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I’m Impatient and Easily Irritated … Am I Depressed?

Dear GoodTherapy.org,

I am irritable all the time. Simple questions bug me, I'm constantly nitpicking, and I have little patience with what I consider stupidity all around me. I wasn't always this way ... there was a time when I was much more accepting, not on edge, and friendly. Needless to say, I don't have a big social circle. Am I depressed? Is there something else going on that I need to get help for? I don't want to be this unlikable person that I've become. —Irritated

Dear Irritated,

When I first read your letter, I wondered if you had visited your personal physician for a checkup recently. I am not a physician, but I am aware that your irritation can be a symptom of many things, among them a nutritional disorder, neurological damage, or medication interactions. So I would advise you first to seek the advice of a medical doctor.

You write that you did not always feel angry, edgy, and unfriendly, and I wonder if you can trace back to the time when your feelings and your behavior changed. Tracking this down might give some clues about what it is that has gone wrong.

You may not have a big social circle, but are there a few friends or relatives to whom you could turn for help? They might have ideas about when, and even why, you changed.

You ask if you are depressed. It sounds like you are, and anger, as you might know, goes hand-in-hand with depression. Anger is even an underlying factor in the development of depression.

You say you are nitpicking and edgy. Who are the people most affected by these qualities? Do they have something in common?

Funny, one of the first things you wrote was that simple questions bug you, so I guess I’m bugging you as you read my reply, because I’ve asked you a lot. So rather than ask anything else, I’ll suggest that after you visit your physician you make an appointment with a therapist, who will ask you to talk about yourself, probably ask questions that annoy you, and who will request that when you’re annoyed you say so. The therapist will also ask you to report when you think the conversation has gone stupid, and you won’t have to worry about being offensive, because the therapist won’t take it personally, and that will help you, eventually, learn how to be the more likable person you say you used to be.

I hope you find your old self soon, and that when found it’s even better than you remember.

Best wishes,

  • Leslie June 28th, 2013 at 11:19 AM #1

    I am like the therapist here. I thought oh no here is someone else self diagnosing like most of us do at some point in time.

    But I think that I would agree that if this is all new for you and not how you have always felt (because let’s face it, there are just some people who go through all of their lives angry and irritated for no good reason!) then I would tend to think that there are some deeper things going on with you that you may just not be fully aware of.

    I think that it’s great that you have enough slef awareness to recognize that something is definitely amiss and I think that asking your question here is a great first step in the right direction!

  • Gina June 28th, 2013 at 5:29 PM #2

    If you are a woman of a “certain age” you may also be experiencing symptoms of menopause.

    I am going through this wonderful phase of my life and hace tried many different approaches to reduce the symptoms. So far not completely successful.

    Diet, Yoga, progeterone creams, Mindful based therapy is my next investigation…

    Dr is quick to prescribe low dose aniety meds–but trying not to go there!

    Good luck

  • Dr. Lynn Somerstein June 28th, 2013 at 5:32 PM #3

    Dear Leslie,
    Thanks for the compliment, it means a great deal to me. And thanks for encouraging the person who wrote in. It makes a big difference to know people are behind you.

  • Dr. Lynn Somerstein June 28th, 2013 at 7:18 PM #4

    Gina, it sounds like you’re on the right track.
    Take care,

  • Peter June 29th, 2013 at 12:30 AM #5

    I am easily irritated when I’m worried.Depression would make me irritated to a much greater extent.Looking back would be a good idea but I don’t understand why seeing a physician is suggested.Anybody have a clue why?

  • Dr. Lynn Somerstein June 29th, 2013 at 11:38 AM #6

    I suggested checking with a physician because irritation and depression are associated with heart disease, gastro-intestinal symptoms, effects of aging, etc. A general check-up can rule a lot of things out

  • Carson July 1st, 2013 at 4:41 AM #7

    The one thing that I wouldn’t want to see in a cse like this is for her to go to a family doctor and then have him start making a diagnosis without really knowing too much about mental health to begin with.
    I find that far too many of these doctors overreach their bounds and try to get involved in areas where they would be far better off referring the patient to a trained clinician familiar with and comfortable treating all aspects of mental health and wellness.
    I think that with the right treatment strategy there is definitely something out there that could help you work through this but not at the hands of someone better served and trained to treat common health complaints, not depression.

