I went to lunch with a new acquaintance yesterday, and as I unloaded the wheelchair, he asked, “How long have you had this affliction?” (He’s 75, I forgive the phrasing.) I told him a little about my disease, and he said, “But you’re not angry,” in a wondering tone.
I paused for a minute, because, no, I’m not angry when about to have lunch with someone I’ve been looking forward to getting to know better, then said that yes, I am angry, but sustaining a lot of anger all the time consumes a tremendous amount of energy, energy I can’t afford to put there.
The current issue of Inside MS has an article about managing anger. I like the distinction Dr. Schiffer draws between existential anger and instrumental anger. Many of the solutions provided in the article for managing anger are good; I would have liked to see a recommendation for channelling your instrumental anger into disability advocacy. I think some instrumental anger, especially that roused by the barriers society puts in our way, is a very righteous anger and should be nourished and put to use.