Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cause & Effect

I've been keeping a timer in my garden office to track how long I actually work each day. I do it on a little excel spreadsheet I created, which charts each weeks totals. (I would highly recommend this, by the way, to people who work from home. It adds some structure and organisation to your life. And scares you shitless as to how little work you DO do).

Anyway, I was looking over the past few weeks at my moods as recorded here on BiPolar Daily and noticed an incredibly accurate correlation between the amount of work I put in each week and my mood states. "Pretty-Shitty" week - very low productivity. "In-the-Pink" week - plenty work hours put in.

The obvious deduction from this is that when you're down, work is just too difficult to tackle (as I've said so many times before). IE. Down Moods are a CAUSE of low productivity.

But then I got to thinking and the alternate possibility snuck into my vision: Maybe, on the weeks that I don't work too hard, I am so wracked with guilt and failure, that it leads to down moods. To be sure it is a 2-way street, but  I'm telling you, not  working does NOT make you feel good. So it's a downward spiral: down mood -> low productivity -> down mood -> low productivity -> down mood.... you get the picture.

So how can we stop the spiral? Which part of the equation can we change? Not the mood part - we're BiPolar remember and the chemicals in our heads are beyond our control. Which leaves the work part. I'm seeing this more and more - push yourself to do a little work when you're down and the spiral turns. Do work -> feel better -> do more work -> feel more better etc. etc.

The proof is in the hamburger. I worked real hard yesterday and today I'm in the zone.


  1. This was very helpful for me. It seems very plausible that working can raise the mood.
    When/if I do it again, I have been encouraged even by the U.S. Social Security administration to work at home as opposed to having to working for someone else. Turns out there are even more benefits to working at home than not being bothered by others.

  2. I always thought it was in the pudding. I've been exercising more recently, roller-blading along the river in the scorching afternoon sun, and not only am I in the pink, I am significantly pinker in complexion!

  3. Interesting. While I do not have bipolar, I do absolutely agree with your deduction. It's quite true even on smaller day-to-day scale. Anyway, while I have no idea who you are, I hope that all is (and will be) well for you, and may the Force be with you!

  4. Well...did it work for you? When I was in the spiral of depression, I threw myself into physical activity. Got up at 5:00am and went to the gym for spinning classes, stayed extra hours at work (and tried to remember how to act normally), but I still spiralled lower and lower. I forced myself to be with people, but they just asked me "why are you acting so differently?" "why are you so quiet?" "what's wrong with you?". I *tried* to do the right things that I thought I should do to springboard myself back into "normalcy", but in the end, it didn't work. Not even the pdoc helped. I ended up in the hospital.

    Not to be a downer or anything...just my own experiment I tried. Maybe it works for others, but it didn't for me. My new pdoc in the hospital just told me it was chemical, I couldn't have fixed it on my own anyway.


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