help with depression: track your mood

many of my readers are interested in mood tracking software, and if you want to read about this, you can go to this entry, where, among other things, i talked about a program called VistaWrite. another way to track your mood is to just do it manually, using your own method, or using some of the ones you can find on the web.

bipolar mood chart

today i looked at the mood chart by ronald fieve. it is obviously designed from a psychiatric point of view, and for people with bipolar disorder but it can also be used for people who “only” deal with depression.

this chart ranges from a 100 in the bipolar range (medical emergency. wildly manic and psychotic; can’t stop talking; incoherent, overactive, belligerent, or elated. not sleeping at all. at times delusional; hallucinating. may be either violent or paranoid.) to a 0 on the depressed side (medical emergency unable to eat or take medications. can’t follow ward routine. delusional; suicidal. stuporous. stares into space; very little response to questioning. may require tube feeding).

in my observation, most people who are dealing with depression are in the 30-40 range:

40………………..mildly depressed mood, but noticeable lack of energy; chronic lack of optimism and pleasure. feels slowed down. treatment may not be desired, although it may be indicated. decreased interest in sex. decreased motivation.

30…………………moderate depression. loss of energy; disinterested in others; early weight, sleep and appetite disturbance; able to function with effort but wants to stay in bed during day; doesn’t want to go to work; feels life is not worthwhile. little sexual interest. outpatient treatment advised by doctors.

because there are so many whose experience of depression falls broadly into those areas, one way of personalizing this a little more would simply be to rank each aspect, with 10 being “great” and 0 being “very problematic”.

mood chart for depression

0 —————————— 10

0 —————————— 10

ability to feel pleasure
0 —————————— 10

sex drive
0 —————————— 10

0 —————————— 10

interest in others
0 —————————— 10

food intake
0 —————————— 10

0 —————————— 10

ability to work
0 —————————— 10

ability to carry out daily functions
0 —————————— 10

when you suffer from these or other symptoms, which may be due to depression, for longer than 2 weeks, it is a good idea to track them daily, maybe even more than once a day. it’s also good to make short notes beside some of the entries (“uncle bill was over”, “had a beer”, “worked ’til 10”).

a tool for tracking but also for improvement

apart from giving you information about your state of mind, doing this can also give you a sense of control (which is often lacking during depression). you will also see how things change during the day and from day to day. you can then look at those times when you score higher, try to remember under what circumstances you felt better, and see whether those circumstances can be replicated.

this tool, then, records your mood – but it can also help you get better.

after a few weeks of actively using this tool you may find yourself feeling better. if you don’t, please don’t continue suffering on your own – please call a counsellor, the crisis line, or your doctor. bringing this record with you to your appointment will also give your health care provider a quick overview of your situation.

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