Learning to live with anger

Of all the emotions I buried with food, anger was the one that scared me the most. It seemed so destructive, so terrifying. I had this image of myself exploding with fury and releasing vitriol on such a scale that I would destroy everyone and everything around me. This, of course, was to be avoided at all cost.

Bingeing became my go-to method to prevent this. I literally swallowed the anger down and buried it under a pile of food. And I kept burying it for nearly 4 decades. That’s a lot of unfelt anger!

Obviously, this was something that needed to be unpacked in therapy. I learned that the world would not end if I lost my temper. I learned that anger itself is not a bad thing. I learned that I had been turning my anger, my vitriol, on myself and my body, and that wasn’t fair or right.

Bit by bit, I allowed myself to feel that anger. Releasing a small, safe amount at a time. I learned other ways to deal with it – exercise, screaming, writing. Yet anger still scares me, and is still the most likely emotion to cause overeating.

There was a lot to feel angry about last week. The UK Government’s new ob***ity strategy, which is so harmful for people like me. The awful situation in The Middle East. And on a personal level, preparing to return to a stressful job which impacts my health after a period of leave.

It was all too much. I needed a break. I took a couple of days away from social media. I overate a little, but knowingly, and without guilt. I had my hair done. I watched TV, but avoided the news. I feel much better for it.

One day, I will take anger in my stride, but I’m not quite there yet.

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