Think back to when you were a child in the school yard. There was always someone who never liked playing by the rules and ruined recess for everyone. The first time the rules weren’t followed, you may have stopped and tried to calmly explain it to them again. They may have heard you, but still repeated the initial offense. I’m sure this would make the child version of yourself cringe. You would get mad, frustrated and may not want that person to play with you anymore. Many life lessons come from playing at recess. If someone does something wrong, you try to find a solution to the problem. If it is something wrong repeatedly, you remove that person from your life, if it’s affecting you.
I’m sure this would make the child version of yourself cringe. You would get mad, frustrated and may not want that person to play with you anymore. Many life lessons come from playing at recess. If someone does something wrong, you try to find a solution to the problem. If it is something wrong repeatedly, you remove that person from your life, if it’s affecting you.
It’s easy to remove someone who is filling your thoughts with anger, but what if the source of your anger isn’t someone else? What if the source of your anger is your own body? It’s hard to cope when this anger is so personal. Anger is a difficult emotion, but it’s one that those of us with PH feel so strongly. You can’t stop the anger from happening, but you can learn to manage it.
So often, those of us with chronic illness and PH will find that our own body has rebelled against us. Our minds have high hopes for the day, but when we move to get out of bed, our bodies tell us something different. From one minute to the next, plans can be canceled, unexpected pain and discomfort can catch you off guard, you may be struck with crippling fatigue and breathlessness. Suddenly, you find yourself becoming angry at these awful situations. Anyone with chronic illness knows our bodies don’t play by the rules.
Sitting with this anger is harmful to mental health. Being angry is an uncomfortable feeling. Your anger, just like all emotions, demands to be felt and expressed. Try to first recognize that you are angry and then try to figure out the reasons you are feeling this way. Is it because you are upset that you didn’t get to do something you really wanted to do? I despise PH and my congenital heart defect on the days when plans that I was looking forward to need to be canceled. It’s important to allow yourself to be angry about this. I get angry at my body on days when I am physically unwell. Who else can I possibly be mad at besides myself?
On days when I feel anger so strongly, after I acknowledge it, I make sure to do something positive for myself and practice self-care. Just sitting in anger will lead to further mental anguish. I try to occupy my thoughts with other things that are positive.
Some positive ways to cope with anger and practice self-care are writing out how you’re feeling; reading, to get your mind off of it; listening to your favorite music; watching a show; calling a friend to talk; texting your support system; taking a shower or bath, to try to relax your body; playing with animals (I prefer dogs and cats); painting your nails; and the list can go on depending on self-care that works for you.
Days when our bodies are like the annoying child in the school yard are just aggravating. It’s easy to become upset and feel anger. Unlike the school yard, though, we don’t get the chance to eliminate our current life situations. We can’t just say “goodbye PH, you have been eliminated because you don’t make my life easier.” I wish we could do this and make it go away. It’s still our bodies, whether they behave for us or not. You have every right to feel anger and be upset, but it’s so important to practice self-care afterward.
You can’t eliminate chronic illness, but you can use self-care techniques to help manage uncomfortable emotions.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.