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An uphill descent. Friday August 25, 2017

When I was 13 I went on a walk with friends. We came to the top of a steep hill and started the walk down. I soon missed my footing and found myself trotting to keep on my feet. This accomplished, I tried to slow my pace, but the momentum of my downward trot soon had me running. I tried to slow down with increasing desperation because I could see where this was going. As I continued downwards my momentum would outstrip my pace, and then I would really fall. And that's exactly what happened. No matter what I did I couldn't slow down; in fact I was gathering speed. Half way down the hill my feet went from under me and I fell headlong, bounced a bit, and finally came to rest with the breath knocked out of me.

Apart from the initial shock and some impressive bruises, I was fine. Because this was a real hill and my body took the fall. When my mind takes the same journey things tend not to turn out so well.

It's hard to describe (hypo)mania to someone who hasn't experienced it. Surely high is good? At first it seems so. It's like increasing the colour saturation of a photo, making everything more vibrant and engaging. But slide the bar too far and what you see is a scarily unreal intensity of colour.

Someone once told me that a high is actually depression in disguise. And I do see that as my mood goes up, I'm running faster and faster down that hill and the only possible outcome is falling. It's just a matter of when, and how much mayhem I create in the meantime.

Because I do try to slow the pace. I know as soon as I recognise the warning signs exactly where this goes. But there's something so compelling about the momentum of it that I can't make it stop. And, initially at least, I find myself running in the opposite direction of anyone or anything that might slow me down.

Like standing atop a hill, the first part is amazing. Such a clear and beautiful view, perceiving things that are just not visible at ground level. The world is big and expansive and there I stand at the top, above everything that surrounds me. But as I embark on this upward descent the tipping point comes sooner than you can imagine. And then I'm really running, exhilarated but terrified, leaving a trail of chaos In my wake.

They say what goes up must come down, and it applies as much to mood as wallpaper. Because once I'm on that headlong run, the only possible outcome is falling. And falling downhill is no fun at all. You zip past horizontal to land sprawled in a heap somewhere near the bottom.

I don't know the answer. I've not yet found a well paved, level path to walk. All I can hope is that, when I first miss my footing, there's someone there to reach out a hand to catch me.

Becky
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Sally Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:53am

Becky, I really love your blog. It resonates so much with me, and I had recently been having the same thoughts as you ( last paragraph ) as to finding that well paved, level path!
You really express it so well: I love your metaphors and images!
I'm going to print off your blog ( if that's ok with you?) and sellotape it inside one of my bedroom cupboard doors, for reference and reminder.
Thank you so much , you have helped me today.
Best wishes and have a nice weekend.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:47pm

Thank you Sally. I'm so glad you found it helpful, and yes, of course you can print it out.

Sal Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:12am

Ditto ditto ditto Becky! I loved your blog, and your sense of humour. (I have given up wallpaper for that reason :) Please write more - and I hope you find that well paved path, as well as hands reaching out ...
Best wishes, Sal

Ach UK Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:14am

Hello Becky,
"What goes up . . . Must come down . . ".
I had to laugh at your lovely description of the descent into a "high". But you are right it is really not a laughing matter, it is such a destructive phase. However, explaining to others what becoming high is is quite difficult especially if they have no experience of seeing someone in such a state.
Noticing early signs of becoming "high" and therefore perhaps being able to intervene with medications or changes to ones daily living can be so helpful to stop the headlong fall.
So your description is one I'd like to try on friends to help them understand so they can tell me if I start to behave too much like a mountain goat. ??

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 3:02pm

So very true. I'm trying to learn what to watch from regarding an ascent...because the highs are destructive sometimes too as well as leading to lows.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:50pm

I'm gradually getting better at spotting the early warning signs AND then telling people so I can get the med changes quicker before it escalates so far. Trick is getting a quick response when I do... but it's definitely a learning curve and I have to believe that means there is hope.

