Monday, June 23, 2008
Mood Charts (Part 1)
Hi! I'm back from three days off. I didn't do anything I'd intended to, but I had a lovely mini-vacation nonetheless. And I strongly believe that taking time off when you need it--if you're able to--is an important wellness activity.
Today's post is about mood charts. While a number of you have written to say that you've never been able to keep the mood charts that your doctors have recommended to you, I can understand the feeling. When I first started keeping mood charts, it was something that I decided to do on my own; it wasn't something that my doctor had suggested.
What I developed was based on the Day-Timer model, a time management system I have used for many years. What I did was to adapt their system to the information I wanted to chart.
The Day-Timer system has its own headings. I used some of theirs and some of mine. In the upper left was the To Be Done Today (Action List). I used it as My Daily Record, in which I'd note what I'd accomplished or how I spent my time. So, in this case, I wrote that it was an awful day. For much of the day, I worked on my book, The Mommy and Daddy Guide to Kindergarten. At 3:00, I picked up my son from school, and I noted he didn't do his homework. I wrote that we went to the mall for dinner, and when I came home, I had a terrible wave of despair. (I later figured out it was caused by the Geodon, which was a terrible drug for me.)
Beneath this, on the bottom left, is where I listed Medications I was taking. On this page, I'd written the following: 15+ 5 mg Geodon. At 7:00 p.m., I took 1.25 mg. Zyprexa, 3 mg. Ativan (which, I usually took as a sleeping pill but might have taken earlier because I was feeling so bad, and 2 mg. more at 9:00. At the time I had no idea that taking this much Ativan was harmful because my doctor prescribed it. Now, I'm stunned that he prescribed such a high dosage, and I'm sure it had a major effect on why I was so depressed.)
In the next column, Appointments and Scheduled Events, I usually noted my "To Do" list, or what meetings I had scheduled. Some days I'd list what I'd eaten, or what I'd done for exercise. On this day, I noted that I visited with my neighbor from 4:00-4:30 and wrote what we'd talked about. On the bottom on this column, I usually wrote a Mood Summary and I'd write about how I felt and how the medication was affecting me.
On this particular day, which was genuinely terrible, I didn't write a mood summary because I discussed it on the following page (which I'll show you tomorrow). But if I had written one, it might read like this, "Hypomanic in terms of physical activity. Clearly I need this amount of Zyprexa and Geodon. (It turned out that both of these drugs were awful for me.) My question is about sleep at night. I wonder if I should take the Zyprexa earlier in the day so that I don't have so much difficulty sleeping at night. (And I'd note questions like this to discuss with my doctor.)