I am annoyed by everyone and everything.
June 30, 2014 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I just googled "I am annoyed by everyone and everything" if that's any indication of my current mood. How do I change it?

I am generally a glass-half-full kind of person. Cheerful, enthusiastic, always see the good in everyone and everything easily and effortlessly. But something has changed and I don't know how to change it back.

Likely causes: I am 7.5 months pregnant and I'm not sleeping well. Work is very stressful right now and I'm working long hours. I have some unresolved problems with extended family.

The work and family stress will take time to sort out. In the meantime, what can I do in the short-term to treat others with respect and patience? I am not doing a good job of hiding my irritation.

And then, of course, what can I do in the long-term to get back to my easygoing self? It's very hard to move through the world like this!
posted by valeries to Human Relations (17 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
When's the last time you took a day off? Schedule a day to do something nice for yourself: spa day, mani-pedi, read a novel on the beach, whatever makes you happy. It may restore your sense of empathy for others. Do it during the week when no one can disrupt you.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 11:37 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

It sounds like it's not practical right now, but I'd think that ideally; be away from people for a few days. Be on your own, doing what you feel like doing.
Since you can't do that, rearrange things to make bigger spaces of you-time where you can, so you're more rested and ready to deal with people, and hopefully you'll get back some of your duck's back (that their stresses will flow off like water, not getting you wet).
posted by anonymisc at 11:38 AM on June 30, 2014

Being in nature helps me when I get like this (and it happens not infrequently, and I don't have as good an excuse as yours).

The important thing is to short circuit your brain from the rumination pattern of how annoying everyone and everything is. Going for a long walk while I grind my teeth and replay stupid interactions with stupid people in my mind does not help. Going for a long walk and listening to an episode of This American Life while I look at the pretty flowers does help.
posted by telegraph at 11:41 AM on June 30, 2014

I get in funks like this occasionally, and I hate it. I don't like being grouchy and sour!

What works for me:

* Acknowledging (to myself, and to close friends/people I trust) that I am In A Funk. For some reason this helps me restructure my thinking.

* Reminding myself that everyone is "the hero of their own story" - that is, that person who is annoying me is living their own life, in which I play only a tiny role, and that I don't know anything about what they're going through or what they've been through. We're all the center of our own narrative, you know? This helps me be less irritated at the small stuff.

* Exercising and spending more time outdoors - fresh air really does me wonders, and exercise helps me release my frustration in a healthy way. As an added bonus, exercise helps me sleep, too. I know you're busy, but if you can squeeze in either or both of these things, I think it will really help. When I find myself in Mean Mode, I try to take a quick walk, grab a cup of tea, and chill out for a few minutes before returning to work.

* This is corny and YMMV, but I have a few Favorite Photographs of people and things I love. I keep a couple at my desk at work and still more on my phone. They are a great quick remedy to help me remember that life is pretty damn good, despite the annoyances.

Good luck!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 11:42 AM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

All of these are good suggestions, but definitely talk to your doctor because it sounds like you might have mild antenatal depression (which can be a precursor to postpartum depression); so it's something to take seriously and note any changes in your mood.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 11:46 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I find my ability to cope with stress is directly in proportion to the amount of sleep I've had, so perhaps an afternoon nap, a few early nights or a couple of long lie ins might be good?
posted by Middlemarch at 11:50 AM on June 30, 2014

Lack of sleep will do that to anyone.

Step one: give yourself a break. Everyone -and especially pregnant women - are allowed a certain degree of crabbiness every once in awhile.

Step two: as others have said: plan some relaxing leisure time for yourself. Your well-being is a priority.

