(reviewed 4/2019)

Why mood chart when you’re depressed?  This is not going to be easy.  E.g. keeping tabs on your exercise, which is doubly hard: first to do it, then to keep track of it!  I’d better offer you a good reason to do this, because you have at least two really good reasons not to:

  1. It’s a hassle, it takes time, you’re already stressed (aren’t you ?)
  2. Worse: it reminds you every day “You have a mental problem”. Most people would like to forget that, or at least push it to the background.

So let’s be realistic. Most people won’t track their mood regularly, no matter how often the workbooks say to do so. BUT there are times when tracking is a good idea.

  • you’re making a treatment change (new medication, adding exercise, psychotherapy) and really want to know if it’s working
  • your doctor goes so fast, there isn’t really time to explain how you’ve been doing, you just need a graph to show her/him, until things are stable and you can just report that.
  • you’re pretty sure things are stable, so no further treatment changes are needed — but you want to be more sure.
  •  you’re looking for patterns in your cycling: are the downs actually preceded by little ups? is it connected to your menstrual cycle, your exercise, decreasing your alcohol? your partner’s parents’ visits?

(oh, did I say exercise twice here?)

Two ways to mood chart

1. Paper. Simple, easy.

2. Electronic. Nice graphs. Very contemporary.

Paper

Here are two paper moodcharts. There are many more out there.

Simplest: from Australia’s mood specialists

Harvard’s:  Dr. Peter Brigham built it years ago.

Electronic

There are bunch  of programs for this. I can’t even keep up anymore.  Everything I’d written — I started way back around 2005 — is way out of date.

I’m waiting for the “passive” monitors: they use your phone to track your time awake (tapping on it, or in the fancy programs, the phone’s accelerometer); and your typing speed; and number of texts sent, calls made, searches done, that kind of thing. Cool.  Notice how this avoids the whole problem of having to monitor yourself: just let your phone do it (well, assuming you have one).

To my knowledge, as of 2019, there are no free apps that will do this passive monitoring.  And among the not-free, I haven’t looked but nothing’s famous yet. Several are still in research stages. Probably not far away now, though.

Comparing mood chart app’s

But for the existing app’s, as of 4/2019 there’s still a site that compares programs.