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Old 22-11-2017, 02:28 PM   #1
nanne86
 
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Positive Post - Technical advice - Help creating a spreadsheet instead of a mood diary?

Hi everyone,

Sorry if this is not the right forum as it's quite specific and not sure where to post. Perhaps this should be done in an IT forum and not a mental health discussion forum, I don't know, however I also thought this might be useful for other people with similar issues.

I was mainly wondering if anyone has done the same thing and if so, might help me find a template for an excel spreadsheet or give me some advice. I'm not great at Excel but I use it to a certain extent.

I'm trying to keep a better track of my emotional and physical states and I've been given the advice on keeping mood diaries etc. which I certainly see the value of, but I'm looking for a way to do this in a more detailed way.
I could take a bunch of courses and become and excel expert but I don't have any energy at the moment, so I'm just wondering if something like this exists already.

I suffer mainly from GAD. I get panic attacks, and I have been diagnosed with very mild ADD (although I question this sometimes as my symptoms - mainly lack of focus - can also be caused by contributed by anxiety). At the moment my stress levels are through the roof due to specific circumstances surrounding home, work etc. and at the moment it's almost unmanageable, and I feel like I'm just barely coping. I'm worried I'm about to hit that level of stress where I can't cope at all. I have a support system in a way but I don't have my family here, and I'm single, so it's just my friends, and it's just not the same. I have a psychiatrist but that's it. And I'm trying to get through this on my own because I need to learn self-reliance.

My energy levels, my anxiety levels, ability to relax and think positively/negatively, ability to focus at work, my sleep patterns etc. vary greatly from day to day, week to week, month to month.

And because I have so many things in my life that could affect this, I would like to monitor everything more closely to determine a pattern and perhaps this way find a way to adjust my life.

I want to keep track of things like:
Monthly cycles (hormone levels impact on my mood and sleep)
Food/drink intake such as having/not having caffeine, eating regular meals, not eating enough, alcohol consumption
Medicine intake (if I miss a dose or don't take it regularly, does this have more of an impact than I would have thought for example) - I currently am prescribed Pregabalin, Ritalin, Propranolol, Zopiclone, Diazepam, Zolpidem and Melatonin, although Pregabalin and Melatonin are the only ones I take regularly
Sleep patterns
Exercise
Workload levels etc.

I can obviously keep a regular diary of this but with something like an excel spreadsheet I could maybe have formulas to see a more discernible pattern? I've thought about this for a long time and I've tried to create one, but I'm struggling.

Hope this all makes sense and if someone is willing to help, or have done a similar thing that they are willing to share, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks

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Old 22-11-2017, 07:17 PM   #2
one_step_closer
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There is a website called Patients Like Me where you can track medication, symptoms, moods, sleep, appetite, weight, things like that. I use the website and find it somewhat helpful as it creates easy to understand graphs which show how things have been for you over time. I know this isn't exactly answering your question but it's maybe worth giving a try and saving yourself the hassle of trying to figure out how to record and analyse things yourself! There are other tracking websites too if Patients Like Me doesn't suit you. I hope you find a helpful solution anyway.





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Old 22-11-2017, 10:04 PM   #3
tiptoes
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I set up a spreadsheet to monitor my moods and I found it quite helpful to use in conjunction with a mood monitoring site - the site I use gave you a mood score from 1 to 100. So I put that into a spreadsheet and calculated my monthly and weekly scores which I then made into graphs to show my team. I only really used it to monitor the ups and downs on my mood rather than a variety of different things. Excel can seem quite scary at first but it can be a powerful tool once you learn so basic things.

Conditional formatting can be helpful - you can set it so that a cell (square) will change colour based on how much caffeine you drank - green for 1 amber for 3 red for 5 (or whatever range you wish)

Drop down lists are pretty nifty too - especially in conjunction with conditional formatting then things like typos won't get in your way.

There are so many help guides online that will talk you through the things I've mentioned.

Have you heard of bullet journal? I found them useful for a while, they don't quite work with my current life but last year they were a wonderful!



