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I'm grumpy and over-sensitive and I'd like not to be...

poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi

So, I'm an English/Irish man, 38, and I've been living in Japan for about 10 years. In the last year I've noticed that I'm becoming more and more stressed by people I meet, and I'm getting really grumpy and over-sensitive.

The main thing that gets me stressed is when Japanese people freak out on seeing me, and act really strangely even though I can speak Japanese just fine. But it's not just that - people at work who act dumb, my boss who is incredibly rude... Hell, dumb people on the internet make me angry, and they're not going away any time soon.

Basically I get really stressed and angry when other people are rude or dumb, and although I can control it, it's making me really unhappy. I really want to just let go and laugh it off (like my wife or friends do) but I just can't seem to. I don't know how I became a tight-arse like this - most people who've known me a long time would call me very calm and relaxed, with a good sense of humour about life's weirdnesses.

So is there something I can do? Meditation? a martial art to let off steam? I have Crohns Disease, which limits physical stuff some, but I am getting really sick of stress giving me stomach-aches, making me argue with my wife over pointless shit.

Help me chill!

I figure I could take a bear.
poshniallo on

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    matthias00matthias00 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you think it's based off stress issues, then meditation could probably help. At the very least, it can't hurt.

    Just take 5-10 minutes out of your day around the same time each day in a quiet place and go for it.

    I'm not going to go into the specifics of meditating because I've really only done it like 5-6 times and I bet there's someone on here that can help you with it much better than I can, but if you give it a good couple tries, I bet you'll find yourself much less stressed out.

    matthias00 on
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    MuddBuddMuddBudd Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I was under the impression that the Japanese were just like that. That many tend to distrust foreigners, sort of a weird ass cultural thing.

    I am aware of the irony of that statement, yes.

    Anyway, they invented tentacle porn man, they don't get to judge YOU.

    MuddBudd on
    There's no plan, there's no race to be run
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    DaxonDaxon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    MuddBudd wrote: »
    I was under the impression that the Japanese were just like that. That many tend to distrust foreigners, sort of a weird ass cultural thing.

    I am aware of the irony of that statement, yes.

    Anyway, they invented tentacle porn man, they don't get to judge YOU.

    Yeah... my first thought when you said you lived in Japan was "MOVE AWAY!"

    Not that I'm xenophobic, it's just that the Japanese are... special. As are the Koreans and Chinese.

    Edit: For some useful advice it just sounds like you need to relax and get away from stuff that annoys you. I know some cities have health-type places that let you rent a room which are decorated/painted in a relaxing manner and are completely soundproof so people who have problems with cities can have some time to just lie and rest in complete silence (or with nice ambient sounds if you so wish).

    Complete silence does wonders actually; few people actually get to experience it on a regular basis and I've read that this may be a major source of stress and illness for city-dwellers.

    Daxon on
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    HalberdBlueHalberdBlue Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Do you listen to music you enjoy? I find that I get grumpy and irritable rather quickly if it's been a couple of days since I've listened to some good music, but if I've listened to music that day then not a thing in the world can bother me.

    HalberdBlue on
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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Going away from some of the specific Japanese issues already hit on:

    Do you get enough sleep? Is it GOOD sleep (you don't wake up halfway, you wake up in the morning feeling rested)?
    Do you get any exercise? Even 30 minutes of running 3 times a week can improve your overall attitude.
    Do you drink way too much coffee keeping yourself on edge, or smoke regularly to the point where tobacco can agitate you?

    I don't know much about Crohns and its limitations. I've just found that a lot of people I get to know who are on edge more often than not and get shitty about stuff easily usually aren't getting enough sleep, abuse coffee/caffeine, have poor exercise/eating habits, or are in the midst of cutting back/quitting tobacco.

    Scrublet on
    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.

