Anger and Macular Degeneration
Hi, friends. I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this article your diagnosis of macular degeneration has, at one time or another, caused feelings of anger.
If you personally don’t have macular degeneration...I’m sure you've been there a time or two before as well. Or, you could possibly be here reading this article feeling angry that one of the most important people in your life has been diagnosed with this disease.
Macular degeneration can be frustrating
I’ve spent the last few years battling all kinds of adversity. Hardships in my personal life have been trying to knock me down as well as a few scary vision changes, and it goes without saying that this part of life can be really frustrating. Through this adversity over the past few years, I had 2 choices. I could either let all of life’s ‘junk’ knock me down, or I could allow it to help me grow.
You’ve probably heard of the saying, ‘you have to go through it to grow through it.’ Well, that’s certainly true but it doesn’t mean we go through ‘it’ without some painful feelings including anger.
What is anger?
Anger is defined as an emotion that is triggered by antagonism. Or, a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. To me personally, anger is what happens when any combination of other difficult emotions like sadness, anxiety, worry, guilt, shame, and fear decide to attack me all at the same time.
Usually, by the time I get angry, a whole lot of other painful emotions have reared their ugly heads and built on top of each other to form one big ball of anger.
Something that’s also really important to remember about anger, but may be less known, is that anger arises from having expectations of other people or processes in life that really are out of our control. Expectations are pretty much premeditated disappointments if you really stop to think about it.
We cannot control the onset or progression of macular degeneration. I know that extremely hard truth can bring so many difficult feelings. We can only try to keep our eyes, bodies, and minds as healthy as possible in order to try. So, expecting anything else really sets us up for difficult emotions like anger and frustration.
Is anger always a bad thing?
Simply put, no. Anger isn’t always a bad thing as it can be a big motivator for change or something that guides us toward solutions to problems. However, if anger is excessive or persistent, it can cause problems on its own.
Anger can cause a domino effect of other negative emotions in ourselves and in others so it’s important to not only recognize it, but to understand it so it doesn’t start to take over our lives.
What can we do about anger?
- Be intentional about your emotions, allow the feeling but try not to act on it
- Breathe slowly and deeply. This calms us down quickly
- Exercise or go for a walk to move our bodies
- Stretch to get our blood flowing
- Redirect our thoughts and think about something happier
- Listen to music. This triggers a different part of our brain and helps to soothe us
- Meditate. This teaches us to be more in control of our emotions in the long term
- Repeat a mantra. My favorite is the serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"
- Create your own mantra using something that resonates with you
Here’s to moving forward in serenity,
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caretaker) go to the pharmacy?
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