I love mental health month. It is putting me in a better mood than usual, because I love talking about mental health! I’m in the mood to write about MOOD. I want you to understand the difference between normal moods and a mood disorder AND why it’s super important that you do. Hip-hip, hooray for this Mental Health Awareness Month! Let’s do this!
Mood and mental illness are two separate things, yet they are not always mutually exclusive – they CAN occur at the same time!
Mood – A state or quality of feeling at a particular time.
Fact: Moods change, quickly and often. Moods tend to be temporary and are often situation dependent. Moods aren’t personal characteristics. Moods are not personality traits. Moods are energy, experienced as a result of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences.
Tense, happy, sad, excited, and terrified are all examples of moods.
Stabby is another. OOOOOO SOMETIMES I GET SO STABBY!
So how does a person know if their moods might be a symptom of mental illness?
Mental illness can be mild, moderate or severe, just like a mood.
So when is a mood a problem?
Well, if you feel stabby and you actually stab someone – it’s definitely a problem.
But seriously, when a mood becomes a lingering, disruptive influence in a person’s life, it’s a problem. When a mood becomes a chronic, troubling, distracting supply of psychic energy, it’s a fucking problem.
How do you know when it’s time to get help?
Good question. Here are a few things to consider…
A person with a mood disorder has a more difficult time tolerating negative interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences and this often leads to negative moods. The same holds true with positive interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences. People with mood disorders tend to take things to the extreme. Extremes are exhausting. Chronic, extreme emotional experiences stress out the body. Feeling things deeply isn’t just a metaphor. It wears the body down. If this describes you or someone you know, I highly recommend seeking help.
Once the mood sets in, a person with a mood disorder can’t just “snap out of it,” they cannot pretend to be okay. Whether the mood is negative or positive, that mood lingers. The mood stops being dependent on outside influences and begins to fester and feed off the underlying mental illness. Recovery is slow, difficult and disrupts a person’s life across the board – work, school, home, relationships, etc. If this describes you or someone you know, I highly recommend seeking help.
This last one might seem silly, but it’s my acid test for myself. When am I in need of some support, medication adjustment or therapy? When none of my usual coping skills help me get “right,” and by right, I mean that I am not irritable, exhausted for no reason, tearful, over-sensitive (or as I like to call it “easily butt-hurt”). When I can’t dance it out at 11 o’clock everyday when my dance it out alarm goes off and achieve a feeling of balance and clear-headed mindfulness as a result of that dancing, it’s time to call Dr. Feelgood.
I use music as a diagnostic tool. I am not suggesting this as a professional recommendation for you, because I do not know you. I know me and I know what works for me. I’ve spoken to my doctor about this and we agree that this is a safe and trustworthy coping skill for me. I have been using music to help me access and manage my mood for years. I use music to get right. I use it to get calm. I use it to get grateful. I use it to give myself a time out – time to allow my mind to process a mood and decided whether I need help managing it.
I do recommend that you find your own way to gauge your own sense of wellness and balance when you are overcome by a mood. You might find that this works for you. I hope you find something, because it will improve the quality of your life exponentially and empower you in ways that will positively affect your physical health as well as your mental health.
P.S. My BOOK is still $1.99 of Amazon today – Kindle Edition. Click HERE to buy that bitch! It will improve your mood if you read it.