The Moodscope Blog



We are the nicest people Sunday March 29, 2020

Twice recently I have read and been told that people with depression and emotional problems are the most sensitive and feeling people, who are basically aware and always have been of their impact on others and therefore are prone to depression.

This might be a generalisation which could be tested and disagreed with statistically but I am going with it.

When I went to my GP to suggest antidepressants, I came away with a prescription but didn't take them. At the last minute as he opened the door and was saying goodbye, he said the following:

"It's always the nice kind sensitive caring people who express their feelings like you do.."

Now I'm not saying I am totally a lovely person, I am not and who is! However, those words stopped me taking the prescription. I walked home feeling happy! It didn't solve my depression or insomnia, I still suffer. But I felt quite a nice person for once and thought about what he said for days afterwards.

Then I read a letter in The Times from Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin. He ended his letter with these words and this is an exact quote unlike my doctor's words above (which I probably chose to hear but was what he said in substance)
"...People with mental illness, are, I find, among the wisest, kindest and sanest people I have ever met."

I may still take anti depressants. I am not against taking them. However Brendan's Kelly's words did strike a chord with me and has confirmed what I've thought for years about the Moodscope community, about my friends here, how kind and caring we all are.

And yet we find fault with ourselves, we want to change and will take drugs to help this, we are unhappy with what we see as a weakness or an inability to function.

Shouldn't we take another look at ourselves and see us in a different light? Take heed of those words of that Professor of Psychiatry. Believe them. We are wise, sane (yes sane) and the kindest.

A Moodscope member

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

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Sobriety Saturday March 28, 2020

(Please note, this blog was written before the Corona Virus lockdown in the UK)

Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy.

Alcohol made my depression worse. When I was really mentally ill I would drink as another way to self harm. I've been blogging about giving up alcohol and why I made the decision to do so. Lots of people drink what they would think is an average amount and I was probably one of those but I was drinking for the wrong reasons, that is what made it a problem.

I enjoyed a social drink, especially on a dinner out with close friends or a Sunday lunch, or on a gig night out with my sister. So yes, I have had to cut out something that I love to get out of a dark place.

Whenever my mental health was in decline, I was drinking too much. I felt emboldened, strong, heroic, mature, then quickly that would turn to feeling weak, lost, a failure, hopeless. That's because ​alcohol is a drug and it messes with our emotions.

When I'm ill my emotions are wildly up and down but the downs go deep. Alcohol adds to this. So having been off it for the last 3 months I've seen my mood stabilise more than it has in years and years. I know that 3 months isn't long enough to make an assessment, I've had good periods as long as this before, but this time I'm on the lowest dose of medication that I've been on for a very long time.

The big find so far has been the amount of extra headspace I've had and the ability to fill that with positive experiences has been a double bonus. I'm singing, writing more, exercising more mindfully and have a better head to address things with. But also, you can't underestimate the feeling of strength that comes from finding you have control over something that you always thought had control over you.

It is really hard some days, there are days when I really fancy a drink. I've said before how you have to observe the thought, don't act on it and just let it pass. But that takes strength and will power. I was walking into town the other morning to meet my friend and I thought, yep, this is taking a lot of strength, it really isn't easy but aren't lots of things in life worth having hard work to get to? ​Nothing worth having comes easy.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Real-life heroes Friday March 27, 2020

As I write this an unprecedented number of countries are in lockdown. Quarantine, curfews, self-isolation, panic buying toilet paper, hand sanitizer and guns have all become the new normal. A few months ago, who would have imagined the extent to which national health systems would be stretched to breaking point by Covid-19? We are living in truly extraordinary times.

I have been following the coronavirus outbreak with mild terror since it first appeared in the news and on our screens. I'm ashamed to say that previous epidemics, Sars, Ebola, swine and bird flu passed me by. No such luck with this latest deadly incarnation. Europe is now the epicentre of a global pandemic.

Here in Switzerland, where I have been living for the last 15 years, a state of emergency was declared on Friday 13th March. Schools, universities, bars, clubs, restaurants, non-essential shops, and sports centres shut down overnight. As a born-and-bred Londoner, it was surreal to see the country grind to a halt so efficiently. Typical Swiss.

