Can we talk about anger?


A reader of the BV newsletter wrote me an email, saying, “Thanks for acknowledging GAD…my presents in rage sometimes…at not being able to control a situation, at not being successful at stage managing a moment to show everyone what I want them to see. Could you talk about anger?? Just a thought…”


This was my response: “I absolutely can write about anger. Can you tell me more about how you experience it? What do you want to know about other people’s anxiety/anger connection?”


This is what that person wrote: "Hello and thanks so much for your response! I think it goes back to the link between anxiety and the fight or flight response. I’ve been in a position where that response has kicked in…not related to anxiety…and I can firmly say my flight response is healthy and well adjusted.

But when the GAD gets to be overwhelming, I get that adrenaline dump. And since I can’t identify a path of flight, my mind and body go to fight.

Common sense says I should take up boxing or some such thing, but the GAD/perfectionist/fear of being judged blocks it. But yet I have to start moving or I literally shake with…the only word I think is right is rage. I’m not angry, it’s something else. It’s panic with an overwhelming need to , what?? How to other people describe this?? What language??? Help me better explain myself??"


Here’s how I responded: "I have been mulling over what you wrote and thinking about it. I feel like the adrenaline dump is a super important part of what you are describing here. I wrote a piece about the hormone hit that affects those of us with anxiety:

And the shaky feeling we get as the wave recedes.

Last night my 9-year-old daughter made me laugh when she did an impression of me running around the kitchen, panicking about dishes–running from thing to thing, needing to get them done as if my life depended on it. Somewhere along the line, I learned to smile when this is happening, but it’s frenetic, and if I weren’t smiling, I would definitely seem angry. The line between anger and tension and anxiety is so thin.

Am I nearing what you’re talking about?"