The Moodscope Blog

21

January

Would you like to write a blog for Moodscope? Saturday January 21, 2017

We've had some great blogs recently from our Moodscope members which have certainly given us all food for thought and encouraged more and more people from the Moodscope community to comment and contribute which makes each topic even more interesting.

If you haven't visited the blog on the web site yet, please take a look when you have time. Everyone there wants to help and provide support to others. It's a wonderful, safe place to discuss any problems or issues you may have. Sometimes, it's just good to know that you're not the only one who may be suffering.

We're now looking for more people to write for Moodscope. You can write about your experiences, therapies/strategies that have helped you, books you've read, music that lifts your spirits, poems that you like - anything really that might uplift or inspire our other members. It should be around 350 words if possible.

Just send your blog to support@moodscope.com for our editorial team to take a look at.

We look forward to reading them and sharing them with our members.

Kind regards.

Caroline
The Moodscope Team

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

3 comments - Permalink


20

January

Buttercups. Friday January 20, 2017

It was a simple thing really.

A quick glance into a shop window as I was rushing by, something just catching my eye and making me stop.

There was a beautiful display of fine china with delicate buttercups climbing along the plates, cups and mugs on spindly thin green stems until their yellow petals reached the top and held their pretty faces up to the sunlight high overhead.

It reminded me of the field of buttercups that had been behind my childhood home.

Sometimes when I had opened my bedroom curtains and blinked away the sleepiness of the night I would be amazed at the brightness of them, the sunlight seemed to turn the world golden and I used to stand and watch them entranced, swishing gently in the summer breeze.

I loved the buttercups and often picked a small bunch for my mother who used to hold one under my chin to see if I liked butter! It seemed such a funny idea, but I loved it when I looked in the mirror and saw the golden glow on my skin. How we used to laugh together. Then she would tuck one into my hair and say 'off you go Miss Buttercup'.

I stand there in the busy street the reflection of myself in the window smiling with me at the memory. Poor mum had died when I was a child; I still had my wonderful memories of her but missed her so much.

As I turn to go I catch a glimpse of a figure just behind the display pointing to it with the shop assistant, lucky lady I thought she will enjoy using that it's such a happy flower.

I remembered my chores and set off along the high street, so much to do all the time, so many things to get done and time was always against me! I was so busy rushing along I bumped into a small elderly lady almost knocking her and her shopping trolley over!

"I am so very sorry" I gasped but she assured me she was fine, she smiled at me. "I was miles away" I said; "I really hope you are ok?"

"I am" she replied, "but you seem to be in such a rush all the time!"

I watched her go and wondered why she had said that I had never seen her before! She was quite right though, I realised I was always rushing around not seeing anything properly making lists, keeping appointments, life was just so very busy!

I decided to to stop for a coffee and went into the next cafe I came across. I ordered and sat and watched the busy street, a never ending surge of people, traffic and noise. I sipped my coffee and was surprised to notice my cup had the same delicate buttercup pattern on it. How odd!

I looked up and stood there in the window was the elderly lady whom I had almost knocked over! She was smiling at me; I watched her turn to walk past and noticed the box of buttercup china in the top of her trolley I felt a shiver as something fell from my hair onto the table.

It was a beautiful perfect buttercup.

Jayne
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

16 comments - Permalink


19

January

Developing self value. Thursday January 19, 2017

I was going to use the title 'Push the stop button, now'. It appertained to looking at one's behaviour in the past, and if there was ever a time when you could say 'I wish I could have stayed, right there'?

I think I can actually pin-point an age which was perhaps the 'high point' of my life. My early 50's. I had a steady relationship which had survived the traumas of rearing children, getting established and keeping a roof over our heads. it was at this time that I went to university.

My fellow students were all about 20. I could not rival them in face or figure, but I could keep up in brain and spirit. And I did not have to cope with fears of leaving home, acute lack of confidence, that the big wide world was a scary place – that you were in a place of extreme rivalry in all fields.

I learned, shatteringly, that my brain, although capable of quick thinking and problem solving, was a very ill-disciplined organ, and had to be re-trained, mostly via red ink on my essays. In my 'real' life I was still a boss, but in the lecture theatre I was often worthy of a dunce's cap.

I did learn self-value, my limitations. When it came to finals, I would take the best flower in my garden, lay it on the desk in front of me, and say 'If I don't get a degree I'm still a jolly good gardener'. Those three years, and the subsequent MA, gave me a confidence in myself that led to a retirement inestimably rich.

Who, among you, have had that experience? What has, might, or will allow you to 'value yourself'?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

29 comments - Permalink


18

January

Teaching and Learning. Wednesday January 18, 2017

I am surrounded by teachers in my personal life. My husband is a primary school classroom assistant (a nice change from his previous career in banking); my son is a secondary school teacher of IT; my dearest friend is a professor of physics. In fact, thinking about it, many of my friends are teachers in one way or another.

One of the techniques they all use is to get their pupils to teach each other. Apparently, once you explain a concept to someone else, you start to really "get" it yourself.

I wasn't sure about this. I couldn't quite understand how this concept worked, until last night.

My younger daughter had just watched "Titanic".

"Mummy – it was so sad!" she wailed. "How do I get rid of the sad thoughts in my head? I am so depressed, just thinking about it. Why did Jack have to die?"

Well, having gone through it with her, explaining that Jack was actually representative of all the men on the Titanic and that, if he had survived, the film would not have made a true point and would have been the worse for it, she understood a little more. After all, 87% of third class male passengers died in the Titanic Disaster – the film needed to reflect that. 97% of female first class passengers survived.

But that wasn't the point. My second daughter, unlike her hard-as-nails sister*, is sensitive and empathic to the point of pain.

We discussed, not for the first time, whether she needs to be responsible about the art to which she chooses to expose herself. In explaining to her that some people are just so sensitive that upsetting art can haunt them for years, I realised I was explaining to myself.

The War Museum in Ypres is a case in point. I wish I had not visited that museum: the images still distress me more than two decades later. There are films I wish I had not seen; books I wish I had not read; pictures I wish I had just passed by. And Heaven knows, some news clips I wish I could un-see!

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate the art. I acknowledge that the artists felt they had to express those particular truths. I can see it is important to make people stop and to think and to feel.

But some of us think and feel too much, to the point where it impacts our health.

So it is not cowardice which makes me screen my viewing, reading and listening experiences; which directs me towards the positive and "feel-good" end of TV, cinema and literature. It is wisdom, borne of experience. Wisdom I wish to pass onto my younger daughter.

And possibly to you too.

So what do you think? Do we have a duty to experience pain in art and in current affairs, or can we produce a doctor's note to get out of it? And if we can, should we?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

*For all of you critical of this description, please note that it is her own and that I have her permission, indeed encouragement, to use it!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

25 comments - Permalink


17

January

How can we prevent future mental illness suffering? Tuesday January 17, 2017

It is wonderful how Moodscope enables this brave community to share support, experiences and tips for 'getting through' life. But that shows a sad fact; most people with mental illness, whether it be diagnosed as anxiety, depression, bipolar, psychosis, personality disorder, OCD, whatever – don't actually get out of it completely. A good outcome is to be able to live 'ok', perhaps supported by meds. The ongoing impacts on happiness, and on ability to work, are huge. There is no glory or pleasure in being mentally ill, and it is not part of identity.

We also know that genetic inheritance is a big causal risk factor. If we suffer from mental ill-health, there's a much higher chance that our children and nieces and nephews will do too.

Wouldn't it be great if we could prevent this suffering going on down the generations? What more loving thing can we do for future generations but to help them head this suffering off before it even starts?

When Paul Farmer surveyed the public for the NHS Mental Health Taskforce in 2015, he include the 'prevention' word, really for the first time in public discourse (globally); it went straight to the top of key issues [http://bit.ly/2itXLqH].

Now the debate is developing, led by NGO's such as Mental Health Foundation [http://bit.ly/2iDTqzZ] - full disclosure I am a trustee - and Mind [http://bit.ly/2jgLq6H], think tanks such as EPI [http://bit.ly/2iDS3Rv] and Mental Elf [http://bit.ly/2itS8sy], and Public Health England [http://bit.ly/2iyHnAl].

My view is that parenting is a key factor for many, and could easily be improved (in fact I think there should be a mandatory parenting certificate for all parents-to-be, just like a driving test, focusing on parenting well for the future mental health of the child). As well as unconditional love and attachment, and preventing abuse of all forms, wiser parenting would include keeping expectations reasonable (high achieving children often become confused as to whether they are loved for themselves or their A grades, and get trapped on a mouse wheel that is impossible to sustain), and working hard to stop drug intake before the child's brain has reached adulthood.

