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Serious mood swings

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    It's been a rough couple of weeks, but the jist of it is that my mood is out of control. I flick between so many moods in a day. Optimistic, depressed, despair, motivated, hysteria, crying ... it's complete chaos. It changes so quickly. I'm studying for my final postgrad exams at the moment, and it's so hard to concentrate and keep on an even keel. I'm managing, but barely. Fortunately the university counselling service saw me on a particularly violent downswing last week and they're helping me to file mitigating circumstances, but the mood swings are nearly unbearable. I cry myself to sleep most nights, and cry during the day too, because my mind tortures me about the mistakes I've made, about how crap my life is. At the very worst dip in my mood, I became hysterical because I started to feel like I didn't want to be here anymore.

    How can I handle these mood swings and keep at an even mood? I keep wanting to do stupid things, like get in touch with people who I shouldn't, to cry and scream, to tell the whole wide world how I feel. It's frightening. How can I get this under control?
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    I'd really recommend seeing a doctor - I'm in a sort of similar position at the minute - what used to be unipolar depression for me has more recently transformed itself into really sudden mood swings - currently between severe depression, feelings of elation and feeling fairly normal. I was put on mood stabilisers a couple of months ago when the problem was less severe, but with no results, and because things have really intensified over the last two weeks (I've worried the hell out of both myself and my friends), I've now got an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist in a couple of days' time.

    Our symptoms don't match up exactly, but it's clear that you're worried about your unstable situation too, and I think you're right to be. For myself I'm aware that at times with the way I've been I can actually have been putting myself in danger, or have come pretty close to doing so. I'd really hope that this isn't the same for you, and that also your symptoms will pass once the exam season is over, but even so in case of future stress I really think this is a problem you should get sorted by a professional. It's good that you're seeing the uni counselling service, but on top of that I think you should at the least be seeing your GP as well, and depending on their views they might want to refer you on to someone more specialist as well.

    Hope this gets better for you soon. :hugs:
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    (Original post by superwolf)
    I'd really recommend seeing a doctor - I'm in a sort of similar position at the minute - what used to be unipolar depression for me has more recently transformed itself into really sudden mood swings - currently between severe depression, feelings of elation and feeling fairly normal. I was put on mood stabilisers a couple of months ago when the problem was less severe, but with no results, and because things have really intensified over the last two weeks (I've worried the hell out of both myself and my friends), I've now got an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist in a couple of days' time.

    Our symptoms don't match up exactly, but it's clear that you're worried about your unstable situation too, and I think you're right to be. For myself I'm aware that at times with the way I've been I can actually have been putting myself in danger, or have come pretty close to doing so. I'd really hope that this isn't the same for you, and that also your symptoms will pass once the exam season is over, but even so in case of future stress I really think this is a problem you should get sorted by a professional. It's good that you're seeing the uni counselling service, but on top of that I think you should at the least be seeing your GP as well, and depending on their views they might want to refer you on to someone more specialist as well.

    Hope this gets better for you soon. :hugs:
    Thanks for the kind words, it's actually just really nice to have someone to talk to about it! I don't really have many friends, and certainly not ones who I can talk to about stuff like this. It frightens people. So it's been pretty rough with me just trying to hold my head together.

    I did go to my doctor, as the counselling service booked me in for an emergency appointment after they saw the state I was in, but I have (over many years of mental health problems) a general distrust of doctors ... when I got there, he asked me what I was there for, and I told him what I'd been feeling and that it had actually gotten to the point of being suicidal. Obviously this is very frightening as I've never felt like that before. He just looked at me without any expression at all, and asked what triggered it. I said that it was probably the end of my relationship, and he just gave me a look like 'right, whatever' and prescribed me some antidepressants, ignoring me when I said that I've been on them before and they did nothing. I hate doctors.

    I think that it's the chaos that worries me really. If I was in a constant low mood or constant good mood, it'd be fine, but the shifting is awful! I do really want to deal with it now, but I've put so much into my degree that I want to get through exams before I devote my full attention to it. How do you handle the sudden mood changes?
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    (Original post by KTCI)
    Thanks for the kind words, it's actually just really nice to have someone to talk to about it! I don't really have many friends, and certainly not ones who I can talk to about stuff like this. It frightens people. So it's been pretty rough with me just trying to hold my head together.

    I did go to my doctor, as the counselling service booked me in for an emergency appointment after they saw the state I was in, but I have (over many years of mental health problems) a general distrust of doctors ... when I got there, he asked me what I was there for, and I told him what I'd been feeling and that it had actually gotten to the point of being suicidal. Obviously this is very frightening as I've never felt like that before. He just looked at me without any expression at all, and asked what triggered it. I said that it was probably the end of my relationship, and he just gave me a look like 'right, whatever' and prescribed me some antidepressants, ignoring me when I said that I've been on them before and they did nothing. I hate doctors.

