I Choose Anger Instead of Depression

October 24, 2011 Natasha Tracy

I've been having a really hard time. Immobilized with depression. Frozen in time and agony. The pain of blinking keeping me weeping sporadically throughout the day.

And so today I am angry. Oh sure, I'm depressed too, but I'm also largely angry. I'm hateful. I hate everything from people to stoplights to walking to moving my eyeballs. I'm just angry that I'm alive.

But I have chosen this anger. I have chosen the anger over the depression because it is more useful. It's better to hate everything because hate comes with energy, depression does not.

Depression and Energy

People who are seriously depressed often do not move from their bed. They do not move from their couch. They do not eat food. They do not clean. They do not do laundry. They do not change their clothes. They do not shower. They do not think. All of those things require far too much energy and effort. And every drop they have is being used, burned, destroyed by the effort to keep breathing. Keep going. Not to simply blow away in the wind.

mp9003854011Anger and Energy

On the other hand, angry people have energy - after all, it takes energy to hate things. It takes energy to be annoyed, irritated. It takes energy to want to snap at the cashier or yell at the TV. These things require movement and thought - things depression doesn't offer.

Anger is Better, More Functional than Depression

So I choose anger because that horrid, hateful energy is something I can pour into work. Instead of sitting on a couch thinking about how much it hurts to turn my eyeballs to see the seagulls outside, I can channel that energy into writing and editing and doing chores and running errands.

Now don't get me wrong, I can't actually get mad at anyone or anything because that would be unfair, and dare I say, crazy, but I can use that heat to move a little from the couch. And clients prefer that. Because I don't get paid for sitting around and wishing my life was different.

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APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2011, October 24). I Choose Anger Instead of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

October, 25 2018 at 12:00 pm

Anger, kindness, they’re both exhausting, but I know which I prefer.
Being depressed, unable to move from the bed, unable to engage eye-contact or conversation because it’s so damn hard... you’re absolutely right, there’s no energy in that. For me, the effort required to express any emotion can be draining, but at least it’s something. It’s proof of life.
If I could choose, and by choosing I mean purposely dragging myself out of bed and into a scenario where I’m engaging with others, or with my work, I’d sooner stay on the sunny side. The feedback that it invites tends to be somewhat uplifting and that feeds me, and the happiness or positivity perpetuates for me - to a point.
It’s hard, but when getting up in the morning and setting off, it’s as though I’ve got two bicycles parked at the front door - “Virtue” and “Viciousness”. The virtuous cycle (temperance, kindness, humility, patience, charity & diligence) brings me far further than the vicious cycle, which only leads me back to the bed very quickly. It’s like “Virtue” has a power-source of its own.
At the end of the day, each to their own, as they say. What’s good for one might be poison to another. I hope you’re well.

June, 25 2018 at 2:56 pm

Searched for "anger over depression" and found this post. This is excellent. It's the conclusion I've arrived at and I wanted to see if other people did to. Channeling that anger towards being productive is showing to be way better than being depressed all the time. Of course, be kind to other people and remember that the anger is not to be used for hurting others but to get ourselves moving.

Laura Massey
April, 26 2018 at 10:56 am

Eight years later, how's that anger working for you?
Depression is vastly better than anger. Depression affects only you; your anger with your new agency from "energy", can and will affect others negatively. Think about something other than yourself for a change and you will find your depression and anger go away.

May, 17 2015 at 7:01 pm

OMG how very true
"People who are seriously depressed often do not move from their couch... They do not clean. They do not do laundry. They do not change their clothes. They do not shower... All of those things require far too much energy and effort"
"Hate comes with energy, depression does not"
In our society women aren't allowed to hate or get angry. It's severely frowned upon. Females are supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice. Well, I'm sorry to say that I don't believe in that nonsense nor do I fit that stereotype When it motivates me to do something about my situation then that can't be all bad
Wishing my life were different doesn't make it so. When I've had enough and frustration sets in, anger along with a few tears thrown in for good measure has by far been my best motivator hands down to get me moving and functioning again when I sink into that awful immobilizing state and I find that irritability is often a precursor to that anger. Anger means there's still a ray of hope and as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing so long as its not directed inward against myself in destructive ways or out in hurtful ways towards other people ...
I have learned not to suppress it anymore 'cause I know it will get me me up and moving again albeit grudgingly

June, 12 2013 at 1:40 am

Regarding responses contrary to this post...I concur. Anger will get you moving, sure, but it is also harder to tame. I can have a pretty hairsplitting temper and I'm not particularly proud of this trait. I know people who are the same...and irrepairable fallouts are often the result. I truly believe it is a mostly destructive emotion.
That is, unless you're in a punk rock band or Rush Limbaugh (sp? who cares).
There was one occasion where it was when a truck driver side swiped my little honda with his friggin rig and refused to exchange insurance information with me. Boy, did I let him have it! The man was shaking in his tube socks. And I felt drained even though it was thoroughly warranted.
I suppose it depends on your experience and who you are. I've seen too many broken hearts and bones to feel energized by it. I also hate it when people say, "f*ck, you're scary! But, some people draw power from it and whatever works for you - kudos! The Incredible Hulk was not my favorite comic book hero.

