When you or someone you love suffers an illness or injury due to the use of a medication or device that was supposed to make you well, you are going to experience a wide range of difficult emotions — starting with anger.

You will be angry at the injustice of your situation. You will feel rage toward the companies who developed the products and the doctors who prescribed it. Mostly you will be angry about how your lives have changed.

What if this injury is something from which recovery will not possible? And what if the company that manufactured it knew that their product had the potential to cause harm to a significant number of people and continued to market and sell it anyhow?

Will it ever be possible for you to come to a place of peace and stop feeling angry?

Three Positive Steps You Can Take to Manage Anger

Nothing will ever make this situation acceptable, but there are some positive things you can do to make it more manageable:

  • The first step is to ACKNOWLEDGE your anger. Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper or go to your computer and write about what has happened. Describe how you and your care receiver have been affected. List the impact of the treatment, how your life has changed, and what you expect is likely to happen in the future. The act of writing won’t restore a person’s health or dispel your anger, but it can bring clarity to the situation and it could help you begin to focus on what you will need to do going forward.
  • ACCEPT that you are coping with a situation that is complicated and extremely difficult to manage. Bad things have happened that you can’t change. Your loved one’s life is different now, which means that your life will never be the same. This may be the most difficult challenge you will ever face.
  • Turn your anger into ACTION! Once you identify the problem and describe how it is affecting your life, do a little research. Maybe your bad experience with a drug or device is a fluke, an unfortunate mistake, or just bad luck. If that’s the case, determine what steps can be taken to make things more manageable for you and your care receiver. If, however, what happened to you is happening to other people, find out what they are doing to recover or cope with their illness or injury. Are there procedures that can reverse the effects and restore a person’s health? If not, how are people getting the medical care, the equipment, the caregiver support, and the financial resources they will need to go forward?

Let Your Anger Work for You Instead of Against You

I saw a greeting card recently that said, “You have my permission to deck the next person who says, ‘Everything happens for a reason.’” I love that card, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment!

However, I do think that sometimes things happen for the wrong reason. If a company is aware that their product is likely to harm a lot of people, I think we have to ask what reason they offer for continuing to manufacture and sell it. If they decided profit was more important than the well-being of the people who used their products, then I think it makes sense to turn anger into action and hold them accountable.

Anger against injustice and wrongdoing can be a powerful force for change.  So don’t apologize for getting mad. Use it to give you the strength and conviction you will need to stand up for yourself and your care receiver. It could help you get the medical care, the equipment, the caregiver support, and the financial resources you’re going to need to live as normal a life as possible. It might even help prevent other people from having an experience similar to yours.