We try it!

We Try It!: The Facing Us Clubhouse Wellness Tracker

Keeping track of symptoms and moods when you have bipolar, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues is one of the most important things that you can do. It helps you to recognize how well or how badly you’re doing and it can make it easier for your doctor to diagnose and treat your illness. I’ve found that the easiest and most comprehensive way to track my moods and symptoms is the Facing Us Clubhouse.

The Facing Us Clubhouse is a website maintained by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to help those with mental health issues record symptoms of their illness. There are many different resources on the site, including a Wellness Journal, a Wellness Plan, and a Wellness Tracker. The most useful one I’ve found, and have been consistently using, is the Wellness Tracker.

With the Wellness Tracker, you’re first asked to track your general mood on a simple scale, then to go more in-depth regarding certain signs and symptoms of a manic or depressive state. A few of these are Sadness/Despair, Helplessness/Hopelessness, Agitation/Irritability, and Racing Thoughts. You’re also given an area to record your sleep, exercise, medications, and general wellness.

These statistics are recorded and available for downloading as reports, accessible from the Wellness Tracker main screen. This is something that you can view for your own personal use to recognize patterns, or print and bring to your doctor to help him or her get a good grasp on where you are and what might be working (or not).

Here are a few highlights:

  • Portability – The DBSA Wellness Tracker is available on the desktop, tablet and iPhone. This makes it easy to input your information wherever you are.
  • Ease of Use/Clean Layout – It’s very easy to get started with the Wellness Tracker. The layout is clean and uncluttered, and you’re easily able to rate your symptoms on a simple scale.
  • Thoroughness – The Wellness Tracker runs through a variety of symptoms, and gives you the opportunity to add notes to each symptom. It covers the big issues when it comes to depression or mania, as well as allowing you to add notes about the little things that might also be an issue.
  • Reports – This is a huge plus. Every day you complete the Wellness Tracker, everything you input is recorded. This is easily printable for your own records.
  • Introspection – To some extent, simply the act of doing a Wellness Tracker consistently is a great way to get grounded and recognize where you’re at. In day to day life, many people tend to ignore their own mental health, even when they know that they’ve got a history of issues. This is a great way to stay in tune with how you’re doing.
  • Notes – In case all of the information from the reports means nothing to you after the fact, notes are a great way to remind yourself if there were any outside influences that could have caused a depression or mania.
  • Wellness – The Wellness Tracker also records the amount of exercise, drinks, drugs and sleep you get in a day. With the reports, it’s easy to see if these are in any way influencing your mood.

Overall I’ve had a great experience with the Facing Us Clubhouse Wellness Tracker. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any downsides of the tracker. In the eight months I’ve been using it, here are some issues I’ve run into:

  • Portability – This is a plus and a minus. The Wellness Tracker is not currently available on Android devices, only the iPhone. It is free.
  • Bugs – There’s one big bug that I’ve found on the tracker. If you keep yourself logged in and input your information, you won’t be able to input your information the next day. You have to logout to reset the day. In the scheme of things this is minor, but it can be a pain.
  • Body Shaming – This isn’t in any way extreme, but you are asked to record your weight and exercise regimen in the program. While I understand that exercising and releasing endorphins can help with a depression, for people who are triggered by this it can be frustrating. Fortunately, the only place you’re required to record this daily is under your “Lifestyle” in one question under how much exercise you’ve done in a day. You weight is required, however, in the “Health” portion of the tracker, though you aren’t required to change this after you first record it.
  • Reports – While the reports are a plus, they’re also not easy to read. I’m not sure what can be done with the formatting to make it easier to read, but as it is it’s simply not as user-friendly as it could be. Part of this is that there’s a lot of information recorded, so it’s information overload.

Despite the downsides, I would recommend the Wellness Tracker to anyone looking for a tracker for their symptoms. In my opinion it’s got the best user experience, and being free makes it even better.

By Bipolar Gurl

Bipolar Gurl is an artist and... well, that's about it really. Multi-talented she is not.

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