Colleen (Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia)

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Still, 13 years later, I often experience delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Sometimes, I get confused with words and thoughts. I also suffer from major mood swings—some manias so high that I can’t sleep for days, and some depressions so low that I feel suicidal. I won’t say that the app has fixed it all, but it has helped make life, well, bearable.

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My goal in seeking an app was to track my illness and my day-to-day. I wanted *one* app that would log my symptoms, moods, and daily life, a place that would allow me to take notes on what happened that day. My memory isn’t great, and if I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t know how I could work to make it better. What was this mood? What were my symptoms at the time? What triggered it? Did I have to take medication to treat it? I knew none of the answers, let alone be able to communicate them to my doctors.

Therefore, the biggest benefit to Bearable is its ability to make the user conscious of their own habits, moods, and patterns. Some patterns were obvious—I knew that taking a walk and cuddling with my cat improved my mood and symptoms. However, some things were new to me – my mood greatly dipped on Mondays and was best in the middle of the week. Once I was able to predict this, I learned to compensate for it. For example, could I schedule a nature walk on Mondays to help lift my mood?

All of these analytics sound complex, but the app is actually quite simple to use. This is a must for me, as I try as much as possible to use it when symptomatic. A handy notification reminds me when to log in, although I often find myself adding information as I go about my day. It has quickly become part of my daily routine. I check off “factors,” or things that happen in my life when they occur. These may be things like the weather, my activity level, or where I’ve been that day. I mark my mood, tag it with feelings such as “bored,” “happy,” or “upset,” and jot down a few notes. I check off when I’ve taken important medications, enter what I’ve eaten, and mark the severity of whatever symptoms I’m experiencing. Some of the useful features, such as sleep, are automatically entered from Apple Health.

Bearable has literally become a lifeline for me, and I imagine it would be for others, too. Not all patterns are obvious to someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and it’s amazing to have one organized place to learn about yourself. I can tell my doctors when I’m having a bad week and what important event might have triggered that. I can tell when my medications are working and how often I take them. I have insight into myself, and that would be invaluable for anyone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any illness at all.

Michelle (BPD and Depression)

Hey there, my name is Michelle, I am 28 years old and I live with diagnosed borderline personality disorder and depression.

My everyday life is usually a rollercoaster ride of emotions that takes me up and down without a break or warning; social interactions and interpersonal relationships are my kryptonite and I am in constant struggle with myself to allow closeness and love while another part of me fights against it. All that takes so much space and energy that important daily tasks are no longer feasible for me.

Last year I lost my job and decided to go to a daycare clinic to learn to deal with my problems. I got some good strategies and used several apps that should help me to implement them in my daily life (e.g. by writing down situations and related feelings and reflecting on them, or writing a positive diary to direct thoughts more positively). Then I read about Bearable and was excited about the idea to have one single app where I can track everything important in one place and also have the possibility to customize everything individually.

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Meanwhile I use almost all functions the app offers. I started out by writing down my thoughts and feelings about different situations via mood tracking and highlighting respective factors in order to recognize possible connections over time via the very detailed insights, the calendar function, or even the graph, where you can select individual factors/moods/symptoms and combine them as needed. Special situations I have highlighted in the “Significant Events” feature. 

The gratitude feature has helped me much better than expected to give my thoughts a push in the positive direction after half a year of “practice” and by tracking my symptoms and my sleep I have become aware that my legs are often very restless at night and now I clarify whether it could be RLS. I track my medication, have myself reminded to take it every morning, and recently started to use the food diary to keep an eye on my eating habits as I tend not to eat when I am feeling bad.

Sometimes I can make the entries very promptly so that they are as “unaltered” as possible, but it’s not always time for that, so there are usually 5 – 10 minutes in the evening to catch up on it. And even if I’m in a bad mood, I can change the settings for the day so that everything is done with a few clicks. It has already become a nice little evening ritual for me.

All in all, I think you could say that Bearable has helped me (and still does) to become more aware of my everyday life, listen more to what my body tells me, accept my feelings and fears, reflect on myself and situations – especially in a social context. It helps me to recognize important connections, become more optimistic, re-experience the feeling of self-efficacy – even more as I have the progress in front of my eyes.  Above all, it helped to recognize my needs behind all of this and to strengthen strategies by which I no longer feel so overwhelmed by my feelings that often. 

