Sunday, January 10, 2010

Portable Fences

I’m finding it hard to write about anger.

I knew how to be angry, how to use it to keep going, and even how to direct it toward threats; but I didn’t sit down one day after being misdiagnosed and decide to get angry for all the benefits.

Anger was a reaction to a series of events that left me feeling almost hopeless. It’s an emotion that was hard for me to control. I let it consume me and affect many aspects of my life.

Somewhere between anger and depression, there was a great deal of self pity. Even though it was always tempered by the fact that my illness was not life-threatening, and I was learning too much about life-threatening illnesses to ignore the blessing, my pity and anger brought me to hurt people on occasion.

This is why it’s hard to write about. I feel awful for hurting people and embarrassed that I acted so disgusting some days.

I didn’t physically lash out. In some cases I was judgemental, in others plain mean, and most of the time my lack of interaction either directly or indirectly hurt friends and family. I carried a portable electric fence in my pocket. When I was angry, people knew.

To those that I hurt, I am sorry. I hope this journal gives you some insight into my actions, and I hope that you’ll give me a chance to connect with you if you haven’t already.

Carrying anger has been harmful. At the time, I didn’t know how to feel it only when it was useful and then let it go.

I’m not sure if I’m good at letting it go these days either. I’m still angry with Dr. Second Opinion and the other doctors who made me feel stupid and useless. But I can feel the anger without feeling the physical effects, like a heavy heartbeat and tense muscles and headaches.

Is that letting go?


  1. Wow Jenn, does that ever sound familiar. I think I have done the same in my life, and though I know it doesn't all stem from the doctors, my illness, or the fact that I beleive it is my first surgeons fault I am the way I am today, but I hold on to anger in the same way and have yet to find a way to let any of it go... Dallas

  2. Hey Dallas, I think anger is hard to let go because it gives us power, reason and drive.

    Even finding new power, reason and drive doesn't seem to have erased my anger toward Dr. HC and Dr. Second Opinion.

    I worry that if I let it go completely, these two doctors will never be held accountable for what they did.

  3. I don't know whether it's letting go. It seems like progress in that direction, though. At some point we all hurt someone else. Everyone has anger. We each handle it or direct it in different ways, but we all experience anger. It definitely sounds as though you are moving toward letting go (not necessarily of the anger, but of your guilt).

    Straight From Hel

  4. Hey Helen, I'm starting to realise the stakes of letting some stuff go.

    Guilt in my family, subconsciously, was about punishing yourself to show how bad you felt for hurting someone.

    The rule: the longer you feel the guilt, the worse you feel about hurting that person.

    It's good to hear that everyone hurts someone else at some point. Not because it's good to do that, but because it makes me realise that I'm not the only one.