I Get Angry Easily and Cry a lot

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I dont know if I have a problem or not but I want to make sure. I get angry easily and snap at my sister or mom a lot. And I always end up feeling guilty. I can’t control myself sometimes. Several times I’ve punched walls and messed up my hand or put a whole in the wall. I usually do this when I’m alone. I never seem to be in control with my emotions. I always end up crying at night and fall asleep like that. I always thought it was around my period but frequently it’s all the time.

I’m stressing out about college because (even though my sister is in college) she isnt really helping me out. I always look up to her for advice but recently I haven’t been able to trust her. My cousin, who I was close with until some previous problems occurred, it’s of much help with college even though we’re going to the same community college. She always assumes something bad of me. I feel like a failure because I have no idea what I’m doing in college and what I want to study. I feel like this because my sister has everything figured out. And every time someone brings up about school I get mad and irritable but now it’s about every mistake I make.

I can’t ever seem to control what comes out of my mouth an end up getting my sister mad and she disputes with me and gets me even more angrier. I spoke to my mon and found out she is taking medication for anger and it’s starting to worry me. Do I have the probability of having bipolar issues or am I depressed? I have no idea what to do and I don’t want others to know I’m struggling mentally. I’m afraid that next time I get really angry I will end up hurting someone physically. Because several times in the past when I would punch walls I would only see darkness and let myself succum to my anger. But afterwards I’d feel horrible.

A: Thank you for writing. The first thing to do is to get a complete medical checkup. Sometimes the emotional ups and downs that you are reporting have a physical cause. Make sure you check it out before you decide that this is all in your head and start worrying about a mental health diagnosis.

Having said that, I do have another idea. Sometimes our inner self is wiser than we give it credit for. It just may be that your emotionality is a way you are telling yourself that you are simply not interested in college at this time. I want you to know you’re not alone in this. Many recent high school grads have no idea what they want to study or why they are headed to college. Everyone they knew just kind of assumed that of course they were going and they went with what felt like an inevitability. Often these are the kids who drop out. If they do complete the four years, they often aren’t happy with the major or the career they ended up with.

I think you should take a step off the conveyor belt that is taking you to college and really think about what you want to do. It’s not a crime to go your own way. It’s only wise to take time out to figure yourself out. There are progams called “Gap Year” that are intended for teens just like you. Search the web and you’ll see all kinds of interesting ways to make a contribution in the world and to expand your own horizons. I wrote a couple of articles for Psych Central that address this issue because I was getting many letters like yours. Click the links to take a look.

Are You Ready for College? Alternatives for the Unsure

Ready or Not: Immature but Headed to College

You are your own person. You are not your sister. You are not your cousin. Taking more time before choosing a path toward your future is only smart. College costs a great deal of money and time. You want to be sure that it is necessary and that you are motivated to do the work before you pack your bags to go.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Get Angry Easily and Cry a lot. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/23/i-get-angry-easily-and-cry-a-lot/