Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mood Swings

I have never bought into the idea that one gender is moodier than the other. The general "theory" is that women tend to be more temperamental than men, and more prone to wild mood swings. I think that's garbage. I think it depends on each individual's circumstances, history, nature, etc.

Why do I even bring this up? Because I am a relentlessly moody somebody. Especially here lately. I can go from deliriously happy to positively gloomy (somewhat of an oxymoron, I know) at the drop of a hat.

For most of yesterday, I was fine. I was actually having a good day. At my desk, in my office, with the door closed, I was playing some new music I'd bought with Christmas money. I had my earbuds in – which were also new, and worked really well (maybe too well).

Most of the songs on the CD's were new to me, but there were a few songs I've heard on the radio and knew reasonably well, so I started singing along. Unbeknownst to me, I was singing kinda loud. Loud enough that the lady in the office next to mine – separated by a couple of layers of drywall – sent me a "friendly" e-mail asking me to please stop singing. In fact, the terse missive read exactly as follows, and I quote: "Singing – Please Stop."

Now, this is not an unreasonable request. I was in a place of business, presumably (and in actuality) doing work that I was paid to do. I was not being paid to sing, nor did she, or anyone else, ask me to sing for them at that particular time.

But, for some reason, I took it personally. And my generally cheerful mood quickly took a nosedive. To the point where I actually typed up a draft of an e-mail to my coworker, giving her permission to "thrust a pair of scissors through my throat" and/or "staple my feet to the floor" the next time I did anything to bother her, like singing or tapping my feet (for which I have also been previously "reprimanded" by said coworker).

Fortunately, before I hit "Send", I was able to talk myself out of it, realizing that such a self-deprecating response would do nothing to enhance my interpersonal office acquaintance with my coworker. Not to mention the fact that it was actually a rather stupid note to begin with (and yet I'm telling the Internet about it – go figure!).

The rest of the day, I sulked to myself, mired in melancholy. This has continued through to today. I'm once again listening to my music, not singing aloud, but I can't find much joy in it.

I know what you're probably thinking: "Get a grip, man! You're being too sensitive!" Or, "If you can't take the heat, then get out of the office!" Or at the very least, "I know this doctor who might be able to help you..."

You're probably right in all three cases. I don't know how to not respond to circumstances other than the way I respond. It's not healthy, I'm sure. But it's who I am.

I read an article this morning about something called "Irritable Men Syndrome"* or "Irritable Male Syndrome" (IMS, either way), a term which is used to describe mood swings in men. Behaviors characteristic of men with IMS include (with my personal reflections in parentheses):

* Angry  (In Short Bursts, Yes – Especially In Traffic)
* Sarcastic  (Ya Think?)
* Tense  (Occasionally)
* Argumentative  (At Times)
* Frustrated  (Frequently)
* Demanding  (Rarely)
* Sad  (Intermittently)
* Impatient  (Constantly – Especially In Traffic)
* Anxious  (Sometimes)
* Hostile  (In Traffic, Definitely)
* Unloving  (Don't Think So...I Hope Not!)
* Withdrawn  (Very Frequently)
* Defensive  (Nearly Always)
* Dissatisfied  (Not Too Often)

Yep, here I go Self-Diagnosing again. But it sounds like I may have hit the nail on the head. Apparently, IMS is some kind of a hormonal imbalance, and can be treated. Maybe I should look into that...

Until then, I'll try to salvage this day as best I can. And not sing aloud.

(Insert plastered-on grin here.)


1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think that in this situation your reactions were perfectly normal and your coworker was being a well, um, we'll go with witch. You were experiencing joy, and while it may be true that she had a right to ask you to stop so she too could focus on work, she certainly didn't need to do it in such a lazy and disrespectful manner.
    I think the reason most of the world is suffering from Irritable Person Syndrome is because it has somehow become acceptable for people to treat each other like dirt as quickly and thoughtlessly as possible with no repercussions. Of course we're all walking around angry and frustrated after interactions like that.