December, 10 2012 at 4:04 am

Thanks for this post, Tracy. I'm not always pleased with how I deal with or express my anger, but it is for me a better alternative than disabling sadness. At age 64 and a half, I am still so very much a "work-in-progress" so I hold out hope that I can attain better and better balance in my life.

June, 26 2012 at 10:35 am

I hate being angry, I know its a sin, but in detox, and with OCD, it just makes difficulty but maybe Anger is common; as a priest said: I hear more confessions of anger than sexual sins, or others; the scarlet letter is for anger! Not Adultery! Iwas up at 5am praying, working, execising, taking pills (might as well be honest) and went into a nice slumber; its not Gods fault ! I know this! Its mine! i did it! womanizing, drinking, (AA went so far) but most of the people have children, a couple of divorces, and are happy in their sobriety; I may still be grieving, but i cannot lean on that limiting thought; its the ego, which wants to rest! But its deathto the soul! it must be uncomfortable or theres no growth; that what I want; the comfort zone has no opportunities; only in the uncomfortable is there opportunity; sure, I'd like to be relaxed and cooland nonchalant, but thats not the way! i want Happiness, joy, peace of mind, health of mind and body, family, soul mate, children, prosperity, immortality; nothing is impossible! Ilovechildren,and i will ! and i will have a son,

November, 19 2011 at 4:34 pm

i am having a difficut time keeping in control and sane. My husband wants me to feel like I am losing my mind. one second he says he wants to be with me then seconds later he well be yelling and/or making fun of me. His angre comes because I well NOT have sex with him. His kind words come from a wolfs mouth dress as a sheep. I see him as a stranger and i do not screw strangers.
I have seen counselors and my pastor. The counselor was leading us to a divorce. My pastor asked my husband, "Does your wife speak the truth" His reply was "no" Pastor looked at me and said I believe your husband. So you need to decided if you are a wife, mother or friend. Amazed and confused with his advice and not knowing how to handle my husband emotional abuse it landed me in the hospital one week later. Drs saying i was under stress. I really do not want a divorce but .....Yet, he always says he wants ME to leave.
I used to be depressed lying around with no energy nor focus. Today I suffer from headaches and am usually, no, i am always angry. I stay on the angry rollercoaster. This keeps me sane. In the pass i would not be expecting his harsh words which would suck the life and smile off my face. My tears fall silently as to not give him the satisfaction of his success for spearing my heart.
We are in our 50s and our kids are gone with thier own family. Please do not tell me to leave him. I need to make sure i HAVE done all i can. I do not want to have guilt or regrets if i leave him.
I need support, a buddy, not meds, i need words of wisdom for myself and words for him to understand. I always tell him how unkind his words are and it is his choice to be kind or mean.
I have not spoken to my friends due to my problem. They will mean well but i must know it was my choice to stay or leave.
What I need is a christian counselor who belives in saving marriages in the San Antonio area. Please help me with this. My your work bless others.

Natasha Tracy
November, 18 2011 at 6:44 am

Hi Rose,
Oh, I agree with you, anger has to be under control if it's going to be of any use. I happen to have that ability although not everyone does.
"Choosing" anger is about choosing to have energy in order to be productive. I don't have positive energy, just negative and so anger is the best I've got.
I'm not saying sometime anger isn't a choice. Of course, sometimes we feel angry without our permission.
- Natasha

November, 17 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Natasha,
Glad you have your anger under control. Please, always keep it under control. I, who have had violence in my life, know that violence towards others is wrong.
The bit about 'choosing' to be angry confuses me. I don't want to be angry but I am angry. An emotion is something that comes to us, sometimes unwarranted, sometimes caused by others.
I have been depressed. Anti-depressants gave me a fit and blurred vision (and that was cytalopram, a mild one) so I couldn't take them. My G.P. said do things automatically, like an automaton if you will, so I did. It took time but eventually I got through it.

