Tag Archives: mood chart

Mindfulness and Self-Judgment from Another Angle

Thanks for all of your comments regarding mindfulness on that last post, it is a topic that I keep circling back to in my mind because it has been hard for me to grasp the concept.

While some people seem to lean heavily toward the aspect of mindfulness that involves being aware of emotions and their changes, this is the part that I feel completely confident in. Identifying my emotional state is something I have been working on tirelessly for four years now (and I do it 4-12 times per day or as mood shifts happen). Mood charting has allowed me to check in with myself to identify my mood and potential triggers (among other things) so in a self assessment, this is an area where I would give myself five stars.

Having said that, while I have strength in the area regarding identifying my moods and mood swings I am not very good at identifying psychosis. I can sometimes identify this phenomenon when it is slowly gaining momentum (like over a period of days) but when it occurs suddenly and without warning or builds slowly over several weeks it often goes unnoticed by me until I am so irrational I have previously only been able to identify the psychosis after it passes.

This concept (and realization by me) has led to trouble on the second leg of mindfulness; withholding judgment of myself and my emotions.

When it comes to withholding judgment about what emotions I am experiencing, I thought I had that in the bag. For many years I would judge myself harshly and consider myself depraved or inhuman for some of the urges and thoughts I experienced (and still do, some of them daily) but over the last few years I have been able to step back from that and conclude that many (if not most) of these things are a product of my own mind playing tricks on me during periods of depression, mania, or psychosis. I thought that taking the step of realizing that these desires (born of the illness) are not my fault, and that being somewhat burdened by the unwilling desire to do bad things (you know, like homicide) doesn’t mean that is how I am going to live my life and it doesn’t make me a worthless human being.

Having revisited this concept several times in the last few weeks, I couldn’t figure out exactly what was bothering me about mindfulness and why I both seemed to “get it” and not “get it” at the same time. What I stumbled upon the last few days is that even though I am reserving judgment of my emotions in terms of identifying them in a self-deprecating way, I am not withholding judgment completely.

Because of the combination of the psychosis factor and the, well, less than desirable “socially unacceptable” thoughts and feelings I have put up with on a regular basis I have a track record of inexplicably doing things that I wouldn’t normally do. There have been times where, let’s face it, I have not had control of myself or my actions, and during those times I have done some things that have scared the bajeezus out of me.

Things like running away from home, or plotting to murder someone (hello hospital), or attempting to harm very cute, innocent, furry creatures (hello again, hospital). What I have learned from these experiences (and others) is that I shouldn’t trust myself, and that I am capable of doing things that frighten myself and others.

Even though I might be reserving judgment about the origin of these thoughts or actions today, my judgment is taking place in a different way; through fear.

And, well, we all know how that story goes. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. (Thanks Yoda)

Personally, given my track record and the notion that any one of my swings could suddenly bring the overwhelming, incoherent madness of psychosis, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for me to feel terrified when my mood starts to shift or deteriorate. With every additional layer of emotion my reaction becomes more complicated, I begin jumping to conclusions out of a place of fear, and quickly go tumbling down the rabbit hole.

I find myself in the age old riddle; which came first, the panic attack or the anxiety about having a panic attack?

At this point I am not looking for answers from any of you, just thinking aloud. What I do know is that this fear is something that I need to address, and hopefully with enough applied reasoning (or voodoo) the fear and I can reach some kind of understanding.

No cute, innocent furry creatures were harmed in the making of this post.

Toadking – Free New Tracking & Charting App for Android Users

While psychiatric medications have not helped me manage my treatment resistant bipolar symptoms, there is one thing that has truly contributed to my understanding and daily management of both my emotional symptoms and those related to anxiety. I can easily say the most helpful tool I’ve come across is mood tracking.

Not only do I track the status of my moods, I also track things like anxiety level, sleep quality, and level of physical pain. Anything that might contribute to exacerbating my bipolar symptoms is something I want to keep tabs on, and this has helped me understand exactly what kinds of things trigger my episodes, gives me an easy way to relay information to my psychiatrist, and has given me a much wider understanding of the disorders I am dealing with.

These days, it can be hard to find time to jot down notes; it seems the easiest solution is to do so on the go. While there are a few mood charting apps out there, I am someone who really hates paying for something that might not work for me in the long-run.

That said, if you are someone who is already tracking different elements in your life or would like to start and have an android device, you’re in luck! There is a new, open-source app developed by a tracking-app user for android called toadking.

Toadking Charting App

Toadking Tracking & Charting App

The toadking app allows users to choose one or several elements to track (which could be anything from level of depression to sleep quality to stress level, there is no cap on the number of things you can track so the sky is the limit here!) and then designate a 1-10 value for those elements once each day. Don’t worry, if things change throughout the day you can always go back and change your value!

Once you have compiled some data, you can use the share tool to create printable graphs for each element, an excel file with your compiled data, or email that data to your doctors or therapist, creating an easy way for them to check up on your status.

Some of you readers might remember that I am a bit of a graph nut, and I was pleased to learn that the finished graphs can be bar graphs, line graphs, or a table. While viewing the graphs in “history” mode on the device, the graphs can be seen showing one month at a time, however when exporting graphs you can select from the current month, previous month, last three months, last six months, and even one year’s worth of graph data!

If you really want some perspective on how your mood or anxiety or sleep habits have changed over time, there is nothing quite like seeing a full year’s worth of data!

So if you, like me, prefer no-frills tools and abhor obnoxious adds popping up constantly on your “free” apps and you have an android device, I would definitely recommend giving this tracking app a try. After all, it is totally free… so what do you have to lose?

Here is a link to the toadking website where you can find more information, as well as access to the source code (I know I have some programmers out there reading so a little shout out to you!) and a support area if anyone has any questions regarding usage.

I also want to provide a link to the page at Google Play where the app can be downloaded, so you can get straight to the fun part if you’re interested in checking it out!

Finally, I want to make a quick note about the creator of this app, because this app is something he could have sold to someone (who would ultimately charge you and I to use it) and decided instead to share it for free with those that could really get good use out of it. In my book, that is really saying something, so I really want to encourage people to try this out and potentially pass it on to anyone you think might find it useful.

Find that you love this app? You can drop the creator a line or kick in a donation to his cause here

The Precipice of Mania

Increasing the Geodon I’m taking meant an increase of hypomania for about a ten day period. As soon as that is over, though, I’m dumped into a pile of depression.

Well the Geodon is powerful. I increased again in the middle of that yucky depression and it shot me up to the precipice of mania.

First I was having days with both hypomania and depression. A real roller coaster, to be sure.

But by day three (Wednesday) the depression dissipated into the verge of a full-on manic state.

I say verge because despite having the manic feelings, I was still able to keep my wits about me somewhat (although I did find myself lip synching to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now on the bus in front of everyone with very little trouble). I didn’t spend any money or stomp on anyone’s feelings, I merely existed in this state.

The type of mania I had was what I refer to as etherial mania. My mind and body begin drifting apart, seemingly experiencing their own versions of reality independent of one another. As I said, I didn’t lose total control, so there was something of a tether still connecting the mind and body, but impulses sent from the mind to the body seemed to take a lot longer to carry out (and were more robotic feeling than anything else).

My favorite thing about this state is that since the mind and body are somewhat disconnected, I don’t feel pain or hunger or exhaustion.

This time around I didn’t blurt out anything absurd (though I did blurt out “macaroni and cheese” at one point but it was well received) but there was definitely a road block in the thinking clearly department. When asked in my small class to work on a chart on our own I couldn’t understand what we were doing so I sat quietly instead.

Something odd I also noticed was that I didn’t seem to need to blink as much. I can’t quite imagine if that would make me look a bit creepier than usual or what, but it was something I took note of at the time.

It is important to me to really reflect on periods like Wednesday’s precipice so I can get an idea of what states are really harmful and which are just odd to experience.

I think overall this state was relatively harmless, but I know when it escalates into full mania and that mind/body detachment becomes more intense, or when my words and thoughts no longer match up with one another, those can be real issues.

To be honest, I probably shouldn’t have even left the house because I didn’t know if things were going to escalate, but I was heading to a peer recovery class about mental illness so I felt pretty certain they wouldn’t be offended if I stopped making sense.

It seems like the more Geodon I take, the less hypomania and mania I experience on my own (except when triggered by the Geodon itself). I don’t know for sure if that is the case, but I’m in the midst of reviewing my mood charts to feel out that hypothesis.

Mood Charting – The Color-Band Mood Chart

As most of you who have been reading this blog for a while know (and for those of you who are new comers, I expect that makes this an introduction) I am probably more than a little bit obsessed with my mood charting. 

Since my last round of mood-charting posts (Chart Week) I’ve been introduced to another charting technique that is seriously tickling my fancy. I spent the better part of my weekend translating a block of time from my earlier charts & data to compile a chart using this new technique to get an interesting new overview.

