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Identifying Triggers


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Log everything.

I don't do this as much myself, anymore--eventually, you learn your own patterns and you can recognize when you begin to deviate--but when I was first receiving treatment for mental health, I logged literally just about everything in my life: What I ate and when, whether I slept and how much of that sleep I got and the quality of that sleep, whether I felt happy or sad or numb, whether I had any energy and if so how much, how much money I spent, what kind of thoughts I was having, whether I'd had any social activity, whether there were any other "normal-people stressors" like moving or traveling to a new place, etc.

So my advice to you would be to find a good system that you would consistently use to log your life for a little while. You could use a journal if you want to make it feel more informal, but if you want the formal charts and everything, two sites I recommend are Optimism and PatientsLikeMe.

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This is a post I made on another forum the other day that highlights my mood reactivity, I have no idea why all of this came on as well:

 

I've been struggling quite a lot these last few weeks, my mood is all
over the place. Today I went from feeling empty, to feeling sad and
crying in public twice, to feeling great, to feeling irritable, to sad
and crying in public again, to feeling nothing, to then feeling happy
and then to crying uncontrollably for a few hours. I've been having
anxiety all the time even when not in the presence of any stimuli, the
other day it was quite difficult to breath, it was constricting me so
much, and I'm quite apprehensive about going out due to fear of a panic
attack with my heightened anxiety. I've had a few episodes of being in
horrible pain that I couldn't escape and was utterly awful, my body was
trembling whilst I was pulling my hair out or rocking in a fetus
position, they're so horrible. I'm incredibly stressed out about the
smallest things, annoying people are harassing me at my home via trying
to talk to me, I was ambushed the other day and it took me hours to
recover, I barely had the energy to lift a spoon into my mouth
afterwards. My laptop has broke and consequently I haven't been able to
engage in my video game coping mechanism. Two of my friends who said
they'd be there for me have abandoned me. Everything is just so
incredibly tough and I'm not coping at all with it.

 

That findingoptimism seems great, but it can't track rare events, like being ambushed, or track my mood at different times of the day. Ugh I don't know, I need to think about this. Could you expand on how you used to log everything please?

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To parrot A208B I would check out the exciting little mood tracker Optimism (http://www.findingoptimism.com/) as a start point. It's also available as an indispensable app if you have a smart phone. It's easy to use... and it has a section in which you tick off daily triggers. Unfortunately there are only default triggers as options and some won't be relevant to you but it's a decent overview of the main triggers which many people experience. You can use the notes section for all sorts of useful extra information, such as listing or describing any other triggers not included in the main list. I also use the notes section to report med changes, use of supplements, etc. Finally you can print off a report of your notes & triggers section (as well as coping strategies, etc) and a graph/chart of your core data (sleep, mood and exercise).

 

It sounds like you've hit a bit of a rough patch, I hope things work out better for you soon.

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Unfortunately there are only default triggers as options and some won't be relevant to you but it's a decent overview of the main triggers which many people experience.

My experience has been that for the browser app and the desktop download (I can't speak for the iPhone app as I have an Android), you're able to personalize all categories, checkboxes, and sliders, adding or removing labels--including triggers--as necessary. You're supposed to be able to do this using the "Customize" tool; I just checked my personal accounts and this tool is still visible to me.

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