Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What is 'Normal'?

What's normal for me is probably not normal for you.

Three instances:

• My therapist regularly scores 100% when she takes the Moodscope test (she doesn't have depression, but many of her clients do, so she monitors herself to keep on track with them).
• When I am well my score is regularly 75%.
• My daughter will feel quite well but will score 45%.

This may have less to do with our actual mood than our scoring system.

For example, after each one of my classes, my clients are invited to submit a feedback form (anonymously if they wish) to my Head Office. I am always rather amused by this form as they can only say that I am 'good', 'very good', 'excellent' or 'outstanding'. If they have been disappointed in the consultation I think they are supposed to phone up and tell my directors how appalling the experience has been. In thirteen years only one person has done this: you always get at least one, don't you!

The point of this is that, for me, if I get anything less than outstanding, I feel I have failed. Yet there are some of my clients who could never bring themselves to rate even the best experience in the world as more than 'very good'. Yes, they were satisfied, even pleased, with the consultation, but their personality is such that they would never use the rather fulsome words 'delighted' or 'outstanding.' They are British, don't you know!

So some of us can never bring ourselves to score a three on any of the cards; it's just not in us. Personally, I've never scored more than a one on the pride card, but regularly score a three on determined, enthusiastic and inspired (when well, that is: just at the moment if they get a one it's a good day).

So don't compare yourself with other Moodscope users. If you have a mutual buddy system going then do try to follow your buddy's pattern rather than thinking their scores are regularly higher or lower than your own. You might be having a good day at 45%, but if your buddy scores 45% it might be a very bad day for them.

Like a lot of things, the Moodscope system is subjective. It is the pattern over time that is most helpful for us. If you can afford to upgrade from Moodscope Lite then I would recommend it highly. Now that I can see three years' worth of scores the pattern is illuminating and helps me manage my condition. It was extremely useful when I recently changed GP; she could clearly see my bi-polar cycle: the evidence was there, all neatly plotted out on the graph.

But the most useful thing of all: taking the test every day. You can't see the pattern if you don't have the basic data! Don't get disheartened when your result is consistently low, and don't neglect Moodscope when well. You need the good and the bad, the ups and the downs to effectively see the landscape of your emotional health.

Good luck with your own very personal (and subjective) map-making!

Mary
A Moodscope member.