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You Asked: My Emotions Are Up and Down

Dear Sugar,

I'm almost 21, attending a great college, and generally happy, and I have a great boyfriend who loves me very much, but I'm still so depressed. I will be happy one minute, and the next I'll be sad, angry, and crying uncontrollably. I have problems with anxiety, but I don't think that is the problem. I feel like I'm losing my mind. Please help me!

— A Mix of Emotions Melinda

To see DearSugar's answer

.

Dear A Mix of Emotions Melinda,

It sounds like you’re really struggling right now. College can be a very confusing and difficult time even amidst all the good experiences, so I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve spoken with a therapist in the past about your anxiety, I recommend getting back in touch to ask for advice. Your student health center is also a great resourcem so set up an appointment ASAP.

In the meantime, you might want to start a journal and write down what you’re feeling before, during, and after you find yourself in one of your darker moments. Not only will it be a good opportunity to see if there’s something else going on subconsciously, but it will also be a good reference to bring with you to a therapy or psychiatry appointment. And though I do firmly recommend seeking professional help, you can find great forums for emotional support online, like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which offers both information and a supportive community for those suffering from mood disorders.

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Join The Conversation
breye breye 7 years
Hang in there! I think lots of us have been in very similar situations- you aren't alone! Staying busy and active is huge. Go out to dinner with friends, call a family member, go out to a movie with your boyfriend, go the the gym.... When I get bummed out I have a tendency to want to just lay low and veg at home which is completely counter productive. Also, it may have something to do with the time of year, depending on where you leave. It might not hurt to look up information on SAD (seasonal affective disorder) online and see if it pertains to you. It may sound silly, but if that's the case putting a bright light in your house or buying a few plants can make a world of difference. Good luck!
LittleMascara LittleMascara 7 years
I think making sure you are eating right and exercizing is a step in the right direction. As someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression (in fact, it was in college that most of these symptoms came about, and were diagnosed), if you do have either of those issues diet and exercize will help regulate your hormones/brain chemicals. It may not be a 100% fix, but it is a step in the right direction. It will also help when/if you are to be put on medication. Diet and exercize is a very important part of treating depression. It's worked wonders for me. Also -- I'd say track your symptoms, sometimes they're not as random as we think. When I started to track my own, I noticed what was setting me off, what times of the month I was more apt to feel anxious or depressed, and it helped my doctor come up with a plan for treatment. Don't be scared of psychiatrists or therapists. Just be sure to find one that you're comfortable with. And do your homework! Track your symptoms and try to live a healthy lifestyle. There is a lot that we can do to help our physicans diagnose and treat our illnesses. Do your part =) Best of luck!!
Ikandy Ikandy 7 years
B4 assuming your depressed or bipolar, try exercising, eating healthy and taking vitamines (B,C,D (1,000 i.u daily) and calcium). Lacking in vitamines and minerals can wreak havoc on us, physically and mentally. I like what Dear said too, writing a journal, and sharing your feelings and insecurities with someone you trust, can REALLY help...
Jeny Jeny 7 years
see a psychologist! Bi-polar disorder is no joke!
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
www.dailystrength.org is a great site as well. As someone who deals with anxiety it's very tough. I believe seeing someone will help a lot. You will be able to hopefully find out what may be triggering it and maybe begin some medication to help control it.
Luckystar11311 Luckystar11311 7 years
I just want to say this has been very helpful to me. I think a lot of the girls have the same problems, but just don't know where to turn to... I've found myself going through the same up-down emotions over the past couple years and was beginning to wonder if I'm becoming depressed or bi-polar. But as I read your girls' comments, I've realized that (while being on the pill) these feelings always come before my period!!! PMDD pretty much fits everything that's happeing to me. So thank you for easing my fears and I'm going to talk to my "lady doctor" ASAP.
Luckystar11311 Luckystar11311 7 years
I just want to say this has been very helpful to me. I think a lot of the girls have the same problems, but just don't know where to turn to...I've found myself going through the same up-down emotions over the past couple years and was beginning to wonder if I'm becoming depressed or bi-polar. But as I read your girls' comments, I've realized that (while being on the pill) these feelings always come before my period!!! PMDD pretty much fits everything that's happeing to me.So thank you for easing my fears and I'm going to talk to my "lady doctor" ASAP.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I'm also 21, have a caring boyfriend, go to college, and have just gone through a week where every little thing that went wrong would send me into uncontrollable sobbing fits. So I certainly hope there is nothing severely wrong with you! Your early twenties can be rough. You don't know your place in the world yet and there's so much pressure to figure it out. You're definitely not alone. I suggest reading, writing, and talking it out.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I'm also 21, have a caring boyfriend, go to college, and have just gone through a week where every little thing that went wrong would send me into uncontrollable sobbing fits. So I certainly hope there is nothing severely wrong with you! Your early twenties can be rough. You don't know your place in the world yet and there's so much pressure to figure it out. You're definitely not alone. I suggest reading, writing, and talking it out.
