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Extraordinary Anger At Imagined Events

by Searching
(San Jose)

What I am telling you will seem crazy, but all of it is true. I have a fancy education, am reasonably well to do, have a very good family life. In short, I should be extremely happy - and I am - most of the time.

Unfortunately, I get what I would call "anger attacks". If you have seen the film "A Beautiful Mind", you will understand what I am talking about. Suddenly, without warning, I get transported in a historical world - US revolution, Arab war, World war 2, etc.

In my imagination, I am grievously injured. Then I take revenge on my perpetrators a 100 or 1000 times over. The problem is, when I get these "anger attacks", I am oblivious to my surroundings, and actually enact the role, till someone taps me and I am pulled out in real life. Then I have still some anger left, and I cry, and I am OK.

I am undergoing therapy. My therapist says it's a form of depression. I am taking anti-depressants. The problem has reduced from 7-8 attacks a day to an attack a week.

I do not take drugs, do not drink, but am a cigarette addict.

Can anyone give me ideas please?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I'm glad you're in therapy, and that your attacks have decreased in frequency. I encourage you to continue following the medical advice you're getting.

I will suggest some things you can do that might help, but I want you to trust your own judgment as to whether these techniques will work for you. Only try them if they feel right for you.

I suggest that you consider that your mind is offering you something useful with these visions you're having. When you receive the "gift" they offer, your symptoms might subside even further. The way to do that is to go consciously into the story when you're not having an attack. Using your imagination and your memory, write out a full account of your visions. This will bring your conscious, rational mind into a part of your experience that has previously been dominated by your subconscious, non-rational, emotional mind.

Just tell the story, and feel free to change it up however you want. You are not a victim to this, and taking charge by telling the story will help you to feel in charge. I don't suggest that you share this with anyone else, unless you feel confident that they will respect your mental process without labeling or judging you.

In addition, I strongly encourage you to use the anger management techniques on this FAQ page, to become more conscious and in control of your anger.

I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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