I need your help on this. Today, in a conversation, the topic of mood-trackers came up. Back in the old days, the cutting edge technology was pencil and paper. Then, came various ways of downloading desktop software and charting moods online. More recently we have smartphone apps.
The principle behind mood trackers is flawless. Several years ago, I talked to Frederick Goodwin, co-author (with Kay Jamison) of the definitive “Manic-Depressive Illness.” Said Dr Goodwin: “Having the patient do it makes him a collaborator.” Dr Goodwin noted that the patient’s information needs to be checked against the physician, but “the knowledge of you is best in you.”
Dr Goodwin also noted that the memory can play tricks on us. Thus, if you are in a good mood when you see a doctor, you are apt to tell him or her that you had a good month. A daily record, kept in real time, jowever, may tell an entirely different story.
Fine, but if you’re like me, you may have spotted a major Catch-22, namely: We - the people who most need to track our moods - are the very same people least capable of it. We get too depressed. We get too manic. Or (guilty as charged) we are too plain disorganized.
I just downloaded an iPhone mood-tracker app. The major draw is convenience. Moreover, this particular mood-tracker app is a very good one, clear and easy to use. Plus, it comes with alarm settings. My guess is this app (and others like it) will prove a godsend to many.
Nevertheless, I can tell you in advance that I don’t intend to use it. But, then again, I’m one of these people who never used a seven-day pill box, either. As I said, I need your help. Question:
What has been your experience with mood-trackers or with daily journaling? How have mood-trackers helped you? What has prevented you in the past from charting your moods? Are smart phone apps a major leap forward?
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Published On: March 19, 2013
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