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Anger, Irritability, and Depression

From the “welcome to my world” department:

An article this week from Health Day News reports that people with major depressive episodes tend to experience anger and irritability. This correlation is more pronounced in patients with chronic and long-term depression. To this news I say, “Duh.”

My husband has lived with depression since he was in high school. The illness wasn’t diagnosed until it hit the crisis point when he was in his early 30’s. For more than 20 years since then, he’s had good times that sometimes lasted years, and indescribable down times that also can last years.

One of the signs that a bad time is on its way (or that it’s settled in to stay for awhile) is intense irritability. Any little normal, everyday thing is cause for an argument, harsh words, or an accusation that the world is ganging up on him. The connection between his irritability and anger and a (more) depressive time is so strong that I’ve learned to say, “I know what this is about for you, and it’s not the fact that the kids are playing music and two people are talking to each other in the same room as you. It’s depression taking control again. Let’s talk about what we’re going to do about it.”

Calling depression what it is doesn’t necessarily create a miraculous recovery. But naming it does help me separate the mean and grumpy person my husband suddenly becomes due to depression from the kind, generous person he is when he’s healthy.

It doesn’t make everything better, but it can help me hang on one more time.



8 Responses

  1. Boy Amy, have you been listening in at my house? 🙂 i love the idea of saying something like this to my husband, but anytime i bring up the word depression he just goes nuts! Its hard when they wont own up to being depressed…

  2. Yep! I’m like that too! Thanks for posting!

  3. Yes, I can relate to the ‘bear with a sore toe’ irritability which comes to visit when I am not well. It is awful for everyone living under the same roof 😦 It is good you can, as a loved one, seperate the illness and the real person. I am lucky my husband understands and does the same too – as best he can, poor thing.

  4. It sounds like from what I have read you and Bernadette lead a support group? I am local–how can I get more info?

    • Jen – The group we currently lead is sponsored by Hallmark and is for their employees only, at their corporate headquarters. But we’re open to working with other businesses or groups. Let us know through the blog if you have an organization that would be interested in sponsoring another support group. Thanks for reading and for your interest!

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