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Really Bad Mood Swings

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am really confused about a lot of things. First off, I have really bad mood swings. I start the day feeing all right but then swing into a state of- I guess depression- at almost any trigger. I get really angry and throw things around and lash out at other people and try and hurt myself sometimes, and other times I just cry. Usually about once a day I end up planning out a suicide attempt. For about half a year I've felt down most of the time, with my mood swinging from all right to severely depressed. Before that I can remember being happy all of the time, but I know that before even that, I was depressed again. As well as mood swings and feeling suicidal, I am confused about my sexuality. I think I'm bisexual, but I'm not sure. I'm a girl and I like girls but I'm in a relationship with a guy. Sometimes it feels weird because he's biologically (right word?) a male, but other times it's fine. Also, I confused about my own gender. Ever since I was little I've been a bit of a tomboy, and I used to pretend I had a unisex name (like Charlie) so that people would think that I was a boy. Every so often I think I want to be a guy, but then sometimes I don't and am happy being a girl. I don't think I'm a guy inside, I know I'm a girl I just don't like being one, but I don't understand why I feel like this.
Signed: Really Bad Mood Swings

Dear Really Bad Mood Swings,


TeenHealthFX can appreciate how difficult these moods swings and the sexuality/gender confusion must be for you. As for your mood swings, it is possible that you are dealing with some kind of mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Mood disorders have multiple causes, including both genetic and environmental factors. Since you have been experiencing these significant mood swings for some time, and given that you have had suicidal ideation as well, FX thinks that it is very important for you to meet with a mental health professional as soon as possible for a consultation. A therapist can give you a more accurate diagnosis and can give you a better sense of what the main contributing factors to your mood swings may be. In addition, a therapist can recommend an effective course of treatment based on your symptoms and diagnosis so that your mood generally feels more stable and even, and so that you do not have these recurring suicidal thoughts.

In terms of the sexual orientation and gender confusion, FX understands how frustrating and scary this can feel for a teen – to feel like there are all these unanswered questions and to also be left wondering why these thoughts and feelings are even occurring in the first place. FX thinks these issues would be important to bring up with a therapist as well, as the confusion you feel about these issues may easily be contributing to the mood swings you have been experiencing. It would be helpful for you to have someone to discuss your thoughts and feelings with so that you can get to a point of greater clarity about your sexual orientation and the gender you most identify with.

In moving forward from here, FX wants you to remember a couple of important things:

·         If you do have a mood disorder it is important for you to get treatment from a trained mental health professional. Mood disorders are not things that will just go away, and some mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder) can actually get worse when left untreated.

·         It is important that you do not try to deal with any of these issues on your own, but that you seek out the guidance and support of trusted adults and trained professionals. It can be hard enough just dealing with the kinds of emotional issues you are describing to begin with, let alone trying to cope with them all on your own. Sometimes just the act of reaching out for help and setting up an appointment with a therapist can help people to feel better because they are no longer feeling so alone.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Signed: TeenHealthFX