Always Feel on the Verge of Tears

Updated on June 17, 2010
J.C. asks from Eagle River, AK
34 answers

I always feel like I am about to burst into tears, and do often. At times my head feels like it is about to burst, and the whining is like a cheese grater running over my brain. When it gets bad I yell, loudly, and say things I do not always mean to my children, who just do not seem to understand what it means when Mommy is in a bad mood. They fight, they whine, they drive me crazy!! I know that all that is normal for children their age, and do not want to be overly hard on them, but lately it seems I am having these bad mood days more and more often, and when I am not yelling I am crying. I feel like I just do not know how to get everything back under my control. My husband keeps pointing out how little I get done during the day, and my house is a mess, and the chaos is just eating at my spirit. And now that school is almost out I find myself even more stressed, because at least when the older one is at school there is not fighting! And than I feel terrible, because I do long to spend more time with him during the day when he is at school. I am just so frustrated and tired, very very tired, all the time.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all you wonderful Mommies for your support. I do think it is probably a chemical thing. I tend to be anemic which can make me tired, drained, and effects my sleep. I am going to start taking my Iron supplements again, along with vitamin D since we are just coming out of the Alaskan winter. It could be hormonal since I stopped taking birth control last year after being on it for 17 years, but I do not want to go back on it if I can help it so I will watch my patterns to see if I get worse around that time of the month. I also do need to take more time for me and to exercise, so I think I will start walking after my hubby gets home so I can get both. I have let my own spirit suffer, I can not remember the last time I meditated, so I am going to start scheduling time for that in to each and every week as well. I have never tried things like St. Johns wart, but I will look into it. I have bee on Zoloft in the past but I was one of the few that it made manic rather than level, so that is not really an option for me. Thanks again ladies, and you are right, I forgot in the chaos of caring for others how to care for myself.

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answers from Bellingham on

I don't want to scare you, but it sounds like you are showing signs of post partum (still) and it is just now coming to a head...I was in the same position (I am a single parent) and was having such anxiety that if my children would ask me something totally innocent I would just react and scream at them...not what I wanted to do...I was also constantly on the verge of any given moment I had a flood wall ready to come down...I would have even cried as I wrote this to you...I felt like I was drained adrenally and was extremely tired all the time...I now take cymbalta (30 mg) for a short term basis and it is really helping....I have calmed down, can respond to my children intelligently and get enough rest to be well rested and don't have that wall of tear ready to flood my face at any given moment....I know this is not the quick answer, it took me 10 years (that's how old my children are) to come around to accept that I no longer have time to do the spiritual things that would normally help me when I get steaming mad - I love to go for a brisk long walk and when I get back I am was a case of go in the room and cry and have my children banging on the door on the other side crying for me becuase they didn't understand what was going on with mommy. The medicine does not "tune" me out like the meds back in the day did...when I was younger, I took meds to help with depression of being very overweight and molested for most of my childhood...those just zoned me out so that I didn't have an up or a down...just numb...would pass right on through stop signs and not even realize til I would almost get isn't like that nowadays...but there is help...I wish you much serenity and hope that you can find something that works for you...

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I take St. John's Wort and Vitamin D for the exact reasons you stated above. I can definately tell a huge difference between taking it and not. It is not expensive and is life saving!

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answers from Dallas on

First - You're not a bad Mom. Staying home is hard. We can't all be a ray of Sunshine everyday. Take a deep breath, start your day with a shower. Refresh yourself. Make a list of a few reasonable things you want to get done - and start there. Feel good about yourself when you accomplish it. You're being very hard on yourself and it sounds like you're overwhemling yourself thinking of everything you need to do, and you don't like that you are doing.

Secondly - Call your doctor. Make an appointment for a full physical. Have them check your thyroid, your iron levels, your vitamin b12. Any number of difficiencies can cause a problem -- and we all know as a Mom it's easy not to eat right, or to ignore early warning signs of an issue. If everything comes back normal, then I would look at the possibility of depression and talk to your doctor.

