Monitoring With Mood Charts
A more comprehensive way of mood monitoring is through mood charts. I was initially introduced to these by the first psychiatrist I ever had. She was extremely competent and wanted to make sure that any decisions she made took into consideration my overall situation. It was a simple graph where I ticked the boxes which represented the highest peak of my mood and the lowest with ratings of anxiety, irritability and hours of sleep.
I was also given an additional page for ‘notes’ where I added further information on each day if I felt something was important e.g. stress triggers including family arguments or relationship issues or accidentally missing a medication dose. Anything I felt was relevant to my mood was noted down.
Here is a copy of the same graph partially completed. I am sure you can agree it is very interesting to look at a mood pattern and the results are very enlightening! Using the graph, mood peaks and troughs became clear and using additional notes, so did the reasons for my behaviour. Other charts allow you to plot your mood alongside lifestyle changes that may impact your mood.
There is of course much discussion over mood monitoring and charting. It has to work for you. This paper chart worked for me because it was tangible and something to hold. It was also easy to complete and took me seconds at the end of each day. I took it to show my psychiatrist on every appointment and then made a copy for her at the end of the month. It’s really important that supporting medical professionals have your progress on record.
I love a piece of paper and something I can stick on my wall to make me consciously aware of my daily progress. However, some amazing apps have now been developed to make it easy for us to track our moods using our phones.
I have used Optimise, which is quick to rate your mood with supporting yes/no options. There is also room for notes. The great thing about this is that you can click to formulate a graph, which can be sent to your email and you’ve got a print out for yourself and your medical professional.