I think I am finally coming out of my funk. I feel as though I am approaching baseline behavior and possibly (but realistically, most likely) will be going through a hypomanic state sooner rather than later. I have read over the year and a half of having my blog from readers questions of how I keep track of my mental state.
I think given our current state of mind as a society, it has never been easier than right now as far as tracking and documenting mental health changes. It is still socially stigmatized to be mentally ill, however, it has become more and more socially acceptable than ever before. I often like to think that in our grandparents’ past, lobotomies were the way of success to reduce hysteria and other like symptoms. Not much was used to combat actual mental illness, but to think that hysteria in women was considered a mental illness in the past hundred years is wild to me. Now we have intensive in and outpatient services and ways to combat different aspects of mental health and behavioral health due to diagnosis or diagnoses. We have ways to successfully defeat and conquer addiction of all substances. The science and facts aren’t 110% there for every single mental illness, but to think how far we have come in the past 75 years is life changing for so many.
So how do I track my moods and state of mind? It’s easy to keep track for me personally because I do blog enough and write enough to decipher the mood I am in when originally writing something. My moods are explicitly written for a reason and if they are not, I have a good idea of what I am feeling at what time for whatever reason.
Another way you can keep track of your mood swings is through self reflection or journalling in a certain way. I am sure many of you have heard of bullet journaling before. There are many prompts on either Pinterest or through a basic google search to show you different kinds of mental health habit trackers. I personally don’t bullet journal because of how time consuming it can be to make everything nearly perfect. (I am not much of a perfectionist, but when it comes down to the things that don’t matter, such as bullet journaling, my perfectionist self comes out to haunt me and tells me my lines are not straight enough or my drawings are not good enough.)
Bullet journaling can be used to track habits or you can use a lined notebook or even digital notebooks to track your habits. Whatever mode you use to track your mental health, you will be better off for it. You can track your sleep habits, what you did during the day or night, your moods, your emotions, your positive/negative habits and if you participated in them that day, overall health, menstrual health, food, exercise, medication taken, you name it. All the items listed above play a major part in your mental health.
Even if you just mentally jot down how you feel that day, if you take your meds, and some potential triggers and ways to avoid them, you will be better for it. I know it’s not easy or simple to track all of this information all day, every day. But the process only needs to take at most 15 minutes unless you want to write more down or want to be more detail oriented. To condense this data into a fifteen minute a day time block, choose a couple of items you want to keep track of. Draw out a chart of 30-31 days per month. And for categories such as, “Medication” you can either check mark or X out the box with that day’s date if you took your medication that day. If you missed your meds, leave that day blank. This form of a habit tracker can also be used for sleep. In each day’s box, write the number of hours slept in the box correlating to that specific day. So if you slept 6 hours, write “6” in the box.
If you are more of a writer than an artist, you can always write out this list and say what you did well that day, triggers you have encountered, or even write out habits you would like to keep track of. You may need to experiment and maybe you need to use a template found on the internet in order to track specific mood changes or to follow a template on how to bullet journal, but once you find a system that works best for you, you should be able to see a change in behaviors depending on certain triggers in your life and learn how to be proactive against those triggers by using coping mechanisms.
The past two days I have been at Diego’s house and it’s been nice considering the fact that I have gotten to spend two full days with my puppy, Poncho. He is so big now! If I had to guess, he’s probably 65 pounds but shouldn’t get much bigger than this. Diego worked til 2pm yesterday and until noon today. Which should have given me the opportunity to do homework in the mornings while I was alone with Poncho. But honestly, I took the time to sleep in. Today I did dishes and laundry for him and have been just chilling out for the most part since he has been home. He was supposed to have the next two days off, but I guess one of his team member’s called out for tomorrow so he at least has to work closing shift tomorrow. I might go home either tonight or tomorrow morning to get some real work done, but we shall see.
I feel good overall, which is good. My physical and mental health are both in a good place. However, I am feeling very distracted while I am over here and not very motivated to do my homework.
Luckily nothing is due until Wednesday, but that day is sooner than I would like it to be due to my procrastination.