    PSN: TheScrublet
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    ArikadoArikado Southern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you're finding yourself becoming angry due to no real cause, this could be a medical issue. My father had an extended period where he would be angry for no real reason other than he just felt angry. It wasn't until a few years ago that he was diagnosed with diabetes that he started to watch his food and no longer has anger fits.

    Arikado on
    BNet: Arikado#1153 | Steam | LoL: Anzen
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Actually, I love living in Japan. Most Japanese people are groovy, and there's lots about the country (food etc) that I love. I don't think the idiots are the problem - it's me getting angry with them and not being able to put their stupid into perspective that's a problem.

    I don't get good sleep - pain often wakes me up. But that's been a problem for 18 years, since I got Crohns, but this problem is more recent.

    I don't exercise enough, that's true. Partly due to laziness, partly due to Crohns (running hurts my guts).

    I live in the countryside (but work in the city) so I don't think noise is a problem.

    I do wonder if it might be an aspect of Crohns or the medicine I take, but this disease is obscure enough that a rare symptom like that will be impossible to nail down, I think.

    Meditation is interesting - I live near Kamakura, where there are lots of temples, so I could go do za-zen. But perhaps I don't need to go anywhere to meditate....

    This is all helping a lot - thanks!

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
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    i n c u b u si n c u b u s Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Do they play paintball in japan? I know you cant do stuff thats too stenuous but when I'm pissed its always nice to go out and shoot someone in the face (with paint of course). Its a relatively cheap sport and its not only good exercise, its really fun. Give it a try!

    i n c u b u s on
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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Arikado wrote: »
    If you're finding yourself becoming angry due to no real cause, this could be a medical issue.

    Im embarassed that I missed this issue given my family background. For years my dad had emotional issues where he was fine most of the time, but would blow up over the dumbest bullshit. Finally (I wasn't around for this) he blew up at my mom in the morning when she reminded him of a doctor's appointment later that day he had forgotten about. She finally set her foot down and said that when he was getting this upset about the idea that an hour of his day was not as originally planned, it was time to get some help.

    While I NEVER like recommending drugs to solve every sort of personality issue, I will say that the thing they put him on (think it started with a P...Praxil? I have no idea) solved this problem without any negative effects we've been able to discern. If this is really bothering you, maybe check it out.

    Scrublet on
    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.

    PSN: TheScrublet
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    DaxonDaxon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Actually, I love living in Japan. Most Japanese people are groovy, and there's lots about the country (food etc) that I love. I don't think the idiots are the problem - it's me getting angry with them and not being able to put their stupid into perspective that's a problem.

    I don't get good sleep - pain often wakes me up. But that's been a problem for 18 years, since I got Crohns, but this problem is more recent.

    I don't exercise enough, that's true. Partly due to laziness, partly due to Crohns (running hurts my guts).

    I live in the countryside (but work in the city) so I don't think noise is a problem.

    I do wonder if it might be an aspect of Crohns or the medicine I take, but this disease is obscure enough that a rare symptom like that will be impossible to nail down, I think.

    Meditation is interesting - I live near Kamakura, where there are lots of temples, so I could go do za-zen. But perhaps I don't need to go anywhere to meditate....

    This is all helping a lot - thanks!

    You know it really sounds like you should just try to:

    a) Go for 30-60 min walks two or three times a week.

    b) Go to sleep earlier; understandably the pain can be a problem but perhaps your doctor could figure out some way for you to get more (and more importantly; better quality) sleep.

    Edit: I for one have been lucky enough to never have sleep problems but my brother did by working nights a lot for several years. He got pretty messed up and felt sick quite often because of it. Sleep is just too important.

    Daxon on
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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Daxon wrote: »
    a) Go for 30-60 min walks two or three times a week.

    I am still reading up on the Fitness Thread OP by Thanatos...I'm not an idiot when it comes to exercise/diet, but I still have more to learn. However, in general I don't think walking is that useful unless it is seriously ALL YOU CAN DO. I would try biking (exercise bike or real bike), elliptical, NordicTrack (it's like a machine for cross-country skiing), and stair-stepping before relying on walking for activity. If the running is hurting you definitely don't do it.

