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How I'm Learning to Cope with Mood Swings

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Here’s what I’ve learned about being an adult. Nobody really prepares you for it. There’s this disconnect- to say the least- this desire to be the “top dog” without really even knowing how to achieve “top dog” status.

I know that, for me, mood swings can be a regular struggle- impeding my ability to work hard or connect in my relationships. And, they can come on so suddenly- one moment life feels great, and the next? I'm feeling completely debilitated and exhausted.

They can be both frustrating and isolating- often at the same time, and I used to wonder if something was actually wrong with me.

Coping Isn’t Cookie-Cutter

This is where I think most people get it wrong. They assume that there is a single way to cope with distress, that there is this almighty answer for how to fix the horrible mental agony our bodies and minds put us through.

And, here’s what I’ve learned: there’s never just one answer.

There’s never just one answer because there’s never just one problem. Mood swings can be a result of so many different triggers, both environmental, genetic, and psychological. They can have a defined onset, but not always. And, yes, hormones can be frustrating!

Today, I have a long working list of different coping skills. I've actually written them down, and I actually refer to them when needed.

Corny? Maybe. But it really works.

Patience Is Key

It may sound cliche, but cliches can have their place in our society. Sometimes, the best way to “get over” something is to get “through it,” and I’ve found that practicing acceptance and mindfulness is sometimes the best answer for transitioning through a difficult time.

I’ve learned that when I resist, when I try to fight the enemy at bay (namely myself), I only engage in this internal war that I can’t win. For me, that’s the crux of depression- it’s this dark place that feels hopeless and helpless.

When I can practice patience before my body takes me to this place, I have a chance of healing and moving forward. I have a chance for change.

Professional Help Actually Helps

Once upon a time, I also rolled my eyes at therapy. It seemed cliched and pointless- to pay a bunch of money to a stranger who was going to analyze all my life problems and give me even more problems to tackle.

I was the fool, because guess what? All that talking and reflecting and analyzing actually helped me move forward. It helped me see my mental health in a way I was unable to see on my own.

Yes, therapy hurts, and yes, therapy can feel frustrating and even unnecessary at times. But, I’ve been at it for years now, and I’ve never felt more enlightened or inspired in my path and in my authentic self.

Life is hard enough without adding on more suffering- talking it out with someone can really, really help.

And Sometimes a Good Lifting Session Is All It Takes

Focusing on hitting a new PR on my bench press or time on my 5k has made a world of difference in coping with my mental health.

By now, we all know that exercise is good for us- both physically and emotionally. On a logical level, I realized this. On an emotional level? It was only after I skipped a week of exercise (I still fall into those lazy moments, after all) did my mind and body feel the lagging effects.

Yes, I’ve become that strange person who now likes to workout. I know. I know!

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