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User interview - how doppel helps users with Bipolar disorder feel calm

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User interview - how doppel helps users with Bipolar disorder feel calm

We spoke to Cian, a retail manager and mother, who’s been managing Bipolar disorder to find out how she uses doppel.

Hi Cian, thank you for speaking with us today. It would be really great to find out how doppel has worked for you and how you use it, but first, we’d like to learn a bit more about you.

I work for a high-end ladies fashion and lifestyle brand. I have two girls, six & eight who keep me on my toes, and I’m a bit of a bowerbird for collecting hobbies and chaos, so I have a very old cantankerous Cocker Spaniel and a boisterous Mastiff Cross.

Four years ago I had a total breakdown, pretty much. I got taken to the hospital, and they decided that I had enough lucidity in me to go somewhere much calmer than a hospital for mental health. This was also around the time my marriage broke down, so they figured stress and incident were the primary triggers. Over the following six months, I went through quite intensive therapy which led up to the same time as the Kickstarter campaign for doppel.

Thank you for sharing that with us, that experience sounds very intense. Is that what inspired you to learn more about doppel?

When I read through everything, the technology seemed logical to me, having two kids, it made sense because of the whole skin on skin contact - let them listen to the heartbeat notion. The day that pre-orders went live was when I put my pre-order in.

I also have quite a strong music background. I play the double bass, which as you can imagine, you feel all of the resonance going directly into your body. I understand what it feels like to have my entire concentration change, depending on what we’re playing. It doesn’t mean that it has to be slow means sleepy fast means attentive because you can have a fast pulse and still just zone off.

Those are interesting references and we do compare the effect of doppel to music. What were you doing to manage your bipolar, before you received your doppel?

I was really struggling with medication because my metabolism is very fast. The antipsychotic I was taking is also a sedative - it completely zones you out. I would have twenty minutes before I would fall asleep or become useless. I would be knocked out cold for twelve hours, so I was literally getting home from work, eating cheese on toast and sleeping for twelve hours - and repeat.

I thought this is not sustainable, I can’t be a parent, and I can’t have a social life. I was looking for any way to work with the doctors to reduce dosages or stop them completely, and they were quite happy to reduce my medication, continuing to monitor me.

Did you find that doppel worked for you?

Yes. I’ve been lucky enough that the doppel has worked as I had hoped. I’ve managed to stay fairly stable. I’m still taking medication, but it’s a much smaller dosage. Having bipolar, anything that reduces chemical intake, in my books, is a good step in the right direction.

One of my challenges is that I'm not good at transitioning between all go to a sudden stop. Which goes for everyone but my levels are slightly more extreme, and that's when I noticed the effect the most. I’d put it on a really slow setting, and I’d sit there; it helped me to unwind. Even if it was me just being aware, it helped with that.

And how does doppel fit into your routine, how do you use it?

I use it every day unless I have forgotten to charge it or forgotten put it on, but I try to create a routine - which is part of my general therapy and managing mechanisms. On several occasions, it has lessened the effects of anxiety attacks- it's almost like wearing a safety net. I have my preferred settings, but if I have a sudden mood swing where my other mechanisms don't work, then I change the setting to curb the extent of it. Particularly with Bipolar disorder, if you can have anything that stops the full swing of it, you might still be in a bad space, but it makes a big difference.

Day to day, I tend not to use the app that much unless I’m specifically changing a rhythm. I know some people are very app driven, I think that might be a generational thing.

When I come home the doppel is on at a slow pace but also quite intense, so 50% or higher. For me, a slightly stronger pulse works better even if it is fast or slow - I prefer having a little bit more intensity on the wrist. I’m not really into yoga, so I had to think of something different. I come home dump all my bags, let the dogs jump on me and put the children to bed. We have an outdoor shed, with a big armchair and I just go in there and chill for ten or fifteen minutes. I can then enjoy that unwinding sensation.

This interview has been edited & condensed for clarity.

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