Quickie: Easy Mood Tracking

I have a really hard time with mood tracking.

First, I forget to do it. I’ve tried a few mood-tracking apps, but in order to remember to track, I’d need an app that would get all in-my-face about it. “Did you track your mood yet? How about now? Now? Okay, push this button RIGHT NOW and track your freaking mood, boy-o.” Likewise, I’d need a simple mood app: something that doesn’t ask for a lot of data, but just a basic rating on a single scale. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed when I’m depressed and can’t focus long enough to make the data make sense when I’m manic.

It’s possible there’s an app out there that works like that and I just haven’t discovered it yet. (Anyone found one? I’m all ears!)

For now, though, I’ve settled on an easy, fairly old-school approach: colored stickers.

I ordered a set of little dot stickers in 7 colors: in this case, blazing hot pink, then ROYGBV, instead of ROYGBIV proper. I like this set of colors: to blazing hot pink (even though I’m quite fond of it!) makes a perfectly fine indicator of the kind of dangerous mania I really don’t want to contemplate right now. The stickers are also transparent, so our appointments won’t be obscured when I stick them on.

I went with colors instead of faces or numbers because I don’t have to think about it at all. I just stick the one on that feels right.

The stickers will go on our wall calendar. It’s right in my face every day on the wall beside the bathroom door, so I think I should be able to remember to use it at least enough of the time to make it worth while.

Because my manias have more flavors than my depressions (which basically just seem to come in Bad and Worse), I’ll be using green as my midpoint marker; the “I’m in a pretty decent spot” marker. That leaves four flavors of mania and two flavors of depression. If I’m in between moods, I’ll just use two stickers on one day.

Today is a green day. First one I’ve had in quite a while. Reminds me of how utterly, absolutely important dancing is to managing my mood.

Anyway, here’s a link to the stickers I bought, in case you think this approach sounds useful for you:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003M6VQNY/

I think you should also be able to find them locally, in office supply stores and what have you.

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Getting along pretty well with bipolar disorder. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2015/02/24, in bipolar, life management and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Sounds like an interesting idea

  2. I always ended up only tracking my moods when I was down, because really, when you’re all happy manic who has time to track that. (wink)

    • Very true — the happy parts of mania are definitely the hardest to track, and during mixed states it tends to seem stupid and worthless (like everything else), even though it isn’t. Depression is also a little easier for me to track, except when it’s really bad.

      I’m hoping this system might work a little better for me! I’ll keep you posted 😀

  3. eMoods … that’s what I’m ignoring now 🙂

    • Ha! I think I’m currently ignoring that one as well (though I may have uninstalled it, I know I did install it at one point). I’ll have to see if I can set it up to pester me.

  4. Great idea…nice and simple. My doctor is always asking for that. http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/

  5. Good Post Asher. My Moodometer is pretty straight forward.

    When Iam Manic I sleep 2-3 Hours a night at best. I also fall asleep reading in no time at all. In fact that is how I get to sleep when I’m Manic. Read. 5 minutes later and Iam asleep. Iam almost always awake to see the sunrise and I count this as an Indicator too.

    When Iam depressed I sleep 16-20 Hours a day. I also get a lot of reading done in this condition. A couple of books a day sometimes. when Iam in a deep-seated depression I don’t talk either. I have nothing to say. This aspect of things has been going on since I was five. It doesn’t happen often but once this state lasted for over a year continuously. That was bad.

    Right now Iam rapidly cycling. Couple of times a day. When I realize Iam depressed I start singing. That frequently pulls me out of my funk, pretty quickly.

    There is one more Sure indicator of High Mania. I stop taking my medications. My PCP calls me once a month to check if Iam on my meds. That is helpful.

    • Interesting — I also read more when I’m depressed (OTOH, mania makes reading hard for me, because I can’t stay still long enough, heh). Also, it sounds like you have a good PCP!

      Do you do any tracking for record-keeping purposes?

      • I do not do tracking for record keeping. My sister does. When I started having health problems, before I was aware that I was PBD I journaled for a while and it was helpful. Just the act of writing down was helpful. I had to think how to describe what was happening. I seldom reviewed what I wrote as a whole. Thats where the correlations start to show.

        Now that I know I’m BPD and have gone through some very hard times after my Diagnosis I’ve found that the best results are achieved by taking one day at a time. When I’m relatively sane I make plans and adopt a strategy. Then I follow thru day to day until I realize my strategy was flawed. Understand in my case I have many health issues so I have blood work done quarterly and I discuss things with my shrink 2x a year minimum as well. We are talking about a chemical imbalance in the brain after all is said and done.

        Keeping a positive mental Attitude and working at things one day at a time has been a good approach for me. Blaming Suicidal urges on the chemicals being the issue has made the notion disappear. I know its not me. Its the chemical inbalance that gives me the urges. If you have ever been on a bad trip and relalized it at the time as such you know you just have to wait it out.

      • Interesting — I ude a similar approach to dealing with suicidal urges (though sometimes it’s hard to maintain that level of insight), but linking it to the idea of getting through a bad trip is pretty insightful, and has never occurred to me. You have a really useful discovery, there.

        For me, I suspect that tracking will help to identify triggers that contribute to my neurochemical chaos. I know that the amount of daylight is a primary precipitating factor for my manic episodes, and I suspect that hormonal fluctuations might also contribute significantly to the derisive features. I’m hoping to put essentially assemble a snapshot of seasonal variances.

      • I don’t know about the Hormonal fluctuations. I suspect I am at the age of male menopause, if that means anything. My hormonal fluctuations should be minimal anyway. To collect baseline data to create an image is good. Log the weather if you can both sunlight and temperature. Iam uncertain what you meant by “derisive features”.

      • Oh, dear. “Derisive features” was a phone-induced autocorrupt typo :::sheepish grin::: I’ll have to go back and reread my comment and figure out what the heck I meant 😀

        Edit: Okay, I just reread my comment, and I’m still stumped. I definitely didn’t mean “derisive features,” but as to what I did mean … your guess is as good as mine!

        Wait, I’ve got it now! That was supposed to be “depressive features.” I experience fluctuations in hormone levels due to a combination of factors — first, a congenital intersex condition that affects my gonads and pituitary/adrenal systems; second, the effects of a lot of exercise (which can increase testosterone at some points and decrease it at others).

        The last time I had it measured, my testosterone level was so low that it didn’t even register (o.O’) and the rest of my sex hormones were all over the place. I think I’m more prone to depression when my levels of testosterone and/or estradiol (which is normally a bit higher in me than is typical for most guys) are low, especially when they both tank at the same time. I don’t get those measured often enough to be really scientific about it, though, so I kind of have to go by feel.

        Sunlight exposure, though — that’s huge for me. You’re right, it would be useful to note the weather. I bet they even make sticker for that 😀

      • I was talking to my sister yesterday. She’s one of us too. Her typo was White heroin when she meant White Heron. That had be worried.

      • Ha! The dangers of modern technology 😀

  6. I see I had a typo too “be” instead of “me”. Listen I think your wrong in associating PBD with the kind of depression you’ve just described. It’s hard to be depressed when your having sex! I think this type of depression is Normal. I don’t use the term Normal very often when speaking of myself; but in this case I think I’ll make an Exception.

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