The Moodscope Blog



Fear and anxiety Friday May 10, 2019

At the moment, my anxiety levels are within normal parameters - for me. It is Spring, and Spring is a good, positive and energetic time for me. Unlike some other times of year. I have learnt and accepted, (after all I've just turned 67!) that I must not make important decisions when in a state of anxiety. That might seem like a statement of the ruddy obvious, but believe you me, for me, it isn't! You might agree that when distorted reality becomes your everyday, decisions are harder to make sensibly!

Negative phases and low moods occur and develop insidiously where I am concerned, so that the morphing distorts my reality. I will make comments that contradict what my OH has heard me proclaim. So it's very confusing for him, understandably! I know it would drive me crackers!! I am fortunate, indeed blessed, that he is long-suffering and grounded in reality, and not given to the impulsive behaviour which is then my everyday!

Fear, abject fear, I have experienced, but luckily, not for years. It is something that springs from a deranged mind... or else from real threat of danger. The danger I felt way back in the bad years was the fear of annihilation, of the "Me" disintegrating, of just not being able to ever cope with life's challenges. Attacked by my own negative thoughts and the harmful critic in my head, I could imagine no escape. Ever. All hope extinguished.
Fortunately, I recovered, brittle, but little by little I rebuilt myself.

What are, or have been your fears and anxieties?

Abject fear: have you known it?

And did you recognise it for what it was: False Evidence Appearing Real (=F.E.A.R.) I like to remind myself of that acronym from time to time.

Best to you this morning,

A Moodscope member.

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

42 comments - Permalink



It was only a Pair of Curtains Thursday May 9, 2019

Silly to be frightened of curtains, but I was! Not in the way that you might think, it wasn't a phobia... it's just that when you buy a new pair you have to pull those cords and set them up correctly and hang the blighters!

I never seem to be able to get them to just hang professionally... and what about trying to make a pair???

Well we did some decorating at the Bear cave... lucky enough to have new carpet up the stairs that Mr Bear and I agreed on (that was a shock!) however, we couldn't find ready-made curtains that we both liked, that actually went with the carpet.

After trawling shops, internet etc., he said the unmentionable: 'Why don't you make a pair, it can't be that difficult?' Ha!

So the fabric warehouse visit loomed. Heart pounding, I was sweating, nervous. We found two fabrics we both liked. One was velvet and had to be hand-sewn, so that wasn't happening! So we asked how much it would be to have them made... ugh, squillions, so the second fabric was chosen and I enquired how much to have them made? (I was chickening out!). Slightly less squillions, but husband said if I made them it would save us £££s!
'But what if I made mistakes, cut it wrong, or messed up that tape-drawing thingy AND oh crumbs, they have to be lined!! I've never made proper curtains before!' I squeaked.

But I was persuaded, it'll be fine. So for two days I followed a YouTube video, measured, measured again, cut, sewed on my machine, hand-sewed hems, ironed, drew up the tape strings thingy, undid errors, (re-sewed lining hems) then hung the curtains. Took pictures because I couldn't believe it!

It took many hours for the first one, less for the second two and I feel I could make some more (one day), and what a sense of achievement! A great Ta-dah moment!

Having never been taught sewing properly and with any enthusiasm when I was younger, I can actually do it!! Oh and they're still hanging, opening and closing, a year later!! Woohoo!

Lack of self-confidence has held me back too many times.

What's holding you back from doing/creating/making and what can you push yourself to have a go at?

Love and hugs,

A Moodscope member.

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

53 comments - Permalink



Getting Depressed About Being Depressed Wednesday May 8, 2019

I've been listening to a Ruby Wax podcast on Audible: "No Brainer", it's called.

Some of you may know that Ruby wax, in additional to being a Comedienne of some note, also writes and performs about depression. She suffers from severe depression herself and has studied the subject in depth as part of her battle against this illness.

It's an engaging listen and I would recommend it. You can only find it on Audible, I believe, but it's not very expensive.

One of the subjects she talks about is her feelings about having depression in the first place and this really struck a chord with me.

We all know – or I hope we do – that our depression is a real illness. It is not just a blue mood we can "snap out of". Yes – it's all in our head, but it's all in our head in the same way a broken leg is all in the leg, or angina is all in the heart.