Anonymous Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 4:34pm

Actually from personal experience you can go to your GP every day until they ban you begging for psychiatric help and gt nothing but SSRIS that stop you sleeping until one day a girl hands you a piece of foil with magic black tar on it and says "This will make it go away, for tonight, if you want at least". And as soon as you get back to the doctors for help they refer you to another clcinic and do nothing, and then at the clinic wait 6 months before treating or helping at all. The addiction services in this country are terrible. I literally had to go to the back market, buy the medication I should have gottn and induced myself in the middle of the night, risking 2 days of full-flu symtpom if i took it at the wrong time, and went in already on replacemnt therapy. Still took 2 months to do anything. They're dismissivee of other mental health issues. Such as previously diagnosed BPD "I am simply not interested in that nonsense - do you get little obsessions? Hardly difficult to cope with. This all stems from drugs." even though it stemmed well before. Then if you seek psychiatric help, they refuse and give you back to an addiction doctor, and an addiction doctor cannot giv you to psych. It's a catch 22 unless you lock yourself up permanently for therapy, which I am going to have to do.

Molly Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 6:14pm

I agree there is little help out there. Are you in UK or America? I was disappointed after my diagnosis, I was offered group therapy and the words were "you are lucky to even get that". I went to the group therapy three times but couldn't speak in front of 10 people and came home more distressed than I was in the first place.

Terence Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 8:16am

You had me from the start, from the title, it sounds implausable but so very true. I believe that a (hypo)manic period can follow an uphill struggle, a time when maybe one has overcome adversity by working hard. And then your running down the hill story is perfect. I will keep this blog to show anyone who wants a better understanding. Hills, mountains and Moodscope graphs x

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:51pm

Thank you Terrence. I know a lot of my triggers are stress-related so I agree with you.

Patricia Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 9:08am

Becky - you've put into words my own struggle with depression. Thank you. It's heartening to know someone understands and feels the same. Perhaps that is why I love hill-walking in real life, and when I'm down (in mood), I yearn to be struggling to the top to enjoy the clear unfettered view.
I now appreciate that 'downs' go 'up' and being down again now, I hold unto that thought as if my life depends on it!
Like you I have people who warn me when they sense I'm 'at the top' but I can't (or don't want to) hear them - I'm so loving life and want it never to end. I don't seem to know where the 'top' is.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:53pm

That all makes complete sense to me. And downs do go up. Mine is doing that right now. Hang on in there.

LP Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 9:11am

Hi Becky,
Such a good analogy. Really interesting to link going up to a manic uncontrolled heading down.
I don't think I have a diagnosable condition like this ( or perhaps if there is a mild form I do) but I a have been inclined towards lowness, with the odd up day where I go like the clappers getting things done, pushing myself too hard sometimes in good spirits then collapsing physically and emotionally the next day.
By recognising this having read a blog warning about those ups and trying to calm them, I started to do so and in turn wrote a blog called Going Steady. It lasted for quite some time. I felt ok. Not great, but grateful to be ok. I resisted going like the clappers and stopped short of too far. My scores stayed steadily just over 50 for ages, I think because I really wanted them to.

I was knocked unexpectedly by the unpleasant manager at work after a longtime of thinks being ok. Disappointed that I wasn't prepared for it and letting my self down by responding with emotion, I haven't yet recovered. Still my aim is now always to get back there. Steady. Right now I feel ok. Ok is good. My score was just over 50 recently so I'll check it again, should be about the same. Perhaps your blog is the start of my new steady. I'll notice any overenthusiasm and choose to stop. I'll remember that leopards don't change their spots and maintain my emotional space, I feel a blog coming on!
As I said at the beginning I'm not suggesting this would be the same with a diagnosed condition. I am hoping though that something from my experience may be of use to someone somewhere.

Thank you for a great blog Becky. Well wishes to you and all. LP xx

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:55pm

LP I have a similar tendency to try to make hay while the sun shines, then collapse in a heap afterwards. I learned this year that pacing ourselves means stopping *before* we need to. Revolutionary advice for me!

LP Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:10pm

Yep! I'm really low in energy and enthusiasm. Getting small things done and hoping for a more energised day to tackle something more physical. Haven't made the most of the sun today. Got family depending on my time. Feeling pretty lousy, just got to press on through. Xxx

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 9:18am

Hi Becky

You have just described my last month. I am actually quite proud of myself for realising what was happening as jet lag and stress began to slip into hypomania. And for doing some sensible things, talking to my boss, seeing my doctor, booking an appointment with my counselor and doing my moodscope scores. Thankfully I stayed out of hospital (where I have been with full blown mania twice) to and have now done the falling over bit, but I was genuinely terrified for a while that I was heading back there.
I don't have too many bumps and bruises or too much chaos to sort out but I do currently lack the energy to get up.


Until last Friday I was still running down the hill. I was only allowed sleeping tablets every other night because I had had too many- but I was still trying to work doing really long days when I had slept and a couple of hours on the easy bits when I hadn't. Interestingly given your metaphor, my moodscope score during the running downhill period crashed really low (for me) through exhaustion. I am afraid to say that part of what stopped me running downhill was that I got most of the work done so it's still not clear whether I would actually have had the sense to call time without! Anyway I have now had two genuinely good night's sleep without tablets but I feel utterly exhausted. My moodscope score is back where it should be though. Hoping I may feel properly better in a week or so.

Sending love and hugs, particularly to those of you who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

Love TF xoxo

Jul Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 9:34am

Hello TF. And Becky and LP. I have mentioned before on Moodscope that I used to edit a magazine and did all the creative work for it on my high days. I would set aside all my other work on the high days and devote my energy to the magazine. It was a great success and I couldn't have done it when feeling low which was most of the time. Ultimately however I had to leave work because of stress, depression and insomnia so I suppose the ups and downs finally got to me. But I loved those high days and loved being creative. I still do. I have never had a diagnosis of bi polar but my occasional high days fit the description. I am sorry LP that you have had the run in with your boss. It upsets me that you have to find a way of resolving the issues when it seems that should lie with your boss. The same happened to me. Really great blog Becky. A wonderful evocative description. One I will not forget.Love Jul xx

LP Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 10:24am

Hi Jul, Thanks, it's a drag almost a bore! I know that you get it as you've been through it. I do like the idea of leaving it behind me. Weighing it up I'm not sure that even if I did leave, that I wouldn't end up with another in a different form. Yes it's good to remind myself that others agree that the issues lie with her. I just have to find a way to remain detached. Thanks for your support. LPxx

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 12:44pm

Hi E I think what is normal by way of moodscope score varies very much by person based on how you interpret the questions. I know of people whose averages when perfectly well vary all the way from about 20 (where I personally would be feeling dreadful) up to over 80. Obviously moodscope works better diagnostically if your normal score is not too near to one end. Luckily my normal score is 40-55. I do think that moodscope plus works better for those with unipolar depression than with bipolar though. Therefore I won't join it as I worry that some of the things that are warning signs for me on the way up (like feeling inspired) are presented too positively on moodscope plus. It would be great if moodscope could come up with a more bipolar friendly option some time. Love TF x

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 2:59pm

Tutti Frutti I definitely agree with you there. Being lower than about 35% or higher than 55% I take as a warning sign. I think a tracking system more geared toward bipolar would be akin to the paper sheets I have for that...baseline being more like 0 and then going positive or negative rather than having something like 0 as the very bottom.

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 3:00pm

Tutti Frutti I definitely agree with you there. Being lower than about 35% or higher than 55% I take as a warning sign. I think a tracking system more geared toward bipolar would be akin to the paper sheets I have for that...baseline being more like 0 and then going positive or negative rather than having something like 0 as the very bottom.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:06pm

TF, well done for being able to ask for help and nip it in the bud. That is really not easy.

E Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:51pm

Interesting my normal scores and those of my friends are definitely in the 80% range. Maybe Moodscope mood ratings are not so "objective" after all. But then how could they be?

Orangeblossom Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 9:41am

Hi Becky, thanks for the blog which I found very compelling. You paint a very vivid picture of going downhill at breakneck speed. I am sure that pacing ourselves effectively is a lifelong learning experience. I seem to need to review it regularly which is why I have found the headspace journey extremely valuable. It is training me in mindfulness meditation which has an all round beneficial effect. It is something that I have been working towards this summer. www.headspace.com

E Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 10:10am

Hi Becky,

A a good analogy, (I like analogies), life is a journey, journeys take place on paths, paths have bends, forks, cross roads and up's and downs. For some the ups and downs, as you so eloquently describe, cause problems. There is a class off drug called "mood stabilisers" which can or so it is claimed even out those ups and downs. My question is have you tried these drugs and have you found them useful? You make no mention of them and from reading your post it sounds like you prefer to employ "cognitive" rather than "chemical" brakes to slow your downward decent but I just wondered if you have tried this class of drug what your opinion of them was.

