Dan Catt On Spotting Mild Depression with QS Data

This interesting post by Dan Catt (@revdancatt) describes how he used Quantified Self ideas to get a handle on his depression:

I’d never been depressed before, or at least not that I could remember. …

Spotting the depression was interesting. Obviously I knew something was up, but when it started it kind of blinded me to itself. I didn’t really have the energy to spot what was going on.

But, because I back-up my data regularly, grabbing content of various social networks either with scripts or services that do it for you, I noticed something. The amount I was tweeting was way down, it had suddenly dropped. Not so much general tweets but conversations with people, @ messages and direct messaging was down, I could see the numbers right in front of me.

The amount of photos I was posting to Flickr had also dropped (cross posted from Instagram I’ll get to in a second).

I could see the interactions with people I was having around the internet had reduced, weeknotes had stopped, emails slowed down, I was leaving my IM client off more, blogged (or at least writing drafts) took even longer than normal.

Dan Hon wrote about the Quantified Self as a way to measure his blood sugar (and more). All these services, hardware and tools we can monitor our body with, glucose levels, weight and so on. What I was seeing was a change in my behaviour, a measurable mental state. And once I’d seen the numbers it made it easier to figure out what was going on.

[Read the whole post: Leaving the Guardian, creativity vs mild depression, the quantified self and running]

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One Response to Dan Catt On Spotting Mild Depression with QS Data

  1. This is pretty cool. Tracking your habits could act like an early warning system for depression. As someone who suffers a lot from ups and downs, I’m excited about the quantified self movement.

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