How to Chart Bipolar Symptoms

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Charting the data that contributes to your moods can help you understand what you can do to improve how you feel. Take control of your moods with the useful recommendations provided by a professional therapist in this free video on how to chart bipolar symptoms.

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Video Transcript

My name is Gordon McInnis. I work here at Carolina Beach Counseling in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and today we're going to talk about charting and Bipolar Disorder. Charting, actually, your moods with Bipolar is extremely important. I encourage almost all my clients who are struggling with mood disorders or Bipolar Disorder, or just mood issues in general, to chart their moods, and it's not just charting whether I'm happy today or I'm sad today. You want to chart other things that kind of go along with that, amount of sleep, if you're on medication, what medication you're taking. For women, you also want to chart your monthly cycle to kind of go along with that. You also want to kind of jot down some notes about maybe what's happened during that period of time, how you decided to cope with these kind of things. Was there a stressor at work? Were you working? Were you on vacation? Were you not on vacation? So, some of those kind of things, just your mood in general, and I think it's important to chart these things because then we have data, and data is really important, so that we can see are there patterns in this, are there patterns that go on either in a given week, a given month, are there certain triggers that happen? So, every time I'm around my mother, my mood starts to change, or I'm around my mother for an extended period of time, or I'm away from home, or I am spending too much time at home, or I haven't had a vacation, that kind of thing. You can also see because a lot of times with people who have Bipolar, the mood changes happen gradually over a period of months, and so if you have several months of this charting going on you can see and you can actually kind of graph out what is my, what's my mood. Okay, so we're heading more towards Winter now, okay, shorter days, less sunlight, colder weather, whatever it might be and we see that I start to move towards more depression which may signal to your doctor a really good time to maybe possibly change some medications around, do some things. You can also see well, you know, when did I eat last, you know, those kind of things in a daily kind of cycle. As I pick this up, my mood starts to decrease about 2:30, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, well maybe I need to have a bite to eat then and when I do that then it helps improve my mood. A lot of people that have Bipolar, they can kind of head off at the pass a possible issue that would turn into a major mood disorder or a major problem if they can just track it and see what happens over time. And it also gives them an idea that this is cyclical. This isn't necessarily the way I am all the time, and so it not only gives the person that information, it can give your therapist that information and more importantly it can give your doctor that information so that they can tailor a treatment that works for you. As always, you should go seek professional help or go see your doctor if these things are continuing to bother you.


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