And our target is…

To avoid, overcome or eliminate a disorder we have to be a bit cleverer than just looking at what we are trying to avoid.

Mood Map Miller

Calm moods instead of diagnosis?

On workshops I have given students cards with symptoms of bipolar disorder written on the cards.

I have asked the students to place the symptoms on a mood map according to which of the four main moods the symptoms seem to show.

At the end of the exercise the symptoms are spread out across the depressive, anxious and active sectors. It seems that the bipolar diagnosis picks up people who are exceptional at being in either two or three of these states. The people who get the diagnosis will have been seen being both depressed and anxious, or depressed and active or anxious and active. The third of these may come as a surprise, as surely you have to be seen to be depressed to be diagnosed as manic-depressive? We can come back to that another time.

With a set of say 40 typical bipolar symptoms it is rare that the students will place any of the symptoms in the fourth quadrant of the mood map. The calm quadrant remains pretty well empty. It is this quirk that only seems to be revealed by mood mapping that gives us our target and our big break in combating bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Rather than looking at one symptom after another and thinking, “I must avoid that”, “I must stop doing that”, now we can start with a mood to aim for rather than moods to avoid.

I am interested to hear from readers who have achieved a better life by being calmer.

I am interested to hear from readers who know why calmer is a great target, yet not the ‘be all and end all’/’ultimate aim’ if you want to avoid a bipolar diagnosis.

About Roger A Smith
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

5 Responses to And our target is…

  1. Ruth Redd says:

    I work on a continuous basis to be calm by various methods; I don’t rush if I can help it, I take care to do my work carefully and to the best of my ability and am aware of the dangers of being too spontaneous or overspending. I exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet and try not to eat too much sugar. I make sure I have a good nights sleep and if I don’t I catch up during the day.

    My life may not be as exciting as others but I feel that I am in control and calmer as a result.

  2. Shelly says:

    I agree with what Ruth said. When I decided to be kind to myself and accept who I was and what mood I had at the moment, I became calmer. I like the way I am so much better. I too have a lot of tools in my box. Eating healthy, avoiding caffeine and sugar, exercising, mindfulness/meditation, yoga, Sleep…including naps if needed. I work hard at staying calm and peaceful. It’s coming easier the more I practice and BE in that state. When I feel like I’m getting worked up, too excited or too down, I re-evaluate what I’m doing and make adjustments.
    Self-awareness is a HUGE key.

  3. medical student says:

    Calmness = GABA. It is amazing how little research is done on this. GABA helps balance elevated dopamine levels, yet is rarely mentioned in treating mania. Yoga, Green Tea, and Gaba meds all have the potential to move patients into the calm.

    • Roger Smith says:

      Thank you for your comment about GABA. It is one of those chemicals where we all need at least some in order to function. I am going to suggest it is like a lot of other brain chemicals… If we are short of it then a bit more is going to do us good. There again most things it is possible to have too much of. This balance thing can be so tricky 🙂

  4. Pingback: Rethinking Bipolar – Looking for change? | Rethinking Bipolar

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