As well as a wedding, an MOT, hairdresser's and dentist's appointments, the new social distancing measures have put paid to my beloved dance classes. I live alone and work from home. My local fitness centre is my sanctuary. A kind of urban mountain chalet. It's an escape from the four walls of my flat. My happy place.

When I am in the dance studio, the energy in the room lifts me up. The music pumps through my veins like blood. As a group, we move together in unison, flowing effortlessly through the choreography in perfect time to the beat. Body, mind and soul fused to perfection.

Dancing gives me superhuman powers, like the comic-book character Wonder Woman who spins around on her heels before transforming into her alter-ego. I become invincible, a fearless warrior single-handedly pursuing my dreams and saving the world!

Under house arrest, enforced isolation has sent me crashing back to earth. Old memories of sadness, and loss, regret and disappointment have resurfaced, haunting my days and my nights.

At 9pm every evening, applause rings out from balconies across the neighbourhood. It's a way of showing thanks to the medical staff working on the frontline in the battle against the spread of coronavirus.

When the (temporary) loss of my dance regimen gets me down, I think about the real-life heroes selflessly stepping up to the plate and going above and beyond the call of duty in the face of a global health crisis: the epidemiologists searching for a vaccine, the doctors and nurses risking their lives to save others; supermarket staff maintaining our food supplies; cleaners and public transport workers. They are the backbone of society. Without them, we wouldn't survive the biggest threat to humanity since Hitler and WW2.

Until we make it to the other side, why not share what we are passionate about?

What helps you to thrive, at the best of times?

Love from

A Moodscope member.

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

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Only Connect Thursday March 26, 2020

Only Connect is the name of a popular TV quiz show chaired by Victoria Coren but the phrase is generally credited to the novelist E M Forster. It's a simple but powerful message.

Like other Moodscopers when I'm depressed the last thing I want to do is connect – I want to hibernate and speak to as few people as possible. The illness tells me that I have nothing of interest to offer anyone, everyone is having a better time than me and they seem to find life a total picnic. The best thing is to retreat into the dark place and keep as quiet and still as possible and hope and pray that the misery will pass. Experience tells me it will, but depression tells me it won't.

A couple of years ago I had one of the worst bouts ever. Teetering on the brink of the abyss, hardly sleeping or eating, I told no one - it was terrifying. Moodscope was absolutely crucial in my recovery and I will be eternally grateful to the community for being there. I didn't post but I checked in with the blog every morning. Just knowing there were other people who got it was a lifeline. I started to confide in a few carefully chosen friends and felt supported and more hopeful that I would get better.

It was a hard lesson but it has taught me not to isolate. I'm semi-retired, live alone and when I do work it is mostly from home. Now I make sure that every day I connect in some way, either meeting with friends, volunteering, chatting on the phone or exchanging a few words with a stranger. It really does make a positive difference.

As we are being told to self-isolate by the government I urge fellow Moodscopers to connect if you can. You won't just be helping yourself but other people too.

A Moodscope member.

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

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It's Getting Real – and I'm Still Reeling! Wednesday March 25, 2020

On Thursday lunchtime I attended the last face to face network meeting – in a riverside pub: goats' cheese, fig and candied walnut salad. It was utterly delicious. We were all conscious that this was the last meal we would eat out for some time.

Thursday evening my elder daughter came home from her shift at the restaurant where she works (worked) part time. She came bearing her share of the kitchen: two dozen eggs, a bushel of salad, a cheesecake, two punnets of mushrooms and more goats' cheese; the restaurant had shut its doors indefinitely. We were grateful for the food.

Friday was the last day at school, the last day ever for my elder daughter – she will get de facto A levels, without sitting the exams.

Saturday - gyms and swimming pools closed. My younger daughter lost her Sunday job teaching toddlers to swim.

Sunday was Mothering Sunday and my mother texted that she would not be coming to Sunday lunch after all - my brother and sister were uneasy. I cooked as usual and we took a plate to her, with a card and a potted orchid. I handed the plate through the door and my family waved through the window. In the afternoon we went for a walk along the river-bank – only to discover that every family in our town had the same idea! We managed to maintain social distancing – just – but the group of youths holding a barbeque in the meadow had no such inhibitions.

On Monday, my husband worked from home, and, in the evening, we listened as our Prime Minister announced the kind of restrictions we never thought to face in peacetime.

