Boiling Rage

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Ok, I have had depression for about five years now. I only took medication for the first month then my mom wouldn’t let me take it anymore saying that I was faking it. I have been hiding it a lot since them except for one friend who I can tell everything. I had tried to commit suicide three times already and it’s getting that point again but in a different way. Anyways, lately, I have been getting better at looking at people differently, believing that people cared for me, but one day I had a huge fight with my friend who, after a long time, I had grown to trust and he helped me out. He pulled out the whole “I helped you through suicide and this is how you repay me” card when we were all trying to help him out. He said some other very cruel things and I felt liked a dagger flew from his mouth and stabbed me in the heart. I lost all trusting feelings except for the one friend who had been with me since the beginning. Ever since then, I have seen everyone as an enemy who doesn’t give a crap about anyone but themselves, and the past few days I have had this inner rage boil up that I have never had before. I snap at everyone, including my one friend. His great grandmother died last week so he was really vulnerable and I hurt him pretty badly so he talk to me the same anymore. I don’t know why I am so angry all the time. I have tried everything that used to work for me. It scares me too; because I have nearly gotten to the point of grabbing a knife I am cutting food with and stabbing it into my mom’s throat…. Do you have any idea what might be wrong with me?

A: When these rage feelings are at the boiling point we want to turn down the heat right away. Your history of attempted suicide and these thoughts about your mother are strong warnings for you, and you need some direct help. You writing this letter tells me that your instinct for self-care is in the right direction, but now you need a professional to work with and sort this through. Please find someone locally from this list and help you learn where this rage is coming from, and how to manage it. You might want to ask your guidance counselor from school to help.

The combination of therapy and medicine is the best-known way to deal with depression and rage. For some reason your mother blocked your progress by not allowing you to continue with medicine that was working. When you find a professional to work with ask them if they would consider talking with your mother to help educate her on your treatment. Again, you school’s guidance counselor might be the best first contact.

One way of understanding what you are going through is to know that depression comes from a feeling of helplessness. When we feel helpless about bringing needed changes into our life we can get very agitated, or withdrawn and depressed. Your rage may be the result of feeling helpless in some areas.

To start feeling empowered get some control back into your life. Having power and being in charge over some part of your day should help. Maybe you can’t control what others have done to you, but you can direct your energy to managing what you can on your life. This means clean out your closet, wash the dishes in the sink, and knock off some of the things on the to-do list instead of dwelling on what hasn’t gone right. A moderate degree of accomplishment can go a long way in staving off helplessness, often at the very root of a depression.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Boiling Rage. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/27/boiling-rage/