    Scrublet on
    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.

    PSN: TheScrublet
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    ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Learn to shoot? I've heard that going to a shooting range helps with some peoples frustration. I'm not sure how many ranges you'd find in Japan though. It's a contained violence thing. I've been thinking about it myself as I have the same issue you do, mine comes from 6 or so years managing restaurants and then 8 years in call centers. I'm actually going back to school so I can just remove myself from the stupid.

    Elin on
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    darklite_xdarklite_x I'm not an r-tard... Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I've got the same issues as you Poshn, but to make matter worse I tend to put myself in situations that I know are going to piss me off (for example, I go to the D&D forum on this site). I wish I had some good advice to give you, but when I start to get too pissed off I just stay away from people in general and isolate myself so I don't do anything stupid.

    darklite_x on
    Steam ID: darklite_x Xbox Gamertag: Darklite 37 PSN:Rage_Kage_37 Battle.Net:darklite#2197
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Crohn's is a really difficult disease to deal with. It's rarely bad enough to be disabling, but it's often bad enough to make really normal stress-relieving activities (like exercise, sleep, sex, and eating) a pain in the ass (no pun intended). I don't know anybody with Crohn's personally but I know people with IBS and celiac disease and I see how chronic intestinal problems just make life harder in small ways all day every day.

    If I had Crohn's, I'd be irritable all the time, too.

    Normally, I'd suggest seeking out a support group for people with chronic medical conditions but that might not work since you're living in Japan and all. Have you considered registering for a message board for Crohn's sufferers?

    Feral on
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    LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    How long has it been since your last holiday? Also, how is your sex life?

    LondonBridge on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    Is the catalyst really always just 'when people are being dumb'? If any irritant sets you off - dumb people, noise, badly fitting jeans, slow traffic etc. - then I'd go for the usual generic stress things but if it's soley and specifically 'dumb people' which triggers your anger, it's sound to me like you have some sort of empathy issues.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Try to put things into perspective. Let little things slide if they aren't going to affect you much. There are times when you need to be upset and speak your mind about stupid and rude people but there are a lot more times where it isn't worth your time.

    Listen to some Jazz. I find Miles Davis' Blue Moods always relaxes me.

    Play some games or sports with other people, something where you can be competitive mentally and/or physically.

    Get some time to yourself completely alone for a little bit each day. Meditation is one way but just listening to music, reading a book or taking a stroll in an area with not many people all work. I find I'm much more accommodating of people and their foibles when I haven't had to deal with them constantly.

    Gafoto on
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Is the catalyst really always just 'when people are being dumb'? If any irritant sets you off - dumb people, noise, badly fitting jeans, slow traffic etc. - then I'd go for the usual generic stress things but if it's soley and specifically 'dumb people' which triggers your anger, it's sound to me like you have some sort of empathy issues.

    It's everything, I think. I think I have a bit more dumb around me than average. I could be wrong, of course, but I manage EFL teachers and then there's the gaijin panic thing. Mind you, I could be hyper-sensitive to that particular aspect of our humanity. But yeah, lines in Starbucks, traffic, my wife telling me to remember to pay the bills, having to deal with bad customer service. Makes me crazy. I am an insanely grumpy bastard.

    I mean, I might have the 'empathy issues' you mention (could you be more specific?) but I don't think it's that. I hope.

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I know exactly what you're talking about! It's a double burden, because your energy goes first into getting angry and then into trying to contain it and being civil. I get like this as well so I'm following this thread carefully hoping for a solution. I find myself in a state of barely contained white-hot rage on a daily basis over things that really are quite minor, and sometimes I even catch myself willfully misunderstanding people's intentions just to get an excuse to get angry at them. And then because I can't just start shouting and hurling people off balconies I resort to passive-aggressive bullshit that disgusts even myself. Interestingly, I have celiac disease (much, much easier to deal with than Crohn's I believe) so Feral might be onto something there.

