I’m a 16-year-old girl and for the past two years I have had severe mood swings. I can go from being on top of the world, really happy and overly confident to the point I can annoy people and get into arguments. Sometimes I even get to the point of feeling worthless, self-harming, and suicidal. I almost feel like two different people and I don’t know what I should do.

Some people seem to be able to more easily regulate their emotions compared to other people, but it is a skill all of us can practice. So, when you find yourself feeling irritated with others, or extremely critical of yourself, the first step is to stop yourself from reacting right away. Putting a few seconds between the impulsive emotion and your reaction to it can be enough to start to catch your thinking or self-talk. We usually react in extreme ways because of how we’re interpreting what is happening to us. The more extreme our interpretation (for example, “This is the worst!”) the more extreme our reaction (rage, despair, worthlessness).

I’m a 14-year-old girl and I’ve been feeling depressed since last year. I cannot tell my parents about it and I don’t know how to tell them. My friend told me to see a professional doctor, but I can’t.

Because you may need professional treatment, it’s worth starting with recruiting your parents to assist you. Being as open and honest about your feelings and experiences as you can is the best strategy, but avoid words and expressions that may be misunderstood as “drama” or attention seeking. Be sure to include specific examples and symptoms that have lead you to conclude that you’re depressed (including social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, and low self-esteem). It’s also important to express that you’re bringing up all of this because you need treatment, not because you’re complaining about the home life your parents provide or the ways they treat you.