Wednesday January 4, 2012

I often hear Bipolar disorder likened to being on a roller coaster. This is a helpful analogy for me when I try and explain to friends and family why my moods are so unpredictable. I sometimes reinforce this explanation by printing out my Moodscope graph which provides real evidence of where my mood is in my current mental cycle.

Personally, I find that my mood chart helps me to recognise when I am going through a bad patch and I can feel good that I am doing well in the circumstances. It also can help to indicate a trend that things are getting better which is always reassuring. The problem of course is that when things aren't going well, the chart just serves to confirm the worst.

Not only can my chart depress me by indicating how bad things are right now but my depressed brain then uses this evidence to predict that worse is to come. I liken this to "mental waterboarding" where I know I am headed for another inevitable awful mood swing.

I start to live in total fear of when I will be submerged once more.

So I have now decided to try and look at things from the other side. Instead of the terror of drowning in depression, I have opted to focus on the joy of surfing my mood waves. This requires preparing in advance so I am ready to make the most of the good waves when they come. There is also an art of learning to stay on your surfboard for as long as possible to get the most of each wave.

Early days but I am feeling a bit hopeful that this might work. After all, I spent plenty of time looking at life from underwater – now I want to have a try at surfin' those waves instead!

Do you find that positive thinking can make a difference to your mood and if so you have effective techniques as to how to do this?

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
Joni Mitchell

A Moodscope member

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