    The only correlation I've been able to see is that the amount of sleep I get affects this a lot. Do you get enough sleep? If I manage to go to sleep early and get a good 12 hours, I find myself tolerating annoying people much, much better.

    Bliss 101 on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Scrublet wrote: »
    Daxon wrote: »
    a) Go for 30-60 min walks two or three times a week.

    I am still reading up on the Fitness Thread OP by Thanatos...I'm not an idiot when it comes to exercise/diet, but I still have more to learn. However, in general I don't think walking is that useful unless it is seriously ALL YOU CAN DO. I would try biking (exercise bike or real bike), elliptical, NordicTrack (it's like a machine for cross-country skiing), and stair-stepping before relying on walking for activity. If the running is hurting you definitely don't do it.

    Walking is really useful for just getting your body moving and burning off some stress-related energy, though. Plus, it's a good chance to really think things through. It may not be great for losing weight, but just as a general physical and mental health thing, I've found daily walks tremendously helpful.

    Plus, I always sleep really well after a walk.

    Trowizilla on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The easiest way to let things go is to just let them go. Don't focus on anyone being stupid or rude - you don't have to be with these people all of the time. It's not a big deal, let them do their own thing and you do your own thing. I find giving everyone space, which in turn gives you more space, is a great way to stop caring so much about how others are acting. I've had to be around angry/rude people because of work, but if you just ignore the bad vibes, do what you need to do and move on with your life, you'll be a much happier person. Don't let things get to you, just remember that you are you and they are them and you don't need to make a big deal out of everything.

    Zombiemambo on
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    DaxonDaxon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    Scrublet wrote: »
    Daxon wrote: »
    a) Go for 30-60 min walks two or three times a week.

    I am still reading up on the Fitness Thread OP by Thanatos...I'm not an idiot when it comes to exercise/diet, but I still have more to learn. However, in general I don't think walking is that useful unless it is seriously ALL YOU CAN DO. I would try biking (exercise bike or real bike), elliptical, NordicTrack (it's like a machine for cross-country skiing), and stair-stepping before relying on walking for activity. If the running is hurting you definitely don't do it.

    Walking is really useful for just getting your body moving and burning off some stress-related energy, though. Plus, it's a good chance to really think things through. It may not be great for losing weight, but just as a general physical and mental health thing, I've found daily walks tremendously helpful.

    Plus, I always sleep really well after a walk
    .

    Exactly. The walking has nothing to do with exercise really, it's to do with the going out; looking around and mulling over anything bothering you/thinking about stuff in general.

    Does wonders for stress really. A gym would probably just be aggravating in any case.

    Daxon on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Is the catalyst really always just 'when people are being dumb'? If any irritant sets you off - dumb people, noise, badly fitting jeans, slow traffic etc. - then I'd go for the usual generic stress things but if it's soley and specifically 'dumb people' which triggers your anger, it's sound to me like you have some sort of empathy issues.

    It's everything, I think. I think I have a bit more dumb around me than average. I could be wrong, of course, but I manage EFL teachers and then there's the gaijin panic thing. Mind you, I could be hyper-sensitive to that particular aspect of our humanity. But yeah, lines in Starbucks, traffic, my wife telling me to remember to pay the bills, having to deal with bad customer service. Makes me crazy. I am an insanely grumpy bastard.

    I mean, I might have the 'empathy issues' you mention (could you be more specific?) but I don't think it's that. I hope.

    Ok, no, that just sounds like regular stress. Some people find it difficult to empathise with others - they can't understand why others don't know what they know, are intolerant of other points of view, ways of thinking etc. It's not necessarily because they are horrible people, they just find it difficult and that can make it extremely difficult for them to handle being around other people.