This technique was inspired by a friend who is tracking the sleep patterns of her new baby by shading in areas on a grid of squares. Her chart is hourly, but it struck me to make a daily chart with the same technique. Instead of shading in or not shading in a square to denote action, I’ve chosen a series of colors to reflect what action has taken place.

The result looks something like this:

March 2011 - June 2012

Color-Band Mood Chart, March 2011 – June 2012

Each band represents a month, with each square representing a day. You can see that some days are broken into two or three pieces, and that is because those days contained sometimes two or three easily distinguishable periods of different moods.

The breakdown of the colors is as such:

Dk Blue = severe depression
Lt Blue = mild-moderate depression
Green = stable/normal mood
Yellow = hypomania
Red = full mania (possibly including psychosis of some kind)
Brown = moderate mixed episodes
Black = severe mixed episode (possibly including psychosis of some kind)
Empty = no data available

Needless to say, it becomes very clear that the first few months shown on this chart were no walk in the park. There is a pretty big shift you can see in October 2011 where I began having my first big chunks of stability that I had in months (in fact, far beyond what is shown here). I’d be willing to venture that played a large role in the birth of this blog, as that is when it began.

It appears that cycling has began slowing down as well, which is definitely a good thing (more full big blocks instead of little choppy ones) though things were definitely shaken up again down at the very bottom in June, last month, when I began taking Trileptal.

It can be difficult for me to see patterns in mood charting with the traditional line graph -primarily periods of episodes. By classifying my mood ratings by the type of episode I am in at the time and placing them side by side, it become much easier for me to see periods of several days within one mood, or where one mood continues through several chunks broken up by a day or two with a different mood.

Since the DSM classifies episodes as a block of time with the majority of days in a period of time in a certain mood, the color-band mood chart has definitely helped my understanding of the length of my episodes and how they interact with one another.

One of the conundrums I have is that I do not have many squares containing red (full manic moods), which means I technically would not have enough to quantify a “full manic episode” (which must take place over a number of days) and therefor would not qualify me for the the diagnosis of Bipolar Type I. However, the fact that these manic moods occur at all means (as far as I have been told) that I do not qualify for the diagnosis of Bipolar Type II (where full mania is not present). This is a situation where I am hoping this chart will help my medical team’s understanding of what I deal with on a daily basis.

The best part, I think, about this charting technique is that all you need is some graph paper and some colored pens or pencils. Heck, even crayons. If you are starting this fresh and coloring one square daily, it may take a while before you have any significant chunks of information to look at, but it is easy to use any past data from other mood charting techniques to create one of these charts with information you’ve already gathered!

As I mentioned, I am totally tickled by this. I am going to bring mine to my next appointment with my psychiatrist (Thursday), I am hoping this will give him a better overview as well since we’ve both been struggling a little with the sporadic nature of my episodes. I’d really love it if someone else wants to throw one of these together and either write a post about it or shoot me an email, I’m really just curious to know what someone else’s chart would look like!

A Pain in the Energy Drain

First, I’d like to note that today’s post will be my 200th, which feels somewhat exciting (though it is nothing more than an imaginary milestone). Still, 200 posts feels like a lot, and even though the concept of this blog has sometimes fluctuated in my head I feel a bit proud to have stuck with writing here for 200 posts.

Aside from that, I would really like to address the energy drain. 

There are times when I am walking around, minding my own business, when suddenly it feels like the energy in my body liquifies and gushes out through my sneakers onto the asphalt and evaporates. Suddenly I’m stuck feeling like I am trying to walk through the ocean. My limbs are heavy and not quite as responsive (as if met with resistance), and it is as if every part of my body is sinking.

Maybe someone turned up the gravity intensity knob?

I was pretty happy to hear about the addition of fluctuating energy symptoms being propsed for the new version of the DSM (if you’re just joining us, that is the book that contains all of the criteria for psychiatric diagnoses in the USA), because originally bipolar disorder was just thought to be about mood. 

I’ve been getting increasingly upset about these energy drains, sometimes they last for a few minutes, other times for a couple hours. I can easily recognize that this awkward sluggish feeling is one that I’ve experienced in the throes of depression, but I also know there are times where the energy drain happens without any sort of mood fluctuation.

Are these pockets of physical depressive symptoms occurring on their own? Are they a sign of impending depression? Are they unrelated and simply created when my blood sugar crashes or when the caffeine wears off?

Many questions.

