Are Moods a Natural Phenomenon?

Last week I was so affected by a News story in a way totally out of character. For the whole day it was lodged in my head and nothing I did could shift it; tears welled up constantly. My husband grew more concerned and I couldn’t explain what was happening. That night in bed I was struck by the brightness outside the window. All became clear. It was a full moon.

I’ve joked about feeling more ‘manic’ when there’s a full moon and it was something I had noticed even before I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. I had recorded having a ‘major incident’ at the time of a full moon in May last year although having a low mood and being tearful throughout the day was different.

Moon and mood in history

Just as wolves and dogs are portrayed baying in the moonlight so in ancient times there was a belief in an affinity between moon and madness. The word ‘lunatic’ derives from the Latin word lunaticus (madness), and that from luna (moon). Both the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder argued that episodes of insanity in those with bipolar disorder could be brought on by a full moon. Even within the last thirty years there have been research papers on a correlation between the phases of the moon and schizophrenia.

My moods and the weather

Personally I have found a greater correlation between my mood and weather patterns.

Two years ago there was a spate of tremendous storms. My moods were all over the place to the point of rapid cycling and I noticed my extreme highs and lows were often accompanied by painful ear pressure. Research into possible causes led me to atmospheric pressure and as I trawled through weather reports I mentioned that it would be interesting to know when my moods had been extreme. That was when my husband told me he had noted when I was particularly unwell. It didn’t take too long to type up a chart.

During 2017 out of twenty-six periods of storms, heavy rainfall, or high pressure I experienced twenty-one incidents of extreme mood fluctuation. There were two named storms, Doris and Ewan, as well as thunderstorms / freak storms in May, July, and August. My health was severely affected each time. In August there was a freak storm on the 5th followed by Storm Gertrude on 15th-16th. Not realising the significance at the time I had recorded in my journal how unwell I was from the 5th and continuing through to at least the 13th. It was a time of very volatile mood swings.

Clear skies, and I’ve come full circle

These circles of hope and despair were once very much a part of my year. My mood pattern was not always linked to the weather pattern but it happened enough to make it significant. As I began to realise what was happening it was far easier to accept it and work with it.

I’d be really interested to learn if anyone else has noticed a pattern in how their health fluctuates and whether this might be linked to weather or lunar cycles. Please share your comments below.