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24 November 2009

Almost every afternoon around 3:30 or 4:30... [More:]I get really grouchy and pissed. I can mostly control my emotions, or if I think I can't I remove myself and hide in the bathroom or go outside.

It's really weird. I'm positive it's not hunger since I nibble all day.
*looks around nervously*

So, uh... what time is it now?
posted by taz 24 November | 17:52
It must be around 6pm there where she is. . .whew!
posted by danf 24 November | 17:55
Faster, LoriFLA, Kill, Kill!!!
posted by Lipstick Thespian 24 November | 17:57
Damn, LT, where is the [+] button when I need it?
posted by CitrusFreak12 24 November | 18:16
It's naptime.
posted by Riverine 24 November | 19:02
Do you drink a bunch of coffee in the morning?
posted by Hugh Janus 24 November | 19:10
If not, maybe she should!
posted by Doohickie 24 November | 19:57
What Hugh said. And just because you nibble all day doesn't mean you're not hungry.
posted by deborah 24 November | 20:34
Ack, posted too soon.

Hunger may not show up as hunger pangs. It took me a while to figure it out, but for the last year or two a lot of the time I feel nauseated if I'm hungry. I usually get cranky and snappy at the same time, sometimes even without the nausea or hunger pangs.
posted by deborah 24 November | 20:37
Isn't that when the kiddies come home?
posted by Pips 24 November | 20:55
Yeah, I do have 2-3 cups of coffee in the morning.

I'm probably feeling the stress of having to cook dinner, help the kids practice piano, and other responsibilities. It's also the time where I go over the accomplishments of the day and if I have done little it overwhelms me and I feel guilty. The kids get home at 2. I'm usually good for a couple hours until I start to snap. :-) At dinner, and for the rest of the evening, I am fine.
posted by LoriFLA 24 November | 21:53
I was just gonna say, back when I drank a lot of coffee (I scaled way back a while ago) I would feel exactly the way you describe, in the same part of the afternoon. Cutting back on coffee is easy: if you drink just a half cup less each day until you're only having one cup, you won't get the headaches and mental thickness associated with quitting cold turkey. And you definitely won't miss flipping your wig every afternoon or grinding your teeth at night.
posted by Hugh Janus 24 November | 22:24
Whoa, 2-3 cups is NOT a lot of coffee, though.

It sounds like your day kind of bottlenecks right there, what with dinner, kids coming home, and your own personal assessment of the day.

Maybe you need to try to stop looking at each day as a little race to the finish line. Deadline pressure is the worst, and you're imposing a deadline on yourself every day. It sounds hokey, but try to stop thinking of every sundown as a deadline, and think of your day more in the long-term flow of events that are going on in your life. That may help you avoid stressing over what the clock says, even though yeah, the kids still gotta eat before bedtime :).
posted by BoringPostcards 24 November | 22:44

Whether you think 2-3 cups of coffee is a lot or NOT, the frustrating loss of emotional control can often be mitigated by drinking less of it. What deborah said about hunger is also, in my experience, a possible contributing factor.

I'm pretty obviously trying to help here, not trying to make anyone feel bad or judged on how much coffee they drink, so please can your "whoas," BoPo. I agree with you, there may be ways to rewire one's perspective on the day, and coming up with ways to relieve self-imposed mental pressure is an excellent piece of advice.

But less caffeine and more late-afternoon attention to whether you might be running out of fuel (by that I mean food and not coffee) may help with the perspective change.

Good luck, LoriFLA. I hope you can figure out a way to make it work; I know how bad it can feel to be debilitatingly grouchy for no apparent reason.
posted by Hugh Janus 25 November | 00:07
I think it really depends on one's caffeine tolerance. I had to give up even a small mug of coffee in the mornings, because it turned me into an anxious, insecure mess in the evenings. In the past, I'd been able to drink a fair amount of (strong!) coffee, and I know other people drink a lot more than that and are fine.

But it was interesting to me to see how much my insecurity abated when I dropped the caffeine, because that wasn't a connection I had been making.
posted by occhiblu 25 November | 00:38
I'd also guess that it's a small sugar crash because that's about the time every day that I feel I need a nap at my desk, and your symptoms are exactly how I am when I haven't eaten enough.
posted by rhapsodie 25 November | 01:10
Occhiblu, what you pointed out is really interesting, and I think I get the same thing. I am certainly less scattered when I don't have coffee, and I sleep much more soundly at night

Adding another data point (datum?), I am a long-time coffee drinker and I go crazy if I have more than one cup.
posted by nicecupoftea 25 November | 04:28
No offense intended Hugh, just offering a different opinion.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 November | 06:03
Me too.
posted by Hugh Janus 25 November | 08:35
Yeah, the coffee drinking thing is interesting. I have two cups of coffee every morning. If I only have one, I need to nap in the afternoon. If I have three, I am a wired mess ALL DAY. If I have any coffee after 11am I can't sleep until about 3am.