I also am very hopeful about pre-emptive CBT; equipping school children with the idea that some of their [or their friends] thoughts may be wonky and irrational ('Facebook says everyone else is having a non-stop party life – I must do the same'). Research shows that pre-emptive CBT reduces depression incidence in at risk people [http://bit.ly/21tlmEt].

The Moodscope community could be wonderfully helpful here;

- What do you think caused your mental illness? Could it have been prevented?
- What are you doing to prevent your illness recurring in your children or nieces and nephews?

Adrian Stott
A Moodscope supporter.
(My personal opinions: http://bit.ly/2jX9Dlr)

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

35 comments - Permalink


16

January

Wisdom 31:15 A Daily Joy. Monday January 16, 2017


Well, I'm half way through my self-set challenge! I wanted to read a chapter of the book of Proverbs each day throughout January and share which verses jumped out at me!

Today, it is the turn of Proverbs chapter 15.

Of course there is a ton of treasure in this chapter, as in all the others, but I'm just going to focus on a single verse, verse 30:

'A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.'

How about that as a Daily Quest?

Do you think you and I could dig within ourselves to find a cheerful look to share with someone each day?

And then...

Do you also think that you and I could be thoughtful enough to pay a genuine complement to someone each day?

I think a genuine complement is 'good news' for anyone who hears and accepts it.

I'd like healthy bones, wouldn't you? This is the promise: good news gives health to the bones!

There's a lady up at my local Tesco Express who has one of the most wonderful smiles on the planet. Hers is matched by my friend Darren Regis-Williams - when he smiles, the room lights up! I will go out of my way to see them because they give energy.

I have many other friends who give unsolicited words of encouragement. They are worth their weight in gold to me. I deeply appreciate them.

You and I can be that kind of friend to others.

Wouldn't it be great if your friends and colleagues could say of you,

"Everybody needs a bit of {your name} in their lives!"

Let's focus on sharing that cheerful look and those kind and good words. I can guarantee you'll have a great day!

Lex
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

24 comments - Permalink


15

January

Routine. Sunday January 15, 2017

It sounded like a wonderful idea - time away from my shop with my partner while he was renovating I would have free time to relax and unwind.

The plan would mean I would have time to write, to read to walk.

So why did I feel uncomfortable about going and why did I, half way through my stay, feel restless.

I never thought I'd say this but I crave the order of my routine in my shop. I can't believe I actually wrote that because I've always been someone who sees herself as a free spirit almost hippy like, not someone who is tied down to timetables and has a boring routine.

Each day I have to get up at a certain time open the shop and then at the end of the day I close the shop and I do that 7 days a week. I love it. I love knowing what I'm going to do every day.

I know that some people now want to scream at me because they say they would love to have some time away where they don't have do the daily routine and have responsibilities.

When I was very manic and very depressed I had no routine. Everything was out of order and chaotic. Now I realize the importance of routine and order to maintain my health.

I used to see people that have routines as being boring but now I know the importance routine plays in giving structure to my life and helping me lead a balanced life.

I wonder what you feel about routine and the role it plays in your life.

Do you feel, like me, the routine does help your health and lack of routine is not good for you?

Or are you someone that thinks routine is very restrictive and detrimental to your health.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

35 comments - Permalink


14

January

Let's rock. Saturday January 14, 2017

Trying to sleep, I can't. Trying to wake up, I can't do this either. I actually never wanted to wake up, but I still did.

How do I waste my time? Well, mostly trying to figure out why my parents don't want me to seek help. Although I'm sure they know I need it.

"God help your future husband." they said.
"You have everything, but you are always sad and ungrateful." they said.
"You are always by yourself in the dark not talking or even going out with anyone." they said.
"You sleep a lot." they said.

So, while I'm waiting for a miracle to happen and since I'm spending most of my time alone, I listen to music to find my solace. I know many people seek slow, classical, calm music for more peace, but I am just so dead inside that I need to feel something, and I mean, anything.

My choice is Rock Music which is weird, but it makes me feel that there are people out there who somehow feel as bitter and angry as me; which makes me happy for a while. They scream. They sing whatever they want. They can write something utterly stupid but it was actually pretty deep or misunderstood when people heard it. Many unique ideas, unique music notes, energy and rush of feelings. I really feel singers passion whenever I hear rock music - it is the kind of passion that is mixed with agony and so much anger that totally describes how I feel and I'm actually not alone.

