The Moodscope Blog



Constant Vigilance! Wednesday November 20, 2019

One of the things I most hate about having bipolar disorder is the way it robs me of my self-awareness.

Yes, I've known something was wrong. You people here knew something was wrong, because I share (nearly) everything with you. My family and friends knew something was wrong.

But it wasn't until my annual check-up at the GP surgery that I realised what it was.

"Hmmm," said the nurse. "I think you need to see the doctor. Can you come back this afternoon?"

No – I couldn't. "Then Monday morning?" This was Friday. Given that GP appointments are about as easy to get as an audience with the Queen, I began to realise she was serious about this.

Then things got even worse.

On Saturday I was sick and shaking before I led my workshop – my favourite workshop: one I've led dozens of times - and exhausted afterwards. On Sunday I had a panic attack in church and had to walk out. The disturbing dreams I'd been having every night got terrifying.

So, first thing on Monday, bright and early, I saw my delightful GP. She smiled at me with genuine warmth and asked how I was – and I burst into tears. