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Mood Swings: What’s Normal and When You Should Get Help

All PMS jokes aside, mood swings shouldn’t be ruling your life. 

Feeling Overwhelmed

Mood Swings Can Impact Your Mental Health

Mood swings are a reality for women across all the stages of our development. From early puberty to pregnancy and menopause, swiftly-changing from happy to sad and tearful in-between is something few women are stranger to.  That doesn’t make them any easier to cope with, though. And sometimes, rapidly changing moods can become sources of disruption and anxiety, especially if they’re no longer limited to certain points in your menstrual cycle. If you’re concerned about your emotional wellbeing, and the impact that your hormones are having on your mental health, read on.

More information on Mood swings

Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, tearfulness, aggression and anger are just some of the emotions you might experience during a mood swing. When you’re PMSing, you might find that you’re mostly tearful and anxious, while your best friend could personify the stereotypical raging PMS monster. It is important to be aware of how your mood swings typically present themselves, so that you’re able to pick up anything out of the ordinary.

In terms of hormonal impact on your emotions, mood swings can occur during other times in your life, as well. Pregnancy can play havoc with some expectant mothers’ emotions, with the first trimester and its surge of pregnancy hormones often causing mood swings. Similarly, perimenopause and menopause can come with its fair share of mood swings as well, with many women feeling as if they are experiencing a ‘second puberty’. 

The parameters of normal and abnormal shift from person to person. If you’ve gone from never experiencing rapid mood changes to cycling from anger to sadness to irritability in a single day, it might be an idea to keep a journal and track the ebbs and flows of your emotions. This way, if it’s something that continues, you can approach a medical professional about investigating the possibility of underlying causes, such as a mood disorder, anxiety or even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). 

Certain medical conditions that contribute to moodiness or even mood disorders (such as Depression or Bipolar Disorder) are hereditary, and as such it can be helpful to know if anybody in your family has a history of experiencing them. That way, if you’re experiencing anything out of the ordinary for you, or sustained periods of depression, anxiety or even mania, you’ll also know whether or not you’re genetically susceptible to them. This is information that can provide important context for a medical professional who might be trying to narrow down a possible cause for your mood swings. 

Although this might be a challenge for people who don’t know their birth parents, or whose parents have passed away, if you can, try to speak to a family member such as your grandparent or aunt or uncle. 

If you’re wondering about the differences between PMS and PMDD, read the information we’ve gathered here. But if you find yourself in a sustained period of sadness, elation or anxiety, you may need to watch that it does not develop into something more serious, or cause you to do things that are out of your control. If you feel as if your emotions are ruling your life, or that you’re doing things that you wouldn’t normally do (overspending, saying things you don’t mean, drinking excessively) then it is definitely worth taking the next step and making an appointment with a doctor or speaking to a nurse at your clinic. 

  • You’re feeling tempted to self-harm, especially if you’ve never done so, hurt those around you or take your own life (suicidal ideation).
  • You can’t get out of bed in the morning because life just seems unbearable, you can’t summon up the energy or can’t bear the idea of another day.
  • You’ve stopped socialising, doing things that you’d normally enjoy doing (exercising, hobbies, reading) and are noticing changes in your sleeping and eating patterns (over or under eating and sleeping). 
  • You’re unable to focus at work, take care of your children or look after yourself (losing the will to maintain personal hygiene is a big sign that something is wrong).
  • You’re feeling on top of the world, but to the point where you’re interrupting everybody, making rash decisions and taking unreasonable risks, spending large amounts of money or gambling, shopping or engaging in risky behaviour (like unprotected sex or substance abuse).

 

The above behaviours and feelings can be symptoms of a health condition and should not be ignored. Make note of your feelings, speak to your partner or somebody you trust, and see a medical professional as soon as possible. 

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