You Don't Know Irritability Until You've Reached Your 40s


I was a moody teenager, okay? I’m not afraid to admit something like that but sincerely blame the puberty hormones which were pumping through my body.

As a kid (before my boobs started sprouting and my periods started flowing), I remember waking up every morning happy.

I was excited about school.

I was excited to wear a purple shirt.

I was excited we were going to have hot chocolate when I got home.

I was excited when it rained because I loved the sound.

Not only was I always happy, I was always bouncing around like a sugared-up PollyAnna. My teachers were constantly talking with my parents (and with me) about how I was ‘much too social’ and needed to talk less.

My mother would play a game with me called “Let’s See How Long You Can Go Without Talking.” I could never make it more than three minutes even though she offered to pay me.

Then when I was about twelve I remember sitting in band class and the tears started flowing. For no reason. Gone was the girl who was excited about the dance that night. She was replaced by someone who needed quiet and to be left alone.

Those emotions eventually faded and I returned to my annoyingly happy self in my late teen years. I honestly thought that moody phase of my life was over and surely it was just a stage teenagers go through, right?


I turned 40 and suddenly the girl crying in band class as she put away her flute seemed like a pleasant creature compared to the animalistic woman I am now who can become filled with rage at any given moment.


The years have gone by since then — almost six to be exact — and these mood swings are not budging. In fact, they are getting worse.

I’m fine one minute, then the next I feel like I could literally snap a log in half with my hands. I even surprise myself sometimes, because I never know when the tide is going to change and I’m going to shift into bitch mode … and take you down if you get in my way.


I was talking with a friend about this last week who said she and her husband now have a safe word when she feels the demons entering her body. A safe word, people. Now, if you haven’t hit the perimenopausal stage you may think this is ridiculous and one should be able to control one’s self. But sorry, you aren’t allowed to have a say until you arrive here.

These feelings and moods are real, my friend. There’s no controlling them either because I’ve tried it all; my friends going through it have tried it all. And while there are some things out there that take the edge off for me (sleep, exercise, less sugar, and magnesium), there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription everyone can take.

Middle age mood swings can make you feel like there’s someone else controlling your brain with a remote control.


It means waking up and feeling fine, then having debilitating anxiety within a half hour and you have no idea why.

Your body will play tricks on you, too. I’m either freezing with horrible circulation, or so hot I want to stand outside naked with the breeze blowing through my vagina lips and fantasize about no one ever touching me again.

You have days when you are starving and daydream about eating turkey legs and cheesecake. Then, you are nauseous, have cramps, and start bleeding again for the second time this month.

A friend of mine said her libido is gone, while another told me her sex drive is so high her husband can’t keep up and they’ve been fighting.

Also, we cannot forget middle age brings acne, wrinkles, and hair sprouting everywhere … which is equivalent to kicking someone when they are bent over the toilet vomiting.

I think I’m feeling fine, until I look in the mirror and see my jawline peppered with acne and whiskers.

It’s as if a woman’s body says, “This is my time to really fuck with you by taking away your sleep and giving you things like zits, facial hair, and making your hormones do an Irish jig.”

You don’t know irritability until you reach your 40s. Yes, there are things that are wonderful about this time in your life like, not really caring what other think about you and knowing which jeans fit the best, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to grab the bag of chips out of your partner’s hands and smash them on their head when they are crunching too loud.

The clog in the sink will make you cry and believe you me, you will lose some sleep whether you have a million things on your mind or not.

Basically, middle age is like having raging PMS every other day. Even on the days you feel like yourself, you are filled with a sense of dread because you know the feisty, annoyed woman is going to invade your body soon because that’s the pattern you’ve been forced to get used to.

I wish there was a magic pill I could take and send to anyone going through this. Until they come up with one, I suggest we all come up with a safe word because apparently it’s working for my friend.