Lately, I find myself having a short fuse in situations that normally wouldn't cause me to get upset. Just the other day, I couldn't find where I left my keys and I became so frustrated that I snapped at my wife. I apologized but I felt pretty bad about it. I think these heightened emotions have something to do with my stress from work as I have a large project I'm working on. Frankly, I've been pretty overwhelmed with managing all the elements of this project. I can tell my temper is starting to affect the people around me. Is something wrong with me?
You're already on the right track, acknowledging that something is not quite right and seeking some answers. When we find ourselves having big emotional reactions to minor inconveniences or annoyances, we’re experiencing a type of emotional dysregulation. When this happens, we might notice an emotional response that is not proportionate to the circumstance or rapidly fluctuating emotions.
Emotional dysregulation can be caused by a number of factors and it's always a good idea to speak with a mental health professional when you're noticing changes like what you've described. But you've left a few clues that point to one possible source of your temper flareups: challenges with executive functioning skills. For example, you mentioned misplaced keys - do you have systems in place at home to organize your essential items? And that massive project you're working on - is it possible that it's been hard to organize the different elements, keep focused on your work, chunk out the different pieces, and allow a reasonable time for each? If you're nodding your head, then it may be that working on executive function skills could help you feel more organized, in control, and calmer.
It also can be enormously helpful to learn methods that work for you to keep your emotions regulated. Some people meditate, journal, exercise, or snuggle with a furry friend to help them feel calm. The important part to know is that there are ways to help you get back in touch with that un-stressed person you want to be and a coach or a counselor can help you get there.