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 10:55am

E As you will see from my comment above I have just been through a very similar experience. I do take mood stabilisers but sometimes find myself heading for trouble anyway. One of the things my doctor did towards the end of last week (when I told her that things weren't improving after seeing her the week before and trying to follow the advice) was to up my dose of mood stabilisers by about 15%. :-) Love TF x

E Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 11:56am

I can see how Moodscope can be a usefully objective way of measuring mood and avoiding a crash/ manic phase. But do you think moodscope is biased towards depression rather than mania? Friends and family I have tried the score out on, who I would not describe as in anyway hypermanic or depressed, usually score in the 80 - 90% range which only leaves the 90% + range for detecting mania. We are all different but a more balanced or euthymic mood ought to score around 50% + or - don't you think?

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 12:52pm

I think normal moodscope scores (when well) depend on people and vary a lot, so I don't think moodscope is biased towards depression here. It is helpful though if like me your normal score is somewhere near the middle. The thing I do think works better for unipolar depression is moodscope plus. Some of the things that are danger signs for me on my way up are presented positively on there so I don't use it. It would be great if moodscope were ever able to come up with a detailed option tailored to bipolar. Love TF x

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 3:05pm

I find that having both sets of "brakes" is great....and it allows for knowing when I might need a medication tweak. Recognizing things has led to being able to have the medication tweak that actually probably saved my life this year...my jolts up weren't any better than my jolts down (partially because I was still quite dysphoric about half the time).

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 3:06pm

E, I personally think a + or - scale would be a LOT better for people with bipolar.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:09pm

E, I have tried 4 mood stabilisers, some for years, and none of them make any difference for me :-( but we can bring a high to its knees with antipsychotics.

E Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:56pm

The nuclear option huh? I am never sure if anti-psychotic medication brings the illness or the patient to its or his/her knees. Also, and I don't want to split hairs here, but is there a difference between an anti-psychotic and a moodstabiliser? Chemically they are pretty similar I think.

Nicco Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 11:34am

Hello Becky - I love your descriptions - they really made me think. I realise that what goes up must come down too, so I'm always afraid of going up. But, when I'm down, I tell myself it wont last forever because what goes down must also come up. I guess it's a balancing act that we play out all our lives. I also really liked the sentiment at the bottom by Robert Louis Stevenson...'Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well' - I have always thought of life as a bit of a lottery and been very sceptical of those who profess that 'life is what you make it' because I feel that one has to do one's best with the hand one has been dealt. I hope we all find that level path one day and, in the meantime, that there will be hands outstretched to help us along the way and prevent us from falling too heavily. x Nicco x

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:10pm

Yes I liked that quote too. Good pick from Caroline there.

Leah Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 12:05pm

Becky,
Thanks for your blog. For me full blown mania is like flying over Mount Everest . I hope you find a well paved path. Keep notes, be observant and hopefully you will find a pattern
Take care
Leah

The Gardener Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 2:42pm

Hello Becky and others - a false friend indeed is mania - and all the great things you THINK you achieved are often spurious. I've mentioned before, one manic phase got out of hand, whisked into hospital and downhill very quickly indeed, a week of sleeping pills, (day and night) no gradual descent. When we first went to the Far east we took one pill a week, then different ones every day (very expensive) against malaria. The one a weak produced a 'high' not unlike mania. We were offered a visit on to the boats which ply the islands - you went up a plank not 2 ft wide,with a steep slope. In normal mode I would not have gone near it. Went gaily up - stayed half an hour, then - pill worked off, terror set it. A photo exists of me with Mr G in front, a student on a parallel plank and tottering down to safety. If you fell in the water, it was like molasses, and horribly polluted. Just like mania 'I can do anything' then, 'Oops, I can't'. And the Stevenson quote is so apt.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:12pm

Yes, totally! The illusion of invincibility.

Kelly Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 2:55pm

I agree completely and that's a great analogy. I've gone hiking in the mountains before and hypo-mania is not unlike that.

Mary Wednesday Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 3:27pm

Totally and scarily accurate, Becky! When high, I could never control it either - even when I knew I was high ( and one of the symptoms is, of course, that we don't recognise it when we are.) For me it was falling off that mountain in a space of 24 hours - 96% to 6% - tough on everyone. I've been steady since February thanks to medication. I'm so grateful, yet at the back of my mind is the fear that one day it might not work any more...