Everything is shutting down.

But, wait...

On the other side of my life – the professional side, I have colleagues and networking friends bombarding me with suggestions and help and innovations and advice as to how they are moving their business online and how I can do the same. Suddenly I have a thousand tasks in marketing and developing online courses and programmes for my business and my fitness and my mental health. I am overwhelmed.

I want to scream, "Just let me draw breath!" but then they think I have the virus too!

The threat is real and it's getting closer. A family friend, a man the same age as I, a runner and fit as a fiddle, is now in Intensive Care with Covid 19. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

I will listen to the wise words of my friend Raz. His town in Northern Italy was the first to go into lockdown.

"Do not overthink," he said. "Do not panic.

"This is your new normal; settle into it. Create a routine. Set yourself boundaries: of time: of work, of interaction with your family. Give yourself time alone."

So, that's what I'm doing.

Take a deep breath, Mary; you've got this.

Stay home. Stay Safe. Save lives.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Don't panic, don't panic! Tuesday March 24, 2020

This blog was written on 13th March, Caroline scheduled for Tuesday 24th. Half of it became bunkum. So I shall look at my life here and my family in UK, is one country better than the other? I won't quote statistics, anybody can 'Google' them, out of date within hours anyway.

I wrote a blog, 'Thinking outside the box'. Useless! Most of my ideas have been scuppered by the Corona shut-down. My losses are minor, just my need, after a long, grey, winter, to get out among people has come to a halt. Then I had a really bad day yesterday, self-doubt and guilt. I took my son to the station for a very complicated journey with four changes. I did not use my Tom-tom, knew the road. But it was only just getting light, and although I have good sight and was wearing driving glasses I missed the turning. Had to drive 12 kms away from the station before I could turn round, then risk speeding fines. He got the train – only hiccup signal problems in Geneva so he had to complete the journey back to the French Alps partly by bus. He is now 'imprisoned' (in a lovely place) but he should be in Australia. Why this travel saga? Because it dented my self-confidence.

My family are all quite happy for me to fetch and carry them to airports or stations. If they doubted my driving or my reliability they would organise alternative transport, even if impractical, expensive, or lengthen the journey. Grand-children are phoning, to check up on me, and, in particular, that I am not likely to run short of food. I loathe shopping, so first day of son's visit we loaded two trolleys at the still well-stocked supermarket and filled cupboards and freezer.

So, not quite like Corporal Jones, I did look around my habitat, and thought what measures I ought to take should I become ill. Being old and living alone puts me in a 'risk' category although I do not have underlying health issues. But we have a very high percentage of old people living alone. My young neighbour opposite, stuck with three children for months (French schools shut 2 weeks before UK) said she'll get anything I want. Retired shop-keeper in main road, known for 35 years, is phoning round checking on elderly widows.

Panic buying, making headlines in the UK, does not seem such an issue here. A British bloke, here 14 years, never learned French, thought situation same here. Rushed out and bought toilet rolls, rice and pasta which he never eats!

Unfortunately I cannot help my 95 year old neighbour. (Since writing this, she has been made to accept help as France is in lock-down and we can only go out with a piece of paper justifying our leaving home). She has just phoned to apologise for not coming! No idea she needs authorisation and cannot go visiting. It would be ironic if the police arrested her – which they are now doing. I am beginning to wish I had not written that blog 'che sera sera'. Still holds true?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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Waiting for Collection Monday March 23, 2020

As a young man, I read a story about a former servant of the Queen (probably of Queen Victoria) who was found by a Care Worker, near death. Bedridden, she was living in poverty. The Care Worker looked up above the former-servant's bedstead at a beautiful framed document. He asked what the document was.

"Oh," she said, "That was given to me by the Queen when I retired. It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Shocked, the Care Worker asked the former servant if she knew what it said.

"No, Dear, I can't read."

Gently, the Care Worker explained that the document was a Royal Gift to this loyal ex-servant, granting her a home and a servant of her own until her time came to pass on.

The story had a happy ending... and I wish I could find it again. I read that over 35 years ago but it has always stayed with me.

The ex-servant had many blessings 'waiting for collection'. Those benefits remained inert until she took action – or, in this case, someone else took action on her behalf.

In the weeks and months ahead, we are all going to need help, and we are all, wherever possible going to need to be a help to someone else.

There is a lot of talk about 'Social-Isolation'. I think this is a very poorly constructed phrase. We are talking about 'Physical-Isolation' and not 'Social Isolation'. We now live in a 'connected' world. There is no reason for any of us with Internet access to be socially isolated.

Moodscope is a community that is largely virtual – online – accessible. We have some of the best engagement with posts that I've ever seen. Now is the time to increase our online engagement. Let's talk!

And to conclude the story – I believe there are resources we don't yet know about. The collective 'Intelligence' of our community will be able to source all manner of blessings and benefits that we can claim. Here is a great place to share, "Hey, did you know...?"

For example, I'm really enjoying the input each day from our friends at 'Action for Happiness'.

What encouraging resources are you discovering? Do tell us!

A Moodscope member.

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

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To brighten your day Sunday March 22, 2020

Writing my blog about the kindness crème sparked another memory. Some of the circumstances are very similar, despite there being a 40 year gap between the two incidents.

I had just been admitted to hospital with my first episode of severe depression.

At the time I was a young first year university student. I hadn't been away from home before and I didn't know I had had symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder for several years. Being ignorant, stoical and clever had got me through everything, until that first term. I went down until I broke.

Then things happened to me, not of my volition. After a week came admission. I remember clinging to the corner of the house where I had been staying, being detached and 'helped' into a car and conveyed to the hospital, which was a renal unit with a psychiatric ward in it.

This was a world totally beyond my experience, imagination or comprehension. I knew nobody. I had a little cell-like room on a corridor. And on a small shelf above the door was a bright pink potted cyclamen. The attached label said 'To brighten your day. James Day'.

I could not understand why I should share the room with this flower and I have no idea who James Day was. Originally I thought it was there by mistake but eventually, when I grew up, I attributed its presence to a random act of kindness: a small gift, freely given, with no expectation of anything in return. Whether I 'earned' it was of no relevance. I deserved it because I was me. In the midst of fear and despair a tiny light of hope flickered.

I couldn't appreciate it at the time, but I have never forgotten it.

Who has been kind to you for no reason? Can you find fulfilment or forgiveness by being kind to others?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Now you see it Saturday March 21, 2020

I get up before dawn to get ready for our match, shower, dress, make my bed (it's a wonderful gift to self at the other end of the day) and by dawn our match is cancelled. The ground is hard, a layer of white frost over everything. My household is still sleeping so I find myself creeping around the house like the reverse burglar I am. Switching off outside lights, tipping blinds so the early morning shimmer begins to creep in.

I make a little cafetiere of coffee and contemplate going back to bed (it never works for me, I usually have very bad dreams if I try). Then I sit. In the kitchen on the couch. The smell of coffee near me. And I just take it all in. The teenage me and twenties me would have laughed at this hour. Yes, some nights this was my getting in time. But now, this is my healing time. Not when head hits pillow at the end of the day but this... this is healing. It's rare to get it, mornings are always busy whether it's a weekend or not but today I have this one hour. There is a tree in my back garden which turns almost neon in autumn. It looks different each time we meet.

As I sit looking at the contrast of the green grass, still snooker table bright, blue sky breaking through like the shiny blue bonnet of Donald Campbell's Bluebird, it occurs to me that I am in a heavenly moment. All the hurt from yesterday is not here. Neither is todays. It's just me, with the view and anything is possible. Anything will likely turn out to be teenage stresses and ironing (did I mention I'm living with teenagers and sometimes I'd rather eat my own kidneys?) but, for now, anything is possible. And it's just wonderful.

Whatever your healing moment is, do find it, develop it, and keep it. Mine used to be inside any toilet cubicle and so I hope my words today show you things can always improve! I'm away back to soak it in for just a little more.

If you'd like to, you can now log your score with me. It's a mirror, and we'll face what we have.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

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There are ALWAYS helpers Friday March 20, 2020

If you don't already suffer from anxiety the daily news coming at us from a variety of screens and modalities is enough to drive anyone there.


What I like about human nature is that when the chips are down many immediately set to, working out ways of helping those who might need it. Immediately the thoughts go towards other people.

