Dan Catt On Spotting Mild Depression with QS Data

July 26, 2012

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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