Jul Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 4:06pm

Mary..do you think that's the difference between those with diagnosed bi polar and those like me who experience highs but are not diagnosed..the difference being that I always know when I'm high? If this is the case, then this is an answer for me. Very interesting and what you say about not knowing when you are too high explains it all. Thank you so much for this. I know that fear only too well of medication not working one day and "how long will I feel this good, surely it will end one day?" but if your body needs it, I am sure your medication will continue to work. I wouldn't worry. Jul xx

Mary Wednesday Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 4:50pm

One of the things that frustrates those who live with someone who has bipolar disorder is that they cannot or will not recognise their mania. When told, they will deny it. Even with the Moodscope figures in the 90s I still felt I was in control. Of course I wasn't. But I felt as if I was. Icarus syndrome at its most destructive.

Jul Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 5:45pm

Mmmm interesting. You've given me more to think about. So it's not a question of trying to hide it like many of us do with depression. More that you thought it was normal and couldn't see it for what it was..the highs. Despite being told that something was wrong with you. With depression (and your come down from being high perhaps?), it's horrible and I know full well more than anyone close to me or otherwise (except people here on Moodscope) that I am suffering from something not quite right or normal. I don't need anyone to tell me, that is if they notice. I am good at hiding it.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:14pm

Mary, if it has worked since February that is a huge step in the right direction. And it may not be foolproof, you may still get ill. But maybe not so ill and not so often. I hope for that for you.

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:16pm

Jul, I'm not sure about that. I have the bipolar diagnosis and, while I can lack some insight into what's going on for me, I always do know when I'm high, and so do others I know.

Jul Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:27pm

Thanks Becky. I think I'm back to thinking it affects everyone slightly differently? Not being bi polar but wanting to understand it particularly as I get those very short lived highs after a good night's sleep,I am very interested in how it affects those who are diagnosed bi polar. I don't think I'll ever know. I think depression affects many people differently too. One size doesn't fit all. Thanks Becky for your lovely blog and helpful comment Jul xx

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:59pm

Jul I think manic episodes are pretty difficult to recognise yourself and the more ill you are the less chance you have of recognising it. When I go truly manic I apparently speak twice as fast as normal and virtually never pause for breath. I am completely unaware of this as it all makes sense to me. I also swear a lot which I do remember doing. It is out of character but at the time I would probably just say i was standing up for myself. When I am less ill hypomanic rather than manic I can sometimes work out what is happening before it gets out of control (getting better at this with age). But it is still difficult to recognise. On this occasion I should have realised things were going wrong about 3 days before I actually did. And when you are going hypomanic it is very difficult to work out what your priorities are to get better and sort your life out even if that is genuinely what you want to do. So this time I probably should have gone off sick from work straight away rather than trying to get the project i was doing into a decent position to hand on - but I couldn't really see that last week. Thankfully I seem to have made enough sensible decisions on this occasion to get away without anything too bad happening. Hope this adds something to your understanding. But if you really want to understand bipolar in all its various forms read 'The bipolar workbook' by Monica Ramirez Basco. Love TF x

Leah Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 10:36pm

Jul, I find your experiences and insights very interesting. As you say and I have said before everyone experiences mania and depression differently. I think the key is recognising one's own patterns. I think some people know when they are high but can not or do not wish to control it. I think if your highs are productive and enjoyable and you don't regret anything later that is very different from mine which I denied and didn't realise until later were destructive. Have you ever had a high in which you felt out of control or you didn't realise was a high till later? I have been living with my lately for over 40 years and I am stil learning, Thanks again for your comments as I always learn something from your honesty. Leah xx

Leah Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 10:40pm

TF I can relate to a lot of your comment. I speak fast normally so when manic it is like speed talking but of course I think everyone else is talking slow.I used to smoke when manic and I have never smoked! I also used to drink much more. After all these years I am not sureI really understand bipolar or even my own version. I just keep trying.Leah xx

Jul Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 7:51am

It's very kind of you Tutti to pick up on what I was trying to understand and explain your experiences. Especially when you've had such a hard time of it recently. Well done for dealing with your situation even if you feel you should have acted sooner. I guess we all learn from these very difficult experiences so that we get better at taking remedial steps earlier on in the process next time. The way Bi polar affects people seems to vary according to the personality of those affected. Would you agree? That happens with depression. My depression is intrinsically tied up with my persona and upbringing. Anyway no need to answer any more of my questions. I will definitely read the book you suggest. Thank you Tutti. Jul xx

