(This is really a note to myself, but I thought I would post it publicly in case anyone else is interested or finds it useful.)
Since 2003 I have been rating my moods out of ten every evening (except Shabbat and Yom Tov), where 1 is unbearably awful (I have sometimes reached 0, added when I reached new depths that I had not guessed existed when I rated myself 1/10) and 10 is normal (actually 8 is my de facto normal; even in periods of remission, I’ve rarely felt able to award myself 10/10, but over time 8 became shorthand for “basically OK”).
Between 2003 and 2010 (really more like 2015) for long periods – months and at times years – I was unable to study or work because I was so depressed. At these times I think I floated consistently around 3/10. Lately I’ve been feeling that I’m doing better than at times in the past. I’m going to work every day and staying there, not coming home early with panic attacks and suicidal thoughts as happened a few years ago. But I think I’m judging myself as much on achievement as mood (I think I used to rate achievement every evening too, but over time I dropped it as unnecessary). I am achieving things, in terms of working despite my depression. But my mood is often incredibly low. I’ve been rating myself 4s, 5s and 6s on work days – bad compared with non-work days, which can be mildly depressed 7s or effectively normal 8s, but better than times when I’ve felt at 1, 2 or 3 for months on end. But I wonder if I should be rating myself lower than I actually am because my mood at work is so low that it’s almost impossible to work and I just sit at my desk crying.
The other tricky thing is change over the day. I do feel a lot better when it reaches 5pm and I leave the office for another sixteen hours. I rate my mood at the end of the day, so there’s an immediacy bias to how I feel after having blogged, had dinner, watched some TV and relaxed a bit rather than how I felt during the day. Sometimes I put a range of values to reflect this change e.g. 5-7/10, but I wonder if I’m not doing that often enough.
It’s difficult to deal with the subjectivity of emotions, even without alexithymia (difficulty feeling and understanding one’s emotions)…