Mood Swings

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m fifteen years old, and lately I’ve been getting angry and intensely irritated at the tiniest thing, and I get so furious at something so small that I start shouting. Then I get sad, and I’m sad for a long time until I get angry again. This is basically the relentless cycle, but sometimes I feel really happy and like I can do anything, which is really confusing. I’m avoiding meeting new people much more than I used to because I just can’t be bothered to smile and be friendly. I don’t understand what’s going on and I’m starting to think that I’m just not a very good person. Do you have any tips or distractions from my anger? Please help.

A: What you are describing are not at all unusual emotions for a 15-year-old. Puberty is a time of life that can feel like being on an emotional roller coaster. Your body is going through a major change and your emotions can sometimes feel out of control. Part of growing up is learning how to manage your feelings and how to relate to people. Avoiding going out and meeting people is exactly the wrong thing to do. If you talk to girlfriends your age, you will find out that most are having the same ups and downs you are. That can be very reassuring.

You are right to be looking for distractions. The best way to get through the tumultuous teen years is to find something that you are passionately interested in and to get involved with it. It could be making music or dancing or being in a theatre group or getting on a sports team. It really doesn’t matter what it is. You need to find a group of like-minded kids who are really enthusiastic about getting together to make a band or put on plays or win games. When you focus on a passion, you won’t be so concerned with yourself.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Mood Swings. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/22/mood-swings/