Home » Ask the Therapist » Am I imagining problems that don’t actually exist?

Am I imagining problems that don’t actually exist?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I’ve had a partner for almost four years now, and over the course of those years he’s obviously begun to know me very well. He often jokes around with me that I’m “Bipolar” or have “mood problems”. This, however likely it is that it may seem a joke, has always made some sort of impact on me because I’ve personally felt that way myself.

My moods fluctuate very often, not to the point of not being able to function, but to the point where I’m almost always unhappy. I will be extremely happy and laughing one moment, and I’ll remember something that has upset me in the past about either the situation I’m in or the person I’m with and it makes me very unhappy again almost to the point of feeling depressed and lonely. It’s very strange. This can happen anywhere and anytime, but mainly happens when I’ve had a very long day or a very emotionally-stressful day.

Also, adding to this, I find it very difficult to concentrate in class and on other work-related projects simply because I cannot stay out of my own head. It’s often cloudy and even dull feeling and I’ll usually spend my time staring into space at nothing in particular when I should be doing something. I’ve found that I am able to focus when I think extremely hard about focusing, but that’s about the only time, it doesn’t come naturally at all. On some days, I’ll cry for no reason just to make myself feel better. During this, I usually think about all the bad things that have happened over the course of my entire lifetime. However, shortly after these long crying periods, (I can cry for hours at a time), I’ll just laugh it off and most of the time it’s like it never happened. This has created a very tense and confusing atmosphere for my relationships whether they are my family or my partner because sometimes they’re unexplainable or over-exaggerated feelings over small things. I’m not sure if this is a minor problem and I should seek help or if it’s nothing.

Am I imagining problems that don’t actually exist?

Answered by on -


One way to find out is to make an appointment with a mental health counselor for an evaluation. I don’t have enough information to make a diagnosis. What I can tell you is that what you report is not usual for an 18-year-old and could well indicate that you have a treatable problem.

A rule of thumb for me is that when a behavior or feeling is having a negative impact on relationships or daily functioning, it’s time to stop worrying and to get a professional assessment instead. Worrying isn’t going to improve the situation. Talking with a counselor may well help you name the problem and figure out what to do about it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I imagining problems that don’t actually exist?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I imagining problems that don’t actually exist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 26 Sep 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.