Aggression and Violence in Mental Disorders: Depression

The notion that depression is anger turned inwards has a lot of truth. But anxiety can also be seen this way as fear could be seen as aggression energy directed inwards or perhaps just energy directed inwards period. This does not mean that all anxiety disorder folks are seething with rage; actually the opposite is true. It is more that the energy the extroverts push out, at times with anger, is exactly the same energy that introverts push in,often as fear and anxiety but also as guilt and even depression.

Depression often appears like anger turned inwards as guilt and self-reproach, and that is often exactly what it is. Spend some time  around depressives if you don’t believe. It’s all their fault, and they’re no good. Sadly this is often the reason that they feel they need to die. In a word, the depressive feels that he has sinned, and he is punishing himself for that.

Depressives are not typically aggressive or violent, although some are. That is because depression often turns so much energy inwards that there is nothing left to put out into the world. In order to shoot up a mall, you need to get out of bed first, not to mention go out and buy a gun and ammo. Many depressives can’t even do that first step – they can’t even get out of bed. If they can’t get out of bed, how can they shoot up the mall? Depression is often felt as serious lack of interest in motivation.

In order to shoot up that mall, you have to be very motivated to do probably the craziest and most dangerous thing you have ever done in your life, but you also must care enough to passionately hate those mallgoers enough to kill them. Most depressives don’t even have the energy or motivation to hate much of anyone. That is why when a nasty or unpleasant person becomes depressed, they often become much nicer. I know narcissists who are only nice when they are depressed and nasty depressives who are only nice when they become much more ill. You almost want someone like that to get worse so they can better to be around.

I have been around depressives who had a hard time even talking. They would go to say something and open their mouths and say, “Uhhhhhh…” Then you would get a long silence, after which they finally might say something. They literally do not have enough energy or motivation to even talk. A depressive once told me that even getting out of bed in the morning seemed like climbing Mount Everest, a task too difficult and strenuous to even be undertaken.

However, there are angry depressives. Sometimes these people just look angry, mean and nasty, and it can be quite hard to figure out that they are actually depressed. One clue is that they are angry, miserable, wretched and clearly not having any fun. People who are never happy and appear miserable and wretched may well be depressed even if they are only angry.

My father did this a lot. I know other people who do it, and I sometimes confront them and tell them that they are obviously depressed.

Angry depressives do not wish to be told that they are depressed for some unknown reason. Perhaps it does not feel  like depression. Perhaps they have too much pride to be depressed, so they turn depression outwards into anger. And often they have convinced themselves that all of the problems of the world are other people’s fault. Thus it seems to be an insult when you suggest that they are simply depressed, which implies that their misery is not everyone else’s fault after all.

Angry depressives often drink or use drugs to cover up their depression. This is especially common in men, who frequently mask their depression with alcohol, drugs or anger.

Angry depressives are indeed dangerous to themselves and also to others. Depression doubles the homicide risk in males. Obviously it dramatically elevates the suicide risk.

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Filed under Depression, Mental Illness, Mood Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology

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