So when you feel in despair and all the news is anxiety making... look for the helpers. There are ALWAYS helpers. Always people who are helping.

There may not feel like there is much to control in this current world BUT! There IS our humanity. We can ALL be helpers for someone.

I've seen offers of shopping for those who self-isolate, advice to keep themselves and loved ones safe, offers of online activities, support and communication across many services and leisure, neighbourhood lists drawn up to make sure everyone is kept in awareness and contact, thoughtful calls or texts to a those on their own or elderly who needed it, an unexpected card through the letter box. All things that made people feel that they were not alone.

Maybe there isn't much we can do for the world as a whole right now, but we CAN do something for the people around us, the people in our care and circles and ourselves.

And before we start thinking that the 'ourselves' bit is selfish... just remember the age old oxygen-mask-on-a-plane analogy. It knows it's wisdom.

I love that saying by Paul Shane Spear:

"As one person I cannot change the world but I can change the world for one person"

A Moodscope member.

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

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Uncertainty Thursday March 19, 2020

I don't deal well with uncertainty. I never have. I like to have a plan or strategy in place so I know what I'm doing. Surprisingly, I'm actually ok when things change, as long as I can make a new plan. I can cope with evolving times, as long as I keep revising my life strategy.

Right now coronavirus is taking over my part of the world. Here in the UK some people worry that the government's measures haven't gone far enough quickly enough and so many of those around me are adopting more stringent personal action plans. Others are, understandably, grumbling about the inconvenience.

I'm not normally one to panic about this kind of thing, and pragmatism is a character trait that I hold. But Covid is causing problems for everyone. I'm uncertain about my coping strategy and suddenly my anxiety is sky high. Should we go out or should we stay in even though we feel fine, just in case? How long will this last? How will my childcare be affected? How will my marathon training be affected? How will we all cope?

I'm actually pretty good in a crisis situation and if/when we need to hunker down I'll switch into crisis mode. But the uncertainty of this pre-shutdown situation is unsettling. I'm sure many others are feeling similar. Coping in unsettling times is part of building our resilience which in turn is beneficial for strengthening our positive mental health. So I thought it might be helpful to share strategies for dealing with uncertainty, not just with Covid but with life in general.

What do you all think and do to steady yourselves in unsettling times?

With certain love

A Moodscope member.

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

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The Map is Not the Territory Wednesday March 18, 2020

My daughter passed her driving test just a few weeks ago. She is keen to get more driving practise, but understandably a bit anxious too.

Last Thursday we drove up to Edinburgh, a journey of six hours, plus breaks, so she could attend an offers day at the University. It's a straight-forward journey; just find the A1 and keep going.

We shared the driving – or that was the plan. She took over at the Ferrybridge services, where the M62 crosses the A1. It was a miserable evening, with strong winds making the high-sided vehicles wobble erratically, and that nasty drizzle which is just too much for the intermittent setting on the wipers, but not enough for the regular setting; so the annoying squeak of rubber on glass was added to her stress.

She's a competent and careful driver, but – even so – the conditions and her inexperience meant she made a couple of mistakes. No harm was done; she wasn't even flashed by other drivers, or hooted at, but she was very upset.

"Mummy, what must they think of me?" she wailed. "They're probably all swearing at me and calling me names!"

She drove for an hour and then, very thankfully, returned the wheel to me.

"What other people will think," is something that concerns many of us. We don't want to offend, or to behave in a way which will make people think less of us. We want to keep in good standing with our neighbours, colleagues and friendship groups.

But we don't know what they're thinking at all. Very often, they are so busy thinking of their own concerns, they have no space to think about us.

Our "map" of what we think they are thinking is based on our own experiences. My daughter imagines other drivers will be calling her unpleasant names because her father is impatient with any kind of bad driving. Not everyone is like that.

We are so often surprised by what others think – because they don't think like us.

We build a map of how we think the world works, based on our own experiences but that map is frequently inaccurate – and never more so than when it predicts the thoughts and reactions of others.

We are not mind readers; we cannot know what is in another's mind. Even if we are lovers, longing to explore the deepest hopes and dreams of our loved ones, we can't.

Philip Larkin wrote:

If my darling were once to decide
Not to stop at my eyes,
But to jump, like Alice, with floating skirt, into my head...

