The Numbered Scales I Created to Help Track and Explain My Chronic Illnesses


I use numbered scales to describe how I am feeling on a daily basis in regard to my bipolar disorder and fibromyalgia for several reasons. I find it much easier to tell my support system how I am feeling: they have copies of my scales and I am able to just give them two numbers, so they know how I’m doing each day. This makes things easier for them to understand and makes it easier for me to tell them. Sometimes it’s hard to explain using words what I am going through. It can even make me feel worse at times to have to go into detail. The scales simplify things a great deal.

the author's scales she uses to track how her bipolar disorder and her fibromyalgia

I also use these scales to keep track of my mood for my doctors and psychiatrists, so that they can see the pattern of my illnesses easily and simply, and hopefully treat me more effectively.

Lastly, I use the scales for myself, so I am more self-aware. Looking at them quickly each day and setting myself a rating helps me to be aware of what I am going through, so I can see clearly if things are slipping and ask for help when I need it. This is particularly useful in regard to my mental health.

I found examples of scales online and used the basis of them to write my own, as everyone’s individual symptoms are different. I made mine as accurate as possible for me.


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