In the last few weeks, a number of people have told me how good it is that I'm able to figure out what's wrong when I feel ill and correct it. At this stage in my life, it would be great to say, "Thank you. I'm so intuitive. It’s easy for me."
But that would be a downright fabrication. The truth is that the reason I'm able to do this is because I kept a detailed mood chart for six years, in which I noted what medication I took and in what dosages, how it made me feel, how I felt in general, how much sleep I got each night, what I ate, how much exercise I did, and detailed records of all my psychiatric visits as well as those with alternative practitioners.
In fact, I have been keeping a daily journal--albeit not as detailed--for almost 20 years. I began it when I started working as a freelance writer and had to bill clients for my time. There have been years where I have kept more or less detailed notes.
But, if you want me to tell you how I felt when I was taking Lamictal, Depakote, or Wellbutrin (or 22 other medications), I can do that.
It is this discipline, which enables me to remain well today. What I decided years ago--when my medication was making me sicker and sicker and my psychiatrists were incompetent--was that I needed to become an "expert on me." And so I have.
What I find very interesting is that while I've said numerous times that keeping mood charts is a critical wellness activity, I sense that few people are doing it. And I'm not really sure why.
If your psychiatrist said, "In order for you to become well, you need to keep a mood chart," would you do it?
It's certainly something to think about. Because if he/she did say it, and if you wouldn't take the time to do it, what does that say about your commitment to wellness?
In my case, I have done everything humanly possible to become well...and so I finally have. Years ago, when I was so depressed that I didn't see how I could survived, I searched the WEB for someone who suffered from bipolar depression and was well. I wanted to know what they were doing that I wasn’t. If I had found that person, I would have religiously tried what they recommended to see if it worked for me.
I now realize I have become the person I was seeking. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment!