Hello friends! Let's talk about anger a little bit, because we're all going to be dealing with that for the next little while. Anger is not bad, in and of itself, any more than rocket fuel is bad.
There are some things that require a huge burst of adrenaline, energy, and pain tolerance. Anger is why you don't really feel the hits in a bar fight until it's over. Getting angry can sometimes get you to the end of a tough workout, run, or other physical challenge.
But just as rocket fuel is incredibly powerful when burned toward a specific end, but very dangerous to take a bath in, anger can do a real number on your internal organs when you just sit in it for long periods of time.
Even if you're relaxed enough to give normal readings at the doctor, constantly stewing in anger at home can keep blood pressure high enough for long enough that you can do damage to your heart muscle or increase risk of coronary disease just like all chronic high blood pressure.
Other side effects are less well studied, but causal links have been suggested between chronic uncontrolled anger and conditions as varied as stroke, immune deficiencies, and even cancer. Long story short, the body just doesn't withstand sustained adrenaline very well.
We're told a lot, especially lately, "You need to get angry!" "You're not angry enough!" This is actually very ungreat advice, but it comes from a good place. What people probably mean is, you're not active enough. They want you to be a rocket, and they assume you need fuel.
But in the case of powerful action, it doesn't *need* to be fueled by anger. Perhaps ask, "What would I be doing if I were furious? Is there a way I can do this from a calmer, more calculated place?" The same action, taken calmly, will likely be more effective anyhow.
Now, that's all well and good, if you have a CHOICE about being angry. If you haven't had training in self-management of emotions (most NT people have not), then anger may not even be a choice. You may be stuck in a constant loop of rage and feel helpless to change that.
So here's an interesting thing I learned about emotions very early on in my therapy. There is no such thing as a constant emotional state. Any state you're in for longer than say, a minute, you're unknowingly feeding it and renewing it in some way. All emotion needs fuel.
If you've read Borderline, you may recognize the phrase "anger up thoughts" from the second chapter. It's such a weird phrase, but that's what some therapists call them. These are the thoughts you toss onto the fire to keep it from going out; it can take practice to spot them.
Stuff like "How dare she," "This is so unfair," "After all I did for her!" "This is an outrage!" Etc. It's a loop you silently play in your head, and yes, there are usually actual words attached. Step one to anger management is to write those down when you spot them.
Eventually your anger will burn itself out. When it does, see if you can spot the new script your brain is running. "This just isn't worth it." "She is the way she is." "It could be worse." "I'm better than this." "I've got other stuff to do."
Everybody's "up" and "down" thoughts for anger are different, and they can differ by situation, of course. The key is to make conscious note of them often enough that you detect patterns in which scripts control *your* emotions. The "down" thoughts are crucial.
With practice, when there is no constructive action for your anger to propel you toward, you can learn to run the "down" scripts consciously, earlier and earlier in the process, until your anger becomes the fleeting thing it was meant to be.
Like all self-management skills, this is a *skill,* which means it takes practice. If it doesn't work at first, that doesn't mean it's useless. Having a professional guide you through it can help you spot flaws in application, but it can also be learned solo if necessary.
Anger can be a powerful tool if *you* are in control of it. If it's controlling you, there's too much risk that you'll hurt others or yourself, and so I sincerely plead with you to consider addressing it, not equating it with power. It can FEEL powerful, yes.
Anger feels so much more powerful than fear, and that's why we learn to feed it those "up" thoughts in the first place. But any power, uncontrolled, is as likely to hurt us as to help us, if not more so. So be careful.
Remember that taking the reins of one's own emotions isn't easy, or everyone would do it. Most of us are never taught that we need to. It's all right if you're terrible at it. Think of it as learning a new language. Be patient with yourself. I've got your back. ❤️

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More from @mishellbaker

17 Oct
Happy Saturday, friends. I hope you have something nice planned for the weekend? Sometimes when we're under stress it can be hard to remember what brings us happiness, but keep trying; don't give up! Joy is good for your mental and physical health!
Rewatch a movie that always makes you laugh, or listen to a song that gives you the good kind of chills. Play a game with friends -- or alone, as you prefer. Or maybe there's some kind of light work that soothes you: garden work, folding laundry. Take a bath with candles lit.
Just promise me you'll do at least one thing this weekend that's a real treat for yourself, no matter what else is going on. If there's someone else in your life willing to treat you, even better! You can do something for them in exchange (that might make you happy, too).
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
A lot of people on here probably have good advice about what to do in various political scenarios, practically speaking. If anyone is telling you to "fight" Supreme Court nominations, you can safely ignore them. But there are many elected offices you can in theory "fight" for.
I'm not the best person to give you advice on that count other than, you know, vote, and get other people to vote. So mostly what I'm here to do is advise you on what goes on *internally.* That's where I have knowledge and experience.
The types of out-of-control emotions you're going to be living with as the Republican party continues to steer this country toward hereditary authoritarian rule are the types of emotions that borderline personality disorder has forced me to live with my entire life.
Read 24 tweets
14 Oct
I don't have much new to say in the "reassuring" vein, so I'll just reiterate that while you can't control everything going on in the world that will have a huge impact on your life, you do have control over SOME things, and exercising that control can help make life bearable.
Sometimes life is just about being light enough on your feet that calamities don't hit you square on out of the blue. Having a plan to minimize damage is a combination of staying informed and thinking creatively.
And in order to do either of those things, you need to be in pretty good mental shape, and in good enough physical shape that you have reasonable energy reserves and manageable levels of pain. So take care of yourself; do all the little stuff. It does matter for the big stuff.
Read 6 tweets
6 Oct
Today's thread is about managing overwhelming emotions. This is obviously in addition to any medications your doctor has prescribed. Meds do not remove your ability to REACT to things (if they do, talk to your doctor, b/c that could kill you). This is about managing REACTIONS.
I'm going to address everyone reading this thread as I would address someone with BPD. Why? Because BPD is a disease that makes a person, under normal circumstances, have approximately the same emotional experience many NT people are having now.
As in, you think you're fine, then you open up Twitter or have one (1) conversation with another human, and one thing is said or tweeted that knocks you flat on your ass with despair or sends you into a panic spiral.
Read 31 tweets
5 Oct
Okay, more false contradiction crap. It is entirely possible for someone you love to have contracted COVID without being at fault, and ALSO for members the GOP leadership to be at fault for becoming sick. I understand your emotional gut response, but no.
If I cross the street on a Walk light and someone comes barreling around a corner and runs me over, it is not my fault I was hit by a car. If I see a car coming and step in front of it, it is my fault I was hit by that car. My pain is still real, but it's 100% my fault.
Also we do not have to choose between "your pain is real" and "you 100% brought this pain on yourself." There are times when one or the other is more important. For a doctor, the pain is more important. For people making policy etc., causality is more important.
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
Okay, I told at least 2 people that I'd do a thread today and I take that crap seriously, so here I go. But here's the thing; I'm not really in a good headspace for it. Letting you know that going in, in case I uh, fail to inspire. Let's talk about Days When You Just Cannot.
I've been doing all these THIS IS YOUR LIFE threads, all this YOU ARE CHEATING ONLY YOURSELF IF YOU GIVE INTO RAGE AND DESPAIR stuff, and like, I still believe that's true. remember my thread about how things aren't either/or anywhere near half the time we think they are?
But some days, you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you, or whatever the saying is, I dunno, I've slept like 7 hours out of the last 72. Some days the horse grabs the bit between its teeth and goes charging through the yeah, let's use that metaphor, I like that one.
Read 11 tweets

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