I have dealt with mood swings all my life.
Seriously, I am not kidding when I say I've had days where I've woken up feeling totally run-of-the-mill fine, then suddenly found myself scream-crying on the phone with my mother on my lunch break.
After dealing with these mood swings one too many times, I finally decided I needed to seek help and get to the bottom of what was really causing my emotions to flip-flop all over the place.
The biggest struggle, I found, came in trying to piece out when my mood swings made sense, so to speak, and when they just plain didn't.
The first key question to ask yourself when considering your mood swings is, "Are they unmanageable?"
Elite Daily spoke with clinical psychologist Dr. Matthew Childs, Psy.D., who stresses the importance of asking yourself about the predictability (or-lack-there-of) of your mood swings:
Are they predictable? Or does the mood swing happen so drastically or suddenly that it becomes unbearable? Are the emotions all-consuming? Do you feel 'stuck' in the emotion when it comes? Are they too painful to bear? If the mood swings are happening quickly and intensely, that is a sign that your emotions might be unregulated.
He also says it's important to question whether or not the mood swings are situational in nature.
For example, are you reacting to an actual event, like someone being mean to you, or missing a flight, or have you recently experienced the loss of a loved one?
If you find the changes in your mood aren't linked to any particular catalyst, Dr. Childs says this is when you may want to start paying closer attention to them.
Even so, the way you react to actual events is something to consider, as well.
It's possible that your mood swings and emotional reactions don't correlate or make proportional “sense” with what is really happening.
Like, are you maybe having a full-out temper tantrum because your store ran out of the tuna you like? Did you just start sobbing because your friend said she couldn't make it to dinner tonight?
Dr. Childs says, if someone hurts you in some way, for example, feelings of anger or sadness make sense. But if your emotional changes are so intense that they don't correlate in size to what is actually happening, it's another sign you might want to get some help.
If you can't tell whether your switches in mood or emotional patterns are regular, “check in with family and friends,” Dr. Childs recommends, as they can offer a third-party perspective on how your moods may seem disruptive to your life, relationships, and communications.
If you still find yourself struggling with unpredictable changes in your mood, don't ever be afraid to reach out for help. Start doing some research, and you'll be surprised by how easy it is to find a therapist, or even an online support group.
It's definitely not easy, but caring for your mental health is pretty much the most important thing you can do for yourself.
And I promise you, you're definitely not alone on the journey.