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Mood tracking

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Bellacat, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    My psychologist and I have been trying to determine whether I have depressive episodes or PMDD. I can never seem to come up with a satisfactory answer to questions asking how I've been over a period of time. Like when they ask if you have been feeling down more often than not for two weeks at a time, stuff like that. It's far too complicated of a question and I get all tangled up trying to answer it.

    I'm most likely not experiencing depressive episodes, but in the interest of getting a more solid answer and perhaps finding a monthly pattern, I started looking for ways to keep track.

    Most mood tracker apps were lacking something and I already know I won't stick with a manual (eg, journal) tracking habit, but I did find a very impressive app called Moodpath which is designed to detect depression. It asks a series of questions three times per day over a period of two weeks, and asks you to choose between "Very bad, bad, moderate, good, and very good" to rate how you feel. It also gives you the opportunity to write a note if you want (and you can choose tags like "tired" or "nervous"), and then after two weeks it gives you a conclusion with a summary and some statistics that you can bring to your doctor/therapist to help with diagnosis or treatment. That's a big bonus if you find it hard to communicate effectively during appointments.

    After the conclusion it begins a new two week cycle.

    To give you an example of what the results look like, the conclusion for my first two weeks was "Significant burden without evidence of a depressive episode". It also highlights core symptoms, such as low energy, that came up in my answers. (It is a good idea to keep your ASD diagnosis in mind when reading the results. For example, I know that the low energy in this period was actually related to Aspergers because that period of time had a lot of travel and social interaction, and I was specifically exhausted by that, so it was not actually a sign of depression).

    The questions are things like "Are you feeling up to your daily tasks?" or "Did you sleep badly last night?" etc. After answering a question it will ask "How much does this burden you?" and you can choose from: not at all, slightly, considerably, or extremely. There are many questions so it asks different ones each time.

    It's just enough detail and variety to stay interesting, but not so much that it feels like a chore.

    I've been using this for almost six weeks now, and I've noticed three major things:

    1. I'm doing a lot better than I thought I was. Seeing my monthly chart with plenty of green and orange (good/very good) days was really surprising. I felt like I only had a few good days per month, but this was clearly exaggerated in my mind.

    2. Mindfulness works. The app asks you to stop and observe how you're feeling three times per day. I've noticed several times that I didn't actually feel as bad as I thought I did. Even when I really did feel terrible, acknowledging it this way helped take away some of the bad mood's power. These reflections have pulled me out of negative thinking spirals on more than one occasion.

    3. Depression is serious business. I thought I knew what it was, but even after a two week period where I was mostly rating my present state as "bad" or "very bad" it said there was no evidence of a depressive episode. This really put things into perspective and gave me new respect for what depression truly is and for the people struggling with it.

    Anyway, I have been so impressed by this I wanted to share in case it might be useful to anyone here. This is their website if you want more info Moodpath App - Your Mental Health Companion

    Does anyone else keep track of moods? If so, how have you done it, and has it helped you at all?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  2. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    The only tracking I've ever done is to rate my mood out of 10 each day or several times a day.
     
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  3. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I first kept a mood diary during a period of depression in my late 20s - the first time I was diagnosed with it actually. I wasn't asked to do ir but when I saw a psychiatrist a few years later it was very useful to compare it with the one I'd done leading up to seeing them. I did it again when I went through a period last year, only these days I use a note app on my phone that can be exported as email or a text file instead of a pocketbook and pencil.
    The advice I followed (and still do) was to note down 4 times a day (after breakfast, at lunchtime, after work or at teatime and at bedtime) both my mood out of 100 (from lowest of the low to ecstatic) and the one thing that had been most on mind since the last entry.
     
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  4. rubicks52

    rubicks52 Active Member

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    I downloaded the app to give it a try, thank you for the recommendation! I've tried mood tracking before, but I never kept it up for more than a few days so I like that on this one, there's tags you can use for feedback and you don't actually have to write anything.
     
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  5. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I use the iMood app. I’ve used it for about six weeks. So far all I notice is a downturn in my moods over the last few weeks. I’m trying to track my moods twice a day now to see if I can detect a pattern in my lows.
     
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  6. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Dont forget about the highs.

    Tracking when things are going right can easily be forgotten.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Looks like a very useful tool. And, Doctors will love you. Data is their love language.
     
  8. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of this before, but it seems like a good idea.