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Function Meter

You may find that, like any skill set, going through the motions of noting it down each day (did that, did that, didn't do that, etc) will, after a while, help you notice as a matter of course.

Yes i should think it very helpful on that. When I've had daily practise at using tools, its always had a huge impact on how quickly and how often I remember to use them when I need it.

Also, I've noticed a lot with me, I keep a good habit up for so long, then a mini emergency happens and I forget to pick up the habit again. So though I regularly practise tools, I regularly forget them too.

Be interesting to see if this helps at all.

But, will also help you be honest with yourself when you're 'slipping'.

Hope so :) How do you react when you realise you're slipping?

Remember that these things are achievements, not "I'm not good enough unless I get a score of at least...". There's no one competing against you, or judging you. It's just noticing and recording useful data, and using it as small motivations when that's helpful.

Yes absolutely. It will be a lifetime's work switching to a headspace of interested curiosity instead of judgemental criticism but hey, worth the effort.

But reading, painting and watching my aquarium fish is important too. Anything that keeps me centered and not depressed are also important.

Totally agree :) I've put leisure down as one of my 10 items. As I said I've years of experience of trying to find a system to help me remember the things I need to do and know it's no fun if its just a list of chores.

And another item is using my tools/ meditating / self care

So, yes I can cut this list real short, but I work hard with my T to prevent that, because all these things make an excellent day for me, though I rarely do them all.

Yes, I don't think the point is reduce your life to 10 activities only :)
How do you react when you realise you're slipping?
It's information, and only one source of potential information, about how I'm going at any given time. So, it's probably not something you'd necessarily consider in isolation, particularly if you have other tools in your toolbox that indicate that you're okay.

So, atm? I'm slipping on my function, but that's occurring in the context of going into hospital in a week. My response to that is to simply notice, and toss in a little extra effort to keep things as stable as possible, knowing that this is obviously a period of instability for me.

At other times, especially when 'slipping' means that it's been a few weeks where my function is markedly lower than my personal norm, there's different things I can do with that.

The first is obviously to try and self-correct. Part of that will inevitably include noticing how hard it is for me to self correct. If self-correcting is easy, then probably I don't need to worry - I'm simply going to need to remind myself to keep paying attention to those daily necessities. They're important for me sustaining good mental health.

If I typically function at 7-8, and am suddenly finding it really hard to get my score back up there, then the simplest thing to do with that information is to tell my T. I can give them information about my function going backwards, and we can trouble shoot why that might be occurring.

That 'why' am I going backwards will usually determine the course of action. If it's because I have an anniversary coming up, then the way we decide to handle that will be different to a situation where we can't explain it - my mental health is just noticeably declining. That's real action stations time.

The good thing is, having a T, you don't have to solve difficult periods of function by yourself. That's what your T is there for. And it's okay to work collaboratively with them on it - that's why we pay them.

Monitoring my function gives me insight that I otherwise struggle with, into how I'm travelling relative to my norm. I can't ask for help from my T if I'm not aware of whether I have a problem, or what that problem is.

Definitely this process will help you with that insight. But maybe notice the anxiety (or whatever it is going on for you internally right now) if you're feeling like having this tool means you should now be able to fix yourself and stay well. That's not the case. Quite the opposite, this is a way to get more constructive assistance from your T, because you're armed with more objective, concrete information about a particular measure of well-being:)
Just to say thank you for taking the time yo explain this to me. And well wishes for your time in hospital, I guess you might be there already.

Really ever so helpful.

I've been using it since, and still very early days as yet and I might alter slightly the items I've chosen over time, but am finding it helpful so far.

Kind of helps me have a sense of direction instead of feeling quite so floatily dissociated.

Course I might not keep it up, is prolly likely I won't but we'll see.

I'm liking the app so far. I have it set to percentages and traffic light colours instead of 100% success / failure but I have been functioning relatively well for me this week, so I've not yet had to deal with how I feel about it when I can't tick much off.

Anyways, thanks. :)
Reading post offered on this thread did allow self reflection. The commonality of Service Dogs and their care, does seem to over ride one’s current head-set. Insofar as my list, it varies a tad as my disease fluctuates with episodic intensity or remission. I choose to reset accordingly, often reminding myself that I am a human being not just a human doing. Self compassion is often key for me and when I forget, my T reframes my list perspectives.

However, the instant gratification of ticking off, on a list can be exciting, I agree. When I am building up courage or muscle-strength each time of setback, I often keep a refrigerator-magnet paper log of how much my dog and I exercised (by google map help). For those other days or hours, I am too challenged to walk, I have a doggy treadmill to keep my buddy healthy.

The list does become as @Sideways mentioned a paper trail for progress or decline. It has been invaluable this year for discussing my disease with my Dr. as well as my T for my PTSD. Speaking of which @Sideways -may you have a speedy recovery from your hospital visit.

