Anger & Frustration

Two of the emotions you are bound to encounter when dealing with loss or the fallout from an injury are anger and frustration.

STOP Cutting Corners

STOP Cutting Corners!

My daughter came in the house visibly upset,
“I’m so mad, I can’t believe what I just did!”
My wife and I came running as my daughter continued,
“I’m so stupid! … Argh!!”
“Tell us what happened?”, we implored.
She began to cry, “Why did this have to happen to me?” My daughter seethed without indicating what great transgression had taken place. Finally she stated, “I dropped my ipod and the screen shattered!”

Although her ipod was less than 2 weeks old I was somewhat relieved it wasn’t something more serious, I feared for her safety.

Thinking back to my injury I recall coming into the house after my son placed a tourniquet around my wrist. My hand was a mess, but my mind and my mouth were at the exact same stage my daughter in the previous story.

“How could I have been so stupid?”
“I knew it was dangerous, why did I do it?”
“What was I thinking?”
“Why did this happen?”

Likely you have had the opportunity to say some of these statements in succession. It’s all part of a bad story we tell ourselves when we do something that we know we shouldn’t have done. Something … Preventable. Recognizing it was preventable doesn’t mean it magically goes away it just means that we aren’t helpless to the circumstances that caused the problem. It means we can put precautions in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. There are still consequences, my daughter’s ipod screen was still shattered and so was my hand.

After my injury I remember being impatient and telling my wife that we couldn’t wait for the Ambulance we just have to get to the hospital. The “First Responders” to my injury was Regina Fire & Protective Services and they arrived on the scene within minutes. I recall hearing the siren, then seeing the flashing lights, then seeing the fire truck parked on the street. As they came up the walk I was still continuing my negative stories in my head, thinking of what all my neighbours must be thinking. When the firefighters came to the door I was sitting slumped against the wall in the entryway to avoid passing out.

The fireman said “So who’s got the injury here?”
I kind of raised my hands and said, “That would be this idiot here”.
He said, “How are you feeling sir?”
My reply was almost boisterous, “Really stupid!”
I began to bang my head on the wall behind me. “I just want to bash my head right through this wall”.
His calming reply, “That wouldn’t be a good idea sir, that would just give us another injury to tend to. Really sir, how are you feeling?”
“I’ve been better.” Then he offered me an oxygen mask and it felt like I breathed for the first time.

The anger and frustration didn’t disappear immediately, but the fireman’s response brought my head back to a positive space. Anger and Frustration are natural emotions after we have endured a loss. They are part of the grieving process and it’s alright to have the feelings we just can’t dwell on them. It is important to be honest with yourself, but talking out these feelings by calling yourself down is more destructive than beneficial.

We need to keep our actions in check rather than letting them run free expressing our anger or frustration. Fortunately, I was surrounded by loving family and friends who helped me work through some of these issues. Have you experienced a loss? Are you in a low spot right now? Are you acting out your anger or frustration? Be open and honest with yourself, take responsibility over what you can change and enlist some family and friends to help you work through some of these negative emotions. Over time one of the things I realized was that I needed to forgive myself for what happened so the emotional healing could begin.

People who blame others for their failures never overcome them … you must continually improve yourself, and you can’t do that if you don’t take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes. – John C Maxwell

I’m not meaning to say that you can’t be angry, but try to use that anger in a positive way and investigate the cause of the incident. Some people may have told you “Don’t worry about it, accidents happen”, don’t fall for that trap. There was likely something that could’ve been done to prevent it. Take time to analyze what caused the incident and ensure you do something to prevent it from happening again to you or someone else and resolve to STOP Cutting Corners!

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