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.