He goes on to describe how his head is not filled with what she would expect, but with something far less pleasant.

I hope our minds are nicer places than his "Monkey-brown, fish grey, string of infected circles," but our minds are a mystery to others, and theirs a mystery to us.

We think we know what they're thinking, but we never do.

A Moodscope member.

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

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It just takes time Tuesday March 17, 2020

I'm not very good at writing about how I feel, and sometimes I really don't know myself.

I try to do my scores daily, but sometimes I don't want to see the numbers. If anyone else feels that way, trust me I understand.

I try meditation but I'm not very good at it, but I do like the mindfulness meditation, it's just easier for me to focus while walking or just take a break and notice what's going on around me.

I still have trouble with pain and tension in my body, so I'm a work in progress.

I read a lot of everyone's thoughts on Moodscope and it helps me a lot to just keep trying.

I just wanted to say I wish everyone the best and if you just keep trying and believing thing's will get better they will. It just takes time...

Best wishes.

A Moodscope member.

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

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What are you borrowing from the future? Monday March 16, 2020

I caught myself walking up to the shop on this beautiful Saturday morning, already feeling low by borrowing from the way I felt about an uncertain future. I was drawing down on a future that didn't exist!

How crazy is that? Saturday is my day of rest and I love it! Yet, here I was feeling depressed about a future that hasn't happened yet, and may never happen!

That kind of 'wisdom' certainly isn't heavenly!

I'm so glad I caught myself being daft... and, as a thinker and writer, I got to thinking and then writing!

Here's the big take out:

Q. What are you borrowing from the future?

A mortgage is a positive example for many. They borrow from their future positive earning potential to enrich their current experience by living in a home that they love.

Imagination is similar - we borrow from a future we imagine to influence our feelings in the present!

It's Time To Imagine... A Better Future!

Could your future be better, brighter, bigger, bolder?

I'm not asking you if this is likely. I'm asking you if there is even a remote possibility that this could happen?

Could you discover that an unknown relative leaves you a huge amount in their will?

Could medical science discover a cure to whatever may ail you?

Could you suddenly switch the way you think so that you 'see' opportunities in every adversity?

Could everything turn out well?

Of course it could!

And while there is even the tiniest of possibilities, it is worth giving them your full attention!

I know why people convince themselves not to do this. They tell me it is because they don't want to be disappointed. But I know how I felt earlier this morning - worse than disappointed and nothing I was fearing had happened yet!!!

Why not rather choose to feel good? It's far more productive!

"Well, Lex, I can't just switch on feeling better!"

You are absolutely, one hundred percent correct!

But you can choose what you give attention to.

I'm sitting down now am I writing out one hundred credible ways my life could get better. Wherever possible, I'm going to focus on ones that I can at least influence if not control.

Will you join me in this exercise to imagineer a better, brighter, bolder, bigger future? Then, maybe, we can borrow feeling better from our better future!

Thank you!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Filling The Void Sunday March 15, 2020

When I've lost a loved one
I desperately seek
To fill the void.
Using distraction devices
rather than working
through these heavy emotions.

Loss can create blankness
Very painful to face.
So I may be in denial
Swimming among the crocodiles,
Negotiating turbulent waters
while deciding not to go there,
tossing and turning in every direction.

Sometimes anger can be
an overriding emotion.
I may feel furious
at being abandoned.
Why did that person leave
at this point?

I have felt guilty
Something to which I'm frequently prone.
However, unless I recognize
These negative emotions,
facing them courageously,
there's a risk
of spiralling into negativity.

Filling the void
Can be eased
By all the happy memories;
fun things done together.
The outings, the jokes
The laughs shared.

A Moodscope member.

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

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The kindness crème Saturday March 14, 2020

I have an empty plastic pot, clean, with a lid, waiting to be used in the drawer under my bed; but it doesn't matter if it isn't. It has been there for 9 years and will probably continue so for many more. Originally it held an inexpensive face and hand crème, all of which I used. Then washed it and put it away.

Nine years ago I was a patient on a psychiatric ward in a city nearly 40 miles from home in order to have ECT. I was severely depressed (again). I didn't know anybody. I was withdrawn and uncommunicative.

Shortly after I was admitted I was taken one evening, with other patients, to the social centre where the evening's activity was bingo. There were various staff members who also joined in. The winner of each round could choose a small prize.

