The Book of Rage is something I developed to help me manage my overtaking, all encompassing, sometimes mortally threatening, irrational action fueling, always impeding negative thoughts & moods.
What you will need:
- A notebook or sketchbook
- A writing utensil
- Mood stickers
- Markers and crayons
Page One: The Mission Statement (of sorts)
Page One is where you introduce yourself to yourself, but also make a promise to yourself to heal. Page One should set the tone and inspire YOU whenever you read it.
My page one goes something like:
“Hello. My name is X, but I’ve never truly associated myself with that name and have a barrage of preferred nicknames. Here are a few of them: (list of nicknames)”
“At the time of this entry I am X years old. I have BPD.”
“In this journal I will attempt to chronicle my extreme emotions, work through them, and develop a coping mechanism to retrain my thinking patterns.”
This next part of page one is very important. Please do not disregard including this next part. I have found it to be very grounding while coming up out of a serious down. Note that while I am in the serious down, this next line doesn’t help, but after I’ve worked through the bulk of the emotion, this next sentence brings me to tears with hope for myself.
“I will heal. It will be ok. I will love myself”
That was my Page One. Yours may be different, longer, shorter. It may take up two pages, three pages, half a page. The importance is in the components, which are:
- Solidify a sense of self, which I have done by including all my pseudonyms through the years in one list as well as including my diagnosis (which, since obtaining, has set me free to explore healing options)
- Set a goal for the book, and get into the thinking pattern that this book is a good coping mechanism, if not a necessity, for your process in better understanding and managing yourself
- Realize that improvement is possible, your feelings and emotions are valid, and that the future is bright.
About the Rage Page
Now to get into what the bulk of this book will be: Rage Pages. A rage page is exactly what it sounds like, a page filled with your rage. Raging mindlessly and into the abyss of your notebook is better than raging into the real world and doing something irrational, most will agree.
The Rage Pages have such a larger purpose, though. Not only are they a space to release your negative thoughts and feelings in a fiery spiel of “fuck it all”, but they are a space to pull yourself back together and analyze your emotions.
Over time, your rage pages will outline a map of that part of you. Your triggers will surface and you will be able to identify them. Your worst “times of day” or “states of mind” will start to make sense. Your irrational thought patterns and emotions will begin to be able to be understood by you, and that’s important.
That’s what this book is all about: self learning, self understanding, self love, and healthy release of those destructive thoughts and emotions.
So, when you’re feeling exceptionally emotional in any way and are having trouble controlling your emotions or actions, turn to a new rage page and have at.
Rage Page Formula
Date: The date, fill this in later if you don’t know. Be sure to fill this in, as the dates are how you track your progress and growth.
Time: Don’t feel the need to get too specific, or get as specific as you want. “Just woke up” “after lunch” “6:32pm on a Wednesday” “sunset” are all perfectly ok! Everyone perceives time a bit different.
State of Mind: List every emotion you are currently feeling, or describe your current state of mind.
Intensity of Emotion: Feel free to develop your own actual scale, and be sure to include “numbness”. I, personally, will sometimes become so negatively emotional I become numb. The emotions are still present in a way, but I am numb to the world. I also don’t have a scale, and some of my entries are “Over 9000″ or “Like Six but Building”. As long as you know what you’re talking about, whatever you put here is a-ok
What Happened: Here’s where you let it ALL out. Scribble. Write sloppily. Write what happened. Write everything that lead up to those emotions, write anything anyone did to you-or what you did to them. Use no censors and just go ham, let it all out. Take up six pages with “FUCKIN’ MC FUCK FUCK” if you need to, in all caps, in your worst handwriting. It’s your rage page(s) and you keep letting it out until you calm down.
Not calm yet? Scribble circles. So upset you only can write one sentence? That’s ok. Too numb to do anything but write super analytically? Go ham. Would prefer to draw a comic or express yourself through a drawing? DO IT! Even if you need to talk about what a piece of shit you are (you’re not a piece of shit btw), do that. Write “I Suck” 40 times and draw a sad llama.
