Several weeks ago I wrote a post — that I never published — titled, “I need an iPad for recovery.” I never posted it since it was really more of a plee to my husband than anything else. However, lately there seems to have been a lot of negative press about eating disorders and technology — between iphone apps used to monitor calories and pro-ana sites. So, in contrast, I’m going to explain how I’ve used my iPhone / iPad to aid my recovery. Granted, most of these apps aren’t mental health-specific, but I’ve found them helpful for that purpose.
I still track food exchanges (well, sometimes), and originally I could only find one app that was appropriate for this in the app store: EatRight. After that I discovered Foobi, and most recently have converted to FoodTrackerPro. Note: none of these apps use calories — just servings/exchanges — and I’ve been pretty pleased with all of them, but FoodTrackerPro is definitely the coolest. PLUS, it works on the iPad, so bonus points for that. You can customize your meal plan and make charts and set goals and all of that… but it also has a great food servings cheat-sheet — for all those times that you’re trying to remember how much hummus equals a protein exchange (for example). iPhone/iPad, $1.99.
I started doing this on paper awhile ago and found that it was actually a good exercise for me (not only to see the patterns in mood but also just to check in with myself). I’ve seen several apps for this, but currently my favorite is MyMoodTracker (same company as FoodTrackerPro, actually). It’s only for iPhone (no iPad yet, bummer), but it tracks mood using a 1-10 scale and little emoticons. You can track sleep on here, too, and see how that influences mood. iPhone, $1.99.
You know those times when you’re at the drug store trying to purchase something to help with your nasty cold, and you can’t remember if it’s okay to take Sudafed with the Wellbutrin you’re on? That’s when you need Epocrates. Or… when you have a headache and have already taken Tylenol twice and are not sure if it’s okay to take another dose yet? Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I run into situations like this all the time and would be lost without this app! Plus, when you’re on more than one med at a time (which is pretty common these days), things get complicated (drug interactions, dosing, side effects, etc), and it’s just good to have it for reference. iPhone, free.
By now you’re probably thinking, “okay, you track way too many things”–and it’s probably true. BUT, do you know what’s even better than personally tracking something? An app that does it for you! That’s Countdown. I have countdowns for everything — how long I’ve been married, how long it’s been since I last acted on symptoms, how many days until my next therapy appointment, how long until my birthday (hey, why not….), etc. Random countdowns aside, there’s something really motivating for me about knowing that I haven’t skipped a meal in three months, or drank coffee since…. err, yesterday (okay, really bad example), or that I have therapy in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 18 seconds (and really need to do my therapy homework). I just love seeing that.
Remember my series on coping skills? Well, for each of those items, there is of course an app for that:
- card stores – it’s not a card store, but someecards can entertain me for an embarrassingly long period of time (both the app and the website).
- bulletin boards – Corkulous would probably by my favorite app-equivalent of a regular cork bulletin board. However, the real purpose of bulletin boards for me are to serve as reminders, so that the “out of sight, out of mind” thing doesn’t kick in. For that, I’d probably actually use a todo app or custom background/wallpaper (not going to link these because there are a million and I don’t have a favorite!)
- kudos chart – again, this is something you could probably find in a todo app, but if you’re looking for something a little more…. sticker-chartish… try GoalTracker (ipad).
- crafting — there are a million apps for: coloring, collaging, drawing, photo-editing… really, a million. You might start looking in Apps for Kids.
- dvds — you can download just about anything from tv/dvd onto your iPhone/iPad from the app store. Additionally, ABC has an awesome media player that lets you stream shows for free.
Okay, that’s the end of my list for today. If anyone has any other app suggestions, I would love to hear them!