Watch Peter Hagelund’s documentary series, ‘Jeg savner min sygdom’ on living with bipolar disorder type 2 here.
For fire år siden blev jeg diagnosticeret med bipolar lidelse type 2.
I hele mit liv har jeg vidst, at jeg var anderledes. Jeg har altid kæmpet med depression og angst, og hvad der viste sig at være hypomani. Da jeg var 22, havde jeg min første slemme depressive episode, og jeg blev nødt til at starte på antidepressiver. Alligevel tog det yderligere 6 år, før jeg officielt blev diagnosticeret med bipolar lidelse type 2.
Det sværeste, ved at have diagnosen bipolar lidelse type 2, er at man ikke oplever den typiske maniske episode, hvor man er over-energisk og på grænsen til psykotisk. I stedet er man hypomanisk, som betyder at man er socialt velfungerende. Man er ikke psykotisk. Man føler sig faktisk rigtig godt tilpas. Så problemet er, at man ikke ender med at tage til sin psykiater og sige, at man føler sig for godt tilpas. Det gjorde jeg i hvert fald ikke!
Årsagen til at min psykiater fandt ud af, at jeg var bipolar, skyldtes at han ikke kunne få mig ud af mine depressioner. Først diagnosticerede han mig med depression og ADD. Men disse diagnoser var ikke rigtige. Da jeg ikke havde den rette diagnose, fik jeg stadig mine store humørsvingninger og meget angst. Da jeg så blev diagnosticeret med den ’rigtige’ diagnose, bipolar lidelse type 2, føltes det faktisk rigtig godt. En masse ting gav mening. Pludselig kunne jeg se, hvorfor jeg havde følt, som jeg havde hele mit liv.
Jeg tror virkelig, at Monsenso kunne have hjulpet min psykiater med at diagnosticere min lidelse tidligere, fordi app’en hjælper mig med at tracke mit stemningsleje og med at blive mereopmærksom på, hvordan jeg har det. På grund af app’en skal jeg hver dag tage en pause og tænke på, hvordan jeg egentlig har haft det, før jeg taster svaret ind. Når jeg tager til psykiater, kan vi sammen se, hvordan jeg har haft det. En god ting ved app’en er, at mit svar ikke afhænger af min hukommelse, men af hvad jeg faktisk svarede den pågældende dag. At indsamle al den her information kan hjælpe mig, og derved min psykiater, præventativt med at undgå fremtidige depressive eller hypomaniske episoder, fordi vi tydeligt kan identificere, når jeg har humørsvingninger.
I august har min dokumentar, om at være bipolar, premiere på nationalt fjernsyn. Reaktionerne har været overvældende. Rigtig mange personer har skrevet til mig og takket mig for at snakke om sygdommen. Jeg havde oprindeligt tænkt mig, at lave dokumentaren således, at ingen personer ville blive flove over at have sygdommen. Jeg tror, det er lykkedes mig.
Mit håb for fremtiden er, at personer bliver diagnosticeret med lidelsen tidligere end jeg blev. Selvfølgelig kommer det til at afhænge af en masse forskellige faktorer, men jeg tror virkelig, at Monsenso kan gøre en forskel. Mit håb er, at andre psykiatere og patienter også begynder at bruge app’en.
Watch Peter Hagelund’s documentary series, ‘Jeg savner min sygdom’ on living with bipolar disorder type 2 here.
Click here to read this story in Danish.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2.
For my whole life I had known that something was different about me. I had always struggled with depression and anxiety, and what eventually turned out to be hypomania. When I was 22 I had my first big depression episode and had to start taking anti depressant medications. However, it would take me six more years before I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2.
The tricky thing about having the diagnosis of bipolar type 2 is that you are not experiencing the typical manic episode where you are over-energetic and nearly psychotic. Instead, you’re hypomanic, which means that you’re socially well functioning. You’re not psychotic. You actually feel really good. So the problem is that you don’t end up going to your psychiatrist saying that you feel too good. At least I didn’t.
The reason why my psychiatrist found out I was bipolar was because he couldn’t get me out of my depressions. At first, my psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression and ADD. But these diagnoses didn’t fit. When I didn’t have the right diagnosis, I still had my large mood swings, and a lot of anxiety. When I was diagnosed with the ‘right’ diagnosis, of bipolar disorder type 2, it actually felt really nice. A lot of things made sense. Suddenly I could see why I had felt how I had for most of my life.
