What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anger Management

I really enjoyed the movie “Anger Management”; but it was just a movie, meant to entertain and make money at the box office. In the real world, anger is complex and destructive, and from where I sit, is one of the most significant negative players in our chaotic world, both at a personal level, and at the international level.
In my early years of practice I had an eighteen year old patient that had made seven or eight attempts at suicide over the previous four years. Her attempts varied from drug overdoses to slashing her wrists. After much consultation with colleagues, she was sent to The Ponoka Mental Institution for psychiatric intervention. After six weeks of treatment she was discharged back to my care and, much to my amazement, never again attempted suicide. On one occasion approximately a year later I asked her if she ever thought of suicide. Her angry response was “I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction”!!
Now I was curious. I telephoned her psychiatrist and asked what had transpired and how he had managed to get her to discontinue her suicide attempts. He responded “Some people have so much anger and so much pathology generating that anger, that there was little or no hope of sorting it all out, so I gave her something to be angry at------me”. “And how did you do that”, I asked? “Simple”, he replied, “I simply humiliated her each time we met”.
That case has always stuck in my mind over the years. Do we all, perhaps, need someone to be angry at? It is certainly less painful to be mad at someone other than yourself or someone you love. Are we actually increasing violence by being “nice” to everyone and not giving them an opportunity to exhibit anger? An article in today’s Herald by Robbie Babins-Wagner, chief executive of the Calgary Counselling Center, speaks of violence simmering just under the surface. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate my spin on this, but is that because with all our political correctness, people are discouraged and prevented from expressing their daily frustrations and displeasures? Until they finally blow?
With these thoughts in mind, I turn to the world stage. Perhaps the United State’s foreign policy is responsible for 9/11. By being successful they continually humiliate the rest of us and that continuous humiliation has directed the world’s anger in their direction. Does that mean that the people in Canada who hate the United States are envious of the U.S. and deep-down, consider themselves losers?
The U.S. certainly has become a “lightning-rod” for hate in the Middle East. Was this a deliberate ploy by the clever Bush administration to prevent the people of the Middle East from killing themselves and their neighbors (as they certainly seem to want to do), by supplying them with someone to hate and direct their anger towards? It certainly would appear that in Iraq, if the various factions aren’t attacking the U.S,, they are killing each other and blowing themselves up. Recently, when Israel and Hamas (Lebanese) stopped killing each other, Hamas and the existing Lebanese government turned against each other. It would seem that we as humans need someone to hate and somewhere to direct our anger, or we become self destructive.
O.K, maybe I’ve gotten a little carried away, but one thing is obvious to me. In today’s world, it is becoming harder and harder to find an acceptable area to express our anger and frustration, and easier and easier to find someone else to blame. The United States seems to have become the world’s “whipping boy” by virtue of their success and that they “humiliate the rest of us”. Perhaps as Canadians we need to take more pride in what we are doing, or do more things of which we can be proud.


Blogger Shannon Munford said...

Anger is one of the sinews of the soul; he that lacks it has a maimed mind.-Thomas Fuller

All anger “ain’t” bad.

Anger is a recognition that we have been hurt or feel threatened. It is a warning signal and a clear indication that something is wrong.

Throughout history great men have used the power of anger to change the world. Anger caused Jesus to chase out the merchants from the temple with a whip. Anger spawned the civil rights movement. It gave birth to a variety of leaders and activists from Cesar Chavez to Martin Luther King.

Anger gives you the ability to protect yourself and those close to you. I encourage you to use your anger productively. Get angry at poverty. Become enraged about world hunger and homelessness. Look around you. What is the condition of your life? Could you stand a change? You can use your anger to change yourself and the world around you.

Shannon Munford
Los Angeles, California

22/3/07 10:17 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Shannon, excellent comment. I agree that, like stress, anger can be good and bad. I tend to use the word "indignation" more when I refer to "good anger". To express good anger and/or indignation, it behooves us to examine a situation and reflect on the virtues of our anger. Unfortunately, our quick fix society finds it easier to find someone to blame and then "vent".

22/3/07 4:23 PM  

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