Five Things for Managing Our Roller Coasters

What is our Roller Coaster, exactly? Our moods. I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of intense ups and downs with my moods on a daily basis.

Do you really? Are you sure it’s not PMS?

I’m sure. One of the diagnosing criterion for Borderline Personality Disorder is emotional instability. Also, it doesn’t end after my cycle is done. A roller coaster is really the best way to describe the constant ups and downs. The best way to describe it for myself is one minute I’ll be feeling extreme anger, hatred, jealousy, whatever the bad emotion is, and then the next something will alleviate it and I’ll be on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve become better with managing the moods as I’ve become older, but it’s been extremely hard. I’m also not perfect so I have my really bad days.

So how do you cope with this insanity?

It’s hard and requires a lot of practice, but it is possible with the right thinking. This is what’s been working for me:

  1. Self awareness. This sounds complicated to put into practice, but it’s simpler than you think. Self awareness simply means that you’re paying attention to what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, etc. It’s been my saving grace in surviving the roller coasters when my medications don’t do the job.
  2. Get to learn your moods. For you, your mood swings won’t be the same as my mood swings. Ask yourself – do you get angry? Sad? Happy? Horny? Well, maybe the last one is a stretch, but I hope it gets the point across.
  3. Ask yourself questions. This is just as important as self-awareness. It helps to do this at any point in your day because it can help you find out the information you’re looking for. Some things to ask yourself can be “how long have I been feeling this way?” “What was it that caused me to feel this way?” “What can I do to make myself feel better?” “Are there any ways I can prevent myself from feeling this way again in a similar situation?” There are more questions you can ask yourself, but these are general ones that help me calm down and help me start feeling better.
  4. If you have the means to, record your moods. Essentially, this is a wordier way of saying keep a journal. You don’t need to do anything fancy for this. If you can write down what it is you feel when you feel it, you can start nailing down what your patterns are.  
  5. Create a plan for yourself for when you have your bad swings. This is also simple enough to do, but it takes practice and commitment. Your plan can be as simple as giving into an impulse action (e.g. I want to read this particular book) to having a routine to calm yourself down.

I can’t do all of this because (enter reason here)!

You know what? That’s perfectly fine. Sometimes we have demons that prevent us from doing this stuff. Mindfulness is extremely hard to practice if you’re not used to it. Asking questions is scary because you don’t always know the answer. Staying with the beaten path always feels the safest because you’ve been down that road and you know what to expect. The important thing is to do this when you’re ready. Do it whenever you want, when you want. People will be proud no matter what.

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