  • Cindy Ricardo July 10th, 2013 at 11:46 AM #8

    Being irritable, on edge and easily frustrated can be a sign of many different things as Lynn and others have stated here. Depression is much more than being irritated and beyond labeling or diagnosing yourself (unless you are in danger of hurting yourself in which case being diagnosed is essential)it is helpful to explore what is going on in your life that is causing your unhappiness and irritablity.

    It is also that many times we react to what is happening on the outside with judgment towards ourselves and others and the the truth is that judgment keeps us stuck and unable to heal or shift our perspective to one that is more balanced.

    Finding a therapist to help you explore your feelings and what is happening in your life is what is most helpful. It is in becoming aware of how we are reacting to life/ourselves that we can begin to shift into a more balanced mindset.

  • Lia September 7th, 2013 at 11:14 AM #9

    I´m feeling the same way…. I moved to the Netherlands to live with my partner 8 years ago and I never really felt at home here. It took me so long to get a job here that I decided to go back to school, which I did and got a degree to teach English in Holland. Still, I feel displaced — people here are unfriendly towards foreigners and my boyfriend with hom I had a daughter 6 years ago never wanted to marry me, because he has some money and is afraid that I´ll take it if we get a divorce. He calls me a parasite because I don´t bring money in, but he is weaithy and I do contribute with the cleaning of our home, cooking, ironing and many other things. I´m not a big spender: I have an old cell phone for emergency phone calls, I cut my own hair, I do my nails, we rarely go out together for a movie or anything — So, I feel pretty bad in this situation. I don´t want to raise my daughter as a single mom and I´m alone here. Meanwhile, my mom passed away and I don´t have a lot of friends that i can trully trust.

  • kenari March 2nd, 2014 at 2:45 PM #10

    Lia, I was trying to figure out the reasons why im so irritated with anything when I came across your message. I am a foreigner here in my new place. Married to a citizen here. Ive been here for two years now and I feel so discourage coz I cant find a job. I was a career woman back home very busy but enjoying life and then I came here. I cant find a job, i also went on trainings to make me qualified but to no avail till now. I feel so discriminated…

  • Coco April 10th, 2014 at 2:44 PM #11

    I have a boyfriend I am quiet young and everything he does annoys me I don’t know what is wrong even my best friend has been saying I get annoyed easily recently but I always have some stupid excuse for example I’m tired or cold or whatever, I’m so fed up. Please help

  • Lost May 28th, 2014 at 1:34 AM #12

    I’ve been having a lot of issues since some time..I get very aggressive and irritated on small little things..im a person of principles and can’t stand anything wrong going on..since im a good listener alot of people have become a parasite for me as well..I come from an eastern society where families have alot of say in your life, so yes I feel my life and all my acts are determined by them which annoys me even more..im currently un-married and have alot of social and family pressure on that front but im simply not giving up on marrying just any tom dick n harry until I feel attracted to someone..then my boss at work is hitting on me..I just dont know where im heading or my life is heading..im even studying psychology and as a result Im feeling alot more now..I feel im in deep rite now but I want take control of my life and manage my situation..I do end up crying alot when I feel helpless..I dont know what to do..

  • Lynn Somerstein May 30th, 2014 at 5:04 AM #13

    Dear Lost-
    Thanks for writing–I have the feeling that you may be depressed. Studying psychology is rewarding, but you can learn more in person. Why not make an appointment with a psychotherapist and find out more about yourself.

  • cherry p. June 24th, 2014 at 10:58 PM #14

    I don’t understand why it was suggested to see a physician. They are not expert on the brain or psychological matters. If we get advise like this. We should directly go to the doctor rather than ask for a therapist’s help.

  • martina July 15th, 2014 at 1:23 AM #15

    Im a great believer in alternative solutions anti-depressants are not the answer (more like putting money in the pharmacuticals companies pockets) and yes i have been and still am on tablets but want to come off them…just ordered a book called ‘the mood cure’ by julia ross…it was recommended to me by a nutricionist and after reading it it does make sense….all the best :-)

  • Veda August 24th, 2014 at 7:11 AM #16

    May be you’re pregnant?

