I question myself all the time. I can’t help but do it. How am I doing today? Am I experiencing any feelings of depression or sadness (or elation). Am I having any thoughts of harming myself or others? Those are just the cursory investigations. There is a lot more that goes into making sure I am stable and heading in the right direction.
First of all. Why do I go through this exercise on a regular basis (2-3 times a day)? It’s my way of checking in with myself to ensure that everything is going the way it should be. It’s my way of trying to get out in front of anything that could cause me a problem.
Are there some low feelings? How low are they? Does it feel as if it might last a while? Do I need to call the doc? This one is relatively easy because depression is, in my experience, somewhat easy to self-identify and self-report.
Hypomania, isn’t as easy, for me, to self-diagnose. I can tell if I’m in a good mood, or if my mood is elevated, but that’s as far as I can get. The biggest problem with identifying a hypomanic episode for me is that I stop asking myself the checkup questions. Once that stops the whole plan has been derailed. Luckily, my history tells me that I have a hypomanic episode every 12-18 months and that when they do happen they are usually mild. They don’t approach a full blown manic episode. They should, however, be watched and my support system to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
As for the manic episodes. All bets are off. My experience with manic episodes shows that they always present themselves as psychotic episodes. When that happens, I do not have the ability to judge real from fake, right from wrong etc. So there is no way I could even attempt to ask myself any questions about my well-being. I end up having to rely on my support system to keep me safe.
All that being said, in my normal, everyday life I am asking myself questions and looking after myself. It’s the only way to keep myself healthy that makes any sense to me.
If you have anything that works for you I’d love to hear about it. I’ll be gathering them and posting them here.