I’ve been tracking my moods for the last 150ish days, a couple months after I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I think that everyone who has a mood disorder should try and track their moods. Whether it is in a journal, on an app, or just a simple excel spreadsheet.
Granted, I love data and statistics. I have a Microsoft Band, which is a fitness tracker/smart watch. Even though I don’t actively work out most of the time I like seeing my health data. I do believe that tracking your moods can be incredibly helpful for anyone with a mood disorder. Not only does it help you understand your moods, but it also helps a doctor see what is working and what isn’t and how to help you.
I personally have a really hard time figuring out my moods. A lot of the times I can’t tell if i’m just sad for a viable reason it will pass or if I’m hollow, numb and in a depressive episode. Or if I’m just happy or if I’m in a manic episode. Or if I’m irritable because i’m hypomanic, in a mixed state, or depressed. It also gives me insight into my cycling. Hopefully this will all even out when I find a med combo that works but even then I think I will continue to track my moods.
I’ve included my own moods chart to give you an idea of what it looks like in a simple excel document and how I interpret the information. It is pretty clear that at the start of July I started slipping into a depressive episode which has lasted through mid September. There is a little peak over the last couple of days, in which I have been feeling pretty good. I’m not sure if its just a few good days or if i’m beginning to go into a manic episode. You can also tell that I’ve been feeling pretty good because I am actually writing a full on post. 😛
As for the period from mid April to the end of May I’m not really sure how to interpret (Maybe some of my more seasoned bipolar followers could help me out or give me some advice) But I think I was in a mixed state or ultra rapid cycling till the end of May and then went into a brief manic episode from the start of June to about mid June.
As for the app’s (on iOS) that I use I actually use a few apps because I’m indecisive.
The first app I use is called Optimism It has lots of customizable options in a few categories such as Stay Well Strategies, Triggers, Symptoms, and Notes. I tend to just stick to Core Data and use the three customizable sliders as Morning Mood, Afternoon Mood, and Evening mood. I am planning on changing my Evening Mood to an anxiety slider so I can see how my anxiety changes depending upon the episode that I’m in.
The next app I use is Pacifica. I mainly use this app for anxiety as it gives you some options for guided meditations depending upon how you rank your mood.
The last app I use is called ThriveTracker which tracks moods and how you sleep. It will give you rewards and coupons depending upon how much you use the app but I never actually use them. I only use this app for its simple 3 sliders. One for mood, one for anxiety, and one for irritability. I like that it has an irritability slider because that is a big issue for me that I typically don’t see in apps.
I also think that if you suffer from depression or any other mental illness that mood tracking can be helpful in recognizing triggers or just looking back.