Many individuals living with chronic pain have admitted to having issues with anger or irritability. Our Migraine in America Study 2016 showed that 34% of respondents have anger, rage, and irritability during a migraine and 41% of respondents have mood changes. Additionally 51% of respondents have difficulty communicating, which could easily lead to aggravation and periods of anger all by itself. Regardless of how somebody looks at it, living in chronic pain can create a whirlpool of anger for somebody to attempt to survive within.
The cause of the anger
An important step in learning how to manage anger is to figure out what is causing the anger to occur in the first place. A very good first step is to begin to take note of what is triggering your anger to flare up, much like you would note what was triggering a migraine or panic attack. If the cause of your anger is your partner or a family member, have you expressed to them that they are agitating you and most importantly how they are agitating you? An import thing to remember is that nobody can read your mind; therefore, if somebody is doing something or not doing something and this is bothering you, you have to speak up (preferably when you are not already angry). Unfortunately for myself, I have recognized over the years that extreme pain causes me to be extremely sensitive overall which leads to me being annoyed by things that should not frustrate me. In this case, I have to use various relaxation and management techniques to keep from yelling at people or my fur babies for no real reason.
In some cases, relaxation techniques can be used to help defuse some pent-up aggravation. Something as simple as closing your eyes and counting to ten can help some individuals relax and prevent them from boiling over. Meditation can also be a very effective relaxation technique for some individuals. There are also a lot of different kinds of deep breathing exercises available to help individuals calm down and let go of stress or resentment. Some people also benefit from distraction techniques. If reading a book or watching a movie is tolerable, it may be able to distract your mind from what is frustrating you and help you remain in a positive mind frame.
Some keys to happiness
There are some additional things an individual can do to try to keep the happiness overpowering the anger. Being active and exercising is a beneficial way to reduce anger and irritability and increase the endorphins within your body. Although it is import to know your activity limits because if you overdo it, you could increase your pain levels. Furthermore, staying social and maintaining connections with other people is another way to stay positive and decrease the likelihood of periods of anger. Even when in pain, you can try to maintain connections with others even if it is only by text messages. It is important to know you are not alone. A furry companion could even help you to fight the feeling of isolation. It is essential to maintain hope and to try to stay positive.
A therapist can most definitely help you address any anxiety or depression that you may be facing due to the chronic pain associated with chronic migraine. It is important that anxiety and depression are dealt with because they can prevent or undo the previously mentioned keys to happiness. Therapists can also help with a large number of cognitive behavioral therapies that can help you turn negative thoughts into less threatening ones. They can also attempt to teach you ways to change how you think about the problems you are facing. A therapist can also be beneficial by being somebody with whom you can discuss your frustrations.
Finding a postive outlet
Chronic pain is an extremely difficult thing to deal with regularly, for any person. It is important that you find a positive way to manage your anger so that it does not build up and bring you down or do you more harm. Finding a positive outlet for your frustrations is important for everyone, especially those of us in chronic pain. Try to practice some relaxation techniques or some gentle exercises like yoga. If you need help, do not feel embarrassed to seek out a therapist. They can be a very important member of our care team if we allow them into our lives.
Do you find yourself easily angered when you are in a lot of pain? Have you found anything to help manage the frustration?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?