Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rating my Mood

I haven't tracked these components of my mood for a while, but another blogger, Kara, at Overflow, mentioned wanting to track her moods. I used to do this every evening at the same time. I made up a mood chart that worked for me. It was a great sheet to bring into my pdoc and show him, or tell him in certain terms what my mood/s had been doing. It was through this that I really noticed a cycling pattern.

It is a table I made up in MSWord, but I cannot find the I took apicture of a blank copy. If you want to make up your own it is pretty easy in word.

I simply place the corresponding # in the column/row. It is really easy to see any cycling patterns, or to see if medications or sleep are associated with mood. I find the chart worked well for me. Over the years I perfected my scoring system as follows:

(Click on the image of the mood chart to enlarge it)

Row 1: Mood (Happy/Sad): 1/2 suicidal, suicidal thoughts/plans, 3/4 severely/moderately depressed, 5 flat/apathetic, 6 feel okay to good, 7 Target = 7...Feeling good with moments of feeling great, 8 feeling really high, 9 hypomanic, 10 manic

Row 2: Mood (Irritability): 1 rage, 2 hostile, 3 agitated, 4 irritated, 5 moderate, 10 none

Row 3: Mood (Anxiety): 1 panic,2 severe anxiety attacks, 3 severe anxiety, but no physical symptoms, 4, severe-moderate anxiety, 5 moderate anxiety, 10 none

Row 4: Sleep: # of hours and whether I was awake asleep, awake asleep etc.

Row 5: Fatigue: 1 extreme, 5 moderate, 7 not fatigued, 10 extremely hyperactive

Row 6: any exercise

Row 7 Medication and Other: used this to list meds, med doses and med changes I use a system of upwards arrows (increase dose), sideways arrows (dose remains same), or downwards arrows (lowering dose) and put what ever milligram/s of whichever med I am changing, leaving the med area blank if no changes are made since the previous day.

You can easily make up your own rating scale. I found this worked well for me. I hope it helps someone.


BTC said...

Hi, a good post a great idea - thanks. I also found a website that looks like its going to be a mood tracker, but its only in beta at the moment

I also blogged some stuff on moods so I'll link back to your post.

Great blog - keep up the hard work I hope you feel better soon.

Dr Shock said...

Reading your blog every day I thought it would be good practice for psychiatry residents to make a life chart from your blog. I don't know if your familiar with life charts but they are prefabbed charts to rate your mood on a daily basis and register your medication use.
But I never did, to cheeky I thought but now you came up with the same idea.
It is a great idea to make a chart yourself, regards Dr Shock

sara said...

That is also more or less how they really realized I cycled too.

Aqua said...

This chart really helped me see what medications were helping, which were making things worse, and which were doing nothing.

Through the chart (and especially my religiously filling it out) It became clear I had three knds of cycles...some within the week (rapidly cycling), some longer cycles (maybe associated with my monthly mestrual cycle, and then longer cycles still...cycling over months)

It was a really good practice for me to do, so I could see for myself what was happening.

Dr. Shock: I have always thought it would be a good learning tool to use patient blogs as a learning tool for psychiatry residents. It's funny you bring this up, because I was going to talk with my pdoc about how residents are trained. I know he does some teaching and was thinking I might be open to the idea of having either a resident join us in our sessions, or use my blog as a teaching tool. I really think my pdoc and I have a powerful therapeutic alliance and it would be good for new psychiatrists to see how important that is for a patient, regardless of whether medications/treatments lessen the depression. It helps the patient live a better quality of life "with" the continued symptoms.

You are welcome to use my blog to have others do lifecharts. If you ever do, I would be interested to know if it is helpful.

kara said...

thanks aqua. i think i am going to spend this weekend getting set up with a mood chart. i have a question: is it necessary, meaning more useful, to fill it out at the same time each day? and if so, how did you determine what time of day that was for you?

Aqua said...

Hi Kara,
For me I found it neccessary to fill out right before I went to bed. I have read elsewhere that the ratings should be taken at the same time everyday and also that often in depression your mood is worse in the morning and gets better as the day goes on (I'm not so sure about that for me).

My biggest problem was deciding what to score my mood if it had made a big switch throughout the day.

I really only had one "rule" for rating my mood... If I even thought of suicide at all during the day I rated myself a 2 (even if most of the day was a 3...I feel that for me suicidal thoughts are a primary symptom and I need to know how often I am having them.

The other difficulty I had was deciding how to rate my mood if it fluctuated wildly throughout the day. I would try to pick a "primary rating...the one that seemed to be around most of the day. If I couldn't I rated myself at whichever was the lowest rating I had that day.