I just started tracking this phenomenon in an attempt to learn more about it. I am charting it on the same graph as my mood (and a handful of other things, pain, anxiety, etc.) so I can watch the full range of energy -both increases and decreases.

What I’ve found so far is that some days, my energy level remains level. Other days, I have fluctuations that don’t coincide with mood changes. And on other days, I see the fluctuations lining up with mood changes. When my mood changes, the energy change has (so far) changed within a 5-60 minute window (before or after) the mood change occurs.

So now I’m just looking at other factors, I am particularly interested in the energy shifts that are happening independent of mood changes. Of course, tracking this means paying attention to many other factors, when I’m eating, if I have caffeine, rigorous physical activity, etc.

I spoke to someone who also has bipolar disorder about it yesterday and they said they also experience energy shifts that appear independent of mood changes. At least, in the draining department.

Honestly, any increase in energy (even without an elevated mood) is something I’ve attributed to hypomania. Would it be safe to conclude that a decrease in energy may be related to depression, even when the mood doesn’t appear changed?

Curious.

I am very interested in knowing if anyone else has these sorts of symptoms (energy fluctuation independent of mood change) or if mood changes are always present in the event of an energy fluctuation.

For me, these symptoms go beyond,

“I’m feeling sort of tired,”

or

“I’d like to sit down and rest a minute,”

The shifts are almost always very extreme, requiring something of a struggle to continue to my destination or prompting laying down with immediate sleep necessary after having been active (normally) only minutes earlier.

Sound familiar? Leave a comment, or shoot an email to host@thebipolarcuriousblog.com

Charting; a Year In Review

Now that I’ve had a chance to talk about mood charts, I’d like to finish off CHART WEEK by sharting a little bit of my own experience with keeping a mood chart.

One week ago marked my one year anniversary of starting my mood chart, and I was curious what kind of change has occurred over time, if any. To be honest, there have been times over the course of the last year where I felt very seriously like my bipolar and anxiety symptoms have been getting significantly worse, very quickly, and the sorts of things I’ve been experiencing lately would be enough to discourage anyone. 

Looking at the data I collected, however, makes me feel at least slightly better, and I’ve not only gained a different perspective on what is going on but I also feel like I’ve increased my understanding.

You can click on any of these graphs to see a larger version.

Average mood rating for the year: -1.55

Here is the standard mood graph for the year, and I’ve broken it down by month so you can get a little bit of an idea how completely sporadic things seem to be at times. I started charting while severely depressed (there on the left end of the graph) and despite a recurrance of some depressive symptoms in september it looks like my mood has been going steadily up from there. As you can see in the March portion on the far right, it has been very up, which is fairly abnormal for me considering the rest of the graph.

These values represent the average mood for each day data was taken, so they don’t quite represent the entire picture. On some days I can go from a -3 to a 3 and back down to a -3, and there is no real simple way to chart that here. For that reason, I’ve included a few additional graphs below to help get a better overview of what this year has looked like.

Average anxiety score for the year: 3.35

I began charting my anxiety level when I was hospitalized, which is why there is a blank gap in the beginning of the graph. The amount of green relates to the amount of anxiety I experienced on average each day. I was a little terrified to look at this one, because at first glance I didn’t see a huge difference over time -but if you look closely, the last third of the graph does show less anxiety than the first third. Even though there is a significant amount still there, the average the last few months is probably around a 3 instead of early on where it looks to be about a 4. As one might imagine, it seems like the stable portions on my mood graph line up with the areas with less anxiety. Go figure, right?

Average number of hours of sleep for the year: 8.68

That average surprised me a little, because I am normally someone who needs more sleep than others to feel rested and refreshed. Usually 10 or 11 hours is more realistic for me, so if the average for the year has been about 8 and a half, I certainly have not been getting enough sleep on a regular basis to feel refreshed.

Reviewing my sleep patterns has waved a big red flag at me, I think I need to start taking my sleeping habits more seriously. Honestly I thought I had been doing a good job of forcing myself to go to sleep when I was feeling elevated, but even so the amount of sleep I’ve been getting otherwise is totally sporadic at best. It is interesting that there does seem to be a loose pattern though, as every 15 days or so there is a deep dip to only 6 or 7 hours (which I intend to investigate further).

Average pain score for the year: 1.8

So the pain scale is based on both frequency and severity of pain. Did the pain reach a point where it felt severe enough to require relief? How many times per day? If the pain of that severity or greater lasted a period of time, how many fifths of the day did it last? So a day of pretty much intense, nonstop pain would be a 5, while a 2 (in contrast) could be an intense headache that pops up once, abates, and then pops up again later, for example. I included body pain/headache pain/& menstrual cramp pain and averaged them all together for the daily scores here. There has definitely been some improvement, and I think there have been a lot of things that have contributed to that.