Stupid individual variation.

But yeah, I like BP's point about deadlines, Lori. Another question - when you start feeling grumpy, do you feel guilty about it? Sometimes that happens to me, with the kidling. Like, I feel like I don't see her that much in the weekdays (we are big believers in early nights, so she sleeps about 7pm-7.30am and then hits daycare at 9) so if I'm a bit grumpy by 5pm when I pick her up I feel guilty that I'm not being a good mother :) And that feeds in on itself and makes me feel worse.

Of course, your boys are older, so you're probably over that sort of idiocy.
posted by gaspode 25 November | 10:06
In the wise words of a long-ago thread (and now I've forgotten who said it):

Is this an advice thread, or an I-feel-your-pain thread? Here's one of each, and whichever one you don't want, toss it in the mental trash!

If it's an advice thread:

I'm probably feeling the stress of having to cook dinner, help the kids practice piano, and other responsibilities.

As BoPo and others say, this sounds like a lot of pressure that builds predictably every day. One way you might try to handle this is by doing a reverse checklist: rather than counting down the undone tasks, can you take a minute to check off (mentally or otherwise) the good things you did get done? This always gives me a satisfying moment in a hectic day, and resets my mood.

If you can do this with a glass of fruit juice or some other small refreshment, to guarantee that your body is fueled as well, so much the better. For me, a predictable fit of temper is often a combination of body and mind, so a little blood-sugar boost and a small mental pat on the back work together to bring me out of it in short order.

If it's an I-feel-your-pain thread:

Uck, those predictable afternoon bottoming-out zones! I used to get them in my retail gig, and I get them at school (though less predictably, since my schedule changes every day and every semester). For me, it's often half-mental ("ohmygodihavesomuchtodoandihaven'tevendonelaundryyetjeez!") and half-physical ("Did I remember to eat lunch? Uh, not really.")

I try to be patient with myself during those moments, but they just flat-out stink and sometimes I have to let myself stomp around it a rotten mood and let it out. If I can do this without inflicting it on others, I sometimes just let it rip.
posted by Elsa 25 November | 11:25
Adding another data point (datum?), I am a long-time coffee drinker and I go crazy if I have more than one cup.
posted by nicecupoftea 25 November | 04:28

posted by Atom Eyes 25 November | 12:11
I find that I feel less overwhelmed if I take some time over my morning cuppa to make a list of what I'd like to accomplish that day. Keeping everything that had to be done in my head used to send me into paroxysms of anxiety about having too much to do and not getting enough done. Now that I do a list, I can decide what really needs doing vs. what can wait, and limit the list to what I can reasonably accomplish over the course of the day. Plus it gives me some quiet time to get used to being awake. Don't know if that would help you with the overwhelmed part, but it's sure made a difference for me.

My sympathy on the mid-afternoon grar. Ugh, I hate when that happens.
posted by elizard 25 November | 13:03
Piano huh? Just be glad it's not trombone. Or drums. ; )
posted by Pips 25 November | 23:10
Thanks for the awesome comments and suggestions. I really appreciate it.

The list idea is a good one, elizard. And ticking off the good things I have done is also great advice, Elsa.

Guilt is a big problem for me, gaspode.

I do tend to look at each day as a deadline. It's silly really because I manage to get the important things done all of the time.

We are overloaded activities this Fall -- football, piano, scouts, chimes. It's nuts. I also have a tendency to be controlling and self-righteous. If everyone in the house is not doing what I think they are supposed to be doing (homework, reading, practicing, etc.) I get angry and overwhelmed. I am the director of the family and it stresses me out. I have this false belief that if I don't take control, nothing will get done.

I'm sure it doesn't help that I drink caffeine all day long. I haven't been to yoga in several weeks and some days I'm sleep deprived. Basically, I'm a mess. :-)

I know I need to: Get the household chores done while the kids are in school. Go to yoga and do more things that I enjoy so I will care less about what the rest of the family is doing, or not doing. Get more sleep and eat better. And just chill.

Happy Thanksgiving to the North American peeps.
posted by LoriFLA 26 November | 11:09
posted by box 26 November | 11:10
Galoshes! Eskimos! Blubber! Beluga! Mukluk! Macadamia! || I am sad, yet I am happy.