Yet there seems to be more negative emotions around depression than other illnesses. I'm especially talking about the guilt which comes with it.

Let's think about the depression itself for a moment. There's the mental side, obviously, and this can go from what the doctors call a "consistently low mood", to blackest despair, to suicidal impulses because we no longer want to be alive, to that dull grey isolation where we no longer feel anything. That last stage can be the most terrifying of all.

Then there is the physical side of depression. The "consistently low mood" may be helped by exercise, but, when I was in one of my depressions, I couldn't exercise. All I was physically capable of was sitting on the sofa, shaking. I couldn't even walk the 25 meters to the end of the drive.

But – until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the worst bit was the guilt and despair I experienced about those times of depression.

Ironically, even though my condition worsened quite dramatically in the past dozen years, my suffering around it just as dramatically decreased. I no longer felt guilty. I knew I could no more control my condition than I could that broken leg or angina. I no longer asked, "Why does this happen? What did I do wrong? How could I let myself get like this?" I just got on with getting through it and getting better. Ruby Wax says that, once she had stopped suffering about her depression, those periods of depression got a lot shorter. They still come, she says, but they don't last as long.

My bipolar disorder is now controlled by drugs, for which I am immensely grateful. I don't feel guilty in the least about taking my tablets every morning and evening. My medication enables me to function reliably. I am able to be a competent wife, mother and businesswoman.

So – if medication works for you, don't feel guilty.

In fact, don't feel guilty at all!

A Moodscope member.

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

49 comments - Permalink



What makes a social 'animal'? Tuesday May 7, 2019

A recent blog was on 'social hibernation'. Moodscopers have written often that any social event, giving or receiving, makes them anxious. I've never done anything, entertaining or appearing in a public event, without a 'frisson'. I would not call it anxiety, but the adrenalin rush (I am sure performers here would agree) which gets you going. If you are so sure of yourself that you do not need it you probably have no 'leavening' of what you are aiming to do.

I am just embarking on about the most ambitious project of my life (except, perhaps, starting university at 50, that was terrifying). This is my 'Talking Shop', or a pretentious 'Salon' in French. People keep popping their heads round the door, and approve of what I am up to. But will they come? Tell others? Help out sometimes? I have been told that 'I know how to receive'. Totally puzzled, what do they mean?

I had no social training, where did it come from? I dealt with my father's customers from about 13 years old. It was an exotic business, foreign birds, I cared for them and caught them. The customers knew Daddy was charismatic, terrific at his job, and treated his daughter like a slave. They were always very nice to me – so I was not scared of dealing with the 'public'.

Daddy took me to a very important dinner – a Duke, American dignitaries, terrifying number of knives and forks. It was not long after the war. I looked with alarm at the hors d'oeuvre plate. One of Daddy's nicest customers was next to me, he comforted me by saying he was leaving the anchovies and olives too.

The 'upper' classes had it easy. Nanny knocked the first manners into the kids, then good schools, and being 'finished' so, although many were probably quaking, they knew the rules of social occasions.

Then you had 'At Homes', Madame X receives on Tuesdays between 2 and 4 p.m, and you did NOT overstay your welcome. If anybody watched 'Cranford' visiting hours were firmly stated and only a disaster could disturb them. The men handed tea cups and bread and butter. Maids hovered.

I look back at photos, of parties in my garden, over 100 people – they all knew each other, and fell on somebody they had not seen for ages. Being English in French society, I had no pre-conceived ideas, the char at the hospital, my neighbour, talked to the Director, whom we met at cocktail parties – they would probably never have met. Until we had a lovely conservatory, I was always nervy about the weather.

The mayor when we came here, a charming Jew, was totally pragmatic when I said I worried about rain. 'Don't worry, we'll just budge up'. He would have moved into any part of the house and continued talking. So, I have no 'recipe' for receiving people at all, they just come. Plenty of food, drink, nice atmosphere and let them get on with it. Anybody got a format?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

31 comments - Permalink



Reboot Ritual Monday May 6, 2019

"Back to Life; Back to Reality!" so sings 'Soul II Soul'. We all need little conscious rituals that bring us back to the moment – usually back to external consciousness as a release from the busyness of the mind. It's about mindfulness.

