Trying not to be Cranky

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Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:31 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions about crankiness.

I know I have been struggling with crankines. I would really like to get better at this.

My problem is. My Crankiness has a lot of ties to my Chronic illness.

I was diagnosed about almost three and a half years ago. And some of the less obvious symptoms had been showing up for a couple years before that.

I have ulcerative colitis, which is a digestive track disease. but it is also classed as an autoimmune disease (inflamitory disease)

When I am having my better days it is not as bad.

On days I am feeling god awful the crankiness is obviously much worse.

I would like to get better with it even when I am feeling awfl though....

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:51 pm

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. What is it you wish to change? Behavior? Attitude? Whom is this crankiness affecting? Is there any specific form this pattern takes?

Most of us here won't be intimately familiar with ulcerative colitis, nor are we qualified to give real medical or psychiatric help, but: is it something about the illness itself that makes you cranky, or just the fact that it is chronic (i.e. not likely to get better)?

I'm kind of perpetually cranky myself, so I might be able to offer strategies to mitigate cranky behavior if you think that would be helpful. And it's possible that a reduction in cranky behavior would circle back to not feeling so cranky, if you're having negative thoughts stem from doing or saying things you regret later.
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:54 pm

I am not asking about the medical stuff...

Its just crankiness with people while dealing with my problem.

Like in my life who act like dealing with me on my bad days is worse than me having to live through my bad days
or when my good days are there acting like everything is all good now, when it is a something that is not going to go away
or acting like I am over reacting when I am worried about what I can wat when going out

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:57 pm

There are obviously people I fell away with because they were just not worth the frustration.  but there are people who do try and because of the mountain of people I have dealt with .... who make me feel like a burden I get a little cranky with people who might just not understand but are trying to.

So more about how to deal with cranky behavior and feelings

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:48 pm

I guess I still don't really get what you mean by "bad days"? What does a bad day do to you, and in what way do people tend to act like they are "dealing with" you or your presence?

I mean, ultimately, everything I've got comes down to self-control, owning my own behavior, and (temporarily) convincing myself that an imagined persona of deliberate calm is real. I sometimes let myself be grumpy, cranky, rude, or gruff if I'm reasonably sure I'll always think I was justified in doing so; as a general rule, I don't apologize for actions I don't regret. In practice, this tends to force me to consider my response to a given situation from more of a distance: am I being rude to this person because I am angry with them, or am I lashing out over something that isn't their fault at all? If I really am angry at them, do they know why? Will they learn why as a direct result of my unkind response? Or will my behavior only confuse them and leave them wondering what I have against them? Regardless of the answers to these, how much of an explanation do I owe them? Cases where I decide that yes, it actually does make sense to act kind of hostile here are relatively scant.

Right now I'm thinking since your particular problem is specific and recurring, it might work best to put together some kind of general script you can use when dealing with people who might not know about your medical needs. Something like, "please understand, I have a chronic condition that limits my food choices and sometimes causes problems for me no matter what I do. Sometimes it's a little better and sometimes it's a lot worse, but it's never really gone."

Is it part of the problem that some people just don't take it very seriously or otherwise understand that the condition can be extremely painful and life-threatening?

Some people can be astonishingly resistant to thinking; perhaps their brains stop processing anything after "poop is funny". We may need a script to deal with that specific thing, too.


Last edited by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by Enail on Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:28 pm

Inertia, am I right in thinking your question is something along the lines of 'chronic pain or other discomfort makes me cranky, how do I stop being cranky/taking out my crankiness on people?"  

This is a very timely question for me, as I also have a chronic pain issue that has lots of fiddly details that are difficult and is likely to be permanent, and apparently I deal with it by being super-cranky - so I'm very interested to hear other people's responses.

One thing that I've been finding helpful is, at a time when I'm not already cranky, angry or stressed, explaining to people what kinds of situations and activities are difficult and why. I find I get less frustrated with my loved ones when they show a better understanding of those little details of why seemingly trivial or totally invisible issues are such a big deal, and therefore can be more considerate of those issues when making plans etc. And when I do encounter a trigger issue that I get snappish or frustrated about, they're more likely to understand why it matters to me and respond in a way that respects that (and is thus less irritating to the cranky).

Have you considered mindfulness meditation? There are programs that are specifically geared to managing chronic pain even, and it may be covered under health plans if your doctor refers you to it. I haven't tried this yet myself, but I know several other people with chronic conditions who've found it helpful for disengaging from the pain and emotional reactions to it.
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:24 pm

Enail, you have hit the nail in the head. with the "Inertia, am I right in thinking your question is something along the lines of 'chronic pain or other discomfort makes me cranky, how do I stop being cranky/taking out my crankiness on people?"

Nearly_takuan: Bad days for me is pretty much the days when I am feeling like complete rubbish because of my condition... It could include: My stomach and/or gut being off ( I will leae it at that because I would rather not get into the grose details), but it also includes things like Chronic Fatigue, Sleeping problems (insomnia, day time sleepiness in inappropriate places like at work or in public) Chronic Muscle pain (where there is a long drawn out explanation about the problems with pain killers for my circumstance that I will hold off on boring you with). The pain moves... which makes physio therapy a bit ineffective and/or expensive. It likes to manifest in places where it makes it dfficult to walk. so it could be any combination of those for.

As I have said I have been living with this for 4 years now and its not something that is cureable... relatively if they remove my colon which they arent there yet. but even then I would have concerns I would have to live with. Enail I am sorry about the chronic pain I know through experience that it isn't plesant I really did have to start to relearn how to be around people. Enail what I can suggest is to be as open as you can about what you are going through. the people not worth your time will show their colours and you can determine how much you want to deal with them.

I am at the point where I am trying to be more social and dealing with people who aren't flat out assholes but might be a little ignorant about the issues... or the ones who are okay but kinda forget.

Somethings that can create problems on dates and things with friends are:

- eating out: I am on a pretty strict diet No dairy (I treat it as a food allergy cause it is a trigger food so i has been cut out completely) things witha lot of sugar that comes from sugar beets or sugar cane cause problems when I eat a lot of it those are the big things

-When someone else is cooking: because unless well I can't expect them to know how to accomodate me and my dietary needs

- When I am not included in making the plans or if the plans are made but nothing is really concrete

-When I need to back out when I am really just not feeling up to going out.

Those are some examples of some situations where some issues have come up. most of it is their feelings vs my physical needs. Where it might be we have made plans to meet at a restaurant I know what I can eat at and then they are trying to change it at last minute to a place I am unfamilliar with doesn't have an aallergy menu or a place where I know I can't eat anything at the last minute. Some people make it easier to discuss that problem where as one who was supposed to have been a date ended up treating me like hypocondriac and gasslight my concerns and it just made me angry.

The plans, if the plans are made and I know can check if It will work for me and see if I can work with what the plans are. but if the plans are not set and I am not being included I can't really check to make sure what make use.

it just that there is a level of crankiness I get when I constantly have to defend my needs or defend myself against feeling like I am being gasslight or being treated like a hypoconriac because my condition is one where I hear things like "but you don't look sick" because it really is an invisible illness.

so I know how to handle my needs. it would be nice suggestions on dealing with the irritation of dealing with the ignorant and not so much the assholes...

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by Enail on Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:02 pm

Thanks for the advice, inertia. Fortunately (?), my condition does have a visible component, so I don't have the problem of people thinking there's nothing wrong b/c I look okay. :\

I definitely know that exhaustion with having to constantly defend or re-explain your needs! Is there anyone among your friends/family who understands a little better who would be willing to act as point person to explain or look out for your needs when you just can't deal with it?

It sounds like you could use somewhere just to be able to vent your frustrations. I know the usual sorts of suggestions, like seeing a counsellor or journalling or support groups, sound pretty wishy-washy and fluffy, but might be worth a try?
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:16 am

yeah, I am not so sure that is fortunate either. no one is fortunate to have a disabillity. not being taken seriously because you don't look sick or disabled is enough to make, I think, anyone want to scream...

I don't really have anyone reliable point runner, I mean keep people who are less stressful to be around closer than people who are more stressful to be around. It's kind of hard when at work most of the people who I report to are 20 plus years my senior and having to explain these things to.

I think I will look into that mindful meditation thing, though my mind moves very fast and I have no idea if I could slow that long enough to meditate. What used to help with that was writing poetry... and just foccusing my thoughts on to expressing how my inner landscape... but I have had a major writers block on that front for quite some time. It would be nice to get back to that.

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by Werel on Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:45 pm

inertia, this isn't any help on the actual suffering that is making you cranky (which sounds awful, I'm sorry), but as far as managing interactions with the people around you while cranky, I just remembered something from middle school-- we had a science teacher with a chronic health problem that also made her severely cranky at times. She had a "warning system" for students: when she put out the small stuffed crab on her desk, it meant "watch yourself a bit, I'm not going to have a lot of patience today." When she put out the big stuffed crab, it meant "your best course of action today is probably respectful silence, because I am CAPITAL-C CRANKY and I might just yell at you." This was nice because it made clear to us kids how much behavioral leeway we'd get on any given day, and helped us not take it personally if she snapped at us on a Crab Day.