  • Veda August 24th, 2014 at 7:18 AM #17

    I don’t know if you have truly talked to your boyfriend,but he needs to be made aware of how you feel. He is not the only one that is contributing you sacrificed your old life to be with him! On top of that you gave him continuous life by having a daughter for him! He just needs to lighten up. Yes in today’s society it does take two to make it, however can’t help your situation right now.

  • Victoria August 24th, 2014 at 10:00 AM #18

    I have been having the same problem for a few weeks now. I was majorly depressed and on Cipralex and discontinued it as it had terrible side-effects and didn’t help my depression much. Ever since I’ve discontinued it I am in such a terrible mood. Irritable all the time, bitchy to everyone and biting everyone’s head off, so frustrated that I literally walk around the house sighing all the time. I’ve been hoping it would just disappear on it’s own but so far it’s still there every second. It’s terrible feeling like this because I find myself to be quite nasty and judgmental and that’s not who I am. Going back on Cipralex isn’t an option due to the side effects I was having and alternative medications haven’t worked for me either. I’ve been having therapy for months but not much help there either as you talk about your feelings and that’s about it. Cognitive a behavioral therapy just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been trying all kinds of things from changing my thinking to more natural medications, taking vitamins, eating as healthy as possible, doing things that usually cheer me up all to no avail. Sort of hopeless right now.

  • selam August 24th, 2014 at 10:46 AM #19

    I believe PMS, and other hormon problem are more responsible along side with our upbringing……of course education and therapy are helpful…..I myself are a victime, people will tell u to let go, but it is not as simple as it seems, It ia a brain cancer. Acknowledging it is the first best tackle, and ask the people around u to give u support, while you try different techniques to manage it….Dont bit up urself, this is who u are and find a way to deal or manage it….like gender, yr hait color etc….ur are different…ur brain is wired up differently.. Keep researching…….try to visit nutritionist, physicians, yoga, counselors……Take it seriously, because this feeling will continue to follow and make ur life miserable….Good luck

  • Sandy September 14th, 2014 at 9:30 PM #20

    im 29 years old and i still live with my parents and my sister. I have two jobs and i dont have a big social life. i dont have a boyfriend either. but i like my solitude. i read a lot of books. my free time are my books and tv. and i dont like to be bothered. but i HATE how easily i can get angry for not reason. i snap at my mom, anything she says makes me mad and my i cant stand my sister. but they haven’t done anything to me. i feel terrible about it afterwards and i never apologize i just pretend like nothing happened. i feel like such a terrible person. i dont know if its a face im going through, i didnt used to be like this. i thought at first it was because i was lonely but people bother me. trying to make idle conversation is annoying. i have to force myself to listen and talk to people. and my job requires me to be percky and cheerfull so i have to swallow it up. i know its me the problem i wish i could stop been a jerk all the time specially with my mom. i dont want be bitter and angry, i dont want to push people away but is soo hard to bring anyone closer to begin with because i dont want too. i just dont know how to be more tolerant. i dont want to hate my mom. i dont know how to fix it.

  • Lynn Somerstein September 15th, 2014 at 10:38 AM #21

    Dear Sandy,
    You sound very angry and unhappy, and like you could use a friendly ear, someone who can listen to you and empathize and maybe give you a hand, too. How about consulting with a therapist or a social worker?
    Take good care,