Great thread thank you for opening it @Teasel !
Yep, okay so it's self-created and fine tuned over the years with the help of various Ts.

I get major depressive episodes where this is particularly helpful. For a few reasons:

1) function is a much simpler way of assessing "how am I today" if "how am I feeling" doesn't compute for you when you're becoming unwell

2) it's objective - so, there's no skewed results from hopelessness/helplessness issues, or on the flip side, denial/avoidance issues (like, "nah, I'm totes fine today" when that's just no the case)

3) it results on ticks on a page in front of me. Which is motivating. I can see that I have achieved something. I can also see that if I do that one more simple task? I get a better score than yesterday! Hooray! And that often motivates me where other things don't.

To make your own, think of 10 daily tasks, that range from super simple, to somewhat harder. This is going to be very personal, and may change over time.

Simple tasks for me, when I'm very unwell, include:
1) brushing my teeth twice a day
2) showering
3) eating 3 meals of proper food (doesn't have to be cooked by me)

Harder tasks for me, when I'm very unwell, include:
8) washing the dishes
9) going for a 20 minute walk
10) doing a 30 minute yoga or guided relaxation session.

The remaining 4 - 7 options are in-between that.

These are all daily routine things. Things that will help me return to a daily routine if I achieve them, and therefore stabilise my mood.

Last step:
Write them down the side of a sheet of paper, then rule off lines for each day of the week. Leave it somewhere visible, and (literally) tick the boxes of things you've achieved today, and give yourself a score.

This works for me because, having been at the point where I can't get out of bed? There's absolutely no judgment that I place on myself if I only get a score of 1 or 2 out of 10 for 3 days in a row.

The goal isn't to get 10 out of 10 every day, it is, quite simply, to track my function (or, as your T will probably call it, ADLs = Activities of Daily Living).

For people who are going to use low scores to bash themselves up with (like, "look how useless you are" etc)? This is likely to be a counterproductive tool.

Tracking that daily, I can see how I'm going. I can also take objective data about how I'm going to my T at the end of the week (without having to actually remember any of it, it's written down! Sweet!) and they can decide "You're doing okay, keep it up", or "Shit, this person needs more support right now".
Thank you for this explanation. I have made a chart and brushed my teeth twice today in I don't know how long. It's really helping so far
BTW for anyone interested I've found an app called List: Daily Checklist which seems suitable for this job.
Thank you T, Installing now. Looks like that would be a very useful tool. I have routines in the morning and evening, tracking this stuff would be motivational and provide valuable information about how I'm doing. Hope you are well T
So, given how non-functional I've been for so long, this function meter thing seems like a sensible thing to try.

I've started making a list of stuff... It's only a rough draft and I need to fine-tune it.

I'm realising there are tons of tasks that I can put on it, but often I'll do "higher level" tasks like going to work, without doing the basics like eating, sleeping, laundry, etc.

I dunno...

I kept track of what I did today, which was pretty motivating and I was surprised by how much I achieved.

At the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted tho and my muscles hurt from the extra exercise I got today.

Which now makes me think I was pushing myself too hard...?

Which is not the purpose of a Function Meter. A function meter is something that just measures what you're doing.

It's not a test that you're meant to try and pass or a competition, that you're meant to try and excel at... sigh...

I guess the point of the function meter is that it will average out, over the days, weeks and months, so even if I overdid it today, then presumably, I'll get less done tomorrow, so overall it will accurately reflect how I'm doing.

For today, all I've done is list the tasks I did. I'm not sure yet how to score them.

Even tho it's quite a lot of tasks, and I feel like I got more done than I would've expected in the middle of a really bad depressive phase, it's also not what I would consider "enough" in terms of "normal functioning". Which makes me wonder whether my standards are unreasonably high and that's why I keep falling short of them? (Thanks, messed up childhood - you make it so hard for me to do anything in a healthy way...)

I dunno. I'm relieved/ grateful that today wasn't a total non-functional waste... and it feels like my depression was "a bit less awful" given how much I got done, but yeah, normally I would expect much more of myself... Just keep functioning all the time without so much resistance, so many breaks, so much wanting to give up...

Brushed my teeth
Took dog for a walk
Ate a healthy lunch
Got 15 mins of sunshine
Did 15 mins of standing yoga/ exercise
Did 15 mins of non-standing yoga/ exercise
Answered 2 phone calls
Made 2 phone calls
Took 3 x recycling out
Did 2 x 15 minutes of tidying
Did 10 mins of tidying my car
Did 2 farm chores
Got up before noon
Got fully dressed
Left the house
Did the dishes
Hung up a load of washing
Put another load of washing on
Took a break to re-regulate/ get grounded
Let my dog run free and play in the sunshine
Took my meds
Drank 2 L of water
Listened to a helpful (therapy) audiobook
Bought a few groceries
Went to the bank
Volunteered at the animal shelter for 2 hours
Did some paperwork
Ate a healthy dinner
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