Third - Get some excersize. Join the YMCA, or a local gym with daycare. Start a yoga class. It will get you socialization, good endorphines, and time to focus on you. At the very least start walking - take the kids with you if you have to. Go to a park with the kids and walk around while the kids play.

Take some time and figure out whats causing the issue. You'll make it!

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answers from Seattle on

When I read your headline I automatically thought that this post was about depression before reading it. Now I'm not sure if I think it is depression. I say have a family meeting. Everybody get together and just talk. Talk about what your concerns are and what your needs are, but make sure everyone answers any questions asked (not just one person answers and then on to the next question). It is a great opportunity to learn about what your family members are feeling and what they want or need as well. Very beneficial! You'll probably forecast it being 20 minutes, but it can be hours of discussion that felt like 20 minutes. Do not underestimate children either. They use simple words that have a grand impact and you can't believe sometimes what you are hearing. Your children know when you're in a bad mood, and sometimes that puts them in a bad mood too because they are upset that mommy is not happy. Write down all topics you want to cover and all questions you don't want to forget to ask. Remember to remain calm and when you feel like yelling or screaming... stop talking. Think about how you can say it as nicely as possible. If you feel like you're on the brink of tears the next few days, after having a family meeting, then you need to talk to someone (a professional) who can help. I had postpartum depression and seeked help from a counselor. All I needed was someone to talk to who I didn't know, because I didn't feel judged and their job is to just listen. I didn't need medication, but it is always an option specially if all else fails.

Always remember that you are a great mom! The first step is seeking help and you're doing just that. Don't take a step where you don't know where you're walking, because that's how you end up lost. You're on the right path, just stay on it. This wonderful network of moms have helped me through so much. It feels good to know you are not alone :)

My heart goes out to you! If you ever need someone to talk to I'm just a click away!

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answers from Austin on

I feel just like you. I read your other responses...I'm not convinced you are depressed. It may just be a temporary "burn-out". I feel burned out, but not burn out makes me cry at times because I know there is NO WAY OUT. If my husband decided one day he hated his job, he would probably quit. We can't quit. We can't take a break. We can't just "get away" for a breather....etc....I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old....and a 12 year old. My house is a complete disaster...I am ugly...haven't highlighted or cut my hair since 4 weeks before my 5 month old was born...and, I probably shower once a's like, "Do I shower or clean that stack of dishes?" I usually blow off the bath so I have a decent looking kitchen, which never lasts. Being tired can make you feel profoundly sad and frustrated! Me, too. We moms have our good days and our bad...just keep your chin up looking for a good day in there.

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answers from Savannah on

Hey J.,

I know exactly how you feel!! I was going through this exact same thing and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Turns out I just needed a different birth control (too much hormone in mine was making me a little nuts)....

I would also, like these other ladies, suggest seeing a therapist just to have someone on your side. Its so hard being a SAHM. You have to do EVERYTHING.... and when ONE thing isn't done or in its place, "The house is a mess" talk comes up between you and your husband - as if you needed anyone to point out that there was something else you didn't do well.

Go see someone professionally who can hear you out. Someone you can vent to, and someone who may be able to help you a little more, if you need medication. I have been on antidepressants before for a short while, and I'll tell you one thing - they saved my sanity. I felt more calm, cool and collected, and was able to get back on my feet emotionally.

As for your house - please please please go to this website I'm about to list and give it a shot. When you first look at it, its a little overwhelming and you'll think its stupid. But just START it. Just get up tomorrow morning and START from the top with whatever they're doing that day and week. TRUST ME.

Best of luck to you babe, hang in there!

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answers from Milwaukee on

This was me in 2001. It's depression or pmdd or both, depending on if it's worse with your cycle. Make an appt and talk to your doctor. I was given prozac (mild dose) and since then I have gotten a job and attend school part-time. It's amazing the difference. Dr said that mine was brought on my hormones, and hopefully will go away after menopause. Please, trust me--get some help with this--be strong and not ashamed. Do it now--for your children's sake--and for your own. You are missing out on the good times. (((HUGS))) Send me a private message if you need to talk more.

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answers from Nashville on

I agree that it could be a hormone issue or depression. Reading your post was like reading about my own life when I am having problems with depression. Sometimes my depression has been a result of hormone/birth control issues, so it could be that. I am very sensitive to hormones and it could be a simple thing to change that if that is your case. Everybody else has pretty much said everything I would say, so I will just repeat them: You are NOT a bad mom. Take some time for yourself to see your doctor and figure out what is going on. Good luck!

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answers from Spokane on

You are suffering from depression see your doctor, see an excellent therapist. Tell your husband you need support not criticism . There are all sorts of ways to deal with the kids whining etc. You could be dealing creatively with such problems and keeping up better with life if you weren't depressed. You will welcome back the person you once knew when you get better, Take care of yourself. It isn't selfish. IT is important for everyone in your family. You know that ad " who does depression hurt?" everyone.
That did not come out of thin air,
You deserve to have your joy back. You are a loving compassionate person you need to be able to get in touch with that value and live in it once more. XOXOXOOXOOX

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answers from Seattle on

Hon, you need a break!

And your husband needs to stop telling you the house is a mess. Your job is harder than his, and your job NEVER ends. Can you imagine how much more relaxed you would feel if you only had to watch your kids eight hours a day, and had a break for lunch? But you aren't a daycare worker--you are a mom, and that job is three eight-hour shifts every single day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

I don't know how old your kids are, but if only one is school aged, then your job is even harder. And that means you are tired, tired, tired, and for good reason.

How might your husband take a little of the chores on himself? If he believes your "staying home" means "laying around all day," how can he be convinced otherwise? My husband was fortunate, when my daughter was small, to have one job end 1 1/2 months before his new one began... and he became stay-at-home dad. He just about went insane. Now he makes no cracks about the house, for he knows all too well how hard this job is.

See what you can do to get some time--it could mean an hour walk while your husband is home with the kids in the evenings. Perhaps you could trade babysitting with another mom, and each of you get an afternoon off each week to do whatever (even if it's shopping without the kids or housecleaning).

I totally understand the messy house, but if you have little ones, as you clean, the house tends to grow all messy again, and very young ones often do not understand that you can't pick them up right now because you are doing dishes. Do you have a kitchen timer? Set it up with the kids so that they can see it, and give yourself a half hour twice a day, once in the morning, right after your oldest gets to school, once in the afternoon before dinner. Turn on some fun music, and fool the kids (and yourself) into thinking it's fun. Then clean, clean, clean--and when the buzzer goes off, the kids know they have you again (yet a lot can be cleaned in that time). Better yet, get the kids cleaning, too.

As to the fighting, I've found the very easiest way to stop it is separation. When my kids fight consistently on a given day, I put them in separate rooms to play, making it clear that because of the fighting they cannot play with each other the rest of the morning. Not only do they act nicer while playing alone (so that the separation can end), but they watch themselves when they are allowed together because they know more fighting will put them back away from each other.

I'm not sure any of these bits will help, but know that so many of us have been here... and it's so hard to keep it together. If breaks do not help, and if your husband cannot see ways to support you, counseling may be your only option. But you don't want the stress to push you into depression... and it can. Take good care of yourself, and I hope you find a way to achieve balance again.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Heather A. nailed this.
It might be that you need a break. Daily.
It might be more. Talk to your doc.
It might be that you can descended the food chain in your house and you need to put yourself back at the TOP of the list. You're a mother and a wife, not a maid and a servant! Family meeting time. Hubby needs to be on board.
Good luck!
If you're not taken care of, no one is taken care of and like the old saying goes: If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy!"

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answers from Denver on

I agree with those who say it is depression. I know depression like I know the backs of my hands. Please seek help, and do not shy away from medication, if it is suggested. My life would be utter chaos without medication. Exercise and time out door EVERY day will help a lot.

Send me a private note if you want to talk with me about my experience. You are a wonderful mother, obviously, because you care enough about your children and yourself to be asking this question.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I agree whole heartedly with Heather A's response. It could be any number of things!

I know it is hard but you absolutely have to take time for yourself! Maybe sit down with your husband and explain to him how you feel and agree that for the hour after he gets home from work he is on duty so you can do anything and everything you want from getting your haircut to taking a nap or just going for a drive with no kids (and kids songs) in the car.

I have been depressed and I refused medication. There are other options if you don't want to be medicated! Exercise helps because it helps develop a positive image of yourself which will translate to the rest of your life.

Also, I went to hypnotherapy. Hypnosis kind of has a bad rap because it is used for comedy, but it did wonders for me and completely changed my outlook on life. Please feel free to message me, and I would be happy to explain my story and how it helped.

Stay strong momma, you will get through this!

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answers from Medford on

I went through something similar to this. Everyone kept preaching that i was just a fulltime working mother of 2 and that I had a lot on my plate. I just couldn't accept that this was it. I was snapping at everyone over everything, I woke up each morning feeling like I hadn't slept. I was crying over every little thing. I felt like I just wasnt cut out for this line of work...I went to see a new doctor and had them do a full blood panel and everything. Come to find out I have Grave's Disease (hyper-thyroid). My car was running at fullspeed without taking a break, so to speak. There were some weird symptoms that pointed to this condition that I didnt even know had anything to do with it.
Please, take the time to get to your doctor. Just have them check everything. It could be hormones, or thyroid, or something else altogether. I was so relieved to find out that it was me mentally that was the problem. I felt so much better having gotten my thyriod under control.



answers from Portland on

I can understand your feelings. It's easy to get into an out-of-control spiral, a vicious circle. What you need is to get to the root of the problem. There is only one book I know of that will help, and you can read it online free, or buy it if you prefer (I've done both).

Basically, you need to get your children to mind, not whine and fight. That will help things a lot. You also need to work on your attitude, but with more obedient children, this will be much easier. If you have school-age kids, there's no reason they can't help out around the house, and if they mind you, it won't be too hard to get them to help, so things will get done more. That book will help you, if you give it a try. It sure has helped me!

And here's a hug. I have had days exactly like you're describing, and sometimes I just need a hug. {{-.-}}


answers from Milwaukee on

First off keep telling yourself you are a wonderful mother. Secondly I would make an appointment with your doctor... it could either be depression or maybe something else (blood work might be taken to figure it out).

Sometimes I still feel like this but after 6 months of similar symptoms that never let up I went to the doctor and after talking realized I was several depressed. With a few months of counseling and medication I was back on track and felt more like myself.

Also try to get some exercise everyday, where it is just you. That has really helped me because I get me time as well as doing something good for my body (which releases happy endorphins).

Lastly find support somewhere, if hubby is not giving it to you either ask him to step up and if he still does not find someone who will be there for you. A moms group, close friend that is nearby, a family member you are close to (mom, sister, brother, aunt, uncle). Just because you are home all day does not mean hubby can just point things out he needs to help too. Really please see a doctor, it does sound like depression.



answers from Portland on

oh your story sounds exactly like mine only i wasi was going to suggest iron but i see you're doing that already. i also second the thyroid and adrenal levels. the problem is that sometimes an MD will see you're in the normal range and say 'you're fine' when obviously you're not. i'd suggest finding a naturopath who can do a saliva test for adrenal levels and get the proper thyroid tests run that MD's usually don't test for.


answers from Austin on

Try paxil CR I know it will help..My mom has always been dramatic when it came to her job, the house, my dad..he can press her buttons, she takes hormone pills but that is for something else..if she doesnt take it then it is a big PMS day..getting back to your question, I told my mom about Paxil CR it is for depression anyway she is on it and WOW what a difference nothing bothers her, she goes on with her day but with less for the kiddos , just a big hug will do ,,,tell the oldest how much you love him/her write notes in his notebooks..something so easy is remembered more than time you have spent being upset..have the living room picked up that should satisfy him, if he sees you more in contol of your emotions he will stop, he doesnt know how to help so he just complains



answers from Seattle on

I am going to be direct and simple in my advice. First tell them that when they whine you will no talk or answer any questions. Then when they whine, walk out of the house shut the door and lock it.. Do say a word, do run, just walk. If they follow, just turn your back and do not say anything. (this will be the hardest-with my daughter, I used to go to the shower and lock the bathroom door)

Stay calm, if you must go outside, lock the door and cry there, but do not let them see you cry. Staying calm as you walk out is the most important part and the hardest.

