I also asked readers' experiences with mood charts, and promised a report. Such as it is, here it is.
ultradian cyclers. There are a variety of charts out there that vary by the features recorded. The chart can be paper or digital. And yes, there's an app for that.
The chart I use keeps it simple. I record my mood each day, high or low, scale of 1-3, plus sleep, drug and alcohol consumption and meds taken or not. I add two extra features, anxiety and irritation, again on the 1-3 scale. These are basics. When my meds change, I scribble little notes about side effects. One page covers the whole month.
You can get fancier. I registered to use the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) "Wellness Tracker." They have all kinds of moods to track, and side effects, too. I was well into the third screen, saw the fourth coming, with no indication of an end in sight, when I realized I would never follow through on a daily basis, and quit.
So the first barrier to using mood charts is complexity. Success will be supported by keeping it simple.
Readers identified follow through as another difficulty. My bipolar readers said their lives are not regular enough to do the daily entry. A reader with simple depression credits her brother for her success. He set up a computer-based chart that pops up on her screen at a certain time every night. You can buy the program here. Of course, that still doesn't work for people who aren't on the computer the same time every night.
The second barrier is life style. Success is supported by finding the right niche in your daily schedule that is regular, and associating the chart with that. You could put your chart on the bag of dog food, on top of your meds, your bathroom mirror, your pillow, whatever -- some place you see at more or less the same time daily. I think night time is best, the better to remember what happened that day inside my fevered little brain. But whatever works. I managed my seven month stretch of nearly daily recording (okay, May was a lost month) by sticking the chart in my bedtime reading.
A third issue has become apparent to me over time. Is it relevant? Does it record the information you need?
Well, what do you need? Another way of putting it -- why bother?
Why bother -- What a great place to break until next week!
This photo was taken by WillMcC and is licensed under