When you have a chronic disease, there are no days off. When you add up all the time and energy this job can take, both physical and mental, it may seem like you don’t have much of a life. If you ever feel angry, we don’t blame you! Anger is normal and even healthy—especially when it moves you to take action and make good changes in your life. The goal is to use your anger, instead of letting it use you.
Anger is usually directed at someone or something - like your faith, your doctor, or even yourself. Let’s take a look at these feelings.
When something goes wrong, the desire to blame someone – anyone - is normal. And when there is no one else to blame, you may even feel like God has let you down. “Why me?” you may ask. “Why am I being punished?” It may help you to talk to a religious advisor about this test of your faith.
Moving Past Anger
There are healthier ways to express anger and we have compiled some tips.
Maybe your doctor did not catch your kidney disease early. Maybe he or she did not tell you that you were at risk or did not listen when you said something was wrong. Finding a doctor, therapist or grief counselor to help you work through your feelings are steps you can take.
Whenever life takes a bad turn, it’s only natural to wish you’d taken the other fork in the road. Here’s what some patients we’ve talked to said about blaming themselves for their kidney problems:
“I was a little upset with myself because I used to make jokes, when I was younger and eating food, I’d say, ‘I’m still getting more salt, getting my pressure a little higher.’ I didn’t know what I was actually doing was really, you know, killing me. It was dumb. I could think about all the times I could have, just, cut that out.”
“One of my feelings was, ‘You did it,’ from not having the control that I should have had. I did a whole lot of mismanagement of my diabetes, a whole lot of things that I shouldn’t have done, a lot of rebelling. I mean, I’d be in the hospital with candy bars in my drawer. So I understand totally what they mean when they talk about living in denial.”
Spinning around in a cycle of self-blame will keep you from moving forward in your life. Just as you might try to forgive someone else who did you wrong, you need to try to forgive yourself. You’ll know you succeeded when you can look forward instead of backward, and do what you can to have the best possible life now. Talking to a social worker, counselor, or therapist may help you deal with your feelings.