I really believe that Monsenso could have helped my psychiatrist diagnose my disorder earlier, because the app helps me to keep track of my mood and really helps me to become more aware of how I feel. Due to the app, every single day I have to pause and take a moment to think about how I’ve actually been doing before putting my answers in the app. After doing this, when I go to my psychiatrist we can together see how I’ve actually been. The good thing with the app is that my answer to how I’ve been is not only based on my memory but how I actually answered that day. Logging all of this information has helped my treatment. My psychiatrist and I can better plan how to avoid my future depressive or hypomanic episodes, because we can clearly identify when I am having mood swings.
In August, my documentary about being bipolar aired on national danish television. The reactions have been overwhelming. So many people have messaged me, thanking me for talking about the disease. I had originally made the documentary so that people would not be ashamed about having the disease. I think I have succeed.
My hope for the future is that people will be diagnosed earlier with the disease than me. Of course, that will take a lot of other factors, however I truly believe Monsenso is one of the things that can help. My hope is that other psychiatrists and patients alike will start using the app.
Monsenso will begin clinical trials to support the treatment of anxiety disorder in collaboration with The Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark (MHS).
The Anxiety Monitoring Study
The objective of the study is to implement and validate the Monsenso mHealth solution to support the treatment of anxiety disorders.
The Monsenso mHealth platform uses a double-loop treatment model to connect care providers and individuals. Currently, it is being used to collect patients’ self-rated status and sensor-based behavioural data on a daily basis.
Recent advances in mobile technologies have created more opportunities for assessments and treatments to be available to people in situations where they are most needed. Personal health technologies can collect patients’ self-rated status and sensor-based behavioural data (e.g., physical activity, phone usage, social activity) on a daily basis.
The information gathered this way provides feedback on treatment progress to both care providers and individuals. Moreover, it also supplies ecological momentary interventions (EMI), for instance, by prompting individuals to do assignments depending on the context and patients’ current status.
Regarding anxiety disorders, mobile health solutions can be useful in assisting patients to use skills learned during treatment in real life situations, as well as to monitor and give feedback on progress or lack of progress during therapy. This feedback leads to better outcomes for patients not responding well to treatment.
Pilot study: The feasibility of the solution will be evaluated using a qualitative and quantitative study without a control group involving 30 patients for three months examining usability and usefulness of the solution for both patients and clinicians.
Participants: Anxiety Patients in Routine and Special Care Settings in Southern Denmark.
Expected results: The study will result in the development of a solution based on user needs. The platform will be a feasible, usable and useful intervention.
Implementation: If the results of the feasibility study are promising, the study results will be used to improve the mHealth solution and develop version 2. Afterwards, a randomised controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted to examine outcome related effects of the solution, such as rate of recovery. If the feasibility and outcome of the RCT studies are positive, it is expected that there will be interest in implementing the mHealth solution in routine and specialized care settings around the world.
To read the press release, click here.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is normal part of life. A person might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks) .
Anxiety is the primary symptom of several conditions, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorder 
- Symptoms of GAD
- Sense of dread
- Feeling constantly “on edge”
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle aches and tension
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Insomnia 
The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medication. It is often beneficial to combine both. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for an individual.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or psychological counselling, involves working with a therapist to reduce a person’s anxiety symptoms. Sometimes, it can be an effective treatment on its own .
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. A short-term treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on teaching individuals specific skills to return gradually to the situations they avoided due to their anxiety .
Applied relaxation focuses on relaxing your muscles in a particular way during situations that usually cause anxiety. The technique needs to be taught by a trained therapist, but involves:
- Learning to relax one’s muscles
- Learning to relax one’s muscles quickly and in response to a trigger, such as the word “relax”
- Relaxing one’s muscles in situations that make a person anxious 
- Antidepressants – this type of medications influences the activity of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) thought to play a role in anxiety disorders
- Buspirone – an anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may be used on an ongoing basis. As with most antidepressants, it typically takes up to several weeks to become fully effective
- Benzodiazepines – this type of medication are used only for relieving acute anxiety on a short-term basis. Because they can be habit-forming, these medications aren’t a good choice if you’ve had problems with alcohol or drug abuse 
The Monsenso mHealth solution for behavioural disorders is currently being used to support the treatment of individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and borderline personality disorder.
Although there isn’t any ongoing research on anxiety, it can definitely be used to support the treatment of anxiety with in conjunction with CBT.
Individuals can obtain an overview of their historic levels of anxiety and try to identify the behavioural patterns that trigger their symptoms. Based on their historical records they can learn to predict situations of risk and take preventive measures to avoid or minimize any adverse reactions. Additionally, the Monsenso smartphone app also provides individuals with customized action plans and a secure communication channel with their clinic when they need it the most.
 Anxiety. Mayo Clinic.
 Anxiety. National Institute of Mental Health.
 Anxiety. National Health Service (NHS) UK