I’ve had social anxiety disorder most of my life and have coped with it well until it seems recently. Lately, I’m sad and upset all the time, I cry often over nothing more than my thoughts, I don’t get out of bed, and I’ve called out/left work early just to be alone. I feel numb or sad, and I also feel really worried that my boyfriend doesn’t like me anymore or is cheating (though he has given no reason for me to feel this way). I thought it was just anxiety at first, but this isn’t a panicky feeling, this is just utter despair. This is not the first time I’ve experienced this, but the last few times I thought it was circumstantial. Usually this lasts about a month or two before I go back to normal. However, last summer I experienced what may have been hypomania for a month and a half — I had sexual relations with multiple people in a short time, drank heavily every night, and didn’t sleep for a week and felt great. I thought I was on top of the world, that everyone loved me, and I could do anything I wanted. Now I feel utterly worthless, unwanted, unloved, and alone. At this particular moment in time, I feel awful about myself and my life, but I can’t sleep and I feel more awake than I’ve felt in weeks. I’ve been considering seeing a psychiatrist for social anxiety again for a while, but should I consider addressing this issue, or am I worried about nothing?I Have Bipolar Disorder, But Could It Just Be Anxiety?
I Have Bipolar Disorder, But Could It Just Be Anxiety?
I don’t think you are “worried about nothing.” Your symptoms are unusual. They are outside the norm. People don’t normally have extreme changes in their mood. Emotions should be under control and balanced. Your symptoms might be indicative of depression or bipolar disorder. The best way to determine a diagnosis is to consult a mental health professional for an evaluation.
After the evaluation, treatment will be suggested. A combination of medication and talk therapy often proves most beneficial. Medication can stabilize your mood. Therapy provides a supportive environment where you can talk to someone who is objective and neutral. You and your therapist can work together to identify the problems that are interfering with your life. Therapy can teach you new skills about how to manage your mood and the everyday challenges that inevitably arise in life.
You can either return to your previous psychiatrist or ask your primary care doctor for a referral. Friends and family might also be good referral sources. You might want to try reading reviews about different therapists in the Psychology Today database. Psych Central also has a searchable therapist directory. I wish you well. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle