Confused About What’s Wrong in My Life

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

As of a few months ago (2 or 3) i’ve been feeling really bad. actually it’s been a really long time since i felt not so good about life, but it got worse around this time. i decided to take to googleing my possible problems when my friends started saying they think i’m bipolar, because i have periods of extreme niceness and other occasions of being really mean or down in the dumps… sometimes i feel like everyone thinks i’m ugly and dumb and other things, and other times i feel like i’m totally awesome.

i told my mom that my friends think i’m bipolar and she said “yeah right” and just blew it off. she’s bipolar by the way. i also asked my dad and he said i’m kinda acting depressed more than bipolar, but niether of them really know what’s going through my head. sometimes i have totally random mood swings that i don’t tell anyone about, so that’s probably an important thing to say. another thing is that sometimes i feel like life really sucks and is pointless (not suicidal tho), and other times i feel happy and loved. it’s kind of 50-50 on which one of those i feel like though.

A. Bipolar disorder may be a possibility but only a psychiatric evaluation could determine this for certain. Sometimes individuals experience problems but don’t have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

You are having difficulty regulating and understanding your emotions. Many people can relate to this especially if they have never received proper emotional guidance from parents or mentors. Managing and understanding emotions are skills that can be learned. If an individual lacks a healthy model for dealing with their emotions effectively, then maladaptive reactions may develop. This may in part be the cause of your current difficulties.

A major problem is that when you experience “random” mood swings you do not let others know. You keep it to yourself. Perhaps this is due to fear. You may not want others knowing how you feel. Sharing that type information can make an individual feel vulnerable. Another possibility is you want to talk but you believe that others are not interested in what you have to say. Your mother did not take you seriously when you expressed the possibility of having bipolar disorder. If you feel shunned by your family, then your reluctance would be understandable.

I would suggest having another discussion with your mother. Inform her that you wrote to Psych Central. It may help to underscore the seriousness of your concerns. You should also discuss with her the possibility of seeing a therapist. If she has had positive experiences with the mental health system, then she may be open to you seeing a mental health professional. In the meantime, here are some suggestions that you might want to utilize when trying to regulate your emotions:

Keep a journal. Journaling can help release pent-up emotions. It also serves as a record of your feelings. After a week or two of continuous journaling a clear pattern may emerge. For instance, if you notice that you feel anger after interacting with a particular relative then it may explain the source of your feelings. Analyze what happened just before a particular feeling emerged.

Label your emotions. Journaling can help with this. When you feel a particular way write down precisely what is happening and try to give it a name. This might help you further clarify your emotions.

If you’re feeling overly emotional leave the situation if possible and allow yourself at least 10 minutes of quiet time. During this time alone, try to relax. Breathe deeply and attempt to emotionally stabilize. Try to answer the question “What just happened?” This would be a great time to record your feelings in your journal.

Attempt to maintain an even emotional keel at all times. It is not healthy to allow yourself to be overly happy or overly sad. Don’t react impulsively without taking time to think through a response. When we feel emotional we may say or do things that are not rational or that we may later regret.

I hope this answer helps. I wish you the best and please consider writing back and letting us know how you are doing. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Mar 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Confused About What’s Wrong in My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/03/10/confused-about-whats-wrong-in-my-life/