And remember: it will pass.
posted by Milau at 11:52 AM on June 30, 2014

Likely causes: I am 7.5 months pregnant and I'm not sleeping well

Ding ding ding! Are you able to avail yourself of a sleep aid? I take half a Unisom some nights and sleep like a rock, waking up bright and cheery.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:07 PM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

More sleep will definitely help. Hang in there.
posted by Specklet at 12:08 PM on June 30, 2014

When I feel this way I like to listen to Black And White Jingle #1 by Imani Coppola:

Sometimes life may feel like it's sucking you up
But it's not, it may be just you sucking

Sometimes life may feel just like you're losing the race
But you're not, you're just letting everyone else win

Sometimes it feels like everyone's being a dick
But they're not, it's just you being a dick to everyone

Somedays it seems like nothing works right
But its fine, you're probably using it wrong

You wanna change the world, you better start with yourself
Charity starts at home in the skin you're in

I'm not sayin' you should go and change your face
But if it bothers you that much you should get a nose job

I'm talking about what lies beneath the black and white
There's a mass of gray, it is called your brain

Do the math or hire someone to do the books
But you're the one gotta pay the taxes

All the colors in between birth and death
Are in your head, so you should stop bleaching your teeth

So take a look at what you thought was black and white
And you will see that there was nothing there at all
posted by girlmightlive at 12:38 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am not trying to be snarky when I say that long term, the best cure for this is probably giving birth. Short term, do whatever you need to in order to get some sleep, even if that means removing your bed partner from your mutual bed or spending a night alone in a hotel room or napping in a tub of water. Or, you know, Unisom.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:49 PM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sounds like you have a good grip on what the problems are. Many of these things individually (work, pregnancy sleep) would make me irritable so you have the trifecta and that sounds annoying. It seems like many of these things are short-term so right now you should focus on

- making sure none of them get worse (people have given you good advice for self-care)
- making sure you're keeping cool with those closest to you and also letting them know you know this is an aberration and that you could use their supper/understanding
- presuming you have a partner, seeing if you can get them to run interference with extended family and/or making sure you are on the same page about that stuff

When I am in my "fuck everyone" moods I mostly try to keep away from people as if I have a contagious disease. Sometimes that doesn't work so other tactics are

- presuming I am in one of those sit-coms where everyone is a jerk to me and being somewhat amused that my life is so (temporarily) terrible
- exhausting exercise if I can do it
- give people the secret finger (beneath my car window where they can't see it) and work on killing them with my mind (it takes practice! right now my mind-death-ray works but it takes like 35 years) as a way of indulging your own crappy mood without making it into someone else's problem

People suggest mindfulness, being able to realize that you're having a bad feeling without it compelling you to have to DO anything about that and I find that helpful. You're incubating a whole other person, that's a lot of work, physically and psychically, and you're doing the best you can. Try to get some rest, connect with your partner or friends (maybe find a friend to confide in so you can bitch about family without talking TO family) and eat things that keep your mood up. Maybe make a big calendar that counts the days and have a big day-crossing-off ceremony each day. You can get through this.
posted by jessamyn at 1:16 PM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

I agree with above posters that getting sleep does seem key to helping your mood but would like also to note that Unasom -- while "not expected to be harmful" to fetus -- is FDA category B, not category A (Category B = "Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women") and pharma websites note about it: Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

Also after birth, may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Antihistamines may also slow breast milk production. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

So perhaps try the other sleep suggestions (dark, solo, massage, etc). This is a good time to learn sleep tricks, as having a newborn is also going to be sleep challenging...
Good luck! It gets easier.
posted by third rail at 1:50 PM on June 30, 2014

Hello, fellow cranky pregnant person! I know that mood well. Here are the things that have helped me:

- Physical activity is the best thing to instantly decrankify me and helps me sleep. However, it's getting pretty hard to do at this point, and if you're not already active it'll be hard to start now. But there's still stuff you can do: go for a walk, do a prenatal yoga video, get on the recumbent bike if you have access to a gym, swim if you can get to a pool, shadow box for a couple minutes. If exercise is absolutely not in the cards, sometimes a change in venue or a new activity can shake you out of a funk.

- Prioritize your health over your job, especially now. Start winding down now. Delegate whatever you can. Take breaks. Leave at a normal time. Unless you're returning to work the day after you give birth, they're going to have to learn to get by without you anyway. Besides, it's better for you to slow down now than to get physically or mentally overwhelmed and have to take a few sick days or end up quitting in a huff. Tell whoever you're working with that you've got to ease up for your health; bring a note from your doctor or midwife if you have to. Be apologetic, but don't be sorry.

