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I Don't Know What To Do

Question:

For the last 10 months or so I have been feeling really sad. It seems like everything is making me sad. Even when good things happen I still find some reason to be unhappy. I have also been having random mood swings which tend to affect my life at home and in school. My mood will switch so suddenly without warning and l will either feel like crying or be really angry for no reason at all. Then, I lash out at my friends and family. I have also recently resorted to cutting myself when I have a big fight or a really bad day because I dont know what to do or who I can talk to. My sleep and eating habits have also been affected as my appetite fluctuates and I do not get a lot of sleep. I am also unusually tired and feel like I have no energy. The worst thing about it all is the constant feeling sad. Nothing cheers me up. I hate the feeling of not being able to see all the good things about my life. I know that I don’t have a bad life and there are so many other people with way bigger problems than mine. That makes me feel so guilty also. Please help me because I hate who I am right now and I dont know what to do. Please help.

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Answer:

It never pays to compare your problems to those of other people. Yes, there are always those whose problems are worse. There are always those whose problems are less. It makes no difference because each one of us lives with our own problems. Pain and unhappiness feel awful, regardless of whether others have it better or worse.

What you describe are classic symptoms of depression. Everything from your sadness to your difficulty with sleeping to your change in appetite and feelings of tiredness are typical of depression. That includes your tendency to become very angry and lash out at family and friends. In fact, even hating your self is typical of depression.

You mention mood swings and, therefore, it is possible that you have a bipolar disorder. However, I doubt that is true from your description. Based on what you have written, my hunch is still with depression.

There is a note of caution I must put in here and that has to do with the fact that the Internet is no way to make any type of diagnosis. You need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis. Based on that face to face interview, a course of treatment will be recommended. My guess is that the treatment will be for psychotherapy and that is always an excellent idea.

Please be aware that if you go to a psychiatrist you will likely be put on medication. While I am not necessarily opposed to this, depending on the severity of a case, I still prefer to go with psychotherapy. Studies show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works as well or better than medication for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

In therapy, it will also be important for you to examine the types of pscycho social stressors that exist in your life. It is common for people to feel depressed or anxious without being aware of the possible causes. Sometimes the causes are quite obvious to a professional but seem to escape the attention of the client. Whether those stressors have to do with school, dating, family tensions, physical illness or other things, they impact on one’s life in ways that can be quite surprising.

My advice is that you go and get help now. Ten months is a long time to live with this discomfort. If this were a fever, you would have seen your doctor long ago. So, go, now and get the help you need and deserve. There is no need to continue to feel awful.

Best of Luck

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