I didn't win, but one of the winners was a support worker who said she would give her choice of prize to a patient. She chose me. I chose the kindness crème.

Every time I used it I could remember that small, spontaneous, unsought, unselfish gift, given to me despite what I was. I didn't have to 'deserve' it, just accept it. I try to be a gift giver now.

Nothing is good enough to put in the pot!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Hiding Friday March 13, 2020

I often feel very grateful and less alone when I read other people's blogs. It takes time, strength and courage to write from the heart or head depending on where you are at.

As a therapist, there is an assumption by some close friends that I "ought" to be ok and "should " know what to do to make things better for myself.

I can feel so lost at times that I let these assumptions and expectations of others add weight to my distress and I spiral down further adding negative beliefs about myself. I seek refuge in alcohol and withdraw with the label "I am failing on all levels."

It is only through reaching out to my own therapist that I can see myself through a more compassionate lens. I think I was drawn to my profession to help others - it isn't an unconditional role I get from supporting others and holding them in thier darkest moments. It is a privilege. It also lets me hide.

If I am helping others I am fulfilling a need - my need to help. In such an emotionally challenging role I have little energy or will to look at the emotional me. The part that is so hurt so alone so weak.

Personal therapy, as hard as it is, can be the most rewarding place to sit. I have growing awareness of my self, my way of being. Yes it isn't going to change dramatically, the sky isn't suddenly filled with sunshine, but I can no longer deny what I do to avoid.

I recently said goodbye to my soulmate Tippi my 4 legged collie cross. Tippi was my unconditional support, best friend, companion. Thirteen years ago we met at a rescue centre and I truly feel she actually saved me. I am lost without her its been only 5 weeks. I went to therapy not appreciating just how broken I am in my grief as I was listening to "I ought to be ok" "I ought to know what to do".

And I listened, I hid in my work and I unravelled.

I am painfully trying to change my lens - look inward and not rely on outward opinion, comments or reactions for what to do. I have to look at how I want to be, how I currently am and start to break the cycle.

Its my cycle, its my journey and I will get there in my own time.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Being sensitive Thursday March 12, 2020

Growing up I'd always been criticized for being 'too sensitive' or 'over sensitive'.

Too sensitive meant feeling things too deeply, worrying excessively about people or animals in difficult situations, finding injustice intolerable. It meant that I cried easily.

What people never realised, though, was that I was not always upset when I was crying. More often than not I was actually angry but had no means or ability to express that anger as the fire that it was. I felt so much and so deeply yet it never allowed me to reach 'burst' point. So I cried instead.

I was under 5 when I remember feeling very worried about the chickens in a chicken coop out in our garden one hot and sticky summer's day. They had no shade and, I thought, looked really sad. As I gazed at them I had a sudden idea! I remembered a pile of sand we had around the back of the house. Not lovely and golden as I would have liked but grey. Still, it was all we had and I didn't think they'd mind. It was the thought that counted, right?

I filled my beach bucket to the brim and carefully dragged it to the chicken coop. Once there I tipped it in. The hens scattered. After a further three trips I was satisfied that I had, indeed, give them the beach I had imagined in my head to enjoy.

All I can say is that I am so extremely grateful that I didn't follow that up with any water to be the sea because my grey sand was not, in fact, sand but... cement rather!

Years later I was to discover the principles of being, what Dr. Elaine Aron called a 'Highly Sensitive Person'. By then I had been a teacher for some thirty years, teaching children aged 3 to 18 and student's aged 18 - 7O. It included both people with learning disabilities and people without.

I realised that it was my sensitivity that had made me the best teacher I could be. The teacher I had always aspired to be. It mean't that I had the ability to step out of myself, a process I called 'going empty' in order that I be able to see each learner individually more clearly and know, intuitively what they needed in order to access the session content and the skill. Sometimes there was as many systems of learning going on as there were children or students in the room.

Now I don't mind a bit when I'm called sensitive or even over sensitive because I know that everyone in my life, from learners to friends have all, without exception, experienced the best of me, have gained something 'extra' just because of that sensitivity.

A Moodscope member.

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

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This Year, Next Year, Sometime Never... Wednesday March 11, 2020

Helen's mother died a few years ago. She was 93 and had led a full life; she was ready to go.

