R. J. Grigaitis, O.F.S.

Bricks & Barbwire

Feelings Scale

Feelings Scale This is a scale to rate where your feelings are. There is no such thing as a good feeling or a bad feeling; all feelings are neutral. Feelings are nether positive or negative, but abstract. For this scale, I use the terms positive and negative not for good and bad, but for their quantitative characteristics. It is good to know what your feelings are, especially if you are suffering from a mental illness.

I came up with this 'Feeling Scale' while in the hospital being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This diagnoses later changed to schizoaffective disorder, which is basically schizophrenia and clinical depression or bipolar disorder together (in my case it's clinical depression). While in the hospital the staff would ask me to rate my feelings on a scale from zero to ten. This made no sense to me. Did zero mean a normal low or the most clinically depressed low possible? If zero was a normal low, how do you rate a clinically depressed low? If zero was the lowest clinically depressed low, what was a normal low? I would guess around four, as you can get quite low with clinical depression. The same could also be said for the highs and mania. The only number I was sure of was five. It is right in the middle but that was not how I felt most of the time.

I decided zero must be the middle of the scale, as it signifies true nothing, nether positive nor negative. With zero in the middle, this allows positive and negative numbers to describe my feelings. This leaves us with the question of where this scale ends. To keep it short, it doesn't. Both the positive and negative ends of the scale continue into infinity. This make complete sense when you consider that everyone is different and dips higher or lower then others towards infinite depression and mania.

Now where do we draw the line between normal feelings and exaggerated or mentally ill feelings? 'One' is the number that means total or complete, so positive one and negative one is where a persons feelings leaves the normal healthy range and enters the dangerous region.

At some point on the scale, suicide becomes a very real danger. It is possible to be depressed or manic beyond the point of normal and not be suicidal, so the first step past positive or negative one is marked as being suicidal. The point of having suicidal thoughts can be anywhere on the scale; however, at positive or negative two there is the danger of acting on these thoughts.

When people are past positive one and negative one, things seem to get out of control very fast. This is why the scale is exponential. This also shows how close suicide can be to a total but normal high or low. The distance between positive and negative one and zero is infinitely greater than the distance between positive and negative one and the suicidal positive and negative two. This should show how fast a depressed person can become a danger to himself.

The following formulas describe the different ranges of feelings, which can also be very useful in describing a person's feelings. These formulas describe a normal range of feelings, an abnormal range of feelings, or such a rapid change of feelings that you cannot put a number on it. For these formulas, the variable χ represents the numerical value of a person's feelings.

-1 ≤ χ ≤ +1
This is the normal and healthy range of feelings. You can still have a problem in this range if your feelings are not changing slowly and smoothly. This is not to say that you cannot have a sudden change of feelings, but you should not rapidly change between positive and negative feelings more than a couple times in quick succession.
-1 > χ > +1
This is the abnormal or unhealthy range of feelings. When a person is only in this range, he skips over the normal range (-1 ≤ χ ≤ +1) when going from negative to positive or positive to negative. This problem can be compounded by rapid changes between positive and negative.
0 ≥ χ ≥ 0 or -∞ < χ < +∞
This is still an abnormal range of feelings; however, the normal range of feelings can still be reached. Again, this problem can be compounded by rapid changes between positive and negative.

For me this is a more accurate way of describing my feelings than a scale of zero to ten. The scale of zero to ten may still be an easier way for many people to describe their feelings; however, my scale is the only logical way for me to describe my feelings.

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Copyright © 2004, R. J. Grigaitis

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