect ;) . I like the scream therapy too!! I’ll have to try it next time.

    love mallen

  4. Synovial Sensation says:

    I think working yourself up to a rage, then effing and blinding yourself senseless about whatever the thing is works wonders for me. I blogged recently about shaking with rage at the soon-to-be-ex-neighbours. Got it out of my system AND had 15 minutes completely pain free as the adrenaline surge knocked any pain sensation into a cocked hat.

  5. Angie says:

    wow. that was really heavy dude. i wish i had 1/4 of your inner strength. defiantely get that bag! remember…..never lift with your fingers!

  6. Meredith says:

    I know exactly what you mean about going through periods of being angry all the time. I think you are exactly right that recognizing it is the first step. In terms of long term release, I usually need to talk with friends and family or write about it to do my best to gain some perspective. Not as satisfying as scream therapy, although yelling or crying usually helps for a moment, but I find it doesn’t last unless I work through it.
    So it seems to me that you are doing the best you can right now. :)

  7. nan says:

    Your courage is so inspiring I am not sure you realize how many people you touch with your words! I read them while vigorously nodding in assent! I have too often buried my anger, only to have it come out in tears at unexpected moments that should be joyful….I hate that! I am going to learn to own my anger and process it as it happens and I have you to thank for it!

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