For most of my life, but recently in the past 8 years I’ve noticed I can’t handle stress as well as my peers. I crack easily under pressure when I’m presented with a very difficult academic task. My heart rate increases, I sweat, my thoughts race, I burst into tears, and I am very hostile towards people. School seems to be the main stressor in my life and I worry about it every single day. I worry that I will fail a class or if I don’t finish my homework I will get penalized. I also constantly worry about due dates of assignments and I find it difficult to stop worrying about it. With depression, for the past two years I’ve experienced moderate- severe depression. Since then for about a year, my depression has gotten a lot better. I went to a therapist but it didn’t seem to help. My depression cleared up on it’s own.During that time, i was very happy and elated and loved doing things with my friends.But recently I can feel the depression coming back slowly. I’m crying more and I’ll get days where I have terrible mood swings. I don’t know what’s wrong with me and why this happens to me. Could I have a form of Bi Polar?

A. You stated that you can’t handle stress as well as your peers. I wonder how you know this. Unless you have formally surveyed your peers, your self-assessment may be inaccurate. In other words, you might think that other people are doing much better than you are, but without facts or data, you simply do not know.

You are struggling to handle stress. This is likely exacerbated by your depression. These problems can be effectively treated with counseling. You’ve been to a counselor and it wasn’t helpful but he or she may not have been a good match for you. You didn’t say how long you tried counseling but sometimes people quit before they should. The solution is to find another therapist. Not all therapists are the same. You will like some more than others. Choose the one with whom you like and feel the most comfortable.

You asked about whether or not you have bipolar disorder and that’s not something I can determine from a short letter. An in-person therapist would be able to make that determination. Whatever your diagnosis may or may not be, what matters the most is getting effective treatment. A good therapist will know how to help you. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle