Weird emotional problems


Weird emotional problems


your avatar   "Blackbird," 18-year-old woman

I've been having these weird emotional problems lately and I really don't know what to do. Yesterday at school, everything was normal and around my 3rd period I started to feel very irritated for no reason. Even though I wasn't being rude to any of my classmates or friends, I just felt irritated and I was just in a bad mood. Half an hour later, I started to feel very desperate and wanted to cry. I tried to hold it in but I couldn't, so I went to the bathroom and started to cry for no reason at all.

This isn't the first time it happens to me, but it just felt much stronger yesterday than the other times. I'm just very confused and don't know what to do. Any recommendations would be very helpful.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear "Blackbird,"

Without a lot more information, I can't even begin to guess why you've become irritated for no obvious reason. However, you may be able to track it down, using a tool called an "ABC diary." There are many ways of doing this. One is described in my book "Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias." An ebook version is available for a few dollars here.

The idea is to watch for the appearance of the mood change. As soon as you notice it coming on, note what triggered it, and what thought was associated with it. This will give you information to track down the cause.

If there is a school counselor, a few sessions with that person, or a psychologist, will be of enormous help to you. But also, there is a high chance that your emotional reactions are due to a physical cause. You say your age is 18, but I suspect you are younger. Your body could be undergoing the hormonal changes of puberty, and these often lead to exactly these kinds of mood swings. In that case, you'll soon grow out of the problem. There could also be hormone problems with your thyroid, adrenal glands, or other bits and bobs of anatomy. So, get an appointment with your family doctor, and have your hormones checked out. In the meantime, look on this problem as an opportunity to learn how to run the rest of your life better.

"For some reason, I feel like crying, and am terribly irritable." This is distressing ONLY IF YOU WANT IT TO GO AWAY. If you react to it with acceptance, it won't bother you. "So what, this is how I feel now. All things change, this will too." Then, the situation is still there, but it doesn't bother you. Reacting in this way is perfectly possible, to any source of annoyance, anger or other kind of distress.

If on a particular occasion you can't manage it, then deal with not being able to accept as the thing to accept. "For now, I am annoyed by being irritable and teary. So what, I'm allowed to not-want to be like this. It's OK. All things pass."

So, when you've grown out of puberty, or if the doctor gives you medicines to balance your thyroid hormones or whatever, you will have developed a tool for being content in ANY situation, whatever the world throws at you, for the rest of your life.

Practice this for awhile, then please let me know how you go.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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