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Depression and anger Part 2: How I vanquish my anger

Apparently, there is a correct way to swing a sledge hammer and an incorrect way.

I was doing it incorrectly, although it still felt pretty good. Luckily, Tommy, one of the coaches at my CrossFit gym, witnesses this old lady swinging a sledge hammer the wrong way and – without a snicker – taught me the correct way to swing a sledge hammer.

At my age, 55, I don’t expect I will swinging many sledge hammers. Still, it’s good to know. Why? Because sometimes I get mad. Really mad. I need to physically release my anger.shutterstock_194511182

For a long time I didn’t know how much anger I was carrying around. Invisible baggage accumulated over decades. Then, a major depression right-sized me and I asked for help. I learned anger was a part of my depression, even though I felt numb. I would not be well until I learned to deal with my anger.

Women don’t get many chances to express their anger. Unlike men, who grow up playing sports like football, hockey and rugby, we don’t have many sanctioned activities that allow us to release our anger. Sure, we can get gnarly on the tennis court or golf course, swinging away at the balls.

But other than that, what do we have? Bridge? Book club? Scrap booking?

Title IX and the women’s movement of the ’70s gave women the chance to participate in more aggressive sports, such as wrestling and lacrosse. But for those of us who grew up before those ¬†achievements, we did not learn how to physically release our anger.

In fact, ladies didn’t get angry back in the mid-20th century. It simply wasn’t ladylike. We tucked away all those little resentments and told ourselves they weren’t such a big deal and would go away time. Wrong. They stewed in our psyches and grew more potent over time.shutterstock_111617114

Instead of exploding, we fell into deep depressions and were given happy pills to lift us up. We didn’t deal with the underlying cause of the depression: anger, resentment, rage. When I look back at my life I can see that my anger came out sideways in the form of sarcasm and passive/aggressive behavior.

Today women have a choice. We can scream into pillows and hit the couch with a whiffle bat in our therapist’s office. Or, we can take a swing with a sledge hammer. If that is a little extreme, how about a medicine ball – squishy, weighted balls that are designed to be slammed against the ground.

I’ve seen them as small as 2 pounds and as large as 30 pounds. Grasp the ball with both hands, raise it over your head and then slam it against the ground as hard as you can. Pick up the ball and do it again and again and again. Not only will you feel better, you will burn a ton of calories.

I don’t care how old you are, I think all women should have at least one opportunity in their lives to hit or kick something. You know, they now make pink boxing gloves. Put those on and smack a punching bag a few times. Or kick it. I really can’t tell you how good it feels to let go and just hit something.

Go ahead. Make your day.

Older woman in boxing gloves available from Shutterstock. Fist image available from Shutterstock.




Depression and anger Part 2: How I vanquish my anger

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.

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APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2014). Depression and anger Part 2: How I vanquish my anger. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 May 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 May 2014
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