Controlled By Emotions

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I dont know whats wrong with me. In the past year I have been dealing with some issues I had to get help on, but some things I am too scared to tell my psychiatrist about. I am only sixteen years old and i know I should’nt be dealing with this. I dont really know what is wrong with me, but i get these feelings sometimes where i just want to run away for no reason and I dont know why. I honestly don’t want to run away, but for some reason I feel I want to. Same goes for suicide. Sometimes I will just get really sad for no reason and want to kill myself. Many times I have consumed way too many pills. I don’t want to kill myself, but sometimes at one moment i really want to, but suddenly don’t when i’m about to. Same goes for running away. For the past few weeks I really want to run away. Right now I have everything packed, and just two hours ago I was certain I was going to, but as the time got closer, I suddenly did not want to. Sometimes I will just do stupid things for no reason whatsoever. I really dont know what is wrong, but sometimes I feel I want to get away from life for a bit, get out of the same boring routine. Maybe I wish my life was more exciting, I don’t know. I really need your help before I do something stupid that may get myself killed.

A. I am glad you decided to write before you did something “stupid.” What may be happening is that you get upset about specific issues and “in the heat of the moment” you make decisions that are not based on sound judgment. The clinical term for this would be impulsivity.

You need to learn new ways to deal with your emotions. It’s important to be able to analyze your emotions to ascertain whether they are appropriate or logical. It would be beneficial for instance if you took a 10 minute break from a situation in which you felt your emotions intensifying. If you could walk away in those moments and essentially cool down psychologically, you may not be so prone to impulsive thoughts or decisions.

One thing that’s important to understand about emotions is they can intensify and become very strong but within minutes, tend to diminish significantly. An individual can’t stay at a heightened emotional state for very long. A “cooling off” period is recommended to individuals who tend to be ruled by their emotions. The point is that intense emotions eventually subside and when they do, you may be able to make more rational and logical decisions.

It would also be helpful if you had a mentor or a therapist who could teach you alternative ways to deal with not only your emotions but with problems in general. You wrote about wanting to run away or attempt suicide during stressful times. You’ve also had instances in which you overdosed not because you actually wanted to die but perhaps because you weren’t sure of an alternative way to deal with the stress of what you were experiencing. I doubt there is “something wrong with you.” I think it’s a matter of not knowing how to handle your emotions or problems in general. You could learn better ways to problem solve. This is a correctable problem. It’s a matter of learning a fresh set of skills.

You’re frightened to tell your psychiatrist about your out-of-control emotions. You can and should tell your psychiatrist. The psychiatrist may be able to assist you with this problem but if not, he or she could refer you to a therapist. Not many psychiatrists offer therapy. In most cases they deal with medication issues but they can make referrals.

Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Your symptoms can be addressed if you’re connected to the right help. I’d hate to see you continue to be distressed when there is a solution to this problem. Be sure that you talk about this with your psychiatrist the next time you’re in for an appointment. If you can’t wait, tell your parents. They may be able to talk to your psychiatrist on your behalf or work to get you in to see a counselor sooner than if you waited until your next psychiatrist appointment. If you’re currently in school then you can also speak to your guidance counselor about these issues. They too can refer you to a counselor or may be able to help you within the school setting. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 May 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Controlled By Emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/11/controlled-by-emotions/