I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia,
I actually felt relief," shares Cindy.
"I had been trying to find a reason
for my pain and it finally was acknowledged
as being something physical not mental."
Cindy goes on to explain, "It wasn't
until months later that I started getting
short-tempered and frustrated and I realized
that I was angry about the diagnosis.
I was angry that I had to suffer and no
well-known doctor in Switzerland, Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross, wrote a book that has changed
perspective on how people deal with grief
for any kind of loss. This book, called
"On Death and Dying," shows
how she recognized a cycle of emotional
stages that now is commonly referred to
as the cycle of grief. Anger is the third
stage of the cycle, following the stage
of shock and denial.
we are diagnosed with an illness, feeling
anger is the most natural reaction. Realizing
our dreams may be out of our control now
that our body is redefining what is "normal"
for us, can be devastating.
is my observation," says Linda
Noble Topf, author of You are Not
Your Illness, "that the absence
of anger in the face of a serious
illness suggests that we have already
withdrawn from life, that we have
relinquished our passion for living,
that we are resigned and emotionally
these feelings and dealing with them is
part of the mourning process. We all need
to go through this process, and it comes
at different times for each individual
and at different levels at each stage
of the illness. Ironically, the first
year of diagnosis may even be easier than
the third year.
Krista, who lives with chronic fatigue
syndrome, "I know that my anger stages
come and go. I have been angry at doctors,
at God, myself, my church, even my husband
and daughter and other family members."
thing is certain: anger should come. If
it has not, you may want to take a closer
look at why.
is my observation," says Linda Noble
Topf, author of "You are Not Your
Illness", "that the absence
of anger in the face of a serious illness
suggests that we have already withdrawn
from life, that we have relinquished our
passion for living, that we are resigned
and emotionally numb."
can be seen as something shameful to express,
especially if you are a Christian, who
has been told that angry emotions are
not excused or even "allowed."
You may experience some of these feelings:
If I truly have faith in God and trust
that He knows best, than I shouldn't
get angry about my circumstances. Doesn't
anger signify a lack of faith?
I reveal to other Christians that I
am angry about my situation, won't they
think I am weak in my walk with God?
I know it says, "wise men shouldn't
anger" in the Bible. How can I,
in good faith, express the emotions
that I am feeling?
I know that anger leads to bitterness.
So if I don't acknowledge these feelings
I will be a "better Christian"
and I won't ever become bitter about
feelings are not unusual, yet, they prevent
us from coping with the grief that we
are experiencing by the loss of our health
are a few tips to guide you in dealing
If you are angry, acknowledge that these
feelings exist. Then get on with life!
bury these emotions, believing that it
will make you a stronger person. Topf
recommends "think of anger as a resource
that you can learn to harness and refine
for your own benefit." Being able
to address your feelings of anger will
help you reclaim your personal identity.
Don't try to fake it through life on false
Bible explains how Job got angry about
the events in his life and cursed the
day of his birth. He said, "Do I
have any power to help myself, now that
success has been driven from me?"
(Job 6:13). In the end though, God blessed
Job in many ways and Job told the Lord,
"Surely I spoke of things I did not
understand, things too wonderful to know"
(Job 42:3b). Through his feelings of anger
and frustration, character and understanding
It is all right to have angry feelings.
gave us the ability to feel anger. There
are many examples in the Bible where even
He feels anger. What does the Bible tell
us about anger? Once you begin to get
in touch with these feelings of anger,
it may trigger every unfairness and injustice
that you are experiencing. We are susceptible
to becoming wrapped up in these feelings
and remaining angry at the world. These
are the feelings of anger that God warns
us about; as He knows that they can become
too prominent in our life and take our
focus off of Him.
man's anger does not bring about the
righteous life that God desires"
men turn away anger" (Proverbs
fool gives full vent to his anger, but
a wise man keeps himself under control"
knows that although anger is a natural
human emotion, it should not be our lifestyle.
Some people may argue that it takes anger
to get things accomplished. One example
of this is the emotional name of Mothers
against Drunk Drivers which have a seemingly
appropriate acronym called "MADD."
"We discover that anger is first
and foremost demand for change,"
writes Topf. Great things have happened
in our history, because of the "I'm-not-going-to-take-it
anymore-attitude," but it's not how
God calls us to live our entire life.
Amos 1:11, God says, "I will not
turn back my wrath... because his anger
raged continually." God isn't upset
because of the presence of anger, but
because the anger was continuous. God
calls us to put our focus on Him and try
to make a difference that will bring glory
Walk with God and He will walk with you
through your anger.
experienced this and wrote, "Though
I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve
my life; you stretch out your hand against
the anger of my foes, with your right
hand you save me." (Psalm 138:7).
God is there when you need to feel angry
and he wants to stretch out His hand against
your anger and protect you.
still dealing with anger toward this illness,
after two years diagnosed, and eight years
of being sick," shares Peggy, who
lives with fibromyalgia. "Each time
a new realization hits me about my limitations,
I experience anger. And yet, I know that
God has a plan for my life that is perfect.
I still battle the angry feelings, which
rage inside, every time I have to say
no to something I would like to do. I
pray and expect His perfect grace and
that He will become slow to anger, counting
on the scripture, 'The Lord is compassionate
and gracious, slow to anger, abounding
in love'" (Psalm 103:8).
will all face the emotion of anger for
the rest of our lives. Some of the most
basic advice to cope with it is that which
is in a scripture that I refer in my book,
"Why Can't I Make People Understand?
Discovering the Validation Those with
Chronic Illness Seek and Why" where
I walk through the emotions of anger and
bitterness we deal with in regards to
our illness. In Hosea 7:13b-14 God says,
"I long to redeem [you] but. . .
[you] do not cry out to Me from [your]
hearts, but wait upon [your] beds."
Don't flop down on your bed and wail "Why
me?" Instead pour out your heart
to the Lord and wholly ask Him for help.
a free download of 200 ways to reach out to
someone who is hurting from Beyond
Caseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically
Ill Friend when you sign up for hopenotes,
a monthly ezine. Author of this article, Lisa
Copen is also the founder of Rest
Ministries and National
Invisible Illness Awareness Week.