- Practice waiting a beat before responding to anything. When I'm in an easily-annoyed mood, the feeling of being interrupted nearly always irritates me more than whatever the interruption is actually about. Especially when I'm exhausted. Give yourself a couple seconds for the initial irritation to wear off, and then answer.

- How's the temperature in your bedroom? If you have air conditioning, crank it; if not, get a fan or take a cool shower before going to bed. If your room gets a lot of light and you've been waking up early, try wearing a sleep mask. Get some extra pillows and prop yourself up in whatever position feels best. And it wouldn't hurt to ask about allowed/recommended sleep aids at your next prenatal appointment.

- Do not feel bad about pulling the pregnant card when you have to: ask for help, start saying no, eat a bunch of ice cream if that's what your heart wants. And that includes pulling the pregnant card on yourself: allow yourself to crash from time to time, or to be pissed at the world for a couple hours.

- If you can't pull off cheerful and optimistic, the next best thing is sometimes a detached "fuck it" attitude. Not angry or defeated or dismissive, but cool and unflappable with a little bit of swagger. Some mornings I'll walk into the office listening to Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta like in Office Space, and it really truly does help.

- Give yourself credit. Pregnancy, especially going through the third trimester in the summer, turns up the difficulty mode on everything. Some days just being upright and conscious is enough of a challenge. Celebrate the tiniest victories. When you do feel the bad mood lift, bask in it. Give yourself some positive self-talk for both your achievements and your efforts, however minor.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:20 PM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

How's your mattress? Maybe it's time for a new one? When I was pregnant and weighed approximately as much as a water buffalo, a new mattress saved my sanity. You don't realize how much a good mattress does for your sleep until you're in the phase of pregnancy where you are kind of stuck in one position because rolling over is a tremendous effort.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:06 PM on June 30, 2014

Pregnant in the summer, what were you thinking?.....sorry, I said that a lot when I was pregnant in the summer. I am with young rope rider.....and tell the folks at work you need some time to rest, play the pregnancy card as much as you want, and get some sleep or rest at least. It will be okay if you say you are sick and just stay home and do nothing.

AND in the event that is not practical at least find someplace where there is no noise, nor stimulation for at least 30 minutes and close your eyes.....
posted by OhSusannah at 5:41 PM on June 30, 2014

Prioritise it.

Most people will forgive you for being slightly cranky pants when you're pregnant. It happens. Try and reign it in, but, it's forgivable.

Start planning for in 1.5 months though, like it's a war. Maybe you'll find it easier to sleep, or maybe you'll be woken up by a newborn continuously. A very common reaction to being a sleep deprived and stressed new parent is to make yourself even more sleep deprived.

The common crazy pants one is "Oh god, I just want to put my baby down and sleep - wait, O want to sleep more than hold my baby? Maybe that means I don't love my baby? I must NEVER EVER put the baby down and reveal these thoughts!".
Don't try and imagine just how badly that goes down.

Anyway, make sure you get all the sleep you can. Enlist all the help you can.
For my sister, I went over one night a week for the first year (from 2 weeks on), and for every night time waking for that single night a week, I changed him, soothed him, and gave him a bottle (sometimes expressed - he was a healthy feeder and didn't mind switching between breast and bottle, but you can't do this with every baby), or sometimes just attached him onto my sister while she basically slept.
It was one, mostly solid nights sleep a week. Later she used it to socialise, but it was the sleep that made that year not horrible.

Oh, and if family want to come over ask to 'do something' (they actually just want to hold the baby, but, yaaaay, that usually doesn't make your life better than not having a visitor would), so, housework is legit. It's things you won't have to do later, so you can sleep when the baby is sleeping.
posted by Elysum at 11:02 PM on June 30, 2014

« Older Help me think through getting my very first credit...   |   Instead of giving you money, I'll buy food, drinks... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.