I wonder what the best 'Reboot Ritual' would be for you? It would need to be something you can do easily, and have ready access to, like making a cuppa.

For me, it's washing my hands. My dad, me - myself, and one of my sons have all experienced a germ phobia at various times in our lives. Fascinating to think that it may be hereditary. Washing one's hands is pretty essential in such circumstances! It's also very 'conscious'! I wondered, "Could we turn this vulnerability habit into a strength?"

As an aside, I thought you could share a moment of mirth with me. When I was very young (8), the phobia was so strong that when we were on holiday, I wouldn't even go in the Sea without my sandals on; I wouldn't eat a sweet unless it was wrapped – so I could unwrap it without touching it. When it came time to leave the Guest house, I was nowhere to be found. When I finally appeared, Mum and Dad asked me where I had been.

"I have been washing my hands," I said.

"Where?" they said.

"In the Gentlemen's," I answered.

"Where in the Gentlemen's?"

"In the little basins, on the wall," I innocently replied.

It wasn't until I was over 40 that they saw fit to tell me I'd been washing the germs off in the urinals throughout the duration of our two-week holiday!

Bottom line: I survived!

From Pontius Pilate to Lady Jane Grey, and even to Lady Macbeth, the concept of washing one's hands is one of washing away the past (especially guilt) to move on to the future. It is a rite of passage. Whilst my three examples are sad, the act can, in fact, be very positive.

For me, then, it is an opportunity to come back to a present external sensory awareness where I consciously close the chapter that has gone before and open myself afresh to what is to come. It is a physical ritual pressing of the pause button where I notice the temperature of the water, the movement of the water and the invigorating sensation of this as it flows over my skin, the scent and texture of the soap, the colours of the bubbles and retraction of the light on the water, the enthusiastic cadence of the cascade as it rushes out of the faucet, and the delicious sounds of the waste water giggling and gurgling down the plughole.

With this act, I give myself permission to, "Be Here Now!" and to let go of what has been before as I welcome the future. It reboots my overloaded mind, will, and emotions – and lets me start again.

What is, or will be, your own mindfulness reboot ritual?

A Moodscope member.

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

59 comments - Permalink



Traffic light heroes Sunday May 5, 2019

Good morning. Good day. Good evening. Whichever it is for you, I wish you good. Do you drive? Whether you do or whether you don't doesn't matter a bit, my point is just as valid on public transport or on foot.

Traffic lights have many blessings for us. Next time you are stopped at some, whether as a driver, a passenger or a walker, feel free to use them for personal benefit. Someone has paid for them and implanted them, and we Knights of mental health can use them.

You might develop a little system whereby any traffic light pause of red signifies something for you. For me (when walking), on red light I take a breath in, slowly rising up on tiptoes and slowly lowering myself back down to my heels as I breathe out. This strengthens my ankle muscles which is often where I have a weakness in my yoga. I can sometimes get two or three cycles in before the light changes to amber, that's when I remind myself of where I'm headed and why, and green sends me onward. Yes, it's a tiny thing! But it's inside the tiny stuff where the magic happens.

Your traffic light rest might remind you to breathe in deeply and breathe out. It might be a cue to recite "all is well, I'm on track" over and over. Perhaps you will use the time to lift your eyes to another and give them your smile and see if you can catch one back.

Traffic lights aren't going anywhere, they are a steady presence in our lives and for us Knights of mental health they can become friends. Lean on them do. Now how about you log your score for today. Don't be scared. You can face it head on. You are a Knight. I will if you will.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

26 comments - Permalink



What was I thinking? Saturday May 4, 2019

Have you ever read your diary, or thought about something you did in the past that makes you cringe. You scratch your head and you ask yourself What was I thinking?

There are so many decisions that I have made where I really am not sure what I was thinking then, but of course now, with hindsight, I can think about my possible reasoning or state of mind.

I am trying something different with this blog. When I give an example, it's often this that sets the tone and then I don't get to hear examples from moodscopers.

So it is your turn. Tell me about a time that you now wonder "What was I thinking?"

You can reply in sentence or a paragraph. It can be funny or serious as long as you feel comfortable to share it.

