So, when I was first diagnosed with bipolar 1 the docs and therapists always told me about the importance of tracking my moods. Suffice it to say (and I’m sure those that know me will attest to this) I failed hard. Trying to write everything out was a bit overwhelming and, frankly, wasn’t effective for me in tracking my moods.
So, where did this leave me? In the hinterlands of self-care there for a while but in the age of advanced technology there are now an abundance apps for tracking moods and overall mental health. I’ve tried a few but my overall favorite is iMoodJournal. It’s easy, its customizable, and it creates great reports for easy tracking. Hell, it even exports them as a PDF with a specified timeframe so I can give a quick and easy report to my therapist or anyone else in my care circle. Great huh?
So, now to the daily tracking and what it looks like:
You can make this chart read whatever you like although mine is super simple with just numbers to rate the days. The app reminds me three times a day to chart my mood which is very helpful because it calls my conscious mind into my mindful space and forces me to think about where I’m at in the day.
Now, the biggest challenge sometimes is to be truthful and consistent. I find that I occasionally want to paint a better picture than what the day actually entails and every now and then I don’t track regularly and that affects the data which influences my ability to reflect and better understand my brain and how it works.
One last note, it allows me to use hashtags for tracking specific concerns and/or issues or even positive things, something I have to work hard at. I, like many people, am much better at remembering the negative than the positive. I find that I track more often when I’m feeling up rather than when I’m on the downside. It’s a challenge to be sure!
Here you can see my moods over the past two years and as you can see though the moods are definitely swinging! I swear sometimes I feel like I’m on a playground with all the various activities and I’m just swapping back and forth every few days, or even within a single day.
So, how do I actually USE the information? Well, I review it every week to see what happened the week before and what was it related to. Work? Family? Money? Etc. Sometimes though it’s positive stressors too although at the moment none are coming to mind. Oh wait! Vacations! That’s the worst for me. When we went to Disneyland a while back it was easily one of the most stressful experiences I have had.
Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying that there are useful tools out there. You just have to look around you. Okay, maybe in your phone. Um, yeah, that whole “download an app” thing. I’m sure you’ll find one that meets your needs but I wanted to at least put this out there in case anyone else is looking for another tool.
NOTE: I am not paid by iMoodJournal nor do I represent them. I’m just one woman trying to get by with bipolar sharing what works for me.