My mood swings scare me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My behaviour and overwhelming mood swings are getting worse and it scares me. I have always thought myself overly emotional, too sensitive or prone to tantrums, but I find myself questioning if there’s more to it.

I don’t experience “in between / level” I’m either extremely happy, extremely sad or extremely angry. the happy’s not a problem it feels like i’m on a buzz of some sort. but when i’m hurt, i feel like dying, and i’ve cut myself on occasion, and attempted / contemplated suicide. needles to say my parents thought i was seeking attention, but to me, at the time, death was better than feeling (AND I”M CHRISTIAN, suicide’s a NO-NO)my Happy moods lasts for long periods, i love everyone and everything when i’m happy, i’m productive at work, even when i don;t want to be, and full of energy, i sleep for maybe 3 hours a night (i’f i’m lucky) and wake up fine, then out of nowhere i start to feel victimized,trapped,and feeling overwhelmingly depressed.

I’m scared because right now it feels like my personality is unravelling, I argue (with myself, outloud when I get like this) and I feel useless and unworthy, for no good reason.I’m tired ALL THE TIME and cry and cry and cry for days on end and this goes on for usually about a week… I usually go shopping to fix this.When I get angry ( due to being hurt) I swear I could kill, ( I even find myself strategizing the murder) I have a history of violently attacking my X, although I don’t remember all the details of my actions.

I’ve been like this for atleast the last 10 years, and was told I’m just melodramatic, I must learn to “chill”. my last “episode” if I may call it that was 4 days ago, On Monday I verbally attacked my supervisor for no reason, threatening to RESIGN!I cried for 3 days straight, ignored everybody (including my 6yr old daughter) and stayed away from work, not caring if i get fired because, at the time without reason, i was convinced my place of work was hell itself. I suffer from panic attacks, but have learned how to cope without medication, so they are few and far between. I feel like i’m lost in my head, my thoughts are so conflicting i swear they’re arguing with eachother… I scared my daughter with my behaviour, and calmly explained to her that “mommy get’s this way sometimes, and it’s not her fault, she must just go about her day” problem is, I don’t want her to see me like that again. WAHT’S WRONG WITH ME? Please help, I’d appreciate some insight. Thanks

A: Oh my! You reached out for help and someone called you “melodramatic”? I don’t think so! I don’t think you are oversensitive, overemotional, or looking for attention. Anyone who truly understood how difficult it is to live inside your head wouldn’t dream of minimizing your feelings with labels like that. You are scared because it is terrifying to feel this out of control.

It’s not appropriate for me to make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. All I can legitimately do is tell you that what you are reporting is consistent with a diagnosis of Bipolar I. Please seek out a mental health professional and get an evaluation. If I’m correct, there are medications that can help control the intensity and frequency of the mood swings. Some talk therapy will help you learn to recognize when you are headed for a difficult period and will provide you with some skills for taking care of yourself.

Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with what’s available in South Africa to give you specific directions for finding help. Often a medical doctor or clergy members are good people to ask for recommendations. I hope you will follow through and soon. This is hard on both you and your daughter. You both deserve more stability and less drama.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). My mood swings scare me. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/17/my-mood-swings-scare-me/