A Moodscope member

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

86 comments - Permalink



Five Ways to Wellbeing - Take Notice Friday May 3, 2019

So taking notice is always something I've believed I am good at. I think I notice things around me, but often with a negative bias. What I mean is if there is the potential for something to go wrong in a situation I usually tune into this rather than what can go right. Yes, I'm a glass half empty person quite a lot of the time.

If the wind is blowing hard (as it seems to have been rather a lot lately!) I'll notice the bough of the huge Elm tree in the park overhanging the house next door and wonder when it will fall on the roof causing tiles to be misplaced and necessitating repairs. Others would no doubt just think thank goodness the tree's not yet got leaves on it to act as a sail in the strong winds.

So noticing is definitely something I do, but perhaps it needs a little shift? The third of the 5 ways to wellbeing is Take Notice. With this in mind I'm trying to be as aware of my surroundings but in a more positive way. The weather today is damp and grey my least favourite, but instead of focusing on that, I'm thinking the damp, wet weather is necessary for longer term benefit, that without the damp, new spring bulbs won't grow and flower, the grass in the park will be yellow and patchy like last year.

As I write this I'm taking notice of all around me - using my senses and thinking about what I notice in a deliberate way. 'I'm enjoying the moment' and appreciating the environment I find myself in. Most obviously I'm using my eyes and seeing the flowers in my window box their delicate heads and petals buffeted by the breeze. Blown about but not broken off. My ears can hear the shrill screech of the gulls that wheel and cry over head at all hours of daylight here. The lingering smell of garlic and chilli from my lunch hangs in the air, reminding me of the spicy taste too. Finally the feel of the dense and warm fur of the cat who is snuggled up beside me as I type. So my senses are being well used today as I take notice.

How about you? Are you scurrying along the street, smart phone in hand reading a text or email, staring distractedly? Or are you out for a refreshing purposeful stroll; tuning in to your environment, the changing seasons, the bird song, the new take away at the end of the road?

Whatever you take notice of today, consider if its beneficial. What's that expression - whatever you pay attention to grows.

A Moodscope member.

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

8 comments - Permalink



Practicing what you preach Thursday May 2, 2019

As a recently qualified counsellor, the journey to which has at times been a rocky road of personal discovery and enlightenment, I have learnt how my past has shaped some of my behaviour patterns, some positive others negative.

This has lead me to take some time out of practice to face some of my own shadows and demons through personal therapy.

I learnt that my need for perfection in all that I do stemmed from anything I achieved was never good enough which lead to low self esteem and feelings of not being good enough. This manifested itself in me trying to be the prefect mum, daughter, wife, being all things to all people. Continually being the resucer which I had done from an early age and, at times, being the adult with my parents. Made to be older in mind than my peers resulting in alienation and bullying.

I was a people pleaser. Everyone was happy with my role, the word 'No' was never in my vocabulary.

I began to make small changes, firstly by learning to say 'No'. I looked at who and why I was doing things for and whether it was making me happy. The biggest lesson I learnt was to remember to tend my own garden, because without that I can't help others tend to theirs - also that I can control who comes through my gate and when.

Some have accepted the new me, others have fallen by the way side. But I often have to check myself as occasionally I slip back. And how can I preach to clients the importance of self-care if I don't practice myself. I agree with them when they say it's hard. And in some cases I will share part of my struggle and that I too sometimes forget to take time for me.

But the important thing is these days I don't beat myself up about it. I just turn to a fresh page and start again, because every day is a new being.

A Moodscope member.

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

28 comments - Permalink



Going Down to the Sea (Again) Wednesday May 1, 2019

Weekends have changed in the Wednesday household.

My younger daughter needs a bit more support just now, so I'm taking her down to the coast to spend time with her friend Emma, who she normally only sees in the holidays.

Last Saturday I took her to Emma's house and left them both there, sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of homework, under the eagle eye of Emma's mother, and took myself back to my own quarters.

I had nothing to do.

I looked around. Everything was clean. I'd washed up from breakfast. I hadn't brought my laptop down with me so there were no emails to answer; no writing to do. There were no heaps of dirty laundry and no pile of ironing. The paper mountain of filing was all at home. I was totally free of responsibility and the day was mine to spend as I wished. What's more, because the weather was atrocious – the wind skating with icy determination over the waves and straight onto the sea wall, bringing a sulky slap of rain with it – I did not even feel the moral duty to go out into the fresh air and get some exercise.