At first the whining may increase because they cannot get your attention. they may even hang on you as you walk out.

You can also use this on the fighting, but you can do both problems at the same time. Solve one problem at a time.

Whatever system you choose do it at least a month before you decide that it does not work. Consistency is really important.

Good luck.



answers from Portland on

I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but it would be a great idea to get your thyroid and adrenal glands checked out by a naturopath preferably. A lot of doctors don't know a lot about thyroid issues, but a lot of people (especially women) have non-optimal thyroid function which could be what is making you feel so, so tired and irritable.



answers from Portland on


Talk to your doctor. I felt much the same for a long time, and still fight bits of it. My hormones are all out of whack. I am working on the issue daily and fight depression. I have opted to not go on medication other than some hormone (Mirena IUD) to help one part of the to your doctor, gynecologist, and/or a friend. Take time to yourself while the kids are at school to just cry if you need to get under control enough to call the're not crazy, just a mom and a woman overwhelmed. You will be okay.




answers from Seattle on

Please, please go talk to your doctor! It sounds like the overwhelming demands you're under might have pushed you into a full-blown depression (bad mood, frequent crying, irritable, tired, unable to sleep, no energy to do things . . . these are actually symptoms!) Your doc can recommend: a psychiatrist, therapy, medications . . . any number of things to get you out of this pit! And I know, going to the doc/dealing with the recommendations can seem like 'just one more thing you have to deal with' - but taking care of yourself is the number one priority! And a happier mama leads to a happier household - as they say, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!



answers from Portland on

Hi J.,

This really sounds like (post-partum?) depression. Please talk with someone you feel safe with about it. Your husband? A really good/safe friend? A counselor? A religious leader with whom you feel safe?

This sounds like what I've been going through. For me, it's been post-partum related. Talking with safe people who support me has been the biggest help. Medications may or may not be on the table for you, and they may or may not be necessary, but you can't keep what's going on hidden. You deserve to not have these feelings and exhaustion hanging on. We all have those experiences and feelings every once in a while, but they shouldn't linger.

You deserve to feel good. You really do.

If you want to talk about this at all, feel free to email me at [email protected]



answers from Seattle on

I had feelings like that, and they were linked to depression and anxiety disorders. I talked to my husband, and then I got therapy.

I would start by talking to your husband. Explain how overwhelmed you feel. Do you ever feel like the things that need to be done are closing in on you? I had that feeling all the time too. He might think that this is a little crazy. Part of that comes from the fact that he doesn't know everything that you have to cope with during the day, and part of it comes from the fact that your feelings are working overtime. Now that's not something you need to worry about controlling right now. I learned to take some comfort from the fact that part of my problem was in my head, not in reality.

Then you should look for a therapist. I know looking for a therapist makes it sound like you're crazy. You're not. A therapist is someone objective that you can sound off to, someone who can give you educated advice. A marriage and family therapist (MFT) would be best because they can help you with your feelings and give you tips to handle your kids and your household too.


answers from New York on

I have been there!!! Please see your doctor and tell him/her everything that you told us. Your doctor may want to order some blood work and evaluate you for depression or other possible causes for your symptoms.



answers from Portland on

Before responding I looked at your profile. You are a military wife, and that takes a very special person. No one can understand the additional stresses and conditions unless they have a loved one in the military. I don't know which branch of the military or your husband's rank, but seek counseling. My son joined the USAF last December. When he graduated from BMT one of the things addressed was counseling services offered and the importance of taking advantage of it. Check into it. Your lives and the things you deal with are different than they are for civilians. Your husband has to deal with the requirements of the military and sometimes it is difficult to separate work and home. My son told me that one of the things he learned was the importance of differentiating between how he conducts himself on the job and how he conducts himself at home. It isn't easy, but military personnel have to learn to do that to have a successful home life. And don't look at counseling as "he's bad" or "she's bad", just that there are things that need to be worked out to make a good thing better. With that said, every marriage is a two way street. Have him spend a couple of full days home alone with the kids and see how much he gets done. I only had to do that once and my husband never again said anything about the disarray of the house or ever dared to give me a to-do list. Good luck and thanks to you and your husband for his military service!



answers from Seattle on

I know how you feel - I have been there, and still am some days. For me, it helped to read parenting books that gave me strategies for dealing with the fighting and other bad behaviors. The "Love and Logic" approach is one that really helped. I've also gotten the Supernanny book and used her method - basically a 'timeout.' In particular, when my kids are fighting, I give them a choice. They can either work it out and get along peacefully, or they can play separately in their rooms. I try to give them the choice calmly, so it doesn't feel like I've lost control.
It can be really tough getting housework done, and it's too bad your husband doesn't understand that. I try to choose one thing to work on throughout the day (in addition to making dinner and sorting mail). Usually there are times when my yougest, who is not at school yet, is entertaining herself. Or I try to involve her, like giving her the job of finding pairs of socks when I'm folding laundry. She's not always helpful, but usually interested in trying, which is a good thing.
I hope some of this was helpful to you. Good luck!


answers from Phoenix on

Take care of yourself first and the rest will fall into place. I have been taking a liquid vitamin/mineral that has really helped me focus and sleep better at night. Take the tour on this website. It's only about $1 per day and worth every cent and then some! Once you take care of yourself, you can work on your home life and get some structure. When there is a schedule and kids know what to expect, they act better. Good luck to you and let me know if you need more info or have questions!



answers from Eugene on

I would talk to your dr about everything you are feeling. It seems like you are overwhelmed and need a break, but also, have you thought you might be suffering from depression? I have been down this road and still face it. Life is very hard dealing with our wonderful kids. They need constant help and it does become very challanging. Mom's have such a hard job! I am sure you have a lot of good advice. But I would really check with your doc and see if they could be of help..good luck. I hope you feel better. It is tough.



answers from Seattle on

This sounds like clinical depression, to me. My advice? Go see your doctor. Explain the situation just like you have here and see if you can get a referral to a counselor.


answers from Seattle on

Yes, I agree with other moms. You need to take some care of your-self. See your doctor and tell him everything. Make sure he/she checks your vitamine D level. Change your birthcontrol pill if you need that too. Start exercising and meditating. The gyms have day-cares where you can leave your little one and have an hour or two baby-free. If you can't afford a gym, get involved in a baby-sitting coop, so you can have some time for your-self and please, do NOT spend it on cleaning. Make a daily list with all he things you do and do strike them as the day goes, include everything! That will give you a feeling of a well job done. Get out of the house, get some fresh air and sun, it is good for everybody. Yes, the school is over but there are summer capms, right?! And don't forget everything is temporary. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

You need to take care of yourself before you can successfully take care of everyone else. You family needs to understand this.

A spa trip sound like exactly what the doc ordered ...


answers from Fort Walton Beach on

I am not a professional, but it sounds like depression. You may not know what you are depressed about, but that could be the case. I am in no means "pro-drugs" but there are Dr's who can find the correct one in your case. Maybe sit down w/ your husband, look at your symptoms from another person's eyes and see what you come up with. In my opinion, you should talk to a Dr. I hope this helps and things come back together for you soon.



answers from Detroit on

Could you be experiencing depression? There are "self-tests" you can do to see if you need to see a doctor - just answering yes or no to a series of questions regarding severity, length, and frequency of symptoms. Just look up symptoms of depression on the internet.

Take care of yourself. Remember, "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Next question: See a Doctor or Not?