superrgirl superrgirl 7 years
Please do not jump to any conclusions, especially believing that you are bipolar or clinically depressed. These are significant diagnoses that include persistent and severe symptoms for a period of at least six months. I'm a psychology student, and I'll admit I don't know enough to diagnose any one, but you are definitely not crazy. A lot of people go through things very similar to what you are experiencing, including me. What Rocksteady830 said is exactly what struck me. When I read your post it reminded me too of PMDD, which is what my doctor has said that I have as well. I am a little hesitant to begin taking antidepressants, so I've been trying a few other things. Exercise is one of the things that really helps for me. Talking to other people with similar experiences and feelings will also be helpful, as well as writing in a journal (as suggested already). Those would be helpful to me as well because when I'm experiencing the anxiety and sadness, I feel crazy as well and very overwhelmed. However, when I'm not experiencing these things I'm perfectly fine and can't even imagine the way I feel when I'm distressed, let alone be able to adequately describe my symptoms to a doctor. So having a journal of specifically what you are feeling in these moments would be helpful to both you and a doctor. If you ever want to talk things out, feel free to send me a message. :)
superrgirl superrgirl 7 years
Please do not jump to any conclusions, especially believing that you are bipolar or clinically depressed. These are significant diagnoses that include persistent and severe symptoms for a period of at least six months. I'm a psychology student, and I'll admit I don't know enough to diagnose any one, but you are definitely not crazy. A lot of people go through things very similar to what you are experiencing, including me.What Rocksteady830 said is exactly what struck me. When I read your post it reminded me too of PMDD, which is what my doctor has said that I have as well. I am a little hesitant to begin taking antidepressants, so I've been trying a few other things. Exercise is one of the things that really helps for me. Talking to other people with similar experiences and feelings will also be helpful, as well as writing in a journal (as suggested already). Those would be helpful to me as well because when I'm experiencing the anxiety and sadness, I feel crazy as well and very overwhelmed. However, when I'm not experiencing these things I'm perfectly fine and can't even imagine the way I feel when I'm distressed, let alone be able to adequately describe my symptoms to a doctor. So having a journal of specifically what you are feeling in these moments would be helpful to both you and a doctor. If you ever want to talk things out, feel free to send me a message. :)
aeschere aeschere 7 years
i'd say look into your university's services. here we have an counseling program free to students.. and it's really great! you definitely shouldn't be feeling the way you do, and on top of that.. you don't deserve it. i'm sure it's straining your schoolwork and relationships too, making everything that much worse. i am going through something like this and didn't seek help for an entire semester. by the time i finally got the courage to use the uni's counseling services, i needed to withdraw from my classes. there's ways to deal with this.. everyone has great advice that i'd listen to too! hang in there, alright? :)
aeschere aeschere 7 years
i'd say look into your university's services. here we have an counseling program free to students.. and it's really great! you definitely shouldn't be feeling the way you do, and on top of that.. you don't deserve it. i'm sure it's straining your schoolwork and relationships too, making everything that much worse.i am going through something like this and didn't seek help for an entire semester. by the time i finally got the courage to use the uni's counseling services, i needed to withdraw from my classes. there's ways to deal with this.. everyone has great advice that i'd listen to too! hang in there, alright? :)
Leanne1078 Leanne1078 7 years
I went through the birth control problem too! It literally turned me into a different person. It took me a long time to get back to normal after I stopped taking it though. Now I can still be emotional but that is PMS related and I am working on balancing my hormones naturally.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 7 years
You're definitely depressed. In fact, i'd say Bipolar. You can get counseling on campus, from what i remember, for free. Go, don't hesitate.
forestrygal forestrygal 7 years
Are you on birth control by any chance? I went through the same thing about 2 years ago. I went to counseling, I started exercising but nothing really solved the problem. I didn't know who I was anymore because I was a crying mess half the time. The first doctor I went to dismissed my fears and told me no way birth control could have that effect. I got a second opinion from a great doctor who listened to all of my symptoms and switched me to a lower dose. It still didn't help, finally my boyfriend and I mutually decided that I should go off hormonal birth control and maybe try something else. Well, what happened is that I got my life back. I had worried that I was blaming the birth control for something deeper that was wrong with me, but in reality I felt like my old self again within about a week of going off the pill. I couldn't believe what an effect the pill had but it does affect people differently and you may want to talk to your gynecologist. Whomever you decide to talk to make sure he or she listens to ALL of your concerns no matter how small. Good luck!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 7 years
I don't think i'm qualified to give you any advice on this, but I just want to say good luck. I had a tough time by the time I reached 21 because I was faced with a lot of uncertainties (like most college students), and had times when I would cry for no reason because I felt like I couldn't live up to my high expectations. What worked for me was working out a lot and talking to friends and finding out that they were going through the same things. It certainly helps to know that you're not alone. I hope things get better for you soon!
hholbert hholbert 7 years
Also ease up on the caffine. This can boost moodiness. And exercie is always great because it releases endophines. Spicy food also releases endophines.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I went through the same kinda thing when I was in school. I'm all better now that I'm out, lol. Could be because I exercise every day now too. Though I regret not seeing a counselor/school therapist or something when I was in school. I think it would have helped.
hholbert hholbert 7 years
You might be having problems with the meaning that you are linking to certain things or events. Many schools do offer counseling services. It's worth checking it out. A journal is a good idea as well.I found a book that helped me with "negative thinking". It's called Feeling Good the new mood therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.. He talks about how you feel emotionally is a reaction to your thoughts. This book is excellent for figuring out how to take control over your moods. He also demonstrates exercises that you can use to get down to the root of whats upseting you and how to deal with it.I was a little bit moody especially around "that time" but things have gone a lot smoother for me after reading this. I got my copy at Barnes and Noble. You should check it out.
hholbert hholbert 7 years
You might be having problems with the meaning that you are linking to certain things or events. Many schools do offer counseling services. It's worth checking it out. A journal is a good idea as well. I found a book that helped me with "negative thinking". It's called Feeling Good the new mood therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.. He talks about how you feel emotionally is a reaction to your thoughts. This book is excellent for figuring out how to take control over your moods. He also demonstrates exercises that you can use to get down to the root of whats upseting you and how to deal with it. I was a little bit moody especially around "that time" but things have gone a lot smoother for me after reading this. I got my copy at Barnes and Noble. You should check it out.
rocksteady830 rocksteady830 7 years
I suggest doing some online research on clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and especially PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.) For five or six years I was convinced I had clinical depression or was bipolar, but my doctors and therapist continued to tell me that I didn't. A few months ago I started reading about the symptoms of PMDD, and once I began tracking my symptoms each month, I realized that I was having my depression and anxiety during the two weeks before my period and was feeling relief while on my period. After recording my symptoms on a calendar, I met with my gyno, and she put me on an anti-depressant used specifically for PMDD during those two weeks of PMS. The reason I suggest this so strongly is because you said you are happy and perfectly fine one minute, then the next you are sad and angry. That could very well be PMDD. However, I would highly suggest that you rule out other possibilities first. Obviously a gyno cannot screen you for clinical depression, bipolar disorder, etc., so meet with a regular physican or therapist first. Contrary to Dear's advice, I would not go to a psychiatrist until you have checked the other sources, because a psychiatrist WILL find something wrong with you and will most likely put you on medication. If you could have PMDD, they may not detect this and give you the wrong treatment.Hope that helps! I am eighteen and in college, too, so I know how hard it is to deal with emotional imbalance during this time. Message me on TeamSugar if you have any questions or anything. I would love to help, because I know exactly how you feel!!
rocksteady830 rocksteady830 7 years
I suggest doing some online research on clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and especially PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.) For five or six years I was convinced I had clinical depression or was bipolar, but my doctors and therapist continued to tell me that I didn't. A few months ago I started reading about the symptoms of PMDD, and once I began tracking my symptoms each month, I realized that I was having my depression and anxiety during the two weeks before my period and was feeling relief while on my period. After recording my symptoms on a calendar, I met with my gyno, and she put me on an anti-depressant used specifically for PMDD during those two weeks of PMS. The reason I suggest this so strongly is because you said you are happy and perfectly fine one minute, then the next you are sad and angry. That could very well be PMDD. However, I would highly suggest that you rule out other possibilities first. Obviously a gyno cannot screen you for clinical depression, bipolar disorder, etc., so meet with a regular physican or therapist first. Contrary to Dear's advice, I would not go to a psychiatrist until you have checked the other sources, because a psychiatrist WILL find something wrong with you and will most likely put you on medication. If you could have PMDD, they may not detect this and give you the wrong treatment. Hope that helps! I am eighteen and in college, too, so I know how hard it is to deal with emotional imbalance during this time. Message me on TeamSugar if you have any questions or anything. I would love to help, because I know exactly how you feel!!
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