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Tuesday evening - self management group and Mood Mapping

Posted Aug 31 2009 12:00am

Many thanks to everyone in the group

We had a new member, who had written to me on a couple of occasions, but had not had a lot to do with self management of bipolar disorder before.

Because I am on the medical register - qualified if non-practising GP until my book is published (Mood Mapping - due date: 2 October 2009) he had expectations about prescriptions etc.

I don't prescribe drugs these days. Its too dangerous. Nonetheless, it was good to get someone with new experiences and a different perspective in the group. It brought home to the group exactly how radical self management is. Most people with bipolar disorder have been "medicalised". They are told to take drugs for a lifetime, most do and some people get back to work, many don't.

Self management is not about stopping drugs because there are times when medication helps. On the whole it is less damaging to take medication than to be continuously ill. But on its own medication is not enough. Medication is at best a sticking plaster, not a cure.

With bipolar disorder, a little bit of stress goes a long way. This does not necessarily mean leading a life wrapped in cotton wool, rather that those people who have a tendency to unstable moods have to learn better coping strategies.

Just as a diabetic needs to monitor their blood sugar, so a person with unstable moods needs to monitor their moods and act accordingly. Mood Mapping is the ultimate Mood monitoring tool. Moods have two components, well being and energy. There are four moods, High energy positive - Active, High energy negative - Anxiety, Low energy negative - Depression and tiredness , Low energy positive - Calm.

This was the first time our new member had seen Mood Mapping. I hope we didn't frighten him with it. Once you have seen a Miller Mood Map, you can start to understand your moods and it is impossible to go back! We always have a mood, and it is always somewhere. As long as you have energy, and as long as you have a state of mind, positive or negative, you have a mood.

Once you are aware of your moods and understand them, you can manage them and then as they come under control, so your moods become more stable and the diagnosis disappears.

It may not be easy. There are "brittle" diabetics who have, despite blood monitors and the latest insulin therapy unstable blood sugar levels. On the other hand, monitoring blood sugar does enable perhaps 95% or more of diabetics to lead normal healthy lives.
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