November, 6 2011 at 3:51 am

Though turning the depression into anger may help, I think it's only a temporarily fix. I suffered from depression for several years, and during that time, I found myself snapping at people really easily. Sometimes it'd make me feel better, but I felt it was unhealthy. Just as unhealthy as lying in bed for hours doing nothing. I realized I really needed help. I couldn't live my life like that anymore :/

Natasha Tracy
October, 29 2011 at 3:25 pm

I agree that untamed, uncontrolled anger can be very dangerous. There is no doubt about that. But, for me, personally, as a short-term work productivity tool, it works. But then, I have it completely under control
- Natasha

Pam Franklin
October, 29 2011 at 3:10 pm

My anger, which followed a long depression, did not find a healthy outlet, and the outcome of the explosion was that I lost my job and now have a criminal record. Personally, I'd rather be sad. But I am glad you are feeling more productive.

October, 27 2011 at 3:20 am

I don't know Natasha... my experience has been different. While I can rely on anger to give me a brief dose of energy, I've found that I end up more drained and with less energy in the long run. And for me, when I'm in my depressive mode, that's dangerous. Sure, with practice a person can focus anger even through depression and use it to work on (or even complete) a task. But what do you do after? What happens when the anger causes you to snap at someone you need to support you in your depression? What happens when you use it consistently and those people you need to help you and support you and give perspective aren't there any more because you've become an angry person, rather than 'just' a gloomy one.
Perhaps this is just me... but I hate myself enough when I'm depressed, and I hate myself more when I'm angry. And then I feel guilty after the anger which makes that hate worse. Perhaps sometimes the task completion is worth it (and I can't say I haven't succumbed in order to get myself to work). But I think anger has to be managed very carefully as a coping strategy. Almost anything else is better in the long run.

October, 26 2011 at 4:00 am

I wholeheartedly agree, Natasha.
For me, anger is far more functional than depression. I also believe that with some effort, anger can be used in a very constructive way. It doesn't always need to be viewed as a negative emotion.
Anger truly does give me energy. If I control it, and use that energy to work on a project, I find that I can get quite a bit done. Far more than if I remain immersed in depression. I also find that when I'm feeling angry, I can use that energy to make myself get on the treadmill, or workout for awhile, which can help pull me out of my depression.
It's not always easy to convert depression to anger, and may not even be a conscious choice for me, but when it happens, I find it to be much more preferable than depression.

October, 25 2011 at 10:37 am

Hey Natasha. When I was hospitalized it was explained to me that sometimes depression is merely anger turned inward. As I began coming out of that paralyzing depression, I found myself overwhelmed with anger for no appaarent reason. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes anger can be a positive sign. As long as it's channeled properly, anger can be a very motivating thing. Sometimes it can even be a good sign that changes are on the horizon.

October, 25 2011 at 7:40 am

I do apoligise, but I totally disagree, In no way shape or form would I replace all my Mental Health Issues with Anger. Sure I get angry, however I absolutly hate being angry at all, especially because unless u dont go out at all and dont associate with people that Anger can explode towards others, thus causing gaps to be formed in relationships. Anger might give you energy but it takes a hell of alot of strength and courage to get up, get dressed go for a walk or even get out of bed. Its my belief and I will hold to it that anger is like a cancer that will eat your very soul and spirit away. This is only my opinion, everyones illness and techniques in dealing with it might be similar or totally oposite to one another, again this is only my thoughts about this.

October, 24 2011 at 10:19 pm

OMG !! Do you have any ideal how great and excited (not angry) I am to know I'm truely, honestly not the only person in the world that experiance this !! For years now people will always ask me why I never smile or why I'm always mad. They think I don't like them or that I'm mad at them for some mystery reason when in all reality it's not even like that but you can't explain exactly what it really is either. Whew, I may be human afterall !! LOL

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
October, 24 2011 at 12:43 pm

Anger and depression go hand in hand with me. Add some agitation and general disdain...not the best combination. :)

Natasha Tracy
October, 24 2011 at 9:36 am

Hi Jake,
Very interesting. Math is a distraction - it is it's own special kind of pain ;)
- Natasha

October, 24 2011 at 9:34 am

" I don’t get paid for sitting around and wishing my life was different."
My wife made me leave my bed today and go to school. Math is a distraction from depression for me, although wrapping my head around it in this state is a challenge.
I just underwent kidney stones, I found the pain was actually an amazing distraction from my mood. I would have thought it the opposite.
I am glad you are being proactive Natasha, you might not be able to "snap outta it" as people so often suggest but at the very least you can channel it.

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