A number of years ago I wrote a song called “Psychotherapy Blues” which was largely inspired by meeting my brilliant and gorgeous wife, who is in fact a psychotherapist. I wrote a line in there about “uncontrollable rage,” and while the song’s not necessarily autobiographical, it does reflect my own psychological reality to a significant degree.
I do possess a white-hot core of anger, partly rooted in my family life and partly rooted in my adolescence. I’ve spent a lot of time simmering in that anger, unsure how to deal with it, sometimes lashing out at people around me, and more often turning it on myself. It took me years and years, some of them spent in therapy, to realize that withdrawing from the world is the worst possible way for me to cope with that anger.
The best way has turned out to be forcing myself to engage with the world much more than I did during those years of adolescence and early adulthood; make the effort to see the good in people; be vulnerable, as risky as that is; and be as earnest and heartfelt as possible, despite living in a society that devalues that kind of expression.
The anger isn’t going away. It’s an indelible part of who I am, and always will be, but it’s good to fully grasp that it’s not the only part of who I am. There’s anger inside me, and sadness and grief and regret and all sorts of other difficult feelings, but there’s also joy, and gratitude, and love. The world is a bigger and better place than I once believed.