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Mother of Mood Swings

Lately I’ve been fascinated by zodiac memes online (especially the roast ones). I’ve never been superstitious, but it’s like these people know me… And I am a horrible person! I can’t help but scroll through social media, reading about my character flaws based on the stars.

I am an Aquarius. I was born at the beginning of February. The main characteristics for this Aquarius are I’m annoying (yup!), I’m opinionated (double-check), I can be a grade-A bee (I like to say I just speak my mind) and, now, the topic of this article: I bottle up my emotions until they explode all over the place (wow, they pegged me).

Experiencing mood swings with RA

I am a closed-off person. I strongly dislike talking about my emotions and I keep them to myself. I remain pretty even-tempered until I can’t take it anymore and experience a major break down. I immediately zip up the tent door and hide for another six months until the next one.

These mood swings are pretty out of character for me. This is not something I’ve dealt with in the past. Sure, I had triggers but I didn’t go from happy to sad or angry without a reason.

Is this who I actually am or is this from my RA?

I go from cheery and productive one morning to lethargic and upset that same afternoon. Then, straight back! Is that the Aquarius in me or is there an outside force?

Do medications play a part in emotions?

I often wonder if my medications or even my rheumatoid arthritis play a part in my mood.

I know for sure the Prednisone I take daily really messes me up. One of the most notable experiences of this was at the beginning of my RA journey when I, accidentally, forgot to take my meds sometimes. One day I was in a rage. Anger radiated off me. I snapped at everyone and nobody was safe from my wrath. My father called me out, as only a father could, and point blanked as me “Why are you being such a b*tch??” “I don’t know!!! I can’t control it.” After a few seconds, he looked at me and asked “Did you take your Prednisone today?”

Lo and behold, I had forgotten to take it and missing the dose wreaked havoc on my mood. I never forgot to take my meds again.

My symptoms might also be impacting my mood

On the other hand, what if it’s just down to the disease. One of my symptoms is pain. Pain messes me up. It makes me grumpy and honestly, I believe It can permanently re-wire my brain. Has it made me emotionally volatile? Probably! When I am not in pain I am in better spirits but if I am, look out world, there is no telling how I’ll act.

Whatever the reason, I have become the queen of mood swings. Any given day, I can run the range of emotions for no reason. It seems like its par for the course with rheumatoid disease or any chronic illness that requires medication and constant vigilance.

Do you get mood swings? Let me know in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    4 months ago

    Do I get mood swings? I suppose I do. I have decided however to blame it all on Sheryl. We work out well, since she blames me.

  • Cynthia Ventura moderator
    4 months ago

    Gemini here. We are famous for compartmentalizing our emotions and relying on logic to see us through. That’s not a good thing on the whole because it is too similar to your shutdown. Once these emotions surface we are unable to properly deal with such a surge of anger, loss and pain. So we explode. It is counterproductive. Do I get angry when people insinuate that any show of negativity in me must be due to my illness? You bet I do! I’m human, so are you and all RA sufferers. When others get upset over something do I imply it is due to anything other than the situation causing their response? No, of course not. Then why is it appropriate for them to imply it in us? It is not.

    So instead of stuffing my emotions I have learned to confront these people and situations as they occur. Am I upset because I burned the dinner? Obviously, yes. Might my anger be fed by the fact that my wrists are inflamed and hurting? Probably, but to say it was the impetus of my frustration is just wrong.

    Prednisone is definitely an element in your mood swings. When it was a part of my protocol I too had more extreme highs and lows. It was one of the reasons I asked for a change in protocol. Not everyone can stop its use. So I suggest that you learn to count to 10 before reacting. Then as calmly as you are able respond to the situation confronting the issue truthfully. Do not let it percolate inside you. Do not let others define your response with misconceptions. You are not controlled by the stars. You have the power to control your reaction. It won’t happen overnight but practice helps. You will begin to notice a more balanced overall feeling of control in your life and others will begin responding to you more appropriately. Best wishes and gentle hugs.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hey Cynthia!! (@cynthiav) Thanks so much for sharing on my article. You know how much I appreciate it! 🙂

    Your comment made me think of a FRIENDS reference from I think the first season. Monica says to Phoebe “remember how we talked about saying things first in your head?” to which Phoebe replies “well, there isn’t always time!”

    I’m Phoebe in most situations. I do have to be honest, though, I have gotten a lot better at controlling immediate reactions. Like you said, I need to take a moment or I could agitate myself or say something I don’t mean.

    I will probably be on the Prednisone for life but I am in the process of lowering the dose, yay!

    You bring up an interesting point. Where is my frustration coming from? Is it from the outside source (I couldn’t walk my dogs as far as I liked or someone’s comment) or am I annoyed which then bursts as frustrations.

    I guess it will just take time to really know.

    Thanks again!! I hope you are doing well. ~Monica

  • Cynthia Ventura moderator
    3 months ago

    Hey @mysengupta, you know I love your posts. I appreciate how transparent you are, honest in discussing those things that many of us struggle with but don’t talk about.

    I’m so glad you are working with your doctor to lower your prednisone dosage. That is great news! Best wishes. I love the, “Friends” quote. Phobe was always my favorite character.

    It is difficult untangling the reasons behind our reactions and emotions. It’s never totally one thing or another, there’s so much gray area, so much fear, pain, confusion and uncertainty that comes into play and that we all share. “Healthy” people have no idea what they’re wading into when they walk into our kitchens…lol.

    After I was first diagnosed I would became very upset when ppl made wild declarations about my moods, actions, etc. “How dare they imply/say/insinuate that about me!! They just don’t understand! ” I thought it was my job to educate the whole world about RA one person at a time. Whew…that was physically and emotionally exhausting.

    As I came to terms with my life with RA I settled in more. Not that I no longer get frustrated by some of the dumb things ppl say to me, I do. But I’ve learned to let it go and practice compassion towards them. How can I expect average everyday ppl who know no one with RA to understand? For goodness sake, I’ve had to educate ER doctors about this disease! Now that’s disheartening.

    So once I learned to put down my shield and spear I felt better. Physically and emotionally. Of course, if the issue is with a caregiver or someone close to me I do put in the work to educate them because that has a direct impact on my wellbeing. But otherwise I don’t take it personally. I move on. Some ppl will never get it, many don’t want to. That’s their right and my right is not to clutter up my life with those types of ppl. Because if they’re unwilling to gain knowledge about something that affects every area of my life, than they truly could care less about me as a person. So we can recognize these ppl by their attitudes and close mindedness and avoid them at all costs.

    You be good to you. You know I’m always in your corner…gentle hugs.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    4 months ago

    @mysengupta Capricorn here, missed Aqua by a few days. You know us caps – we are disciplined, practical taskmasters – not exactly laid back. I had to lean to be, obviously, with our illness it’s a must. That doesn’t mean I don’t get fed up and just want to be left alone from time to time! Great article as always. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    3 months ago

    Oooh! Remind me not to get on your bad side, LOL!

    I have to admit, you’re right about relaxing and going with the flow. I definitely could not have managed my RA when I was completely high-strung and over-bearing!

    All the best, Monica

  • texitis
    4 months ago

    Mood swings are tough to deal with. The Gemini I am seems to verify the issue. Prednisone is my maintenance and rescue but affects my sleep and therefore my mood. Only yesterday I lashed out at my poor hound in an agitated state. It helps me to reduce distractions like loud noises, bright lights, and stressful activities. Find a calming place both physically and mentally. Think positive about your own situation. Stinking thinking can accelerate the downward spiral of anger and depression. Do something you love like looking at photos of your grandchildren. Think about the basics… I can walk….I can cook…I can hug gently…I can love…I can smile and enjoy the day.
    If it helps to yell and shout…go to a safe place and get it out of your system, then look for the humor in your rage. Say a prayer for someone who is way worse off than you. Look for the bright side and be grateful.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hey @texitis! Thank you so much for commenting on my article and sharing your tips for staying calm.

    The Prednisone is an amazing yet horrendous drug and I have a true love-hate relationship with it.

    I have gotten way better at managing stress and staying in a more positive mindset but sometimes I can’t control the mood.

    I keep a gratitude journal where I think of one thing that went really well that week.

    You mentioned Prednisone and I thought you might like an article I wrote a little while ago about my journey with it and my extremely mixed feelings:

    All the best, Monica

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