Random Moods of Depression and Irritability

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have been having moments at random times during the last couple of years, sometimes of overwhelming dread and hopelessness, and I get so down I sometimes contemplate whether or not it would be better if I were dead, and that lasts for a good month or longer, and then I’ll have random moments where I get pissed as hell at everyone I come into contact with, over nothing usually, and I feel helpless when this happens because I have no clue what causes it, it can last from a few hours to a few weeks, its not a good feeling at all, and I don’t know what to do.

A. While it may not be evident, there is likely an explanation for your depression and irritability. I would recommend starting a journal to track your moods. In the journal, record what precedes a negative mood. An event, a thought, or a particular person you interact with might be what triggers your change in mood. Keeping a journal would also be useful in tracking what precedes the ending of your negative mood.

In addition to tracking your moods, I would also encourage you to keep track of your thoughts during a negative mood episode. Try not to edit your writing. Just simply record your thoughts. You can analyze them at a later date. Below are a few questions that might prompt your journal writing:

  • What is your view of the world during this time?
  • Is it different than when you are feeling more stable?
  • Is there a repeating negative thought or theme?
  • Do you wish something in your life were different? If so, what and why?

Reread the journal after the negative mood has passed. When your mood is more stabilized, you may be better able to pinpoint the problem.

When you are experiencing negative thoughts, remind yourself that they will pass; they always do, according to your letter. Don’t allow yourself to have irrational thoughts. Force yourself to be as logical and as realistic as possible during this time. Doing so may ultimately decrease or eliminate your negative moods.

In addition, have a plan for when the negative moods occur. For instance, maybe there is a friend you can contact who can lighten your mood. Perhaps there is a television show, a song, a book, a favorite quote, or a movie that always lifts your spirits. Another idea is to join a support group.

My last piece of advice is to be evaluated by a therapist. The therapist is an objective third party who is trained to treat affective disorders. You may also want to consider other resources such as self-help books or depression and anxiety workbooks. Check your local bookstore or read reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com for help choosing the best one. I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Random Moods of Depression and Irritability. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/01/random-moods-of-depression-and-irritability/

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