Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm 21 years old and for as long as I can remember I've felt emotionally disturbed. I'm either very up and happy or I'm extremely depressed. I go through phases.
Sometimes I feel numb -- so numb I want to hurt myself and others. I have never cut myself but I have hit myself and I've hit others, too, including my boyfriend. I like getting hit, like during sex because it helps me actually feel something at the time.
I love the feelings of letting my emotions out on me or someone else; I'll cry and feel relieved because I can feel. Afterwards, however, I feel like shit and feel like a horrible person, abnormal, and that I shouldn't be like I am. I know this is unhealthy.
I have thoughts that I should be dead. Everything would be so much easier if I were dead. I've had thoughts of killing myself, but I know I would never do that, even if I could.
I'm a good person, more good than bad. I'm smart, have morals and treat others with kindness. But there's another side that's like a monster, and that scares me. I am all of these things below, which apparently means being emotionally disturbed:
Hyperactivity (short attention span, impulsiveness);
Aggression or self-injurious behavior (acting out, fighting);
Withdrawn (not social with others, excessive fear or anxiety);
Immature (crying, temper tantrums, poor coping skills);
Learning difficulties (academically below grade level)
So, what should I do? Am I like this for a reason? Am I repressing something that I may have pushed out of my mind? Is there good and bad in everybody, or should I get help?
I feel like I'm a good person, more than a monster, but it's getting to me. I hate hurting people, and it has gotten better since I've grown up a bit. Still, it scares me. I feel different from everyone else.
I have never told anyone this but my boyfriend.
You may have bipolar disorder, in which mood swings are the major symptom. Another possibility is Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.
Although these are considered two distinctly different diagnoses in the psychiatric world, they share many of the same symptoms, such as unstable mood and impulsive actions. I believe BPD is a subtype of bipolar disorder, because the two share many common features.
However, I can’t make a diagnosis via email and strongly suggest you see a psychiatrist for an eval to sort this out. You could do this confidentially and no one would need to know.
I’m concerned that you have thoughts of self harm, so please don’t delay. It could be a chemical imbalance in the brain and easy to fix.
The more you read, the more you learn, so be sure to follow the links within my answers, too.
So, make an appointment soon. There are many treatments available such as counseling and/or meds that will give you your life back. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment, the greater the chance of preventing complications. I wish you much success.