So, I spent the most glorious day doing nothing.

"Nothing" looks different for different people. "Nothing" looks like messing about in boats for some people. "Nothing" looks like catching up on the complete box set of Friends or Game of Thrones to others. "Nothing" looks like twelve hours of Instagram and Snapchat to my daughter.

"Nothing" for me was a desultory placing of a few jigsaw puzzle pieces in the 1500-piece puzzle we have had going since Christmas. I spent some of that "nothing" chatting with a friend in Melbourne. I read a frivolous book. I made three beautiful and elaborate greeting cards, with a set of papers I had had for ages but never used.

"Nothing" was wonderful - until the serpent of guilt slithered by.

"Why are you enjoying yourself when your daughter is studying for her test?" he asked. "How can you be relaxing when your husband is at home picking up all those tasks you have neglected?" "How dare you create when your friend is watching your daughter – you bad, lazy and irresponsible mother!"

I tried to dismiss him, but he twined around me and would not let go. So hard did he cling that I mentioned him to my daughter and Emma when they came back for dinner.

Emma gave me a big hug (because, at fourteen, she is already much taller than I), "Oh, you are so sweet!" she said. "We spend all summer doing nothing and you cook and clean and wash our clothes and drive us everywhere! I'm so pleased you had a lovely day doing nothing." She nudged my daughter, hard. "Tell her that YOU are glad she's had a nice day doing nothing!" she demanded.

And I realised something. It's absolutely okay to do nothing.

A Moodscope member.

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

14 comments - Permalink



Juggling Motherhood Tuesday April 30, 2019

Hi there, I've been a moodscope lurker for several years and thought it was time to say hello.

I'm just coming out of a big bout of postnatal depression. I've experienced depression and anxiety in the past, but this was a much deeper and scarier bog. I had a small human to keep alive, while falling to pieces myself. I thought the fog would never lift and I truly hope I've not caused any emotional damage to my son in the process. It's a big decision to start a family when mental health problems are part of the scene.

I've now returned to work and the support has been poor. I had to appeal for part-time hours and six weeks in my boss still hasn't asked how being back at work is going, am I coping okay? I'm working full-time - how am I feeling about this? How is my son? Am, I getting any sleep? Nothing - except could I make sure I'm available 24/7 on my mobile.

While on maternity leave HR launched a mental health champion scheme (it's a two-day mental health training course).

My boss is a champion, she proudly wears a little blue badge to let people know she can be approached and that she'll help and support them.

And it makes me think, as an organisation we have a long way to go on embedding this scheme. Maybe some people are just not clear on how to support an employee with mental health problems.

A Moodscope member.

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

34 comments - Permalink



Semi;Colon Monday April 29, 2019

You know what it's like – you take a micro-break to Cambridge to be a part of your partner's Great Niece's Christening and you stay 'open' to what the Universe may show you...

...when you're open 'stuff' happens.

We walk into the Grand Arcade, and my attention is captured by the amazing manikins in

I ask for permission to photograph these signature-style manikins, made from recycled ties. Salesperson, Josh Wright, gives me permission, and I notice a tattooed semi-colon behind his ear. I'm really into the stories that sit behind most tattoos, and soon my life is changed, as I ask to hear his story...

Almost a year ago, one of his closest friends chose to commit suicide. Josh showed me pictures of his beautiful friend who'd dated Josh's sister for 6 years. I'm nearly in tears. I'm nearly in tears writing this... perhaps I should be. Perhaps we all should be.

Josh explained his tattoo. I quote from Wikipedia on "Project Semicolon" which explains that "a semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life".

Josh's perspective was even more powerful. The semicolon for him was 'pause' and the 'stop,' and then, 'move on.' He chose to have this tattooed behind his ear to remind him to 'listen.' He said that no one saw this coming for his friend even though the friend's dad and uncle had also committed suicide.

I'm not sure what to suggest other than taking the noble step that Charles Tyrwhitt in Cambridge have taken. They've become involved with Mind's Mental Health First Aid Training:

What I can say for myself is that every semicolon I use from now on will have far deeper significance. I will learn to listen more deeply.

May we all learn to listen... and then intervene so that each 'author' we meet may choose life – choose to continue the sentence.

