I keep having weird times (that do not correspond with my period) where I am really happy, alternating with times where I think I am worthless and do not want to do anything but sleep or isolate myself. An example is just last week when I stayed up all night or maybe two nights and finished 6 collages, created lyrics for songs, sang, made poetry and read a lot and was very sociable. The whole day I talked to everyone, laughed a lot and was overall very excited to create things and everything. It was really great and I felt amazing. Now, just a couple days later, I am just tired and I do not want to talk to anyone, or even be alive at all. I don’t know if I’m just normally stressed with school or if it’s serious. I just feel like crying all day too and a couple weeks ago I just cried in bed for little to no reason. I’m also very irritable and mean. This has been going on almost all year and I’m just trying to pick up on it more.

 A: I’m glad that you are noticing a problem and are trying to figure out what is going on with you. That is the first step. Unfortunately, I can’t be sure either, but I do think it wouldn’t hurt to be evaluated by a professional. At first I thought, maybe she’s just exhausted from staying up two nights in a row and then she crashed after all the mental and physical energy expended. However, when you said you have noticed the pattern for a year, that’s a different story.

You reported that you are 18 years old, and from my experience, physical and emotional mood swings that are hormonally driven are more typical in the early teens. Some of the symptoms could be accounted for by a psychological disorder, such as cyclothymic or bipolar disorder, but again, the only way to know would be to be evaluated by a mental health professional. Your college or university most likely has a student health center as well as a counseling center. I’d suggest getting a complete work-up, both physically and psychologically, to address the concerns you are having. 

College is difficult and requires a great deal of concentration, so I hope that you can get some answers soon to the mood and energy changes that you have been experiencing.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts