Although I suffer from various conditions such as Lupus, Diabetes and Asthma, by far my hardest battle has been with my mental diagnosis, Bipolar Disorder. This condition causes extreme mood swings, from mania to depression, and I have been hospitalized four times, twice for mania and twice for depression.
For over a year I have been on the depression end of the spectrum. It is hard for me to shower and get out to do the things I need to do. It is hard not to want to sleep or lie in bed all day and I have difficulty with organization, such as opening my mail and keeping my home clean.
I do take medication and see a therapist but that has only taken me so far. It is ultimately up to me to manage my disease. One of the things that I try to do is to take care of my appearance; getting my eyebrows waxed, my hair cut and colored and even the occasional pedicure. These beauty regimens, along with being out, talking to people and having human touch, make me feel pretty and good about myself. One of the symptoms of my depression is that I do not like the way I look and so anything that I can do to improve my appearance lifts my spirits.
Another thing that I have found helpful to self-care is the Health Storyline app created by Self-Care Movement. The app is free and can be downloaded via iTunes and Google Play or by signing up on their website.
To be honest, I never thought I needed an app to keep track of my health but Health Storylines has many tools for keeping my disease all in one place. You can customize Health Storylines for your condition and even if they don’t list your condition there are many tools for you to use in the story of you.
One of the categories I find the most helpful is the Medication Tracker. I take a lot of medicines and health supplements and I can input them into the app and it will remind me when to take them and provides a checklist to show that I’ve taken everything I’ve needed to take that day. My disease and the medicines I take wreak havoc on my memory so I definitely need reminders that I can count on!
My mind is in chaos when I have a bunch of ideas or things I need to do rolling around in it so I use the “To Do List”. Seeing what I have to do never fails to give me peace!
I really like the Appointment Calendar which also has a reason for the appointment and a notes section. I usually just handwrite my questions or notes for my doctors, now I have everything I need on my tablet.
The last category that I use in my Health Storylines is the journal. I’ve never been one to journal about my conditions but I realize that putting my thoughts down and then reading several entries gets my feelings out and brings a certain type of tranquility to my mind.
Other categories that I am not using include a Food Diary, an Exercise Diary and a Pain Rating Scale.
Health Storylines has something for anyone with a chronic illness and I definitely recommend you give it a try!