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Old 22-11-2017, 11:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one_step_closer View Post
There is a website called Patients Like Me where you can track medication, symptoms, moods, sleep, appetite, weight, things like that. I use the website and find it somewhat helpful as it creates easy to understand graphs which show how things have been for you over time. I know this isn't exactly answering your question but it's maybe worth giving a try and saving yourself the hassle of trying to figure out how to record and analyse things yourself! There are other tracking websites too if Patients Like Me doesn't suit you. I hope you find a helpful solution anyway.
Thanks for your reply, I'll definitely give it a try.
It's the graphs thing in particular I'm interested in, so it sounds interesting. I use excel at work so I'm slowly getting better at it, but I find myself constantly coming up with new ideas, like this one, then getting frustrated because it's too complex, because I tend to over-complicate things. :(

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Old 22-11-2017, 11:11 PM   #5
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Maybe start with a small thing you track and see how you go for a few days and then add something else to track.

It took me a little while of trying to use an spreadsheet for get it to work for me but that is also a good thing because it can evolve.



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Old 22-11-2017, 11:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptoes View Post
I set up a spreadsheet to monitor my moods and I found it quite helpful to use in conjunction with a mood monitoring site - the site I use gave you a mood score from 1 to 100. So I put that into a spreadsheet and calculated my monthly and weekly scores which I then made into graphs to show my team. I only really used it to monitor the ups and downs on my mood rather than a variety of different things. Excel can seem quite scary at first but it can be a powerful tool once you learn so basic things.

Conditional formatting can be helpful - you can set it so that a cell (square) will change colour based on how much caffeine you drank - green for 1 amber for 3 red for 5 (or whatever range you wish)

Drop down lists are pretty nifty too - especially in conjunction with conditional formatting then things like typos won't get in your way.

There are so many help guides online that will talk you through the things I've mentioned.

Have you heard of bullet journal? I found them useful for a while, they don't quite work with my current life but last year they were a wonderful!
Thanks for your reply.
I know some basic excel as I use it fairly regularly for work, I think what I'm looking for is way beyond my level of expertise however, and this is something very personal and not work related so I can't really ask my go-to excel person at work. I just had this idea in my head, basically starting off with a basic calendar-type template with a column for each item I think might have an impact on my mood. Sort of like (just a rough example):
Day 1:
Row 1: Sleep (with a cell for entering either hours slept or sleep/wake up time)
Then
Row 2: 07:00-12:00
Row 3: 12:00-15:00
Row 4: 17:00-20:00
Row 5: 20:00-00:00

or something to that effect.

And for each time slot, a column for each type of medication and whether or not I took it during the time period (perhaps amount in mg as well), another column for caffeine, one for alcohol consumption if any, whether I ate during this time period or not, maybe even whether I had a ready-meal vs something more nutritious, whether or not I took vitamins even - I could probably find 10 more things to add!
And lastly, a column each for mood/anxiety level, energy level and stress level, with perhaps a drop-down for either low, medium or high.

I could probably create all this. But then the tricky thing would be creating graphs showing those last three columns (how I'm actually feeling, mentally and physically) over time, in correlation to the other columns, and then see if there is a pattern. So if I notice that my not eating breakfast shows a drop in energy, higher caffeine intake an increase in stress etc., going to sleep and waking up the same time every day for a month might make a world of difference. We all know that all these things have an impact but to varying degrees - perhaps I have triggers, why do I feel like life is too difficult to live some days and can barely get out of bed, while I feel great and positive other days? I really just want to get better and I'm trying a more practical approach I guess.

Not heard of bullet journal, what is that?
Thanks again :)

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Old 23-11-2017, 08:49 PM   #7
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The link below gives more detail. It is a basically a flexible style of journal/diary.
You could have a page for sleep where you colour squares for hours you were asleep.
It was the habit trackers (see buzz feed link) that made me think of them for you.

http://bulletjournal.com/
Some examples
http://bulletjournal.com/show-tell-2/
https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolenguye...nYO#.uo5LmRk38



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Old 23-11-2017, 11:52 PM   #8
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I am awful with excel so I don't have any advice but I used 'true colours' app and you could get it to promt you with questions and created graphs and things.

Good luck with making your own though. If you crack it, make an app.



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Step back, breathe and take it in




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