A Moodscope member.

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

53 comments - Permalink



Wax your surf board, we're going in Sunday April 28, 2019

I heard a girl talk this week. She is blind. When she went blind she cried, wailed and despaired. She sank. And she stayed there. Then, once she had stayed there a long, long time, she had a moment of realisation and said to herself "At some point I have to accept myself, I can't stay this low".

As I've always done, I ride waves of depression. One moment I'm looking at the shoreline, the next I'm tumbled head over heels and struggling to know when to breathe. This girl's words hit home. None of us move forward until we accept ourselves.

I accept this is me. I'm a surfer. I need to accept me as I am. It doesn't mean giving in to anything, it means recognising the point I've reached, perhaps labelling it, smiling at it, then seeing if its moveable. I started a while back and I'll be a work-in-progress for some time yet. I've not stopped making mistakes. That's good enough. How about you? Can you accept who you are today? I accept you as you are. There, now its your turn. Its score time, lets face it together...

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

38 comments - Permalink



A Good Breakdown Saturday April 27, 2019

Gifted with anxiety as I am; I have also learned that a breakdown can be a good thing and not just in unused moving boxes.

Some years ago when I drove a school bus and was riddled with anxious thoughts and feelings, I had to break down the morning and afternoon run into baby steps. In the morning, I was plagued with the mindness of: "I can't do this. I should just quit. Call in sick at least." Then I would reframe to myself; "I will stick one foot out from the blankets and set it on the floor. Okay. Now I will sit up... stand up... walk to the bathroom... walk out to my car... well I am here may as well stick the key in the lock... turn. Open the door..." Each step got easier. It is true the first step is the hardest and that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single one of those hard steps.

"Take one day at a time," I have heard so often. And despised. As if there is another option in how days present themselves? According to a cute bumper sticker there is: "I try to take one day at a time but lately several have attacked me at once!"

For me, radical acceptance is key. It is what it is, no matter what it is. I wish I wasn't anxious but I am. I wish I didn't have a flaming case of PTSD but I do. So I no longer lay claim to them by calling them MY anxiety, MY PTSD, MY depression and insomnia. No. These are things I am affected by and deal with effectively by breakdowns. Good breakdowns. Step for step, not resulting in a trip to the psych ward.

As for one day at a time? And there even being a hymn to that affect in title and terms both.... I say pshaw! I have to live 20 minutes at a time. I look at a daunting task and say; "I could do that for 20 minutes anyway." Repeat.

The truth is, I am too blessed to be stressed and too grateful to stay immobilized by negatives. I love what the things affecting me have brought: for one; you all and moodscope.


A Moodscope member.

PS. my favourite perspective-adjusting quote: "If they chase you out of town act like you're leading the parade." (Unknown).

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

36 comments - Permalink



Fancy writing a blog for Moodscope? Friday April 26, 2019

We are currently looking for members who would like to write a blog for the Moodscope web site.

If you have a story to tell, some advice to give or an experience to share, please start writing! Send your contribution to

We don’t have many rules, but we do ask that your blog is 500 words or less and we prefer to steer clear of political or religious blogs.

If you have an idea and are not sure whether it’s suitable for the web site, just ask us to take a look and we’ll let you know.

All contributions will be reviewed and may be edited if necessary before publishing.

We’ll let you know when we’re sending your blog out so that you can reply to member’s comments if you wish.

Time to start writing…

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft
The Moodscope Team

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

5 comments - Permalink



Words... Thursday April 25, 2019

Are the words we use helpful or unhelpful, harmful or useful? Do we think about what we say before we speak? I have thought a lot about this lately since I was challenged about something I said on Friday. What I said could have been phrased more positively. I generally do think about what I say, but not this time. I have respect for the person who corrected me and she was absolutely right. I had, albeit without thinking, spoken of someone as if they had no identity. What I wanted to do was make her aware of two people I had seen sleeping rough, but I gave the information as "One over there and one over there". My intentions were good but I had forgotten their "identity".

