Mood Swings Normal?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’m not sure if I’m normal or if there is something wrong that I need to fix. I’m 19 years old and I just wanted to know if it’s normal for me to be going through this. For as long as I can remember I’ve been hitting my head or scratching my skin with thumb tacks or safety pins. I know that’s not normal and nor are my suicidal thoughts. Now here’s the problem, I have crazy mood swings. Sometimes when people say stuff that makes me mad, in my head I imagine punching, yelling, and swearing at them. But I never do. I keep it to myself. It’s probably normal but man does it scare me. Also is day dreaming all the time bad? Most times I can’t remember what I’m daydreaming about. My thoughts never stop and its driving me nuts.

A. You’re right. Hitting yourself on the head and scratching your skin with thumb tacks or safety pins is not normal. I’m not sure why you engage in this behavior but it may be something you do when you’re feeling anxious or upset. You also mentioned that you have suicidal thoughts but you did not specify what they were or how often they occur.

Your specific question is about mood swings. When someone makes a statement that makes you angry you imagine yourself hurting or swearing at them. At this point it seems as if you’re able to control your behavior in these situations but the thoughts frighten you. I am assuming you’re worried because you believe it’s possible that you may act on these thoughts.

It may be difficult to control your thoughts but what you should focus on is what you can control, your behavior. If you find that your thoughts increase or intensify and your ability to control yourself becomes more difficult then you should see a therapist. It may actually be a good idea not to wait until the thoughts worsen to see a therapist. Beginning therapy now could teach you how to block your negative thoughts. This serves as a preventative measure to ensure that thoughts don’t escalate and you don’t lose control of your behavior.

Whether you want to go into therapy now, later or never is up to you but it is something to strongly consider if this problem continues. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jun 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Mood Swings Normal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 15, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/06/08/mood-swings-normal/