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I’m experiencing a lot of irritability lately. Like way more than usual, more than I expect, more than is reasonable. I’ve been working pretty hard to manage my reactions so that I don’t make things worse. It requires constant vigilance and mindfulness of my emotional state, stopping myself when I’m unsure of my judgment (and how do you judge that, anyway?)

It’s damn exhausting.

Usually the trigger is something utterly trivial, inconsequential in the bigger picture, and the reaction is way out of proportion. For example, the other morning I thought about summer “vacation” and was derailed for…an hour or so?

Here’s a sample of what’s setting me off:

  • Yoga instructors not giving enough detail about poses in beginner classes.
  • Traffic. Commuting. ‘Nuff said.
  • Being broke, all the time. My budget is tighter than it’s been in years, thanks to student loans. I have almost exactly enough coming in to pay bills, if nothing unexpected comes up. There is no spending money, which becomes demoralizing fairly quickly.
  • Barbecue sauce on my beef brisket that was too mustardy and sweet.
  • Home improvement projects that move at a snail’s pace because I don’t actually work on them and it’s unfair of me to expect Mr. Chickadee to carry out my plans. But we really do need to finish the bathroom.
  • Dealing with health insurance and insurance plan administration and medical billing.
  • Doctors. All of them.
  • Myself, a lot.

Is this an early warning of hypomania? I dunno. My docs and therapist would probably say no, but I suspect they underestimate subsyndromal symptoms. I’m considering the facts that in addition to irritability, I’m in improved spirits, constantly making things, agreeing to new commitments, and recurrently distracted by the notion of expanding my tattoos, among other semi-obsessive fixations. All behaviors that tend to surface when I’m running a little hot. All in the last couple weeks. On the plus side, I’m getting a lot more work done, when I can be bothered to actually work instead of being distracted by the latest irritation.

It’s nothing serious right now, but I’m working really hard at avoiding the usual pitfalls. I just have to keep a watchful eye out and avoid over-committing, starting a million new projects, and forcing myself into a guilt-shame spiral when the winds change and I can’t keep up anymore. Again.

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