Friday, November 7, 2008

Mood Charting a Depression (Part 3)

Now that I've mostly explained the evaluation process, I'll show you what my mood chart looked like for yesterday. Once again, because I use my Day-Timer, I've got my day set up in hours. So, if I awaken at 9:00, like I did today, I just write in the word "awakened" at 9:00. But since I can't seem to scan the mood chart and have it work, I'll give you an approximation.

9:00 Awakened. Took 30 mg. of Adderall and went back to sleep.

9:45 It wasn't enough so I took 10 mg. more and felt fine within a half hour.

Breakfast: Had one egg, and whole wheat toast.

10:30-12:00. Wrote my blog post this morning, answered emails, and posted on a few other blogs. Folded laundry.

12:00-1:30. Reread chapters of Winter Blues about diet and exercise. Wrote marketing list for tomorrow. Called two local swimming pools and learned I can swim laps as well as participate in exercise programs. Checked out bikes and piano keyboards on Craigslist. Have an appointment tomorrow to see a keyboard.

Lunch: Tuna salad with avocado and a piece of cheese.

1:30-3:00. Decided to weed instead of painting the garage.

3:00-6:00. Worked on book.

Dinner: Stir-fry chicken with vegetables and noodles. Popsicle for dessert.

7-9:00. Watched Seabiscuit video.

9:00-11:00. Wrote blog, answered emails, finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club.

I felt much better today. I think it was because I now have a plan, which I've begun implementing. I'm really excited about the piano keyboard. I know that music is an important wellness activity for me, and I've been wanting to learn piano for some time.

I'm also excited about swimming. The downside is that I need to buy a new bathing suit and I'm not thrilled about how I'm going to look in it. The upside is that swimming is very relaxing for me, and it's a great aerobic activity. If I can join an exercise class, that may be the impetus I need to make myself do it a few days a week. If I can find a used bike and begin riding the other two days, plus two days of badminton, that should be all the exercise I need.

I think my new diet should work out well. The concentration needs to be on protein and vegetables and I need to eat much less carbohydrates. Rosenthal recommends snacking on nuts and string cheese, which I like.

I'm still not pleased about taking 40 mg. of Adderall, but the side effects weren't as apparent today. And I'm concerned that now that I've begun taking Ativan (even 1/2 mg.), it will be difficult to go off it. Still, I slept much better last night and that may account for feeling better today.

40 mg. Adderall (Perspired a bit, made smacking sounds with lips, but didn't have shortness of breath.)
1/2 mg. Ativan (The low dosage didn't make me awaken feeling slightly depressed or groggy.)

Slept 8 hours last night.

Bipolar Symptoms
Didn't feel depressed or hypomanic today.


susan said...

Hi Susan!

I have been using a mood chart for about 3 years and find it helpful since I rapid cycle.
I got mine free of charge from DBSA and it's lovely.

Thank you for your informative piece.

marja said...

Hi Susan,

I've been reading your past few posts, about how you're dealing with your depression. As you know, I've been going through it myself, though I don't believe it to be SAD. There were some very clear triggers for me and it's no wonder.

You've inspired me to do a bit of writing of my own on the topic. It has been so hard getting myself blogging - maybe one of the signs of depression - also, I simply don't have as much time as I used to have. I'm not nearly as disciplined as you are. Wish I were.

Hope you get on top of this very soon - in no uncertain terms, okay?


P.J. said...

Wow! To keep such a detailed journal/chart is amazing!!! I totally need to do something like this.

Awesome job!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Susan,
Glad to hear that. I've been keeping a mood chart in my Day-Timer for 15 years, and I used to keep a work diary in my Day-Timer for years before that.

I think each person ultimately finds a system that works for him or her. This one is easy for me. But perhaps others should check out DBSA.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Thanks. Yes, we all deal with depression in different ways. Ordinarily I tend not to post when I'm feeling depressed. However, this time I decided to share my process--and it worked because I feel much better. But thanks for the good thoughts.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear PJ,
The diary part isn't something I do every day. In the diary section, I do keep notes of the amount of sleep I get, the medication I take and its side effects, whether or not I'm exercising, if I'm hypomanic or depressed, and some notes on how I'm feeling.

However, every once in awhile I write a longer piece, and if something is bothering me, I include it.

In the past, when a depression hit, I could look at my Day-Timer to see if there were issues leading up to it.

Now, it's not really a problem. But I realized that I have never kept detailed notes on the weather and its effect, and that's what I'm doing now.


Immi said...

Holey schmackerel, Susan, you sure do write a lot out there. Must be because you're a writer. :) I'm loving your series on the mood charting a depression. I do keep a mood chart, but online for graphing and the like, and in a weekly planner as a scratch pad. Thanks for sharing the way you do it.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Immi,
Thanks. I've written a lot about the importance of mood charting. However, I sense that few people do it. Yet I am convinced it is the one activity that has enabled me to know how I feel with such clarity that I'm now able to slightly shift things to stave off most depressions, or at least to minimize their impact.


Marie said...

It seems this plan is working for you! Way cool. Keep us posted.

Wendalyn Love said...

Once again you have provided enlightenment for the depression community!The only good thing I have found about depressive relapses is that I learn something new from each one, because I analyze 'what happened this time?' If I am feeling well, I never analyze it, I am too busy feeling well!
Thanks again for sharing your process. I am learning a lot from you and sending others to your site often.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marie,
It doesn't work all the time, and quite honestly I haven't been feeling well for the last few days, but I stick with it because it's the only way I know to move forward.

To me, one of the worst aspects of depression is the feeling that you feel so lousy and there's nothing you can do. So, I keep on changing the "mix" of activities with the hope that something will work.

And there are good days and bad days, but my process enables me to get up each morning--even when I don't feel well--and hope that the new day will bring new possibilities.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendalyn,
I agree. When I'm feeling really well, it doesn't seem like there's a need to ask "why." But when I'm feeling depressed, the questions are: What's going on? How can I feel better?"

Thanks for letting me know that what I'm writing is helpful to you. And I appreciate the referrals.