Mood Swings

Mood Swings


We all have them: mood swings can creep up on us, but do you know how they might be affecting your relationships? You might be surprised at the answer.

Everyone has mood swings. On one day, we might feel a little depressed. A second day, we are happy and carefree. Yet the third day might bring a feeling of anger or irritation at the day’s events. Mood swings are very common and in most cases – nothing to be worried about. However, in other cases, especially if mood swings are severe or inappropriate to the situation, it might be time to step back and figure out exactly what is going on.

When Mood Swings Become Unhealthy

Anxiety is one of those moods that can be very helpful. Being anxious over something like taking a test or a having a job interview can spur us on to become more prepared or help us to concentrate better during the moment. Anxiety is also very normal during a stressful situation – such as when a close friend is in the hospital and will usually abate when that situation is over.

Another natural mood is depression. We feel sad over the loss of a treasured pet or the loss of a job. Depression is a natural part of the grief and healing process and usually does get better over time. Mild depression often time reminds us that we may need to step back and take better care of ourselves and our emotions at the time.

What’s not healthy though, is when those moods occur with such vengeance that it’s out of proportion to the situation. Having anxiety over a test is normal. Having such anxiety over a test that you physically make yourself ill and miss taking the test is out of proportion and can be a sign of needing some help.

Another sign of an unhealthy mood swing is when they occur frequently or at inappropriate moments. Most people do not feel extreme sadness or anger at what should be a happy event, such as a wedding or the birth of a child. If you are feeling a strong mood that does not fit the situation or if you notice that your mood changes frequently and you are going from one extreme to another, it may be a sign of an unhealthy mood swing.

How Mood Swings Affect our Relationships

Although mood swings may occur with YOU, they also affect everyone around you. You may start losing friends, your spouse may be getting frustrated with you and your family may be showing anger or impatience with you. Even work relationships are not immune to the affects of unhealthy mood swings.

A great relationship has a back and forth quality to it. You should be able to talk to your friends and they should be able to talk to you. The giving of time and friendship goes both ways. However, when friends start to see you going through such extreme emotions and mood swings, they may start to wonder if the friend relationship isn’t becoming too one-sided and start to back away from you. They may view you as extremely volatile and as a result – untrustworthy.

A spouse or close family relationship has more depth than just a friendship relationship does. Although there is still a back-and-forth quality to it, it involves more stability and often-times more involvement – both financial and emotional. When your family sees you going through extreme emotions or multiple mood swings, they may get frustrated at not being able to help. They may start to feel anxious over the lack of stability you are offering. And because there is more closeness in a family relationship these feelings of frustration and anxiousness can seem overwhelming to them as well. This can cause family fights with people taking sides and drawing battle lines in the home.

Work relationships, such as those with co-workers or a boss can also suffer. We spend so much time at work that our moods can affect everyone around us. If you walk into work and greet someone with a smile, the other person usually smiles back. But if you greet someone with a scowl and a negative word, the other person becomes defensive and will also respond negatively.

How Therapy Can Help

Extreme mood swings may seem impossible to deal with, but the reality is that therapy or counseling can make a huge difference. It might feel like a daunting task to control these extreme emotions, but a therapist can help you by taking the process one step at a time. By working through a therapeutic process, you will learn how to identify the cause of your mood swings and as a consequence, learn how to modify your behavior. You can get better. And not only can you get better; you can make your relationships better as well.

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