Before she died, Helen spent some time with her mother, talking to her about her childhood in Australia – about what it was like growing up in that time. It was a time of poverty and hardship, yet there was a lot of laughter as her mother relived those memories.

Helen recorded those talks with her mother, and on Sunday she proudly shared with me that she had finally completed the task of transcribing those recordings for her siblings, so they could all read them.

"I've got a list of tasks for the year," she told me, "And now I can tick that one off!" She was delighted with her achievement and I am sure the rest of her family will appreciate the thought and hard work that went into it.

Yesterday I held a business meeting with a very driven and organised young man. At the end of the meeting I asked, "So, would you like to work with me?"

"Yes," he answered. "But not right now. It's the end of the tax year in a month's time and I cannot afford to spend that time with you right now."

He paused and then went on, "But I can see this is important, and it would be a good investment. After April, I will contact you again."

I suppose my face must have shown my reservations, because he continued, "I have a five-year plan, a yearly plan, a quarterly plan and a monthly plan. Working with you will go on my monthly plan for April."

I don't think I have ever met anyone that focussed and organised; not even my daughter, who schedules her revision timetable in minute detail, even including "Planned Procrastination" sessions!

I rarely make detailed plans for anything. I have a few things I would like to do and some intentions, but I rarely make such organised plans as Helen and this young man. But maybe I would achieve more if I did.

I already plan my menu for the week and shop accordingly. My husband would prefer I plan for the month, and maybe I could consider that. So many of my friends rave about how beautiful Barcelona is and so maybe I could make a plan to visit, and plan who to visit with. I could make a detailed plan of my social media posts for my marketing. I could plan to visit my friend in Washington DC again.

I could plan instead of dreaming.

Plans do not necessarily tie you down; plans can change. Circumstances alter. After all, if my friend moves from Virginia to Fairbanks, Alaska – then the plans change. Certainly, we would change our planned activities: I am sure there are many fewer craft stores in Alaska than in Virginia!

So, now I have a few plans and I'd love to hear about yours.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Clucky friends Tuesday March 10, 2020

In 2017, whilst on a motorcycling touring holiday in Morocco my husband and I were driving off-road. At first it was fine but then we came to a damp patch, the front tyre clogged up with wet clay and the bike wouldn't turn. We both fell over to the left and being on the back I fell from about eight feet onto the left side of my head. From that height it was quite a heavy impact but my crash helmet was undamaged and neither of us appeared to have any ill-effects.

However, three days later I collapsed in our hotel. My husband thought I was dead but it turned out to be a subdural haematoma caused by three days of bleeding into my brain so I was rushed to hospital.

The hospital operated on me that night and I was there for about four days. Soon after I was admitted to the Royal London in Whitechapel. I was there for about another week to build up my strength and make sure I could walk, talk and balance and that there was no lasting evidence of my brain injury.

In order to help him deal with the situation my husband had emailed all my friends to keep them updated so later on I was inundated with inquiries as to my health.

One particular group who are mostly mums and grandmas, proceeded to tell me I should be more careful and shouldn't go near a motorcycle again. I thought this was most unfair as I wasn't even driving!

The year after all this we were invited on a motorcycle touring holiday to Sicily and I was in two minds whether to go so did a trial run with my husband. During this I decided if anything at all felt wrong I'd stay at home and let my husband go on his own. However it all felt fine and at the first coffee stop I treated myself to a little alcohol to celebrate being back.

A year after that I got my licence back from the DVLA who had banned me for a year in case of seizures and my husband took me out to a quiet car park just to see how I got on back on the bike. Everything was fine and I contemplated driving on the road but couldn't quite pluck up the courage. However I was pleased with my progress and thought I'd wait until this spring to go back on the road.

People who are motorcyclists see my caution as understandable given the circumstances and point out that it was a very rare set of circumstances which caused my injury which would make it unlikely to happen again, whereas those who are non-motorcycling friends think I'm mad to even consider it and they are not doing much for my confidence.

The upshot is I'm not sure what to do now, I feel if I don't act soon I'll lose my independence and be stuck on the trains and busses forever. I'd like to get back on the road and feel confident enough but could really do with some advice.


A Moodscope member.

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

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