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14 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're 'Pangry'

Have you ever been so hungry that you start growing irritable? Maybe you’ve snapped at loved ones, or said or done things that are extremely out of character, all because you’ve gone longer than usual without nutrition. If you can relate, then you’ve been what people call “hangry.”

While “hanger” is a fairly common experience, if you experience chronic pain, then you may also be familiar with its cousin, “panger” – the anger and frustration that can result from living in constant pain.

The pain alone can naturally be stressful, overwhelming and irritating beyond words. But as Mighty contributor Stephen Fratello explained in his essay, there are so many aspects of life with chronic pain that can be frustrating:

Being sick is not easy. It can involve a series of judgments from society, family, friends and sadly, the medical community. It can involve a series of terrible doctor appointments and rude staff. (Yes, there are some good doctors and friendly staff, too). It can involve dealing with the grief and depression and anxiety of not being able to live a full life. It can involve dealing with medication side effects that cause more harm than good at times. This can be infuriating.

If the many frustrations of life with chronic pain have ever caused you to grow “pangry,” you’re not alone.

Everyone may react to and manage this anger in different ways. Some people may become irritable and unintentionally snap at their loved ones. Others may withdraw and isolate themselves from the world.

While it’s never OK to treat people with violence or hostility, it’s also important to recognize that we may never understand the full extent of what another person is going through. Sometimes, inner hurt or pain manifests through outward anger. Communicating this to friends and loved ones can help them better understand the struggles we’re facing on days we’re especially pangry.

That’s why we asked our Mighty community to share something they do that people don’t realize they’re doing because they’re pangry. If you recognize any of the following behaviors, you’re not alone. Let us know how being pangry affects you in the comments below.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. Shutting Down

Going quiet. I don’t respond. I go into my head and shut down so I don’t say something I don’t really mean.” – Ariel A.

“I usually end up just shutting down. Because everything makes me upset. I want to say the meanest things when I feel that way. So instead of snapping at people, I just shut down and say nothing at all.” – Aleyah-Grace J.

“I quit talking. You know what they say, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. I go into total lockdown mode so I don’t yell or argue with everyone. It seems like when I’m in pain things get on my last nerve that otherwise, I wouldn’t notice or bat an eye at. I feel like a lot of my pain brings frustration for what I can’t do in addition to the physical pain. It’s really hard losing the life you once knew to chronic and debilitating pain.” – Jamie H.

2. Snapping at Others

“I snap at people for small things which makes me feel guilty, so I then isolate myself for fear of doing it again.” – Amber F.B.

“I become irritated much quicker at the littlest things and then snap at everyone. I really don’t mean to do it but I can’t seem to stop.” – Beth G.

“When I’m pangry and someone asks me what’s wrong, I ‘snap’ and say I hurt. I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m in severe pain and I just wanna be left alone or I just don’t wanna talk. When I hurt or when I’m angry I just wanna be left alone normally and then I’ll eventually cry cause I don’t know what else to do cause with chronic pain there’s a point I come to where I’m just done with everything.” – Nicole L.

3. Avoiding People

“I avoid people when they call or text me, family and friends alike. I’m usually attached to my phone, but when I’m pangry, I want the outside world to just go away.” – Erin N.

“Avoidance. I avoid people because I know I’m angry for being in pain, it has nothing to do with them, and they’re just caught in the cross fire. Or I’m overly blunt. ‘Look I feel like crap, high pain day, what do you want?’” – Amy M.B.

4. Clenching Your Jaw

“I clench my jaw and don’t realize I’m doing it until I unclench it. I also get snappy and critical of people, especially my mum, and find it very hard to make decisions. I can’t think about anything other than the pain and how much I hate it.” – Alley D.

“Clench my jaws, grit my teeth, scowl, frown.” – Susan R.

“For me, it feels like I’ve got a complete lack of patience, anything and everything irritates me, and I have to constantly remind myself to unclench my jaw.” – Ashley S.

5. Losing Patience

“My lack of patience. Whether it’s with repeating myself or asking for something to get done, I get very impatient very quickly.” – Lauren H.