I have many times in my life struggled with fighting for my identity, as a woman, as someone with a disability for example. I have been just given "labels" rather than someone who happens to ride a mobility scooter due to having a disability or that I happen to be a woman. I have been insulted many times because of this. One that really hurt was "White bitch on a scooter with a dog". Referring to my beautiful assistance dog. (This was sorted. The security guard escorted the insulter from the shop.) But nevertheless, it hurt a lot. This is not who I am. I am so much more. I may have a disability, I may need to use a mobility scooter, have a beautiful dog to assist me. But I am so much more. It reminds me of a poem I once read - Look closer, see me. If I am correct, it was written by a lady in hospital about the nurses and wanting them to see deeper. Well worth a look. We never know someone unless we try to look closer. Words and labels are not always helpful, identity can be lost.

My Mum would say, "If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all". She is so right. I remember someone coming to give a talk at a school I once worked at. He brought in a knife and cut up some fruit. He used the knife to show that it could be used for good or (as we have seen of late) for terrible things. He associated this to words we use. They can be helpful. They can also wound. Names hurt far more in bullying as they stay with you. I still hate the name I was called at school - fleabag. It still hurts. But, there are positive things people have spoken to me that I still remember. We will not always remember what people say or do to us but we will always remember the way we felt as a result, so it is better to leave people with positive feelings.

A final thought - Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless. – Mother Teresa.

A Moodscope member.

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

54 comments - Permalink



Talking About the Weather Wednesday April 24, 2019

The BBC weather app showed a smug 20 degrees.

Ha! In the shade, maybe. On the sea wall the heat was intense. The brilliant sun slapped the waves and shattered, so a thousand shards of light ricocheted off the water and onto skin. We wore our sunscreen like Kevlar. The air shimmered so violently one almost expected a mirage of camels to come swaying through palm trees sprouting from the sand.

Easter, and it felt like late July.

And, from the pub garden behind the beach houses, the sound of Karaoke. Someone was singing "Baby, it's Cold Outside."

It made me think of another song.

"The sun is out, the sky is blue
There's not a cloud to spoil the view
But it's raining, raining in my heart."

This Easter, thankfully, I am not suffering with depression, but there have been many, many times, when everything on the outside has been sunny, but inside, it was as dank and grey as February.

If you're reading this, then the likelihood is that you have been there too.

I still remember the feeling of immense relief when my doctor explained about depression. "How can I be depressed?" I had cried. "I have nothing to be depressed about!"

But depression can and does act independently from circumstances. Everything in the garden can be rosy. The sun can be shining, and the sky can be blue and we, on the inside, are living in Winter.

But how to explain?

We can fix a bright smile on our face and pretend – and the less observant will take that smile at face value. The more empathic will see right through the sunny grin and ask us what's wrong.

My friend, with whom I met for lunch today, did just that.

"You're not alright: I can tell!" she said. "And I could hear it in your voice on the phone."

Actually, I'm not depressed right now (thank you, mood stabilising medication). She had picked up that I was in the early stages of a migraine. Sometimes my friends and family can spot it before I do; it exhibits similar symptoms.

But, if it is the Black Dog come for an unwelcome visit and spoiling everything, what can you say?

After many years I've found the best thing to say is, "I'm not very well at present, and – do you mind if I don't talk about it?"

We need to be clear that depression is an illness and that talking about it with well-meaning people who do not understand is exhausting and can be counterproductive.

We may be taking our tablets, we maybe talking with professionals who can help, we may just be hanging on until the black clouds lift and the sun shines again, but we don't need to talk about it if we don't want to.

Your weather on the inside may be different from the weather outside. If so, don't feel guilty. It's the depressive illness which makes you feel cold.

A Moodscope member.

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

51 comments - Permalink



Do you need an expert? Tuesday April 23, 2019

I'm sitting here at my laptop listening at this very moment to someone trying to start their car in the car park next door. The engine is just not quite turning over despite repeated attempts. I've been listening to this for around 15 minutes now and what is clear to me as a bystander listening in, is not only are they going to run down the battery with their repeated efforts of turning the key in the ignition, but doing the same thing over and over again that is not working, and expecting a different result, must surely be overly optimistic or blissfully ignorant and I don't use the word 'ignorant' in an unkind way, I use it in it's original sense, as in, simply a lack of know-how.

I'm sure you all see where I'm going with this blog and the metaphor is not lost on you!