  • Latiffa B. September 18th, 2014 at 6:06 PM #22

    I have a concern too.
    I was very happy, outgoing, easy to get along and very supportive to others.
    People would ask me advices, and all kind of support. I enjoyed being around people I have also worked with people my whole life.
    I am 37 now.
    I’ve been through a hard relationship for 7 years.
    Not knowing every day, whats next surprise he will bring, also abusive verbally and physically.
    Mentally I am pretty strong and dealt with it, even though inside it was tearing me a part. I’ve kept my cool.
    Time to time, at the end of relationship I was losing and actually fighting back, verbally and physically. Start getting more angry which I never had before.
    Then last year, we finally broke up and he got married. But still stalking me.
    Then two month ago I lost my dad, he was my best friend and father.
    Then I fell in love with a man online, and said he had feelings for me too, everything seemed fine. Then he said he has a fiance and is getting married.
    I am also a person that care for my friends and family.
    So, now I feel like I am losing.
    I get irritated, angry on little things. And I just want to sleep all the time. Even though my life style is very active, I run business and working 12, 14 hours a day.
    I do things after work or on the weekends, even though I feel like I don’t want to.
    But lately, like last month, I don’t even want to go anywhere, or hear anything.
    Negative talks, questions anything stressful, I get blood rush to my head and my heart give me a stabbing pain.
    Advice like talking to psychologist, or any therapist I won’t take, because I know all about it. Also, pills I wont do.
    I just want to know if this will go away, and what it might be, and if there any natural herbs or medicine that might help.
    Thank you!

  • Latiffa B. September 18th, 2014 at 6:59 PM #23

    (Just want to add, and correct something.)
    Broke up with ex last November.
    Father died 3 month ago.
    Also, loud noise irritates me, and and anything negative stressful, even about somebody else that I care about, also gives me upset stomach, to where I feel like throwing up, and kinda fainting feeling on top of blood rush to a head and heart pain.
    It’s not always aggravated like that, but almost everyday last month…

  • Zach September 18th, 2014 at 9:16 PM #24

    Dear Sandy, I am writing because your story is so eerily similar to mine lately. I am 29, moved back home a few years ago after my wife left me. I now have a five year old son who lives with me on nights/ weekends, and with his mom on weekdays. My two younger bros in their mid 20s live at home with me too… I have a good full time job, but not enough to really make it well on my oown. It’s also especially nice to have my mom/ family there to help me raise my son. The problem is… Life is so hard for me mentally. I know overall I have a fairly good life and no major problems or health issues… But I’m always sad… Im always mad at people… Especially my Dad for some reason… Everything he does seems to piss me off… And he’s not really a bad guy. I don’t want to be mad/ upset with him…. Everything everyone does irritates me… From co workers being lazy, to the way the lady next to me at pizza hut chews her food, to my brother not flushing the toilet after pissing
    … I don’t sleep well… I’m afraid to travel anywhere more than an hour from home… I’m always tired, always sick, something airways hurts or is wrong. I feel like I’m 70 years old most days and I’m not even 30 yet. I tried taking all kinds of anti anxiety/ depression drugs in the past for panic disorder (which I don’t have a panic issue too terrible anymore)… But I just don’t know what to do. I’m sick of feeling like this and don’t have the time/ money to waste taking to therapists… I’ve tried that before too anyway, didn’t do much. Feels too rushed and expensive… They don’t have the answers anyway. Any suggestions or stories anyone?

  • Irene September 26th, 2014 at 11:32 AM #25

    I hate myself my entire personality has changed, the things I do and say is not me, I sometimes can’t believe it, and ask my self what happen to the gentle and loving person that I used to be, my daughter in law suffers the brunt ofmy short temper, I snap for no reason and I am down right irritable,
    I take care of my 43 year old son who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis five years ago, his speech and walking has been affected by the Ms. Because he can’t support his two children his ex wife stays with us and the two children
    My abusive husband of14 years, was an alcoholic and he never stopped verbally and physically abusing me passed away in 2010 and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January if 2012.
    Ever since then I am not the same person I used to be. Can the drugs in chemo change your personality? I need help please

  • Lynn Somerstein September 30th, 2014 at 1:54 PM #26

    Dear Irene, Latiffa and Zach,
    Your are all under deep relentless pressure and need to find healthy ways to blow off steam– you might profit from seeking counselling or a support group. It sounds like you’re doing way too much, and all alone.

  • Clarissa November 7th, 2014 at 1:03 PM #27

    Irene and Latiffa

    We all have something in common: we’ve all been in abusive relationships. My 9 year relationship contributed to these same feelings that I have of irritability and constant frustration at everyone. I think we should all go see a therapist. I’ve been out of the relationship for 10 years, but the aftereffects are still here. :(

  • Caroline November 9th, 2014 at 7:52 PM #28

    Pray the Rosary. I promise you it will work! 🙏 God Bless

  • Justin November 14th, 2014 at 2:30 PM #29

    I’m 15 years old now, from when I started to go to school I was the best student with the highest grades and I was a prodigy in rugby. Everything changed when I was 12 years old. I started to be so aggressive and the smallest of stuff made me snap. I started to love heavy metal and it was the only music I wanted to hear. I started to fight a lot. I would beat up someone if he made a joke with me. The aggressiveness was a benefit for my rugby though. I started to be a rebel, I started smoking cigarettes and marijuanna when I was 13. I was a bad person then when I turned 15 this year I met this amazing girl, she is 17. Sy cares so much for me, she cried her eyes out when she found out about my meth use(starting in this year) I stopped a month ago because I can’t see my girl going through the sadness. But I’m still 100% aggressive and irritable. Sometimes I’m so rude to my girl she starts to cry and it continues for hours. Well I’m not that bad anymore but I still give her a hard time. I’m always neat and clean so I know I don’t have borderline personality disorder. I just wanna know if its some kind of personality disorder or what? Both my parents are nice and calm. Sometimes being aggressive gives me a feeling of pleasure , is that a sign of a psycho?

  • Monique November 14th, 2014 at 7:02 PM #30

    I am writing these words because I am not sure what my problem is or exactly a diagnosis.
    I am 40 year old divorced woman, out of an abusive relationship with an alcoholic.
    When I was in that relationship I was meek and subdued. Things changed when I got out of it and started dating other men.
    It was not so bad when I dated for a while, although I started drinking out of loneliness (being out of 15 -year old marriage) then I met Paul…..
    When I entered this relationship i swear I think I acquired personality disorder or a disorder of some kind.
    Paul has been nothing but nice, caring, considerate man. He has his faults , too. He cares for his older daughter more than anything and puts her in front of me. He also still texts and calls his ex-wife. I caught him , too , doing some “online stuff”. Yet, I forgave him for being gentle and kind to me. And of course I fell in love with him beyond understanding.
    In the process of me falling in love with him passionately, I became an unbelievable fiend. When I have some wine, I am very sarcastic to him, bring up his ties to his ex and other women in a very blunt and an emotional manner. I cry, i curse, I write him very intense poetry with questions about us he refuses to answer.
    How he told me to move out of his place, yet he wants to see me on weekends.
    What is wrong with me? I don’t want to ruin things,my life, and others any more. I really dont. Please give me your honest opinions.

  • Lynn Somerstein November 19th, 2014 at 5:57 AM #31

    Dear Monique,
    You were in a long term relationship with an abusive alcoholic, left him, but are carrying over that experience into your present relationship and have become an “unbelievable fiend,” a reenactment of abuse where you are the abuser. This happens sometimes, and I advise you to seek therapy to help you out of this process so you can lead the life you want and deserve.
    Take care and good luck, and let me know how things go,

  • katlyn November 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 PM #32

    I’m 15 years old and I also have a lot of anger. I use to be so kind and thoughtful when I was younger. My parents got divorced about 2 years ago but I’m not sure if that’s the reason I’ve changed. I hate being angry but I feel better being angry. That might be weird. I currently have a boyfriend and I take a lot of my anger out on him. He is very emotion and I upset him constantly. I don’t like upsetting him but it also makes me feel better. I have a lot of family problems and I know that’s a part of it but I’ve also been depressed on and off. I was severely depressed probably about a year ago but fortunately I am better now. The only problem is I’m never happy. I feel like something is holding me back from happiness. I use to be constantly happy. I really want to be that way again. I keep telling myself it’s because I’m 15 and I’ll grow out of it but I honestly have no clue what my problem is. My parents are a mess and my siblings both have anger issues but I have always been nice and happy to literally everyone. I just have seemed to lost that part of me and I still want to be nnice I just can’t be anymore. I’m mean to my mom and my boyfriend constantly. My dad use to be really abusive towards my mom and I just hope I don’t end up like him. My 13 year old brother also is very angry a lot but mines much worse. I know I have problems controlling my anger when I get really mad but I don’t think that’s what this is. I’m not very social but I never have been. Nothing has really changed in my life lately. My dad and me have never had a stable relationship and my mom is constantly with her soon to be husband. I’m usually alone and I want to talk to my boyfriend at bout everything but every time I try I just end up making him cry. I hate being like this and I really love being nice all the time. I just feel overwhelmed with hatred and I have been questioning maybe it is the birth control I’m on. The hate started in around April last year and I started taking this b-yaz birth control last January. That could be messing me possibly but I just want my old self back.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team November 24th, 2014 at 11:58 AM #33