Do you think a similar signal might help in interactions with people you're close enough to discuss your health problem with? Like a "cranky shirt" which lets people know you're having a particularly tough day and that they should be extra nice/careful in their behavior and words? The beauty of something like a shirt or a crab is that you get to avoid having the somewhat awkward Declaration of Moods on a regular basis, while still letting people know what's up.
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by Kiskadee on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:07 am

Have you thought about getting a card for your wallet saying what your dietary restrictions are, for waitstaff and the like? It might take some of the pressure off you when going out to eat at unknown places.

I feel you on this one, since I have celiac disease. Some people appear to be incapable of remembering other's diet restrictions - if you can I think it's best to just try not to get annoyed about it (easier said than done, I know). It's just not something that ever crosses a lot of people's minds. But if they are treating you like a hypochondriac, you have a right to be cranky at them, you know :/
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by kleenestar on Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:24 pm

I know it is not at all the same thing, but I have similar logistical and social problems because of my religious dietary restrictions. Perhaps some of the strategies I've used around addressing social eating could help you, too?

I basically do the following:
1) I have reduced my practice to a very simple mnemonic so people can get their heads around it. "I can eat anywhere with strictly vegetarian dishes." I actually have a little leeway beyond that, but it turns out that the benefits of making my restrictions easy for people to remember are bigger than the benefits of having slightly more food options.
2) When I'm eating out, if people want to switch to a restaurant that doesn't work for me, I don't try to argue with them. I just say "Thanks, but if you eat there I won't be able to join you." Tying myself into knots just makes me angry and resentful, as I sit there with a limp salad while everyone else eats a delicious meal. If they want me to join them, they can eat somewhere that I can get a reasonable meal.
3) When I have to go to someone else's house to eat, I contact them in advance about what specific dishes I'll be able to eat. I'm always prepared with concrete suggestions - e.g. for our first Thanksgiving with my non-Jewish in-laws, I went through the proposed menu with them and pointed out common problems (e.g. using chicken broth). In my experience people are usually relieved to have the guidance rather than see it as an imposition - no one wants to feel like a crappy host.

Let me know if this is helpful!
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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by inertia on Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:33 am

Werel, That sounds like a good idea if I worked with Children it might be able to work more, but it might help for useful with family. I tend to try to retreat when I am cranky. That sounds like a pretty cool teacher. It makes me want to see if I could do something maybe a little tongue and cheek. there is a restaurant Chain here in Canada Called Crabby Joe's if I could find a t shirt with the logo for my cranky shirt....

Kiskadee I honestly have no idea where I would go to get one of those cards, I usually don't have a lot of problems with restaurants. I look up the menues online and if they have an allergy menu. if they don't have one look up the menu, obviously Say an asian restaurant like Thai or Chinese is far easier to deal with if I am unfamiliar with the restaurant then say something like a standard north american or Italian restarant.... lots of cheese and things cooked in butter. My problem lies when I am not given the time I need to research the place. Its more frustration and anger. It really feels like you are the butt of some joke from the universe sometimes.

Kleenstar: It usually ends up with me having to leave the group if it gets too frustrating with certain people. usually people who make it difficult to be around aren't people I hang out with often. I do try to provide guidance and good resources. I just feel bad when mistakes are made. I usually try to off set by bringing contributions to the event as well. something I know I can eat it makes life easier when there are mistakes so its like "I really appreciated that you tried, but its not a complete disaster cuase there is still something that I can have." but it uis all useful.


Thanks

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Re: Trying not to be Cranky

Post by celette482 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:15 am

I get migraines on occasion (though with new meds I've got 6 weeks without one. woot) and they make me suuuuuper cranky on either end (and during, though during I am also curled up in a ball of awful and no one gets exposed to the crank). At any rate, I am aware of my crankiness at the very least, and I use my words and say to the people who are most likely to be hit by drive-by crank "I'm getting/having/just had a migraine and am a bit cranky."

It doesn't *excuse* the crankiness, but it does 2 things.

1. It signals to them "Hey, I'm not pissed at you, it's mainly brain chemistry that's making me weird, I also am seeing things and might throw up at any given time" People like to know that you're not pissed at them. I can still hurt their feelings, but it lets them know it's not me *trying* to hurt their feelings.

2. It signals to myself "Hey now, you ARE cranky right now, so maybe take a second before opening your mouth."

Awareness is crucial for me.
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