We cannot control our moods and the swings associated with Bipolar illness, but we CAN control our own behavior associated with monitoring the changes in our moods, thus creating a more healthy awareness cycle, rather than the typical downward spiral.
The mood swings associated with Bipolar disorder are known even to those who are essentially uneducated about mental illness. All too often, however, those who suffer the mood swings as a result of their disorder are all too passive when it comes to monitoring them. The use of a daily mood chart can be a powerful tool in not only recording behavioral patterns, but regulating treatment and behavior in order to avert future crises. This tool, monitoring and recording patterns, has been used effectively in the treatment of multiple medical conditions- just ask a diabetic who records his diet and blood sugars, or someone with high blood pressure who records his daily blood pressure and weight. Monitoring trends is the key to making changes needed to reach stability.
A typical mood chart for someone monitoring their symptoms of Bipolar disorder should include sleep and appetite, medications, activity, and all symptoms. It can be as simple as a few notations on a daily calendar, or as elaborate as a spreadsheet tracking such activities as work or school and the ability to function, or symptoms such as over spending, tearfulness, or a conflict with others.
By recording symptoms and daily events, the individual dealing with Bipolar disorder may not eliminate the effects of the illness- but they have taken a huge step forward in managing their illness.