- The point of this is to regulate yourself and your current emotion to where that emotion or mental state is not fueling your actions. Whatever you need to do with that ink to express yourself and calm down, you do just that.
DO NOT MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP UNTIL YOU ARE CALMED DOWN.
IF YOU ARE STILL THINKING/FEELING STRONG EMOTIONS & CONTEMPLATING IRRATIONAL BEHAVIORS, CONTINUE RAGING. DOODLE. SCRIBBLE. COLOR THE WHOLE PAGE IN BLACK. PLAY DOTS WITH YOURSELF. LITERALLY ANYTHING.
Emotion Analysis: Remember back when we listed every emotion we were currently feeling, or described our current state of mind? Now we’re going to go deeper into them, and figure out why or what triggered those feelings. List out all of the emotions as a bullet points. Next to each emotion, write out why you are/were feeling that, what triggered the emotion, and if you can identify the thought process leading up to that emotion, do so.
Over time, you will begin to see correlations between what happened, your emotions, what triggered them, and how you reacted. Your head-space should be clearer than it was at the beginning of this page, and you should be able to at least semi-rationally identify causation.
Conclusion / Solution / Next Step: You’ve raged. You’ve ranted. You’ve let it all out, and you’ve identified the causes of your emotions to your best ability. By this point, you should be pretty calm and thinking rationally, maybe even beating yourself up. Stop beating yourself up if that’s what you’re doing. Now, we focus on what we are going to do with the information we have learned.
Your conclusion / solution / next step should include anything you’ve learned from the experience (so long as it is not self deprecating), such as needing to take a deep breath and not respond immediately next time someone says that thing, or knowing that you just can’t drink with certain people, or avoiding a location, or eating before doing the thing.
It should also include any solutions you have come up with (so long as it’s not harmful to yourself and others) such as apologizing, talking rationally with someone who upset you, getting ice cream, writing a strongly worded but respectful letter.
The third and arguably most important thing is to highlight your next step, which could be a combination of your conclusion & solution, or something else all together. A next step could simply be what you are going to do next, which is vital to outline if you are feeling numb or feel as if you are shutting down or disassociating. Here is where you will give yourself a task to execute, and follow through, even if it’s to make tea and read the next chapter in your Harry Potter book.
Example of a Rage Page
Some things have been altered/cut short
Time: Like 1:30 pm or SOMETHING
State of Mind: Stressed, Alone, Abandoned, Hopeless
What Happened: I was at the doctors and had to hit the “fuckyou” button on my friend, because no calls allowed, and he started acting like he wasn’t important, and I got really, really mad. I sent a lot of angry texts.
- Stressed: I had coffee, life activities like the doctor make me on edge
- Alone: Having nobody to call when me and my one friend get into an argument, going to the doctors all by myself, not having any family living near for support
- Abandoned: Unsure footing in current relationship, nobody to talk to when my one friend is mad at me
- Hopeless: No help for me. No sure footing in relationship. Nobody to talk to, really.
Conclusion: I was triggered by having my feelings and thoughts assumed, and by the construed perception that my health priorities come secondary to anyone else’s needs.
Solution: It was miscommunication.
Next Step: Apologize for the barrage of texts I sent when mad (before I caught myself), work on not getting so mad in the future.
BUT WAIT WHAT ABOUT THOSE OPTIONAL MATERIALS
If you’ve gotten Velcro, wrap your writing utensil in one bit (I recommend the softer bit) and put the other bit on your notebook. Alternatively, glue the ribbon to both your book and the pen. Now your pen won’t go missing!
If you’ve gotten the ribbon and don’t want to use it to connect your pen, glue the ribbon around your notebook with the ends hanging over where it opens. Now you can tie the notebook shut to “trap the rage”- or to simply keep it shut. I bring mine everywhere and sometimes it flops open, so I’ll probably be doing this soon.
Decorations – decorate the cover and make it yours.
Mood Stickers: Use mood stickers to express your emotions, if you can’t find the words
Markers and Crayons: To express yourself with, or to decorate your book with
I hope this helps someone! I got the idea from these anger management worksheets I had to do when in Anger Management some almost ten years ago.