The headshrinker and I were talking about specific indicators of a worsening mood (losing concentration, lack of motivation, etc.) so I’m charting them to see if hyper-vigilance will make a difference.
Worsening Mood Cycle (Indicators in Chronological Order)
- Excellent mood, moderate to high productivity
- Concentration begins to decrease
- Reading comprehension decreases
- Length of time between going to bed and falling asleep increases
- Negative thoughts/self-destructive thoughts increase
- Motivation decreases
- Difficulty sleeping without sleep aid
- Begin to question life status/path (socialization time vs. isolation, reality vs. potential)
- Begin to isolate
- Lose all motivation
- Lose all concentration
- Apathy and adehonia set in
On average, each cycle is about six weeks in length but can be accelerated or decelerated by external events. Unfortunately the excellent mood usually lasts between 4-7 days while the low mood lasts for weeks. In the past seven days I’ve moved from step 2 to step 7 – my mood is still pretty even but things are slipping.
Thoughts on the Cycle
Losing concentration is closely followed by losing motivation, as I can’t be productive if I can’t concentrate. Most of my hobbies involve medium to high levels of concentration, so productivity is often halved when concentration wanes. Beyond ADHD meds, is there anything chemical that can help my concentration issues?
Charting this cycle has been interesting, as it’s really highlighted the shame and guilt I feel around not being productive. I noticed that my mood gets exponentially worse when I’m not busy at work and I feel infinitely better when productive during non-work times.
It would seem I need to keep busy, keep my mind occupied. But then I wonder whether keeping busy is simply a way to keep the worsening mood under the surface, containing it until it explodes without warning. That situation played out many times over the years – ignoring something until it explodes. Is there is a difference between keeping busy because it’s productive and healthy and keeping busy to avoid depression?
What does your mood cycle look like? How long does it last?
Things I Read and Found Interesting or Funny:
- 6 Social Situations That Aren’t A Big Deal, But Give Me Anxiety
- 21 Emotions For Which There Are No English Words [Infographic]
- How Google Author Rank Could Change Content Marketing and Journalism
- This Is How You Write a Memoir
- A Three-Day Plan to Increase Your Focus
- What Generation Y Really Wants
- The Need for Authentic Meaning
- No Flowers on the Psych Ward
- 4 scientific studies on how meditation can affect your heart, brain and creativity
- Shame: The Master Emotion