This is not about rock music in particular. But if you can't find anyone to help you, you maybe can find another way to feel better even if it's just for a while. I haven't found any other way to help myself so far, so I guess I will be stuck with rock music for quite some time...

Menna
A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

18 comments - Permalink


13

January

Hell is other people. Friday January 13, 2017

We have to take responsibility for our own feelings, right? It is up to us to decide how to react in the face of hurtful behaviour, aggression, disloyalty. People can't harm us unless we allow them to.

I get that, I really do. It makes sense. There's just one problem. I can't make it work for me.

Two years ago, my partner and I slowly discovered that a person we considered a dear friend had used us, and others, to abuse his position as a paid employee, in a charity branch we worked at as volunteers and trustees for 12 years. The discovery that he was certainly the person responsible for a sizeable sum of money that had gone from the safe was the last straw for us. This bombshell coincided with me having a serious accident, needing months of support from my partner while I recovered. The only thing that kept me going was the certainty that the man would be sacked and shamed.

Of course, life is never that simple. After a failed spiteful campaign of trying to discredit us, and the few others who were prepared to speak out, he played the stress card, on full pay in the free house that went with the job, off sick for twelve months, while merrily filling his Facebook page with photos of parties and holidays. We resigned, sickened by the lack of guts of others who caved in, unable to contemplate working with any of them or him again.

He now lives and works far away, still for the same charity, on a higher salary and even more opportunities to exploit. We still volunteer, with another organisation. But the sense of grief, the desire to see him pay preoccupies my thoughts, and drains my energy.

I have practised the cognitive exercises I learned, been to a workshop on Buddhist meditation, read books and watched Ted talks. I have tried to forgive him in my mind, but I don't mean it. I am deeply ashamed of the way I am allowing this unworthy person to damage my quality of life. He ticks all the boxes for Narcissistic Disorder (forgive the amateur psychology). My partner is still angry, but has managed to put it in a compartment and move on.

Can any of you relate to my experience? Did you find closure hard to achieve? I thought I was tougher than this.

Valerie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

30 comments - Permalink


12

January

Character Building. Thursday January 12, 2017

When I decided to move to Suffolk last year I had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead.

Within two weeks of moving I was the third person on scene to find a body floating face down in the quayside. They had jumped in from The Orwell Bridge and floated into the harbour. All rescue services were in place within minutes and knew of the missing person as a family were trying to find him. His dignity was kept in place and people dispersed and allowed the recovery teams do their work.

This did upset me but I could not allow such a situation to hamper my new venture. Weeks went past and I soon allowed myself to realise life can be cruel but can also be very exciting. I chose excitement. It is within all of us to choose the positive. Then looking up each day and seeing and being aware of my new environment was suddenly becoming fun. There were many different characters in Ipswich and remembering Giles the cartoonist worked from his office here in the town.

I have never seen so many lookalikes and act a likes in one place. Just going to one of the local pubs I watch the guy who you could easily call the Grinch sitting at the bar with his beer or the guy who looks like Tommy Cooper and many other characters to enjoy such as the three local Roman Catholic priests doing their crossword on a Sunday evening in the pub and the gent who has severe OCD and has to rearrange the glasses on the table and put chairs under tables if no one sitting at them even if they have nipped to the bar.

Better still is the 50 year old fellow who looks about 30 and goes round the pub collecting empty glasses so he can earn himself a half pint of beer, plus when he speaks his mouth hardly opens and he may have certain issues but he is such a lovely person.

In fact there are hundreds of different people with so many different traits that life is actually full of richness we all miss from time to time because we get too busy.

When we look at ourselves how serious do we take our own traits or habits which have been formed from many years of different experiences? For example I never eat food in a café that's been on show with no cover in case someone has coughed over it. Another is I drink hot water only first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Both of the above are from my life on this planet as I was not born with these peculiarities. Some consider these good habits, others find them strange. To be honest I am happy with who I am so surely that matters more. Accepting who I am is what allows me to get through tough times or unexpected circumstances like the above. My Character is still building.

What are some of your more obscure habits you wish to share?

Frank from the Quayside
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

32 comments - Permalink


11

January

Unashamedly Political – Without the Party or Balloons! Wednesday January 11, 2017

Was anyone listening to the news on Monday when Theresa May announced new measures to help people with mental health problems?

