The young girl Tip from the Disney movie Home gets it.
As the term suggests, it's when you get angry but deep underneath you are sad. In the movie, Tip is sad when she was separated from her mother by aliens when they invaded Earth. When Oh discovers what is underneath her anger, he says, “You are mad-sad”. What appears to be anger is really sadness and grief for her loss.
My grief, my sadness is the eye of a hurricane and around it swirls many other emotions capable of serious damage if managed improperly. Lately, anger has been encircling my pain.
Anger is an uncomfortable feeling for me as I am not usually one to anger. It takes a lot to get me fired up and I typically try to diffuse anger in others because it's scary and unpredictable. A control thing likely for me.
But I am angry. I am not angry at anyone in particular, just life in general.
I get angry when I do something new or old where Xavier should have been with us.
My anger seeps out when I read about the lack of funding for researching kids brain tumours. I get angry I didn't get more time to spend with Xavier. I am angry at myself for going back to work while he was sick. Angry at how people value things and not people.
Angry that I have to deal with issues with my daughter that no 8-year-old should ever have to deal with. Angry with people who don't understand. Angry I can't sleep anymore.
Angry we have to start a new life without Xavier and angry that I could not save my son.
I am angry we are left here without him.
However, I am learning anger can be healthy and a natural part of the grieving process. I have a tendency to push away anger because when I feel it I also feel guilty for being angry at all. I have to tell myself to let it out, scream about it, pound it out in words on my computer.
I need to use anger to my advantage. It is a driving force. In Tip’s case, it drives her to search for her mom.
It's ok to be angry. My anger is telling me something is unfair, it's protecting my vulnerability and sending me a signal that something needs to be looked at within myself. My anger is calling me to action and it's my choice how I react.
So I have decided to use my anger, to harness its energy and pursue a cause. I want to turn my mad-sad into positive action. I am choosing life not death. Not in the sense of physical death, but I am not allowing my anger to consume me or spiral out of control destroying what good I have around me.