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How do you tell what's an actual mood state of the MI, trauma-related mood fluctuations, versus a series of ordinary non-medicatable crappy mood days (lonely/miserable/excessively sad/angry/etc.)?

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Asking both because I'm wondering in general and also because I realized I tended to operate with the "hey I'm not suicidal" approach to depression...and not needing hospitalization approach to mania...so probably need to re-calibrate. 

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I have to analyze what's going on and look for triggers. If no triggers are present, then I'm probably cycling or having a crappy day, depending on how long the feelings have persisted. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to figure out what state I'm in, and that's highly frustrating. I used to base my analysis on how deep the depression was (really bad = cycling, moderate = crappy day) but my meds have me more stable now. If I notice I don't need more than 4-5h of sleep for a couple of days, I'm probably in a hypomanic state. I'm always trying to analyze and monitor my mood, but it wears me out.

There are days I just say to hell with it and I just roll with my mood, whatever it may be. It's tiring to be hyper-vigilant in monitoring my mood and adjusting PRNs to compensate and try to keep balance. I see my tdoc on a bi-weekly basis, and she's great at helping keep tabs on my mood and looking for triggers. A lot of times I don't even realize there are environmental triggers affecting me. Part of my therapy is learning how to see these triggers and manage the situation instead of avoiding it. But some days I walk in her office and tell her I don't give a shit about what's going on right now, I'm just irritable/depressed/etc and that's how I feel. So long as I'm having more good days than bad, it's a win.

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For me it's about trends. If I'm up/down a week in a row then I know something is wrong.

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For me it is if there is a reason I am aware of for feeling a certain way and what I feel is within reasonable limits for what its cause is.

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3 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

How do you tell what's an actual mood state of the MI, trauma-related mood fluctuations, versus a series of ordinary non-medicatable crappy mood days (lonely/miserable/excessively sad/angry/etc.)?

I can only speak for depression right now (the only one I can tell a difference between).  If I am depressed and can't function doing anything, everything is a chore, staring at the wall, etc, then I know I am depressed from the MI.  Clinically depressed.

But if I am depressed and still functional ... like able to do vacuuming, laundry, cleaning, etc, I see that as a mood state unrelated to MI.

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thank you all--sounds like a fair number of different approaches.

I feel like right now I might be semi-reliant on my therapist and psychiatrist.  Other people see me...and obviously I live my own life.  But I don't feel well-equipped right now to be a judge of myself other than of the not needing hospitalization still doing okay variety.  I believe i'm improved from there.  But I barely trust that judgment. 

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I've become more self-aware since my first major manic episode. That time around, I only realized I was manic after three weeks not sleeping, 6500 dollars in debt, and a lot of money that I still don't know where it went. I got overly self-analytic for a while and started perpetually asking myself if I was manic (usually the answer was "no"). 

Nowadays if I'm feeling like crap, I get really analytic and make an inventory of all the things going on in my life. If I can't explain why I'm feeling extra happy or sad, then it usually means it's connected to the MI and isn't just a blip on the radar.

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That is a question I ask myself. Am I depressed, or just having a normal response to life blips?  Am I hypomanic, or just finally feeling as good as the rest of the world?  Is it manic spending, or just normal impulsivity?  I've finally realized that what I'd considered normal and even is probably really flat and depressed. Go figure. I'm unable to use those mood rating charts because I have no idea how to rate my moods. Even when I was way manic in behavior I wouldn't have rated my mood as way up there. I thought I was in the minority trying to figure it out. I guess it's not that unusual. 

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Over time I've developed a system for myself... it really depends on the individual. For me any day I have even a passing suicidal thought is moderate depression. If I'm able to clean and do some activities but still feel hopeless it's mild depression.

I haven't been really hypomanic in a while, but if I find myself taking on a lot of projects and really interested in things then that's a sign. Hypersexuality is a big one for me but again that hasn't happened since I've been on mood stabilizers.

Another key thing to mention is that I have normal responses to life blips on top of my mood states, and they feel qualitatively different from the mood states.

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