Let’s cut to the chase. I’ve noticed that I am irritable and in a bad mood almost all of the time. It’s not a result of quarantine or anything, though I’ve come to really notice it over the last year, since we all had time to sit back and think about things while working from home. But I feel like I’m just pissed off all of the time, and it’s getting hard to ignore. I don’t enjoy anything anymore, and work least of all! As soon as I wake up, I’m checking tons of emails from the night before, and it doesn’t stop once I’m at work. Going out and partying hasn’t been an option for me (or anyone with a brain) for a year now, but the few times I’ve gone to a brewery or something during quarantine, I’m just disgusted with the carelessness of others. I tend to assume the worst of people, and that doesn’t make meeting new people easy at all. (Yeah, I’m single.)
I’m getting tired of being mad all the time. I can’t ignore it or act like everyone’s just being awful to me and me alone. It’s not them, it’s me! I know you’re gonna recommend therapy, and I’m already doing some research, but what else can a default-unhappy person do to get out of this rut? Thanks!
Permanently Pissed Off
What’s up PPO,
Whew, chile, can I relate to being in a permanent bad mood! Anger and disappointment were certainly my baseline emotions for a big part of my youth, but I lacked the introspection that shines out of you. I also lived a lifestyle that rewarded aggression and anger and hating people for no reason, and for a long time, I couldn’t get enough distance from my scene to see how social pressure was making me a shitty person. Don’t get me wrong—it’s completely my choice and my fault if I’m being a jerk or hating things for no reason, but it’s much easier not to examine that behavior if I’m surrounded by people who think I’m cool for being mean.
But that’s not what you’re going through. Perhaps the daily pressures of work are piling up on you in a way that has that frustration bleeding into your home life, or maybe it’s undiagnosed depression that’s been activated by a full year of COVID-19 restrictions. You’re damn right I’d recommend a therapist, and I am super-impressed with you getting that ball rolling on your own. It can take a while to start seeing results from regular talk therapy (I started with weekly sessions and am now bi-weekly), so I definitely recommend taking some steps to get happy in the short-term.
The first thing you need to do is delete your work-mail app from your personal phone. If it’s a Gmail inbox, then unsync it from your mobile devices. I understand the tendency to check work emails at home, but they’re impossible to ignore if you’re getting notifications while you’re still in bed, and no workplace can argue against a worker not working during time off. Think of it this way: When you answer work emails in bed before your workday has even started, you are working for free. Ask any HR professional if it’s acceptable for someone to be working from home for free, and any good one will say no. You’re within your rights to only work during your work hours, and you don’t have to discuss that with anyone. Delete that app, unsync that inbox and go on your merry way.
Also, I recommend you think of yourself more. Assumptions are empty and pointless and you’re right that they create an unneeded barrier to knowing others. Just ask questions instead. There is no benefit to you when you go to a brewery and scowl at the other patrons. You get nothing from judging others—well, maybe an ego boost, but you can get that by just remembering what’s great about yourself and loving it. Remember that you control your reality, your body, and your fears and desires, and you can choose to avoid unmasked people or folks with stupid opinions. Just don’t talk to them.
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