    However, lack of empathy can also just be a by-product of increased stress. The more stressed out you get, the lower your tolerance for other people and their peculiar ways. Empathy is essentially imitation - people who are good at copying others tend to be more empathetic because through copying them, they can better understand them. If you're in an unfamiliar society then I can imagine your capacity for empathy - imitation - is likely to be stretched thin anyway, additional stresses on top of that are likely to make it very difficult to maintain a normal degree of empathy throughout the day.

    Like others have said, the way to beat stress is to make changes to your life. These can be small changes or big changes depending on how drastic the situation is. Two key methods to follow are organisation and relaxation...

    Stress is a result of two things - two much pressure and not enough release. You can reduce the pressure through better organisation. Make a list of everything you need to do each Month, week and day and plan out how you're going to do it. Simply making the list will probably reduce your stress and anxiety a great deal as it normally transpires that things aren't as bad as they seem and you can see clearly how you are going to manage everything. Make some plans, set some goals. It puts everything in it's place which makes it easier to deal with and also gives you something to strive towards to remind you that you aren't just mindlessly grinding your life away.

    Release is what most everybody else in the thread is talking about. Different releases work better for different people - as much as I like Jazz, I can find it immeasurably irritating when I'm stressed or harassed. Simply sitting quietly in the garden for twenty minutes after a bad day at work is often enough for me to collect my thoughts and chill out. Sometimes the release is doing something extra - exercise, a hobby etc. - sometimes it's surgically removing or transplanting something particularly terrible from your life - lancing a boil. Since moving out of a cramped flat with noisy neighbours to a more spacious house in the quiet suburbs myself and my wife have been a lot happier, despite having a larger mortgage, less financial security and higher utility bills. We swapped one type of stress for another, but it's one that is more in our control so it's manageable and tolerable.

    I'd caution against making changes that are two extreme, however. By all means, assess your current position in life and consider if the stress isn't a result of you not being where you really want to be but just beware that having a mid-life crisis style upheaval can just as easily result in being a homeless drunk as a carefree millionaire.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    This thread is really helping - I feel a bit like an addict or something: 'Admitting you have a problem is the first step...' and so on.

    Just today I tried to make more jokes, to be amused by minor bad stuff instead of getting stressed. That helped.

    I will take up walking. I live near the beach, so I can cycle down and walk there any time. It shocks me how little I've gone there recently.

    I will look into groups for helping chronic sufferers. Also, that matches what Szech said about empathy - I need to integrate more. A group like that is as good as anything. There might not be much, though - Japan doesn't really embrace therapy in the same way the US does.

    12 hours sleep? I can only dream of that. 6 or 7 hours of disturbed sleep is the best I can hope for, and usually I get much less than that. I get woken up by pain after one or two REM cycles, I reckon, and then that's that, because I can't go back to sleep. I also sometimes moan or shout in my sleep, which I think is connected to pain. I'm very used to these aspects of my Crohns, but now that I write them down they seem pretty fucked-up o_O

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
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    SaniusSanius Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Simply walking in your area is great, I have only seen pictures on the internet, but the japanese countryside--is it as wonderful as i've seen? Or is it really trashy? I know that Japan (at least tokyo) is losing a lot of its country side, but I don't know a lot about the place, you live there, so.. :P

    Sanius on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    Oh man, walks on the beach? So relaxing. Assuming it isn't a busy cluttered beach. Go for a stroll around dusk or dawn. Aww man, I wish I was there now.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    Folken FanelFolken Fanel anime af When's KoFRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Hey man, there are actually quite a few of us here (yours truly included) at PA with crohn's. Lookie here: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=59459

    Your problems might be related to crohn's, they might not. Try some different treatment options maybe? Then again, if you're 38, then you've most likely settled into a certain treatment pattern that works, and living without pain is probably more important and being less grumpy.

    Just relax. Concentrate on enjoying life. Nothing else to say, really.

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