She said that Mental Health had been "dangerously disregarded" in comparison to physical health, especially in the young.

Figures show young people are affected disproportionately with over half of mental health problems starting by the age of 14 and 75% by 18.

I can see that in my own family with my fourteen-year-old daughter suffering from stress related eczema and from the stories she brings home about the number of her schoolmates who already self-harm.

"But, Mummy," she says, "You can tell, because they're the girls who always wear their jumpers, even on the hottest days, to hide the scars on their arms." And yes, it is young women who are proportionally most at risk, although it is young men who contribute more to the suicide statistics.

My daughter has been sensible enough to talk to the school nurse, who – from what I gather – spends ninety percent of her time counselling the children and only ten percent applying plasters to grazed knees and sympathy for tummy aches.

She is lucky enough to go to a school where the pastoral care is superb. And to belong to a family where depression, stress and mental illness are openly discussed. Not every young person has this "luxury".

Of course, there is still not enough money to provide the services and provision that is so desperately needed. Last week I met a fellow bipolar sufferer who had recently been released from hospital. He had been taken to the nearest railway station and abandoned there with just £6 in his pocket and nowhere to go. This is not Care in the Community but neglect.

His case is extreme. Many of us manage to cope with our illness. We hold down jobs and run businesses. We contribute to society.

But, can we do more?

Just before Christmas my neighbour, who has recently won her second fight with cancer, held a "Winter Tea Party" on the little green outside our house. We all contributed cakes and raffle prizes, and she raised over £2,000 for the cancer ward at our local hospital.

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. They are willing to help and to give.

Huh! You know what? Everyone knows someone who has been affected by mental illness and depression. But we don't talk about it nearly as much. It's still a big taboo.

So my challenge to us all is to do more to get our illness the attention and funding it needs. Speak up if you can. Be as honest as possible. Educate where you can. Give financially where you can.

If not for ourselves, then for our children, our neighbours' children, our children's children and their children too.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

34 comments - Permalink


10

January

Objects with meaning. Tuesday January 10, 2017

I read about a recent exhibition titled a History of the world in 100 objects. It is fascinating to think about how objects have affected the history of the world, the history of a country, and history of our lives.

I was thinking about the part objects have played in my life and in my recovery.

I didn't want to overthink, so I just wrote my list quickly:

My mother's raincoat

A jumper I knitted for my daughter when I was pregnant.

A letter from my dad.

I have a raincoat that my mother bought when she was pregnant with me. I feel a connection to my mother and find it comforting.

As people will know from a previous blog, Unfinished Business,(26 August 2016) I have trouble completing projects. So this small misshapen badly knitted red baby jumper that I finished gives me hope that I can complete things.

On a bit of lined paper torn from a note pad, are the last words my dad wrote to me. He finished with words love you muchly, as he loved making up words and when I think of him I think of muchly.

I am interested what you would put in your list? What comes to mind without overthinking?

So please join my exhibition of objects that mean something to Moodscopers - you also know I am not good at titles!!

It can be one object or a list. You can just write a list or you can say what meaning that object had/has in your life.

Sometimes an object can tell a story about our lives that we may have forgotten.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

37 comments - Permalink


9

January

Have > Want. Monday January 9, 2017

I know you've had one of these:

"A Millionaire Moment"

A Millionaire Moment is when you have an experience that couldn't be better if you were a millionaire. It's a moment that no amount of money could improve upon.

My Millionaire Moments are really simple. They include this week's Top Ten:

1) Curling up in bed exactly when I'm genuinely tired and I want to, and then having a 'naughty' nap - usually when I 'ought' to be doing something else... bliss.

2) The Morning Shower in Dawn's welcoming light.

3) A Vossen flannel - yes, I'm serious - best flannels I've come across on the planet.

4) Getting just the tone I've been listening for on my Bass Guitar.

5) Getting that signature 'Vangelis' sound on my synth.

6) Open harmonics on the Guitar.

7) Finding the perfect coffee blend and combination with cream.

8) Discovering the perfect tea and milk combination.

9) Hearing that Dawn Chorus in Spring when the birds just give it... everything!

10) Reading a kind word from Moodscopers!

None of these are expensive, and none of them could be improved by throwing any more money at them.

They are moments where what I have is greater than what I want.