Jul Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 8:01am

Hi Leah. No I have never not recognised my highs. I am so happy when they occur (obviously) as it follows days of feeling low. I experience only one day at a time of being high and I have always thought that if I was bi polar, I would have to experience long periods of being high. That was one of the criteria for bi polar. You have helped me understand the condition Leah and the one thing that you wrote which has really stuck in my mind and helped enormously was when you said that you can be just as creative when not high. This is a work in progress for me, to try to write etc on my lowish days and not wait for the elusive high to come. I realise now that I've spent much of my adult life waiting for the high day when I feel I can really excel in everything. They are few and far between; if I'm lucky, once a month! How sad/silly is that?? It's like I'm giving up on most days or to put it another way, I feel the real me only appears rarely. Your comments were very kind Leah (about me!) and also so helpful as usual. Jul xx

Nicco Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 9:21am

Jul - I seem to go through phases of having a low day followed by a high day, then low, then high, etc which drives me nuts! Then I'll go through times where I'm low for days & weeks at a time - those are hard to deal with. The highs are then a relief but I worry about getting them because of my behaviour & because I know I'll crash down again, though I've not been officially diagnosed with bp and I have other complicated medical conditions which could be causing the mood swings. I just wish the 'real' me would emerge & stay!

Leah Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 10:23am

Jul, Once again you have given me much to think about. Firstly, I should practise what I preach abut being creative not just when high; I often forget that. Secondly, do you think we get fixed on what mood we are in and so that can determine behaviour. I am high so I can get lots done, I am low so I can't do much? I think the real you is the high and productive one and I sense you probably judge yourself much differently than others do, I am sure on days when you aren't high others might see you as outgoing and productive, I maybe wrong.THanks again for your insights, Leah xx

Jul Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 2:47pm

Thank you Nicco. I often wonder which is the real me. Maybe I am always the real me as I am up and down and that's me.Oh dear!! I've experienced that one day high and the next low. I knew what the next day would be like and I used to drink coffee in the evening (or at least not refuse one if offered) of the good day as I knew I wouldn't sleep anyway that night and the next day would be not so good. Honestly the tricks we can play with our minds! I do agree I wish the me I am confident about would stay. Jul xx

Jul Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 2:49pm

Definitely Leah we do get fixated on our moods. Totally!I would like not to notice my mood or know immediately I wake up what sort of mood I am going to be in. Jul xx

Leah Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 10:11pm

Nicco, I can relate to wanting the 'real' me to stay but what if I dont like the real me! I wrote a blog about trying to find who I am, and is something I used to worry about a lot. After 40 yours of living with a diagnosis I am learning that I am someone who will have ups and downs but not as extreme s I used to because I am on medication now. The buzzword now is accpetance and I an trying to accept I am more sensitive than others and will have rthytms that I cant explain. I suppose getting to know yourself and your mood patterns does help. ITake care Leah xx

Leah Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 10:19pm

Jul, I think I have written before how I used to want to be like people who wake up every day and know they will be in a good mood and not have changes and not get upset by things and be very sensitive. That will never be ne and I am greadually well very gradually trying to live with that. The benefits of having different moods is that we can experience different emotions and feelings that sme people never will. Yes some do those are uncomfortable and painful but some are very pleasurable. AS I have said before I am more wary of my highs asI know how they can be destructive . This is who I am a patchwork of moods and emotions . Take care , Leah xx

Molly Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 6:34pm

Hi Jul - just reading this thread, have you ever pushed for a diagnosis? It took me years to get one. Mainly because I didn't want to try and explain myself as when I did try I wasn't really heard. I came across as 'normal' and that I was exaggerating my feelings (as many do) In the end, I was not even referred from my GP, but through a CBT scheme, the woman I saw said to me "we are dealing with much more than depression and anxiety here" and I got referred and that is when I insisted on a diagnosis (I literally had to insist) as I wonder if they pussy foot about people who may not want a diagnosis. I got one and it was the best thing for me really. People wanted to be sorry, but I wasn't, I was just relieved. Not much help since mind you, but I just wondered if you wanted a diagnosis (you may not) or whether you have asked for one because it really does seem to me that if you do not 'push' then nothing ever happens. Without wanting to go on (and probably completely off the main subject) my niece has real difficulties. Unfortunately my sister did not want anything to be wrong with her so she was quite pleased when they said there wasn't. I was mortified as I felt that it would be much better to have her diagnosed with something, so my point is (at least in my experience) if you want a diagnosis, you have to make it clear to the authorities that you want one. Whether it helps when you get one is another story, but at least you can make some more sense about your feelings. Sorry for the essay. Molly xx

Nicco Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 6:50pm

Leah, I wish I knew who the 'real' me is, too! I live in hope that I would know her when she emerges - I did once, but it only lasted a day. x

