The mood we show and the mood we are

Consciously or unconsciously we sometimes show a different mood to the one we are experiencing.

Young children do not tend to do this. If a child is upset you usually know he/she is upset. We acquire the ability to show an alternative mood as we grow up. It can be a blessing, especially if you are a professional actor or have a job that requires not showing too much emotion. For example: If you are nervous when providing training, the ability to seem calm can help greatly as people like to learn from trainers who appear to be calm.

Judith’s comment, “I APPEARED to be calm, but later realized that I was NOT feeling calm at all”, highlights a problem for those at risk of a bipolar diagnosis.

Consistently looking calmer than we really are will delay help. When appearing calm our associates will believe we are coping. It is a common theme that people who are struggling with big moods fail to get early help because the extremes are not recognised early enough.

In recovery when we look and act calm, health professionals may believe:

1) we really are calm

2) our internal mood is not what we are displaying

3) we are pretending to be calm

How they help you will depend on this belief, so it is important they do what they can to be as sure as possible the calm displayed matches inner calmness.

This need to know more about the internal mood also applies for displayed levels of anxiety, depression and over-activity.

Would you agree that this is a skill that comes with experience?

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.

4 Responses to The mood we show and the mood we are

  1. Ruth says:

    It is really important to be real when you visit your doctor;if you don’t how can he/she be expected to help?

    I believe in being open and honest; only then can you receive the best treatment.

    Don’t be afraid of showing your true self.

  2. iambipolar2 says:

    I think it is very true that we learn to show one emotion and be experiencing another. We really need to be able to express what we are feeling especially with our treatment team so we can start treating a flare up as soon as it starts.

    • Roger Smith says:

      I agree.

      I wonder if you see a balance needed between appearing generally cheerful when out and about, whilst being able to let people who want to help know exactly how we are feeling?

      I didn’t get it quite right the other day. I cycled to a routine medical and arrived feeling especially fit and healthy. The nursed asked how I was and I instantly replied, “Very well.” I was feeling very well at that precise moment. Then at the end of the medical I said about having ongoing tummy pains and the nurse seemed confused as it didn’t match what I had been saying for the previous 15 minutes. I do not see this as ‘a big deal’, it is just that once people know about a bipolar diagnosis – is there a need to be more aware of the mood we are showing?

  3. Shelly says:

    I do agree that the skill comes with lots of practice and experience. One of my goals has always been to be congruent-in thought, word and action. Being true to self.

    I am normally a calming presence. I agree that faking it can delay proper diagnosis and treatment. I’m living proof! I like the ‘fake it until you make it’ concept but it can lead to being untruthful.

    I like that I am now comfortable in my skin again because I’m real.

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