'Life' is all about 'Chemistry' to me. In those 'Millionaire Moments' - my body and mind are bathed in 'happy chemicals' - those chemicals that say, "Hey, this is OK! I love it!" And here's the really exciting bit:

I am the Chemist.

I can make those chemicals because I can repeat those experiences.

I'm going to invite you to press 'pause' and list some of your Millionaire Moments.

Then I'm going to ask you to commit to having more of the same moments - at least one a day, and maybe more.

They have to be something you've already experienced that you can repeat at low or no cost.

They have to be something that you have in within your reach without having to buy anything more. They don't need anybody else's agreement - they need to be within your control.

They express the truth that what you have > what you want.

This, my friend, could be your best recipe for happiness this year.

Now, go, have some more of these moments...

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

61 comments - Permalink


8

January

Winning at life! Sunday January 8, 2017

Put hand on tummy.
Put other hand on chest.
Breathe in deeply.
Let that breath go.
Then let it out for 5 more seconds than you think you can.
Repeat as often as you like.
Winning at life!

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

21 comments - Permalink


7

January

In and out of sync. Saturday January 7, 2017


Moodscope attracts some magnificent writers, whose insight and wisdom is peppered with colour and humour.

Yet sometimes I feel out of sync with this staunch community, especially when each Moodscoper wholeheartedly adopts an assigned label, whether it be depression, bipolar 1 or 2, or maybe anxiety disorder.

Coping strategies are discussed, but always as though the condition is inevitable, and is their cross to bare.

I find the lives often alluded to between the lines, are the most revealing and helpful. It's true these vary greatly, and a blog each for overstretched carers, terminally ill, unemployed, and lonely might be more difficult to muster.

I struggle to accept my label, which was foisted on me in a retrospective sort of way. A therapist once explained it as mainly helpful for research funding, pharmaceutical industries, and of course therapists.

I believe it is a simple way for those around us to seperate sometimes discomforting behaviour when in stressful moments we do not act within the expected codes. We might leave a partner for example.

A mental illness label is a way of being categorised and distanced from even tempered relatives and colleagues who need life around them to remain predictable and calm.

I find the depression and bipolar labels destructive, in that those who rarely see me, are looking to fit me to my label, and draw all sorts of false conclusions about the way I live my life.

I feel a duty to perform my way out of my label...to prove my sanity. I am hyper sensitive about interactions in a way I never would have been before.

I have a huge backlog of unfair responses to draw on and feel self pity about...these define my sorrows, and my anger and defiance.

Ironically as wife for 25 years to a secretly anxious and medicated husband, I was forever strong. "The rock".

But when it all came tumbling down I switched roles. My husband gathered supporters, smartened up his act and acquired a new partner. He appears strong and stable.

I on the other hand, have become a lurcher. I am either stimulated and living life to the full, grateful for the freedom of my own smaller home, and independence, or sad, lonely and simply withdrawn, depending on the weather and the circumstances.

A relationship plays a huge role in defining our strengths and weaknesses. Without it one lives the gamete. It is no easy road.

I know my bipolar so called, is not a chemical imbalance, but a product of my life circumstances. For major periods life simply got in the way, and it did not exist.

My challenge is to get life back on the ascendency.

Deborah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

24 comments - Permalink


6

January

Thank you and Farewell to a Duke And the Princess. Friday January 6, 2017

Last year the world lost two talented actresses who touched my life as they bared their lives in public so they could help others.

When I was nine I loved the Patty Duke show with the two characters played by the one person - back in the 1960s. I identified with the well-meaning but often reckless Patty rather than the conservative cousin Cathy. This year I read that Sydney Sheldon the producer had made the two characters as he had seen the two sides to Patty's character.

Fast forward to 1990 when I had 3 young children and was being pressured to go on medication. I was still in denial about my bipolar diagnosis some 14 years earlier. A friend lent me a book that she "hoped would help me". I usually would smile and say thanks then never look at the book, but this time I was curious as it was written by Patty Duke. Call Me Anna, was the title because as a child she lived with guardians who managed her acting career and they changed her name. She was told Anna Marie is dead, you are now Patty.

I started to cry and read and nod and smile and cry.

I even wrote a letter to Anna that I never posted but I felt she would understand me.