The first third of the pain graph (with the most severe pain) correlates with the least amount of sleep in that area on the sleep graph, the highest anxiety on the anxiety graph, and the lowest mood on the mood graph. When it comes to mood, physical pain can play a huge role -which can be extremely frustrating for those that deal with chronic pain. In addition, the 3 points on the anxiety graph where zero anxiety was rated for the day line up with corresponding points with a zero score on the pain graph. Coincidence? I think not.

Average number of mood shifts for the year: 2.15

Ok, this one surprised me a little bit… this graph is based on the number of times my mood shifts per day, when the shift is greater than or equal to a value of “1” on my mood scale. You see, the mood chart doesn’t show the whole picture, because I can have a series of mood fluctuations in one day. Apparently anywhere from zero to 14 (the highest I’ve recorded).

That extremely high period that includes the 14 mood swing day (trust me, it was a doozy) took place when my psychiatrist tried to incorporate an antidepressant with my mood stabilizer. Needless to say, my mood didn’t remain stabilized, but he was really trying to make a last ditch effort to pop me out of the severe depression I was in. Unfortunately, it mostly just made my mood blast off in opposite directions every 10 or 15 minutes. So here is a great example of my mood chart helping point out a symptom to me that I wasn’t otherwise getting a grasp on, and when I brought this to my doctor’s attention we very quickly stopped the use of that antidepressant.

 This last graph has really been the eye-opener for me because I really didn’t have any kind of overview in regard to mixed states. I’ve covered all of the days over the last year that have included both depressed and manic or hypomanic symptoms with orange. The result completely shocked me.

Number of mixed symptom days per month:

March 2011 – 10
April – 13
May – 12
June – 6
July – 23 (!)
August – 8
September – 10
October – 12
November – 7
December – 8
January – 5
February – 2
March 2012 – 4

The month of July had twenty three days, 23! That is practically the whole month! If you take a look at the sleep graph, that is also the point where there is a huge gap in the amount of sleep I got (I went on vacation but wasn’t able to sleep most of the days we spent traveling).

I’ve clearly been experiencing significantly more days with mixed symptoms than I ever anticipated, and now that I know I’m planning on talking to my doctor about it next week. For me, those mixed moments can be so confusing that I don’t always put two and two together, so I’m honestly really glad I had the opportunity to see the bigger picture here.

Thanks for joining me through the CHART WEEK journey this week. I hope I’ve provided enough information to inspire some charting, because even as much as I tooted the mood charting horn earlier this week I hadn’t yet grasped just how much new information my own charting would provide me by the end of the week.

It may take a little while to get into the groove, but the amount that you can get out of keeping a mood chart is almost endless.

Keep charting!

Mood Tracking & Technology

Alright, so we’ve talked a little about why charting is a good idea, how to create a rating scale, and what other sorts of things you can track along side your moods, but maybe you’re thinking charting with a pencil and paper is so vintage. And not it the kitchy way, either.

We have a ton of technology at our fingertips, right? Why not use it! We’ve got everything from spreadsheet applications, apps for your mobile device, to mood tracking websites, so I wanted to take a minute to address a few of these programs.

For folks on the go, an app on your mobile device might be a good option. There are a huge number of mood tracking apps, though in my experience I haven’t been able to find the perfect one. The two I’ve listed here have pretty good reviews, one is for Android and the other for iPhone.

eMoods bipolar mood tracker, free for Android, 4.2 star rating

  • eMoods tracks amount of sleep, depression, elevated mood, irritability, and anxiety with an option to denote psychotic symptoms and therapy sessions. Plusses include being able to include depressive and elevated symptom scores at the same time, meaning mixed situations are logged. This is a once per day log with a monthly, emailable graph.
  • The downfalls? Some have complained that the graph is difficult to read, and each trackable item only has a 0-3 scale (with zero counting as “unidentified”).

Mood Tracker: By the Cheryl T. Herman Foundation, $4.99 on the iPhone, 4.5 star rating

  • Mood Tracker allows tracking of mood, amount of sleep, functionality level, and mixed states, as well as a medication tracker (what you’re taking, what dosage, and what time). Both the mood tracker and medication log have an alarm to remind the user to imput data & take medicaitons. Track up to 12 different attributes, once daily log with monthly graphs you can email.
  • Downfalls? Difficulty for some reading graph, and a handfull of complaints about bugs within the program.

