Suffering fools a little more gladly.
Apologies for the length of this post, but I am a fan of detail.
I was diagnosed with ADHD last year. It's been a difficult year, with the stimulants causing dysthymic side effects; my new wife suffering a miscarriage and year-long postpartum depression and her stepfather's death. I'm also still dealing with the suicide of my first wife a few years ago and a very demanding career. And yes, we both see counselors and are very open and honest with each other and the marriage is very strong. I'm using Wellbutrin while awaiting some research from my neuropsychiatrist about next steps re: other medication options. I have a coach too.
The reason for my post is that I'd like to hear from other members about how they deal with their short tempers. Over the first 35 years of my life, I was slow to anger and quick to joy. Over the past five years, I've been quick on both fronts ... and I don't like it.
For example, tonight I blew up at a pharmacist. My wife and I had walked to the drug store, talking about the rough two days she's had. When we attended, the pharmacist informed us that my drugs were not covered on my wife's new plan. We knew this not to be the case, as we had just been dealing with our insurance agent on this point the week before. I told him it didn't matter as I would just pay for my drugs but my wife took the time to explain that she was sure that I should be covered. After the pharmacist ignored me and proceeded to instruct us both, in excruciating detail, about how we were obviously mistaken in respect of our coverage, I waited what seemed like three minutes (likely 30 seconds) before I interrupted him, explaining that with five degrees and a legal career, I was quite capable of discerning the extent of our insurance coverage. He was taken aback and challenged me; I challenged back. My wife asked me to stop, but it took me another two or three minutes before disengaging, with her in tears and the pharmacist huffing about how he had never been treated so rudely by another professional.
Afterwards, my wife completely agreed that the pharmacist was a condescending buffoon who deserved to be dressed down. Still, both she and I understood that it was our moral duty to avoid rising to anger about such a trivial annoyance. She also reminded me that whenever I start my communications with mention of my college experience and legal training, there is not going to be a happy ending.
I know why I lose my temper so easily; I am justifiably under incredible stress and battling both my wife's depression and my own dysthymia. We all have our limits and I've been finding mine in recent years. I am most vexed by displays of bureaucratic ineptitude and slowwittedness. In other words, I really, really don't suffer fools gladly anymore.
So, after that belaboured introduction I have a simple question: how can I control my temper better? Given the time of night, my Adderall XR would have worn out anyway. I knew as the words were coming out of my mouth that this was an ill-timed outburst in which I was about to engage - and yet, I just couldn't help it. His behaviour was just so incredibly annoying and before I knew it I was in an argument. Worse still, as a barrister I am very skilled at argument. Even worse, I rarely turn down the opportunity to demonstrate that I am right. While these may be useful skills for my profession, they don't make me a nice person, or the person I would prefer to be. I hope this does not sound too conceited, but it's akin to a professional prize fighter choosing to brawl in a bar with normal patrons. It is unwise, undisciplined and unprofessional.
So what tricks of the trade are available to help me hold my tongue more often than I do?