And I'm not alone
Lessons from my therapist #345
Anger is a secondary emotion. This means that your brain attempts to cover up or short-circuit the real feeling, whether that’s shame, guilt, sadness, disappointment or any other thoroughly unpleasant sensation.
The truth is that it’s easier to feel anger than any of those emotions.
Think about the last time you felt properly angry. Kicking, punching and breaking things angry. The impetus for your anger might be something someone said or did. Or, in my case this week, it might be the general state of things.
Heading into the four-day Jubilee weekend, we are encouraged to celebrate the monarchy. Street parties, union flags, proper British scran… it’s the marketing campaign of a lifetime for supermarkets hoping to flog as many cases of Belgian beer, french bread, Irish liqueur, American soft drinks and all sorts of general tat likely made in China.
I’d like to say there’s an underlying sense of dread in the country right now, but honestly, I think it’s more blatant than ever before. Not a day goes by without a news story about the cost of living crisis, rising fuel prices, unmanageable utility bills and the ever-present threat of COVID.
The optimist in me can see how the Jubilee Weekend is supposed to act as a moment of relief from the increasingly difficult daily lives people are experiencing, but when does this become more than just a fun distraction?
Without getting too political, it’s safe to say that I am angry. What emotion am I masking with my anger? It’s certainly not a disappointment, as my expectations for the government and state have never been that high.
There is definitely a sense of guilt. Although we donate monthly to The Trussell Trust and actively vote against the political party responsible for this mess, I still feel absolutely useless when I read stories of families struggling to put food on the table or heat their homes.
I also think there is confusion, as it really feels as though the whole system is gaslighting us. Gaslighting is a phrase commonly bandied about these days but often misused. It refers to a specific form of manipulation whereby you are made to feel as though your reality is different to that of others. Basically, you start to think you’re crazy.
The stories of politicians enjoying work parties while the rest of us were unable to leave the house for more than an hour a day or even attend loved ones’ funerals is the perfect example of gaslighting. We’re told that the parties didn’t occur or that they were work gatherings… but those were banned too?
It makes no sense.
So, as we enter this long weekend, I don’t want to put a downer on your celebrations (if you are planning any). But I do want to take this opportunity to say that whatever you are feeling is valid. If like me, you’re angry - then that’s OK. A lot of us are.
Knowing what emotion you are feeling, putting a name to it and determining where it’s coming from are all steps in the right direction.
Feeling the same or simply need a rant? You’ll find me on Twitter @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email for a chat!
📚 My Mess is a Bit of a Life by Georgia Pritchett - Amazing memoir from the children’s author and Succession writer all about her life living with anxiety. I can’t recommend this enough. She is absolutely hilarious and also managed to put many of my deepest thoughts and feelings into words like no one else.
📚 Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan - Literary fiction novel about an abusive relationship. A very different take on quite an overdone trope, in my opinion.
📺 Stranger Things S4 (Netflix) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
See you next Wednesday with more musings on topics that are important to me, including but not limited to: mental health, work/life balance, internet culture, and much more.
Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:
25th May: To err is to human, but when to -er?
18th May: Can you ever be too prepared?
11th May: Finding the path of least resistance
5th May: Should brands take a stance?
27th April: Social media has always been evil
21st April: Who are we really?
13th April: The ultimate gramma debate
6th April: Has social media killed nuanced debate?
30th March: Finding diamonds in the rough
23rd March: Do brands really care?
16th March: The future of this newsletter
9th March: Don’t shoot the messenger
2nd March: How to stay informed without going mad
23rd February: This is how it’s always been