Anna(Patty) had written a memoir where she admitted to having manic depressive (bipolar) and wrote so honestly about her behaviours when manic and depressed. My life was so different I was not a famous film star I had not had the pressures she had. I couldn't even tell my neighbours I had bipolar but she told the world.

I did not hear about Carrie Fisher until someone in the mid 2000's gave me her book the Best Awful. (This will sound unbelievable to many Star Wars fans but I have never watched a Star Wars movie!)

I really liked her honesty and sense of humour. She said in the show, Wishful Drinking "Having waited my entire life to get an award for something anything... I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill. How tragic would it be to be runner-up for bipolar woman of the year?"

Sadly Carrie's mother Debbie Reynolds died a day after her daughter. They had a difficult relationship all acted out in public. Todd, Carrie's brother said his mum cared a lot for Carrie over the years when she was unwell.

Both Anna(the Duke) and Carrie (the princess) experienced addiction and mental illness. They both chose to use their celebrity status to be honest about their struggles and to give hope to others.

I realised that having every second of your life scrutinised and recorded would put a person under so much pressure. I admired Anna and Carrie for choosing to be open.

Were you touched in some way by these 2 women? In what way?

Do you think it is harder for a celebrity to be honest about their mental illness or do you think it would be same for anyone?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

29 comments - Permalink


5

January

Are there any positive benefits from depression? Thursday January 5, 2017

Despite having lived with/survived depression for many many years, I am still not sure about the answer to this question.

But it would be terribly sad wouldn't it if there were none? No benefits whatsoever from all these years of depression.

So I have set myself the task of thinking positively about feeling depressed and to find ways in which my life has not exactly been enriched by it, but has benefitted in some way.

Depression has enabled me to think deeply about life, about my life and the world around me. I notice things, the minutiae of life.

Depression dulls extreme emotion, which can be a good thing in that it sort of protects me from getting too involved emotionally. I still 'feel' but I suppose not being confident of how exactly I feel, I tend to err on the side of caution and reserve judgement in many instances.

Depression gives me time to reflect; it prevents me jumping into a situation that I may find it difficult to get out of.

I suppose I feel a bystander looking on.

I read a lot, novels, and newspapers and am up to date on current affairs. I am quite a serious person most of the time and think rationally.

I make an effort all the time to fit in, be nice to people, make others feel happy and good about themselves.

Now all this might seem gloom in itself and also many might think, well Jul, you don't have to be depressed to have all these 'qualities'. A normal, well balanced, non depressed person might also be like you.

And my answer would be yes, that's right so my conclusion would be well maybe I am not as depressed as I think or feel. Maybe I am normal!

Can you think of any benefits, your mental health issues, bring to you and others?

Jul
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

29 comments - Permalink


4

January

Making Plans for Nigel. Wednesday January 4, 2017

Let me clear one thing up first: I don't actually know a Nigel. Far less know one well enough to make plans for, but it's a great title and so I thought that my nickname for 2017 really ought to be Nigel.

I don't make new year's resolutions. As far as I'm concerned, new year's resolutions are just a big heavy stick with which to clout yourself come February when you've failed to keep any of them.

Plans, however, are different.

Plans are not goals. Goals are just another form of resolution. Goals, to me, are one more way of measuring failure. I didn't achieve my goal to lose 20lbs by Christmas (I was doing well until the black dog sat on me and forced me to eat toast); I didn't get my novel published (broken bones and family disasters overtook me); I didn't get my video blogs for my business recorded and I didn't even learn Spanish.

See – I'm just a failure all round; a fat, unpublished, unrecorded and non-cosmopolitan failure! (Please allow me a little time to go down to the bottom of the garden and eat worms while you all play tiny imaginary violins...)

But back to plans.

You see, if you don't manage to carry out your plans, there's no stigma of failure attached. You can chuck one plan away and go to your back-up plan, or plan B (or, C or D or...). You can re-plan according to circumstances. You can say "well, I had planned to do some gardening today, but the rain was so heavy I decided to stay in and read a good book instead."

Now, if your goal had been to get the lawn mown and the hedges trimmed, you would have failed, but a plan is flexible depending of circumstances or even your mood. "Well, I had planned to go to the supermarket and do the shopping, but my friend needed me, so I spent the morning comforting her instead." Even, "I changed my mind and went to the beach instead."

Plans allow for spontaneity, rescheduling and adjustment.

