Manic One Day, Meh the Next? It’s Not Just You.

Letters spelling mood on swings

Zoomers in Portland and Seattle report rapidly cycling moods that have nothing to do with their love of bikes.

Consider what went through your head the last time someone casually asked how you’re doing.

Did time slow down as you debated five answers that ranged from “Great!” to a philosophical reflection on suffering and the human condition? Take heart — you’re not the only one stuck in a mental spincycle.

At ZOOM+Care, our mental health team is seeing more people struggling with mood swings. “The first thing I’m hearing is that people feel irritable and annoyed at everyone and everything,”  says Erik Vanderlip, MD MPH, Psychiatrist and Primary Care Lead at ZOOM+Care. “When we dig further, there’s a pattern of feeling highly productive and energetic or restless — almost manic — for a few days or weeks, followed by a period of draining doubt and frustration.”

It sounds a little like bipolar disorder, but it’s not that severe. “What we’re learning in the mental health field is that every condition exists on a spectrum,” says Dr. Vanderlip. “Changing moods can become disruptive to your well-being, relationships, and/or job without reaching the level of the most severe forms of bipolar disorder.”

Think of mental health issues the same way you would a cough: If it’s just a tickle in your throat that has minimal impact on your day, it’s no big deal. If it persists for two weeks and it’s bugging you at home and work, consider seeing a doc.

WHAT TO ASK YOURSELF:

  • Are the ups and downs getting disruptive? If your mood is putting stress on your relationships or making it harder to get things done at work, it’s time for a mental health check-up.
  • Are you still as resilient as you were before? When problems come up on down days, do you feel as capable of handling them as in the past? Or are you so checked out, you’ve lost your resolve to fix things?
  • Are you worried about how much you worry? There are a lot of rational things to be worried about, but if anxiety is becoming its own issue, talk to a doc.

WAYS TO MANAGE MOOD SWINGS ON YOUR OWN:

  • Keep a journal to track mood changes and their triggers.
  • Stay active — take short walks a few times a day.
  • Avoid skipping meals.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Breathe deeply in stressful moments.
  • Lean on friends you trust.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

At your neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic – Schedule a same-day, no-wait visit for mental health.  “At Zoom, we make it super easy to get treatment for any health issue, whether it’s for your ankle, lungs, or frontal lobe,” says Dr. Vanderlip.  

Schedule Now

Hey Zoom, Fidget Spinners Don’t Actually Help with Anxiety, Do They?

There’s no research on fidget spinners, but some psychiatrists are optimistic that the toy can help kids with autism avoid more disruptive behaviors. It may also reduce nervous habits like nail biting.

Like stress balls or worry stones, it’s really how you choose to use a fidget spinner that matters.

Continue reading “Hey Zoom, Fidget Spinners Don’t Actually Help with Anxiety, Do They?”

Hey Zoom, Is It OK to Suggest Someone Get Help for Anxiety or Depression?

It depends on where you’re coming from, says Erik Vanderlip, MD MPH, Psychiatrist and Zoom’s Mental Health Team Lead.

Here’s why you should give yourself a gut-check before bringing up potential anxiety or depression — and how to express your concern the right way.

Continue reading “Hey Zoom, Is It OK to Suggest Someone Get Help for Anxiety or Depression?”

Hey Zoom, I Keep Thinking About the MAX Attack and I’m Scared to Ride the Train. Is This Normal?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Mental Health professionals, it’s that they’re not keen on labelling stuff “normal” or “not normal.” But when we cornered ZOOM+Care Psychiatrist Erik Vanderlip, MD, MPH, and insisted he answer your question, he said “Well, it isn’t abnormal.”

“When something happens in the world around us that’s traumatizing and awful, it can open old psychological wounds or create new ones,” says Dr. Vanderlip. “The closer and more directly we’re impacted, the deeper the wound and the slower it is to heal.”

Luckily, there are proven ways to overcome your anxiety.

Continue reading “Hey Zoom, I Keep Thinking About the MAX Attack and I’m Scared to Ride the Train. Is This Normal?”