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Mood Swings in Teenagers and Elderly: Depression, Irritability and Frustration
Eustress Helps, Distress Kills
Introduction - What to Expect From The Hub!
Mood swings are natural: irritability, crying, stress and depression etc make a teenager look paranoid. The following is my response to a person asking me how to control mood swings like irritability, crying, stress and depression that renders him too weak to do anything. The below applies to elderly persons too, who are affected by mood swings and wish to get rid of them.
I do not promise the following will certainly eliminate your mood swings. But you can try. You will not know if it works or not if you do not try. I am pasting the email I sent in response to the question on how to control mood swings - depression and frustration, asked by a teen on my emotions related blog. See if this helps you too.
WARNING: It will sound more like a lecture. Also, it is easier to preach compared to actual implementation. I myself suffer from (inherited depression) and know how hard it is to get out once you fell into depression. The best thing, I would say, is to avoid felling into the pit.
I do not know what kind of emotion is bothering you. However, as almost all the emotions are result of more or less hormone releases, the following may assist you in being strong enough to deal with them.
Find a Person To Confide In...
First of all, you will need someone to confide in. There will be many people who will call themselves your friend. Even strangers on social networking sites or college mates etc. will say they will be there for you. Not to depress you but most of these people vanish when you really need them. Others would listen once or twice and then get bored.
"The worst type of sadness is masking fake happiness around everyone and no one ever notices that you’re not actually happy because you’re so good at pretending.
You try to coexist with everyone because you don’t want to bring anyone down. You try to help others because it helps you with your sadness. You try to fight back the anger when people joke about people who are depressed and fucked up.
You try to bring out the best of yourself because we know that you’re not doing well. You know that you’re stuck within yourself. You know it’s not going to change until you change but it’s so hard with these bottled up feelings.
You know you could just explode any second and you also know you’re terrified people will flee because no one likes an explosion. No one wants to drown in your own thoughts because those are the scariest ones. Those are the ones that make you scared of yourself. Those are the ones that make you want to leave yourself.
Those feelings are bottled and the bottle isn't strong enough to hold them all in there. You’ll explode eventually. You’ll feel let down. You’ll feel used. You’ll feel all of these things. You’ll feel them all but at the end of the day you still pick up the broken pieces because you don’t want anyone to step on your glass."
You need someone who will keep on listening every time and may also talk you out of the emotional state. It is tough to find such people but they do exist. You have to search for them. Childhood friends are the best in such cases.
How To Search For Friends/People You Can Confide in?
For some reasons, I believe after a point in life, most of the relations are just give and take types. Finding someone who will listen to you without further hurting your emotions is a tough but necessary job.
Remember that if you place your faith in someone and the person stops responding after one or two episodes, it will hurt a lot. Not to mean pessimist but do take care before completely trusting anyone. Maybe share a thing or two and see the reaction of the other person, the level of interest s/he shows in you and probably how s/he behaves a day after the talk!
Avoid Getting Hurt - Be Prepared (Doesn't Mean Be Pessimist)
Try NOT to confide in people who are directly involved with your career – professors, trainers, boss, team leaders etc. Because they may tend to take undue advantage of your emotions. It does not happen always but the probability exists and hence, it is better to stay safe. Sharing with teachers and parents is encouraged in some cultures but personally, how comfortable would you be sharing things with them? And then, if they start a lecture, it will make matters worse. However, you know better about your relation with your parents.
Go For Counseling
One option is to go for paid counseling. But here too, you need to know your condition. In some cases, these counselors refer you to doctors/psychiatrists that I won't suggest for anyone unless you think you really are too sick to deal with things without heavy medicines.
In other words, you just need someone to talk you out of the emotional conditions and to provide you with strength to deal with such conditions in future. Consultants charge money as it is their profession. BUT THEN, SOME ARE REALLY SUPPORTIVE. Again, it is a search.
Do NOT go for any kind of mental medicines unless your problem is really complex. Just find a consultant who will give you some 30-60 minutes and makes you feel better simply by talking about you and your problems. This is recommended for the case where you are unable to find good friends as suggested above.
Also, you may have budget problems so it is better you tell the counselor about how much you can spend and schedule your meetings accordingly. This is just a suggestion – you know better whether or not you need counseling. If you opt for counseling, check with corporate houses. Bigger companies have such consultants who help in reducing the stress and inner conflicts simply by talking you out of your emotions.
AGAIN: Medicines related to brain are a STRICT NO for you at this age [EDIT: teenage or early youth], considering that you have a career to build and your own goals to take care of. TELL THEM CLEARLY YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO SPEND TIME DEALING WITH THE DRUGS AND THEIR SIDE EFFECTS - ESP DROWSINESS. (unless you feel you are badly affected by some kind of mental disease).
Depression and anxiety/panic are diseases BUT CAN BE KEPT UNDER CONTROL SIMPLY BY TALKING ABOUT IT (with some exceptions where it has a long history).
If there is anything particular bothering you, would ask you to share with me. Am not a guru but still, given my experience (30+ years: since childhood, as mom was schizophrenic), I may be in a condition to suggest.
Forums For Depression and Mood Swings
Another option is to find out communities. These are not religion, caste or politics, science based communities but group of people dealing with similar kind of emotions. In India, you may not find offline groups for social health care. But the Internet sure has online forums.
Search using "social mental health care forums". Join some of them (eg. http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/) and see which of them is helping you.
Venting out and talking to people with similar problems helps you cope with your own. It gives you strength to know others are there who have similar problems.
Talking about venting out the feelings, you can also create and post to PRIVATE blogs with a nickname. Revealing your identity (on blogs or even on healthcare community forums) may have adverse effects on your career. My own experience says it helps.
Blogger has the provision to post via emails. Maybe in the nights when you feel alone and sad, pick up your mobile, write a short post about how you are feeling and publish it via email. You can later read it the next day to see how relevant or irrelevant those feelings were.
There is something with the nights that depresses most of us. It does not cost you anything except the data charges when you send email via phone.
Socialize - Push Yourself: Avoid Falling Into The Pit Called Depression
Try to keep a schedule that lets you engage with something or the other at frequent intervals. Again, easier to say than implementing – there may be times when you are down and do not wish to do anything. But you need to push yourself.
YOU NEED TO PUSH YOURSELF – TO AVOID GETTING INTO A STATE FROM WHERE, CLIMBING OUT BECOMES DIFFICULT. If you keep on giving in, it will become a habit or more like acceptance. You need to fight/resist such moods to the point you can.
Movies, parks, monuments with colleagues etc. should be affordable and fun. I do not know how much it will help if you go there alone. If you are a nature lover, visits to zoological and other types of nature park with a camera (even a mobile camera) will help a lot. If you can spend, join some club related to activities you like. I can also suggest pubs but they are highly addictive and you will end up spending up more than you should.
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES ALSO INCLUDE CHARITIES. See if you can volunteer for some NGO (not online but in real life) – to spend some time with kids etc. Time spent with innocent kids is a bliss. Maybe provide them with basic education once a week or something. That will not only soothe you out but also give you confidence from within.
Climbing Out is Difficult, Try Not To Fall
SUMMARY - Irritability Crying Stress & Teenager Depression
The bottom-line is to keep in mind that emotional numbness is but your inability to deal with a certain condition of brain. It is not a disease always. And even if disease, you need to remember that you have the power to overcome it. There are plenty of methods out of which, I mentioned only some above. In case you need to speak to someone, you can mail to my address.
It is hard to live with uncontrolled emotions. Precautions help so you won’t get into problems. Try one or more of the above and see if they assist you in any way. TAKE CARE and ENJOY YOUR LIFE!