So, if I rephrase my goals for last year into plans, then the depression has merely set back my weight loss by a few months. Broken bones and family disasters have only delayed the publication of the books and the making of the video blogs. I'd planned to learn Spanish, but found I wasn't really enjoying it, so I stopped. I know more Spanish than when I started, and that's always useful, but I don't plan to learn any more.

So, in 2017, I plan to publish three books. I plan to go out with my husband at least once a month, I plan to get my weight down into the healthy zone.

But if those plans change, then I'm cool with that.

What do you say, Nigel?

(Oh, and here's the link to the song, so you can have it as your earworm all day! http://bit.ly/1BVc0Di )

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

18 comments - Permalink


3

January

The good, the bad and the ugly. Tuesday January 3, 2017

Are you struggling to hear all the “Happy New Year” wishes and secretly can’t wait for this period to be passed? No? Just me then.

I am aware that turning the calendar over one day doesn’t erase all that has gone before and the ‘miserable’ side of me can feel irritated that at New Year we experience a barrage of positive wishes. We exist a whole 365 days a year after all!

I feel huge pressure about the expectations that others and I put on myself. This year I will be; healthier than before, more social, more fun loving, more spontaneous or just ‘more’. What is ‘more’? I interpret it to be ‘better’ than before, less difficult, less serious, less depressed... and yet all these parts of me are me and need attention.

I find myself thinking about the parts of me that others would like to change and the parts that I would like to lose too. However, I recognise that I, like many others, are a complex mixture of all of our parts – the good, the bad and the ugly.

This reminds me of Raymond Meredith Belbin who writes about ‘Team Roles’ and describes how we all have a ‘team role’ which describes how we behave based on our personalities and talents.

When Belbin describes each role he explains that each has a ‘strength’ and also it’s opposite, which he calls an ‘allowable weakness’. In fact he goes as far to say that if we focus on improving our ‘allowable weakness’ we are in danger of diluting our strength. Wow! Imagine if we were to allow ourselves the luxury of accepting all of our parts, even our allowable weaknesses?

So my fellow Moodscopers – what I wish you this New Year is that you find the courage to embrace all of your parts and give particular attention to those ‘allowable weaknesses’. Let us all accept all our parts with tolerance, acceptance and maybe eventually compassion.

Anne
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

32 comments - Permalink


2

January

Victory in many disciplines comes from habit. Monday January 2, 2017

Victory in many disciplines comes from the habitual repetition of good patterns of thinking and behaving.

Practice the wrong pattern, and you'll succeed at becoming very proficient at doing the wrong thing - there's a blog in that alone! If you've ever wondered how people develop their little idiosyncrasies - trust me, they've practised them!

But today, I want to concentrate on one habit of thinking that will bring you more happiness.

What Worked Today?

Every day is peppered with tiny victories.

Sometimes you have to dig for victory! Yes, sometimes you've got to dig to find them, but it's a great habit to develop - each and every day.

You may not be surprised to learn that, like many of us, I really didn't like 2016. In fact, I couldn't wait to see the back of it. There is something refreshing about 'starting over', isn't there? Of course, one day is not really different from the next, nor is one year necessarily different from another - it's simply the way we package time in our minds. Nevertheless, I have hope that 2017 will be brighter for all of us.

One of the great lights that has kept me buoyant and on course in 2016 has been a useful good habit - a thinking habit. This habit has helped me even in the darkest moments.

I call it "5 A Day" - and it's based on Dan Sullivan's "21 Day Positive Focus."

It's easy to apply and a delight to practice.

Every night, you reflect on 5 things that 'worked well' during that day.

The Three Steps

1. Identify 5 'wins' for you that day - 5 outputs that were tangible and successful. Mine are usually tiny victories.

2. Reflect on 'why' they were wins for you - give them more meaning by examining their significance.

3. Decide on what action you could take to repeat these little victories.

That's it.

Dan gives about 20 minutes to this each night. I give it 5. I'm sure Dan gets even more from it because he invests more in it, so I may extend my nightly reverie, but for now, it just finishes the way I look back on the day (even the horrible ones) through a positive frame.

Dan's suggestion is that this will become second nature if you do it for 21 days - your brain will see it as something it just does. My research this year suggests 66 days is more like it, but I can see no value in ceasing such a pleasant ritual anyway.

I wish you a tangible increase in peace of mind, positive focus, and happiness in 2017.

Happy New Year!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

34 comments - Permalink


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