Data and Depression

On Saturday, I talked about how time passes when struggling through a depressive episode or when struggling with severe anxiety. Accordingly, it can be very hard to stay mindful of how you feel and when you felt it during these times. Luckily, there is an app for that.

There are actually many apps for that, but I’m just going to talk briefly about the ones I use. However, I think it is important to first understand why it is important to understand how you felt at certain times. 

Depression and anxiety both fog your brain. The same is true for PTSD, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses. They warp your interpretation of reality by whispering lies that seem so real in their shadowy world. As such, it can be difficult to understand what if anything might have been a trigger for a given episode. But understanding that is such an important step in recovery. It won’t guarantee you’ll never struggle again, but it at least gives you a tool to identify what you’re dealing with and help you manage it. 

And that is where technology comes in. There are a variety of mood tracking apps available for both Android and iPhone. The one I use is called Daylio. The free version offers a variety of moods and activities, and charts them over the course of the month to see how you progress. You can program it to check in with you once a day, but there is no limit to how many times you record your mood. The full version, which is very reasonably priced, offers more options for viewing and analyzing the data, unlimited check-in reminders, data backup, pin-lock security, and more features I haven’t even fully explored. 

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My Daylio monthly mood chart. As I’ve been battling a  depression since the 19th, not the happiest of graphs, but important data none the less. 

 

 

I also use Woebot, an app that is as hokey as the name suggests, but that is nevertheless beneficial. It also checks in with you daily, while also offering tips about cognitive behavioral therapy and self-care, while also challenging negative thought patterns you might have. 

There are also plenty of meditation apps out there, several of which I use, although much less regularly than I should. These apps can track how well your meditation and mindfulness practices are going, data that can then be compared to mood data to better understand patterns that may or may not exist. 

Depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and so many other illnesses offer a variety of challenges. But being mindful, and using the tools available to you to collect data can be essential to understanding and managing the illness. I have already seen the advantages of having data on my mental illness, and I think that if you tried one you’d see some advantages too. 

 

And if you already use any apps like the ones I talked about above, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you and incorporate your experiences into future posts. 

And thanks for stopping by.

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7 thoughts on “Data and Depression

  1. I used to use Pacifica, now called Sanvello, for mood tracking. I liked that it allows you to select multiple emotions to go along with your mood rating. I’m currently tracking my mood and various other factors in my bullet journal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The multiple emotions does sound like an improvement, though that might be more advanced. I feel like sometimes it is enough just to remember to be mindful of one emotion. Thanks for the comment though, I’ll have to check that app out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also going to add the app #SelfCare to the list even though it doesn’t necessarily add data to help you understand your mental illness. The entire app is a game where you stay in bed and focus on self-care by performing tasks like petting your cat, looking at a flower, etc. It is a reminder that it is okay to stay in bed and focus on self care if you need it and I bet you see some positive results in the data you collect too if you use this app!

    Like

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