Ever been in that place where your mood is completely overbearing? Days, or even weeks of feeling too angry, too sad, too anxious, too excitable?
Course you have! You’re human! (I’m assuming you’re not a bot at this stage.)
Whether your troublesome mood is pathological, caused by drinking too many double espressos or from watching too much daytime telly (The Jeremy Kyle Show makes my blood boil too), it’s sometimes difficult to put two and two together and put your finger on what’s really driving it.
The thing with Moodbeam is, the only thing you have to do is put your finger on it – and it will do the rest of the work for you. It will help figure out what might be causing your moods. It’ll help join up the dots and create a clearer picture of what’s going on.
Why was this not around years ago, when I was constantly being told to keep a ‘mood diary’?!
It always felt like so much hard work - monitoring my moods. And yet several doctors advised me to do it over the years.
Sometimes you go to your doctor complaining of anger issues or anxiety, and you want to be told its pathological. You want to be told ‘there’s a pill for that’. Job done.
Ridiculous really, that someone who struggled with health anxiety for years would rather be told there was a pathological problem. But it just felt like so much hard work - monitoring your moods and identifying your triggers over a period of weeks or months.
Of course, buying the new mood diary was always fun – who doesn’t enjoy flicking through the pink flamingo note books and sequinned unicorn diaries in Paperchase?
But once you’ve got it, it’s a chore to complete it every single day. I started doing it - noting down how I was responding to various events throughout the day, using smiley and not so smiley faces to summarise. But it soon tapered off.
I love creative writing and I enjoy blogging, but documenting what I had for breakfast, noting down what time I went to bed and rounding it off with a biro emoticon was not flexing my artistic muscles.
So I never really kept it up. And because I never kept it up, it was pretty difficult to spot any patterns relating to my moods. So I would just put up. And probably go back to the doctor with the same complaint six months later.
"Spotting that recurring pattern could change how we behave and completely transform how we feel."
- Lucy Nichol
But it’s hard, with so many variables in life, to pin down the cause of the problem. The stress of work, poor sleep, fluctuating hormones, caffeine intake, a lazy fast food diet, too little exercise, too much exercise, accidentally over-indulging in the Jeremy Kyle show.
This is why I was so keen to learn about Moodbeam. There might not be a pretty Paperchase notebook in sight, but there’s a pretty little wristband in its place. And no, it’s not a wristband with an iPhone-style touchscreen keypad, where you punch in dates and times, add emoticons and type in activities. It’s far simpler than that.
As somebody who has taken both thyroid medication and antidepressants for years, who’s sensitive to caffeine and yet still drinks boatloads of it, who’s been on and off the contraceptive pill more times than Theresa May’s said ‘Brexit means Brexit, it’s hard to find a common thread amongst the chaos.
But spotting that recurring pattern could change how we behave and completely transform how we feel.
So instead of buying endless Paperchase notebooks that get used for a few sporadic days before settling into a permanent home on the bookshelf, I think I’d rather press a simple ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ button whenever the mood hits me - and let technology do the rest.
Lucy is a writer and podcaster whose book, A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes – Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas is available to buy from Amazon. She’s a partner of Moodbeam and a keen mental health campaigner. Follow her on Twitter @LucyENichol.