    I think that it's the chaos that worries me really. If I was in a constant low mood or constant good mood, it'd be fine, but the shifting is awful! I do really want to deal with it now, but I've put so much into my degree that I want to get through exams before I devote my full attention to it. How do you handle the sudden mood changes?
    :hugs: I know it's awful if you don't have anyone much you can talk to about these things. I don't know whether you'd consider this appropriate or useful in your case, but for me the depression society has been a total lifesaver - it's really helpful to have a place where you can talk about all this difficult stuff you've got going on without people judging you for it, and we've got members with quite a range of problems which is good for their being extra understanding and being able to offer more specific advice. I've also made some genuine friends via the society who I see as often as I can in real life, so all in all I'd really recommend it to you.

    I've had mixed experiences with doctors - I still shudder to think of my first one :afraid: - but once you've found a good one they really can be helpful. You could go back to the doctor you've just seen and try and express how much you feel this is affecting you, and that you don't think the measures he said were sufficient/appropriate, or you could try to either register with a new GP (easy to do, but of course it's still a lottery who you end up with), or try to get your current one to refer you to someone more expert like a psychiatrist (I know from experience though that unless if you can convince them that it it really is an absolute emergency then the waiting lists can take months). There are also people like the Crisis Team whose function is to provide short-term aid to people undergoing severe mental health problems, and they have people like psychiatrists, psychologists, community psychiatric nurses and social workers on their staff. I've not had a good relationship with them personally, but if you think you need to see someone with greater knowledge than a GP urgently then they could be your best bet.

    You could also demand an explanation of how he thinks these antidepressants are going to help you (remember that there are many different classes of antidepressant, which act in different ways), and if you're unsatisfied then stay firm and make him offer you an alternative treatment. Like I said I've been put on mood stabilisers for my symptoms, although they haven't actually improved anything and I don't know whether they'd be appropriate for you. But I think you're within your rights to be wanting your doctor to do more than brush you off with an automatic solution which you haven't been told the reasons for and are unhappy with.

    I know what you mean about the chaos of it all. I loathed my depression of course, but I was also used to it so didn't get such feelings of utter confusion when trying to deal with it, and I at least knew my patterns of behaviour. I'm afraid I'm not exactly 'handling' my mood changes at all - in fact my policy for the past week or two has just been not to get out of bed. And revision/doing anything useful has totally gone up the spout, so you'll get little advice from me on that front I'm afraid (decided I'm going to have to postpone taking my last exam, if uni will let me). I am lucky enough to have a really supportive friend around who's been looking after me a lot, and just having someone there has been comforting even when it doesn't actually change my situation, but that and just zoning out by watching/reading stuff online are the only things that have been of any help to me, and even then they just keep me going better rather than allow me to actually get on with life. Just hoping something comes of this psychiatrist appointment. :crossedf: So I'm sorry I can't offer any advice on that front, but I hope if you go back to the doctor you can get yourself properly heard next time.

    If you like you can keep in touch and let me know if things change at all for you - I'm most active in depression society, but if you don't want to post in there then you can always PM me (I just suck and tend not to respond for ages ). I really hope that you still manage to get your degree finished properly despite all this.
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    Your doctor hasn't referred you to a psychiatrist? You've got a right to not trust him then, as it seems like he's failed you massively by shrugging you off with an antidepressant (which, in all honesty won't help that much - you probably need pills for mood stabilising). Find out where your nearest mental health team is, and ask if you can speak to the duty person there. Explain how your feeling, and they'll probably arrange for you to have an appointment with a psychiatrist + set up a care coordinator etc.
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    Yeah, the doctor was useless. But oh well - I've been pulling myself back together a little over the past couple of days in sheer determination. I can fall apart after my exams. I also went to go see my counsellor this today, mainly to file my mitigating circumstances, and we got into how I've been feeling lately. After talking about a lot of my issues, he was appalled that it's taken this long for anyone to notice (I have a pretty long checkered history, a lot of which I'm only starting to share), and is referring me to the counselling service's psychiatrist while keeping up our sessions, who'll refer me to something permanent in the area, since I graduate in a couple of months.

    It's really nice to finally be taken seriously. I've been told for so long just to put up and shut up, and to just 'deal with it', which is why it's built up to this sort of level. I've also made a couple of decisions about things that I need to deal with after exams. I'm angry that it took so long for anyone to take me seriously, though :/ But whatever.

    I'll be checking out the depression society Thank you so much for your advice guys. I hope that things went/go well with the psychiatrist, superwolf :hugs:
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    That's been the way i have been for the last few years now since I started uni :/
    Completely destroys social and academic life.

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Updated: May 23, 2012
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