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I’m just more “with me” again and I haven’t felt this way for a long time, because I am actually used to being heavily influenced by other people in my life. It doesn’t matter if it’s the character I somehow adapted to and under which I could never really find my own personality, or the needs of the other person, which I always put above my own because the fear of loss drove me crazy. Even now I still have to struggle with it sometimes, but it is a long way and Bearable not only accompanies me but has also allowed me to get a better insight behind the scenes. I really sat down, thought about my needs and finally got to know them.  By regularly reflecting on the app, they have even become friends somehow.

I can only say that it has helped me tremendously to deal with myself.  Especially with the borderline disease, mindfulness in everyday life has become so indispensable for me to be able to deal with my emotions in different situations and even triggers I can sometimes absorb quite well. Without the Bearable app as a great self-learning and documentation tool, which you have at your fingertips at all times for quick entries, I don’t think I could have gotten this far in such a short time. I can only recommend everyone to try it out!

Flarey (ADHD and Depression)

ADHD symptoms

Today on the phone with my doctor, she asked me “So when did you last miss your meds?” And I blanked. I had NO idea. A day? A week? Could it have been a month?? It happened all the time! “When was your last cycle?” Uhh… definitely… this year?

And then I remembered – oh wait I have an app for that!! Let me check!

This year, I was diagnosed with ADHD, after a lifetime of thinking I was a scatterbrained weirdo who had depression. I’ve been a bit of a mess all my life – but this, this made sense! I could finally start to piece it back together! I could now say for sure, it was ADHD that gave me an appalling memory, zero concept of time, the inability to just get up and do something, no ability to make new habits… So, to trial the new meds for it, I was writing down symptoms and issues as I noticed them, in a note on my phone! It wasn’t ideal. but enough to figure out a good dosage. Until suddenly, for no reason – my meds weren’t working and I had to know why!

Something I now know about ADHD is that we tend to obsess, which is how I ended up on an all-day research kick.  I learnt that a woman’s hormonal cycle has a strong effect on ADHD medication!! My next step was obviously to track my cycle and match it up to check.

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So I started the hunt for an app. I wanted to track my cycle – but I didn’t want pink and flowers, I didn’t want reminders of my fertility (getting pregnant is not the only reason we might want to keep track!).  I just wanted a calendar that showed the phases as I entered them!   I was forgetting my meds constantly too… (I remember taking them… but was that just before…? Or was that yesterday…) So I figured, an app to remind me would be great! Even better if it does both those things! But every medication app in existence wanted me to go count how many pills I had so it could monitor my supply… and cycle apps didn’t care if I was on medication or not.

I searched high and low for this magical app. I didn’t think I was asking for that much – just an app that could keep track of my meds, remind me to take them – that could put a little marker on some days of the month for me – maybe that I could look at a little graph of my weight fluctuations? Or that I could graph my mood maybe!

Enter Bearable. I had first found out about it on Reddit. It. Was. PERFECT. I was seriously considering learning to code to solve this problem until I found it!

Every day, three times a day, the little bear pops up to say hey, medicine time! I take my meds, open the app to mark them as taken – and hey, while I’m here, I might as well check in! How am I feeling? What’s going on with my day? Any symptoms? Bam! Less than 3 minutes, done and dusted and all in one place.

First thing every morning I stick my temperature, weight, that sort of thing into my Health app – Bearable grabs it for me! My Watch keeps track of my heart rate (gotta make sure those stimulants aren’t pumping me too far up!) – Bearable grabs that too!

Since using Bearable, I’ve been able to track patterns – I now know when I’ll need more ADHD meds because the hormones make them less effective. No more wondering why everything sucks three days in…

I now know that I actually only need half the antidepressants I used to be on – woohoo!!  ! With depression, a bad day feels like forever – now, I can look at the little calendar and see, it’s only been two days and this happened last time we had to go to the dentist too, it’ll pass! (I had never even considered tracking stuff like appointments, when I see family and friends, or factors that could affect my symptoms before! And I called myself a scientist??)

This app is seriously my hero.  If you have ADHD or depression, if you’re trialing medication and tracking side effects, or even if you just want a straight-forward way to track your moods during your cycle – this is the one. You have found it!