Molly Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 7:15pm

Hi Nicco, I know your comment was not for me, but I can truly relate. I don't know who I am either and it was only when 'other things' came to a halt that I had to truly look at who I am. I wasn't too happy about what I found and I am now trying to deal with it. My highs are getting less and less - whether that is medication or what, I do not know. I don't know whether to take it or not, whether I am better off with it or not etc. My highs were welcome and if they were the 'real' me then what went wrong !! I would like her back please !! It is all very complex isn't it. I don't think the highs are real actually, I think that we are blessed with the highs because of the lows. One way of looking at it I suppose. Right now I want to crawl into a hole. Sending love xx

Nicco Mon, Aug 28th 2017 @ 10:33pm

Molly - yes, I sometimes wonder about my medication too but, although it doesn't make everything better, it does enable me to at least function to some degree. I hadn't looked at it from the point of view that we are blessed with the highs because of the lows - it's perhaps a good way of looking at it so thank you for that. I do hope that you start to feel better soon - I stayed in my cocoon today as was so tired after a very emotional weekend as my father came to stay for a few days - he's in his 90s & it was his birthday - so dealing with him is difficult, esp as I went through a lot of abuse while growing up. Also dealing with my husband during his stay was tricky too. I try to keep all the plates spinning and all the balls in the air (keeping people happy) but it takes its toll after. I'm sending you a gentle understanding hug. x

Becky Mon, Aug 28th 2017 @ 11:00pm

The questions of identity are tricky. I think my highs are the most not-me that I am. I am usually a nicer, more lucid and down to earth person than I am when I am high. The stable times are when I feel like the best version of me, neither high nor low but blessedly ok. But really, it's all me in one way or another isn't it?

Becky Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 6:19pm

I'm sure there was another thread here earlier about how Moodscope scores don't reflect highs very well. I can't find it now. But I have thought much about this and developed some ways to track the highs with affectograms and the graph. I feel another blog post coming on...

Tutti Frutti Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:37pm

Hi Becky I accidentally put my response to E on this in the wrong place, thought it hadn't come out and wrote another very similar comment further down. That may be why you had trouble finding it. Anyway I would urge you to write that blog on how you use moodscope to track the highs as I would love to get some suggestions. Thanks Love TF x

The Gardener Fri, Aug 25th 2017 @ 7:01pm

Becky - 'scoring' is interesting - I could, possibly, score quite high at the beginning of the day - when I might be hopeful - that same day would produce a nose dive if (today particularly) Mr G was rude to me in front of other people, awful job to come to terms with. But the red cards - I am not pessimistic, but being interested or enthusiastic will always be low because being a 'prisoner' of my husbands illness and now financial restraints so many doors are shut. There is no way the excellent Moodscope cards can reflect different circumstances - I will score highly on 'alert' and 'attentive' if I get some sleep! My score goes between 15 and 45 - never more unless I have people staying in the house to share the load, and get some decent conversation - and to laugh!

Caroline the Moodscope Team Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 10:45am

Hi all, just a little about the Moodscope test we use.

The test we're using is designed for general mood measurement, rather than for picking up the full spectrum of bipolar. We hope in the future to develop a test which can detect the artificial 'euphoria' of a high, as opposed to a high score simply because everything is going fine for you.

We suggest to those who do suffer with mania/hypomania to ignore the written feedback that Moodscope gives you, and then label your graph with comments that differentiate between normal good and turbo-charged good. Carolinex

Mary Wednesday Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 11:14am

I would like to add to this, that I have found the affectogram record really useful. It shows the high scores in jittery, hostile and irritable - which tend to make my "worryingly high" scores look normal. I wonder if it would be useful, possible or desirable for buddies to have access to this too... (Not triggergrams. I think they should remain private)

Becky Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 11:59am

Me too Mary, exactly that. I'm going to blog about it. I wish the affectogram data was available for more than the current month as this would be so helpful for tracking my highs.

Becky Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 11:59am

Me too Mary, exactly that. I'm going to blog about it. I wish the affectogram data was available for more than the current month as this would be so helpful for tracking my highs.

the room above the garage Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 1:28pm

Fascinating reading Becky, your writing gives great descriptive insight. I'm happy to be a hand to hold when needed, I'm here. Love ratg x.

Becky Sat, Aug 26th 2017 @ 10:04pm

Thank you ratg

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