“When I’m having a bad pain day, I have zero patience. I snap, get cocky and rude. I purposefully push people away. Then I get angry at myself because there are better ways to handle the situation.” – Courtney S.

6. Experiencing Mood Swings

“Definitely mood swings. I have a pain level tolerance you could say I’ve grown accustomed to up to that point. When it goes beyond that the pain just overwhelms me and I don’t know how to express emotions. I’ll cry, I’ll curl up and want to be left alone. On rare occasions screaming but that usually makes the pain worse, so I basically just shut down.” – Molly S.

7. Warning Loved Ones

“I warn my husband, if I am pangry I tell him and he knows to give me space because my pain is directly causing anger and upset feelings. This way he knows it’s not his fault and I don’t have to keep things in.” – Joan W.A.

“I try my best not to take it out on my children, but sometimes, I have to give them a heads up that Mommy is in a lot of pain and it’s making her irritable and impatient, but she’s trying not to take it out [on] them because it’s not their fault. Unfortunately, they do get snapped at and I have to apologize for overreacting.” – Ashley S.

8. Struggling to Make Decisions

“Slam the cupboards and end up in tears. I can’t make decisions if I want to eat or anything.” – Monika S.

“My decision making is off… so if my husband starts asking me a bunch of questions I will usually snap or become very mean. As if I am trying to push him away. It’s like I know no one will want to speak to me when I’m like that, so I’ll have the peace I need to deal with the agonizing pain I’m in. I know it will pass, I know my meds will eventually start to work, but I just don’t have the energy to explain that.” – Ashley H.

9. Feeling Easily Bothered by Noises

“I struggle with impatience – not great for a mother and teacher. I also struggle with noises, particularly repetitive sounds and loud sounds.” – Heather D.

“I tell people to stop clicking pens, tapping their fingers, and ask anyone making small and repetitive movements or sounds to stop. On a regular pain day I have enough tolerance to handle (and I would think it impolite to ask), but high pain days they seem to be huge trigger irritants for me.” – Mariah C.

10. Crying in Frustration

“[I get pangry] mostly because the pain limits me from doing all the things I did before. I get frustrated and cry, and I don’t think others fully understand that it’s the pain making me act that way.” – Joanne S.

“I cry. A lot. I get so frustrated that I can’t go out, that I’m going to have another day of being at home alone in my bed or on the sofa in agony. I cry hard when I’m angry which increases my pain and it sucks. I’d give anything to just be well enough to spend time with my friends.” – Abi R.

11. Focusing on Your Breath

“My breathing becomes faster and louder (I’ve been told). [I] think it’s my way of trying to distract myself from my mood!” – Jill C.

“When I get ‘pangry,’ people don’t realize that I try to breathe mindfully and focus on my breath. They have no idea I am not paying attention haha!” – Bela C.

“No patience, everything irritates me, and I tend to take deep breaths and sigh a lot.” – Heather N.

12. Cursing

“I get so irritable that everything and everyone annoys me… including myself!! I have zero patience and I curse like a sailor.” – Lára Ní N.

“Cuss! I mean foul words!” – Jacqulyen B.H.

13. Zoning Out

“Stare off, not pay attention to conversations, [get] easily irritated. My husband asking me if I’m OK, but I’m tired of telling him I’m just in pain… so I say I’m OK, but that frustrates me even more.” – Allison A.L.

14. Getting ‘Fidgety’

“My husband cops the brunt of my anger as he’s the closest to me. Thankfully also, the most patient and understanding. He’ll let me rant and rave over the [silliest] thing ’cause he knows I’m coming from frustration and pain, not real anger. My patience goes out the window too. I’ll also get ‘fidgety’ and sigh a lot.” – Cindy W.

“I get very panicky and I just look like I’m about to cry. I’ll immediately look for an exit strategy and uber/taxi the hell out of there so I can go home and get some pain meds in me so I can rest. I’ll likely be fidgety and short-tempered, and just holding very still until I know the uber has arrived so I can focus all of my strength in making it to the car, then to my door.” – Carolina P.

If you struggle with anger or mood swings because of your chronic pain, you’re not alone. To learn more, check out the following stories from our community:

Photo by Riccardo Mion on Unsplash