Easily Irritated? Well, You Must Be Mentally Ill

July 19, 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne


I'm easily irritated but it's not because of mental illness. Little things in life, things that irritate a person make mental health recovery more difficult.

I'm easily irritated right now. I'm easily irritated by the noise, the dog drool, and the pissy cat. Yes, I have a mental illness or two, but I'm not irritated because I'm mentally ill. But I am irritated, okay? And again, not because I live with a mental illness!

I am Easily Irritated, and It's Not A Mental Illness Symptom

Leave Me Alone!

I sat down in my chair today and took a sip of my coffee. I did not add enough cream. Irritating. It's raining. What a piss off. I have to spend an hour blow-drying my hair. Come on!

My cat is walking around whining like it has been hit with a pellet gun and does not eat organic food, is not on an expensive pet insurance plan, and must have its irritating fluffy hair brushed every single irritating day (side-note: Actual picture of the annoying fluffy cat. Yeah, he's cute. But still!).

The dog won't stop growing! 130 lbs of chasing the cat. The nice lady at the SPCA told me, smiling, "Oh, he's going to be a big boy, maybe 70lbs!" He is fourteen months old and he is not done growing (actual pictures of "The Beast"). He is going through "dog puberty" Yes, I will state this again, it is irritating. He chases me everywhere. I wake up with "The Beast"-- his head beside my pillow and his large mouth spewing drool on my 400 thread count new sheets--on my nice clean bed. Sometimes, sorry for the details, the cat and the dog decide the bed is the best place to throw up when they eat each other's food. I bought him his own bed. But he ate it. And some of my clothing. And books. And leather shoes. I know, I am complaining. I am irritated. That aside . . .

It is only 8:06 a.m.

And here is the worst bit: A CONSTRUCTION SITE beside my house. All day: Hammers and drills and people yelling and playing bad 90s rock while I try to type. The noise (Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud)!

Now, you are probably thinking this should be a personal blog, wasting away on my irritating website, but I have a point. And sometimes these blogs need to reflect life. The little-big things like the impact of irritation in our lives and the stress it can cause. The things we, I, can do to minimize the impact. Now, moving away from my bollocks (I have to type quickly the skill-saw will be starting any minute now . . . If I were an animal I would be growling).

Easily Irritated--But Not Because of Mental Illness

Having A Mental Illness Can Make Us More Reactive to Stress

The topic of this blog focuses on the reality that we are not more reactive because we have a mental illness, but if we are not feeling so great or if our stress level is higher than usual, things like noise, in my case excess noise, can shake things up. Piss me right off.

What does "reactive" mean in the context of stress and mental illness?

Take a situation, excess noise for example (let's stick with the theme here), and apply it to mental illness. If you feel off kilter the sound of a car honking can irritate you. It can spur feelings of hatred toward whoever made horns so loud, and to the people who honk at other people they know, thus creating two irritating noises. This also increases the chance for a car accident. You cannot use your cell phone when driving but you can honk at all of your friends? I remain confused.

Maybe we react. Maybe the noise is too much. Yes, something little like that can make us angry, irritated, if we aren't feeling up to par. But that's the same for everyone. If you're not feeling up to par, you will likely be easily irritated.

You Can Minimize Your Reactions When You're Easily Irritated

Clearly, we cannot control everything in life. We cannot usually control the things that surround us. So, what can we do? Well, we can take a few minutes to think about what we can control.

Control is a very important piece of the puzzle that is mental illness and our recovery from it. Often, we feel out of control. As if our moods dictate our lives. This is why it is beneficial to focus on what we can control.

Things like what we do in our spare time, who we choose to spend time with, how we define self-care and, above all else, whether or not we want a dog that is 130lbs. Even if we love him and he is irritating (side-note: I do love "The Beast" just less when I'm irritated).

So, I need to take my own advice here. I have work to do and it's loud outside but I bought some ear plugs and plan to take "The Beast" running---although his size rivals mine and he has decided it's fun to run through the tall grass and get lost. I have been searching through a lot of tall grass as of late.

If we can channel our irritation positively, we can control more in our life. We can try to weed out the irritating bits that cause stress.

Now, before I stop typing and throw on my running shoes, let me apologize for utilizing the word irritating so many times. It must have been highly irritating to read. I did a count: I used the word nineteen times. Sorry. Sort of.

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2012, July 19). Easily Irritated? Well, You Must Be Mentally Ill, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

July, 20 2012 at 11:16 am

I laughed when i read this!!! But it is also SO true. I've had days when the smallest thing can be irritating. People have a great way of being an irritant when you are irritable. LOL... but are right on the money with this.

January, 19 2014 at 1:15 pm

YES! IRRITATED! I get it! Everything irritates me! I have to be alone most of the time. I laughed out loud when I read this! Thank you! The most irritating thing for me is when I am in someones car and they are talking to me with the radio on. I cannot filter out that horrid noise! Same with TV. HATE TV! They think I am weird that I don't have a TV, I don't play music,I hate barking dogs, singing cats! Even the furnace can make me feel nuttier then I already am! If I use earplugs, the sound in my head drives me battier! Thank gawd for SSDI and HUD. If I didn't have that, I'd be dead. Can't want for that day! Dead, it sounds so . . . quiet! NICE!!!

John Doe 29m
October, 14 2014 at 7:37 pm

Pippy nailed it word for word. Solutions anyone ? dying or sleeping forever seams so nice. it's a combination of irritation and anxiety which leads to anger , loss of control, inability to focus, or form coherent sentences, which leads to even more anxiety, frustration and depression. All this leads to isolation. It's a total shit storm. Must have been the shit gene. I am having an extremely difficult time integrating into society. I wish i was never born, but hey, the monster upstairs had to play a prank on me. Good Luck to ya'll.

Rex Cornwell
December, 23 2017 at 4:35 am

I'm curious where irritability comes from...I'm thinking, right now, resentment.... taking care of that by switching the attitude from negative to positive as a means to reduce irritation
In my opinion, we all need mental health, physical health, and food/water. To me, mental health is second most important to food/ water, above physical health.
Anyway, if we can reduce our own irritability, it seems to follow we can reduce irritability throughout the community, and ultimately improve mental health across the board.
Here are some ways to manage irritability, from Psychology Today:
Hug/Physical touch
Exercise to rid excess energy/ adrenaline
Take a break; listen to music, yoga, bath
Finally, reducing resentment to limit irritability. For me, here's what helped. 1 - knowing, in the situation, what you aren't responsible for, and not taking responsibility for those things, because doing so will only irritate you. And 2 - switching, if you can, the ultimate perspective on the situation that causes resentment for you, to a reason to feel good about yourself, about the situation, and to be hopeful for the future.
Take care,

August, 14 2018 at 6:35 pm

FYI, not all mentally ill people are easily irritated. To claim that they are, biased. So shame on you for painting all irritated folks with one brush.

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