    Hi Katlyn,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Warm Regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • SL November 25th, 2014 at 1:20 PM #34

    Irene you are a star xxxx

  • Naomi November 28th, 2014 at 12:54 PM #35

    Dear, Katlyn

    I have problems that relates to some of yours. Ever since I was 15 years old in freshmen year, things changed slowly negatively with my mom. I’m now 17 and I somehow feel like her housekeeper as my part time job with no pay and I want an actual job away from home. I feel insecure from hanging out with my friends all because my mom controlls my life with everything. Since I cannot get enough with her commands and strictness, I started to disobey her so I could earn my own freedom. Feels like my life is blocking my happiness from me and I used to be a happy person. But now I don’t like my life anymore. Either I want everything the way it used to be or just past on from my teen years. I constantly have to watch my siblings 4 and 5 years old and I easily get annoyed and angry with them. I’m afraid someday I’ll really hit them if my keeps up with me babysitting them and I don’t want that to risk my life. I’m used to getting angry at them and I don’t know why. I’m very curious when I’m calm. I have no clue if it was because my parents’ divorce or my mom’s ex fiance have influenced me for the past 4 years of his behavior towards my mom. Her physic said that about 5 years or so, I’ll be happy when my parents get back together and said that my dad is secretly feeling lost with his wife and stepdaughters, even though he’s forgetting about me. I guess my step mom is just being used so my dad is not lonely. My parents think my life is normal when I feel down and sad in the inside. I’m not very social but kinda am. I’m nice to everybody else but not my mom. When this will ever pass on?

  • Lynn Somerstein November 29th, 2014 at 12:33 PM #36

    Naomi, this will pass on,eventually, but it will pass on faster if you have some help. Why not speak to a therapist or a guidance counselor? Having someone on your side may be just enough to give you more strength.
    Take care, thanks for writing,

  • nate December 1st, 2014 at 5:41 PM #37

    I don’t know if it’s still relavent or not but I feel the same way.. pissy.. easily angered.
    . Anxious.. impatient.. Just want to throw my hood up on my jacket and be alone.. simple questions or comments bug the hell out of me.. I don’t know whats wrong with me either but I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of depression. Your not alone

  • Nicole December 14th, 2014 at 12:16 PM #38

    hey I think im in a depression mode. I never been depressed before. I dont know why It started 2 week ago and I get irrated and sad and moody latley. I dont understand why? I just got married 5 month ago for the first time. Move a away from home and into the middle of nowhere. And I have a stepson. My job isnt getting enough hours money wise.I feel like no matter what inside I just want to crawl up in a ball and never wake up. I just dont understand why Im feeling this way.

  • Lynn Somerstein December 15th, 2014 at 8:39 AM #39

    HI Nicole,
    You’re in the middle of big changes and adjustments– new marriage, new home, new location, new stepson, and your job is unsatisfying. You have plenty of reasons to feel depressed. Why not speak to a counselor and see if that helps?
    Take care, and let me know how it’s going,

  • alex December 19th, 2014 at 5:12 PM #40

    I snap alot. My missus takes the brunt of it but anyone walking past at the wrong time is in danger from me. I live in a rough neighbourhood and standing up for yourself is necessary however wanting to hospitalise someone for no perticular reason isn’t. My anger scares me. Anyone with advice let me know. Counciling is not an option I hate 1 on 1 convos and am more likely to hit a stranger than talk to em.

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