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Showing posts from July, 2010

Mood Disorders -- Tolerable, Bad and Downright Ugly, Part I

A friend recently asked me for a short description of the difference between Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar II. I didn't keep it short.  This will not surprise my regular readers, and warn my newer ones.

But here is the short answer.  Normal mood cycles within a normal range, sad/okay/glad.  Major depression has bigger distances, between normal and really sad.  Bipolar has the biggest distances.  Bipolar I ranges from really sad to really really up, with more time spend down than up.  Bipolar II moves the base line down from bipolar I.  It goes up, though not so far, and way, way down, lower than the others.

There are other aspects to mood disorders, affecting thought, desire, motivation, energy, sleep, digestion, appetite and even physical pain.  But this astonishingly short answer says way more than your common perception that depression means you are sad; bipolar means you are crazy.

Since I regularly write about these and the other mood disorders in Prozac Monologues,…

OMG!!!That'sWhatTheySaid -- Failed Method/Successful Attempt

OMG!  it has been four months since I last gave an OMG! Award.  It's not that I don't keep finding excellent candidates.  It's just that I have been covering other major topics.  Plus, life just...

I am amazed and disappointed to give this month's award to HealthCentral.com for their July 22nd news release, Failed Suicide Method May Predict Likelihood of Successful Attempt.

First, let me introduce HealthCentral.com.  From their website:

Health Central's mission is to empower millions of people to improve and take control of their health and well-being.
Our 35+ sites provide clinical resources and real-life support to those with life-changing conditions.Our wellness resources and tools help people to live healthier, more fulfilled lives.
We are honored to serve over 12 million visitors each month.
Health Central addresses lots of different health issues, including mental health.  Often their information is excellent.  This time they missed the boat with this OMG Award-w…

Mood Charts -- Why Bother?

Last week I discussed two barriers to using mood charts, the complexity of some charts and the life styles of those with mood disorders.  I also suggested strategies to overcome these barriers.  Perhaps today's post should have come first.  Given the difficulties -- why bother?

The chart I use is here, the same destination linked to Mood Charting on the left side of the blog, under RESOURCES ON MENTAL ILLNESS.  The second page puts my remarks in context.  The first page was written for doctors.  This post will make all that verbage user friendly.

So let me tell you about my experience and why I am still at it.

The essential point is to understand your illness better, so you can manage it better.  These are things I have learned from my chart:

Calling All Mood Charts

A few months ago, I posted this video description of my mood chart, calling it "Bipolar II with a touch of PTSD."

I also asked readers' experiences with mood charts, and promised a report.  Such as it is, here it is.

First, a mood chart is a basic tool in recovery, a way to record visually how your moods vary from day to day, or within a day for you lucky 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.