I have quite the love/hate affair with mood charts. I’m addicted to them—I have a total of four that I use daily or almost daily—but I wish I could combine them all into one single comprehensive tool for monitoring my moods accurately. Of course, it would be even better if I didn’t have to do that daily gut-check at all, but you can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and guess which gets filled first?
There is, however, no chart I’ve found yet which captures moods that are due to life events, rather than some chemical imbalance. Since my dearly beloved was diagnosed with inoperable cancer three days ago, my emotions have been all over the map, which according to the charts makes it look like I’m in another of my mixed-mood episodes. But I’ve talked with non-bipolar women who have been through what I’m going through, and there’s not a single thing I’m feeling that they haven’t experienced at some point during their ordeals.
In a sense, this is good news. I don’t feel like I’m in any sort of psychiatric crisis, but you know how good my insight is when I am in one, which is to say I can’t find my ass with both hands and a traffic cop directing signals. But as sad, revolted, shocked, astounded, and otherwise gobsmacked as I feel, it’s as if my brain has kicked the BP into submission while I’m dealing with this seismic shift in my universe. Which is a blessing, because all these emotions are heavy enough without interference from my stupid mental illness.
But, it does make it much more difficult to fill out the little squares on a mood chart when your emotions change from sadness to hope to desperation to “it’s all gonna be OK” in a day. Makes me feel sorry for those folks with the so-called ‘ultradian’ cycling who are up and down several times a day, every day of their lives……..that must be agony.
Then again, so is this business of knowing that the person you always believed would be there forever, is making an early exit from the life you’ve built together. Nothing I’ve ever been through—not even the loss of my baby—prepared me for this kind of pain, and I know I’m only just getting my feet wet here…….the worst is yet to come.
So, the mood chart is pretty much useless at this point, because I’m NOT manic, I’m NOT depressed, I’m NOT having a mixed mania and I’m NOT awash in panic (thank you PRN lorazepam!). What I am is a shocked, sad, and frightened woman facing the loss of the one great love of my life…..the only person who knows both the worst and the best about me, and still loves me without reservation……the man I thought would still be walking beside me well into our old age. And there’s just no way to document that adequately with checkmarks and graphs.