Using a mood-tracking website is another idea, and as long as you are someone who doesn’t stray too far from the tendrils of the internet they can be an interesting, reliable way to track your moods.

Moodscope

  • I was just turned on to this free website by DeeDee, a fellow graphmatician over at Disorderly Chickadee so I haven’t done much to try it out yet. From what I can tell, this is a once daily tracker designed to judge your mood for you based on how you answer a series of 20 questions. Moodscope is able to show you a graph of a year (or even more) of your results at a time, which is pretty rare for most mood charting services, and definitely useful. I’m going to try it out for a bit, but going in I know my results will be skewed (since I can fluctuate quite wildly over the course of a singe day) depending on what time of day I decide to answer the 20 questions. Free, easy, and very cool, beautiful graphs!

HealthyPlace.com Mood Tracker

  • This mood tracker incorporates a lot of the elements I think are important in tracking, this is a website that I really think has got a lot of things right. The tracker incorporates mood, sleep, anxiety, irritability, medications, and weight (something you may want to track given the propensity of psychiatric medications to cause weight gain) and provides an area for you to make notes (hooray!). The chart appears to cover only 30 days at a time, but there is also the option of a calendar view to see ratings denoted on dates on a calendar. In the event of severely high or low episodes, the mood tracker can be incorporated with your doctor’s fax or email to automatically alert them. Also a free service, check it out!

Spreadsheets are a great way to keep a table of your daily/hourly information  (should you go that route in tracking your moods), and they are usually capable of creating some graphs with the information you log there as well.

Excel Spreadsheets

  • Excel spreadsheets are great for being able to hold a lot of information, and there is a graphing ability in the program as well (though it isn’t stellar). If you are interested in making graphs for 1-3 month’s worth of data at a time, Excel can do the trick -but don’t expect it to be able to handle a year’s worth of data in one graph. But, for people who get a little OCD about what their analyzing graphs look like, the data in Excel can be funneled into a number of programs that will read it and create a graph for you. The drawback? Having the software itself. Personally, I don’t own Excel, and I am not likely going to run out and buy myself a copy when there are a number of free alternatives (like the one just below) lying around.

Google Docs Spreadsheets

  • I have been keeping a lot of my logs (numerical values) in google’s online, free spreadsheet program through Google Docs. For me it has been a nice, online way to store information without being concerned I might lose the file, and I can open it on any computer with an internet connection (no need to carry around my laptop!). I think this service is free to anyone with a gmail email address, and it has free word processing as well. There is a graph feature in this spreadsheet, but it is very limited. You can use it to get an idea of what your graph would look like, but not much else. If you are using this spreadsheet to keep a log of your numerical data, I would suggest imputing that data into another source when it comes to creating your graph.

If you’ve got data that you’re ready to create a graph for, there are many different programs you can use, depending on how much data you have and how much money you are willing to spend.

Adobe Illustrator

  • Adobe Illustrator creates some nice looking graphs, but it is on the expensive side and unless you are planning on doing other design projects, I wouldn’t recommend splurging. If you happen to have access to it, though, definitely check out the graphing features. Fully customizable graphs with each element separate and customizable on its own. Unfortunately, the data entry portion when it comes to creating your graph is a bit out of control (and difficult to use as you can’t copy and paste) but supposedly there is an “import” feature that includes excel spreadsheets.

Smart Draw

  • Smart Draw is a (supposedly) easy charting and graphing software with a free trial at the link provided. The example graphs look pretty good, but I’m not sure how they would hold up with a large amount of data (say, a year’s worth). The program can be integrated with microsoft office products, includes a ton of templates, and offers customer support. The amount of charts this program can create is mind-boggling, but I don’t have much experience with this program first-hand. Who knows, it may be worth getting the free download to see if it works for your charting needs!

There are really quite a few programs (and practically any program that is a “drawing” program) that have a create-graph feature, but for the most part they are complicated and expensive. Chances are, you already own software that has the ability to create a graph (like Excel, you just might not know it yet) or you may want to opt for a free version, like Google Docs Spreadsheets. Don’t want to mess with the creation of the graph at all? Then I’d recomend something more inclusive, like a mood tracking app or website that turns your information into a graph for you.

There are a lot of ways to incorporate technology into your mood tracking and charting, or you can always opt out of the technological portion and do it by hand. The point is that there is no one particular way that is the correct way to keep a mood chart, and there are enough different options out there for you to be happy with whatever method you decide on!