One of two things need to happen here, but first of all the person has to realise that what they are doing is not working and stop doing it before it does any more damage......................... great big pause left here for this point to land......................... then they either need to open up the bonnet and have a look to see if they have the skills to fix the problem themselves, or call in an expert to get them up and running again and back on their journey.

We cannot possibly know everything, whether in our field of expertise or not and every now and again, we simply need to call in an expert to help us on our way. Better still if we can learn from the experience and equip ourselves with the tools and knowledge to deal with a similar issue in the future.

A Moodscope member.

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

44 comments - Permalink



Joining the SAS Monday April 22, 2019

On my way to write this this morning I crept through the house and down the stairs in moves the SAS would be proud of. On toes and then the balls of my feet, I use the edge of the stair as it has most support and is less likely to creak. I take my time, feeling it out to know if a creak is imminent. I know how to open drawers, so the cutlery doesn't give me a crescendo of percussion fitting in the last scene of a passionate opera. I know how to close drawers so hushed you'd never know they'd been opened. I can ease door stops out from underneath doors in such a way that the wood on wood doesn't squeal. I can silently remove and replace the kettle lid with the canny assistance of a tea towel, muffling the shrill shout of the metal so nobody would know the SAS were having early coffee.

I'm good at being quiet. (Admittedly there is a down side to this too but that needs no further explanation here today.) I'm really very good at being quiet. In the game of giving each other a fright with one up-manship I can sneak into my son's room just after we've said goodnight, so I can say goodnight again without him hearing me come into the room, sometimes even getting close to his bed so my voice just appears in the dark. (Done true SAS style by creeping in on belly.) He loves it. After he's calmed down. He gets me back. Often with a creepy voice he does that chills me or with black things that look like spiders.

So, there we are. I am making a confession of a different kind. I am good at something and I am being proud of it and I am sharing it. When did you last praise yourself? Have you ever? Do you ever utter the words "I'm really very good at..."? Its not showing off. It's changing the mindset of self-loathing, self-doubt, self-esteem and it's changing the record. Enough of the other one. Let's play something new.

I'm really very good at... [insert own words here]

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member

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

88 comments - Permalink



Alchemy for Pain Sunday April 21, 2019

I have been interviewing counsellors this week.

Not for myself, this time, but for my daughter who is being badly bullied at school. The school has recommended that she speak with someone. Not just about what has happened over the last few months, but about much, so much more.

I won't give more details. She's happy for me to tell you about the bullying, because she now sees that it's all about the bullies, not her – but the rest is personal. Fair enough.

We've decided to go with the woman with whom I spoke this morning. She used two phrases which resonated with me. She said, "I will teach her to be truly herself, and to be true to herself," and "I will teach her how to turn her pain into strength."

My husband is baffled by this counselling business. After all, our daughter has a loving family – surely, she can talk to us (and yes, she does). She has her Godparents who love her – surely, she can talk with them (and yes, she does). Why does she need a professional? He's rather hurt.

The way I look at it, there are some DIY jobs that are, if you have the time and inclination, DIY. There are some jobs which – just aren't. The trick is to know which ones you can tackle yourself, and which ones for which you call in a professional. Even I (total klutz that I am) could probably apply new mastic to my shower tray. Fitting a new bathroom suite? For that, I'd call in the professionals.

This is a job for a professional.

Back to the phrase, "Turn her pain into strength."

This week is Holy Week in the Christian calendar. I know I need to be wary about talking about religion here, but please bear with me for a moment.

I follow the teachings of a Franciscan Friar, Father Richard Rohr. In his meditations in this Holy Week, he has written about how the pain and sufferings of Christ on the cross are transformed into love, acceptance and compassion: his open arms an embrace for the world.

This is truly turning pain into strength.

My daughter needs to understand herself and to understand her strengths and to then be true to those strengths.

She also needs to take her pain: the pain of betrayal and persecution, abandonment and loss, and turn it into strength, compassion and a passion for ministering to the world.
I have faith that she will do that.

It is so easy, it's natural, for pain to become bitterness and for betrayal to turn in on itself. It takes courage and faith to transform that hurt into beauty and strength. And often the help of a professional.

I know my daughter, with that help, will turn her pain into strength.

And, I ask you, what pain do you have? What can you turn into strength? And do you need the help of a professional?

A Moodscope member.

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

66 comments - Permalink

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.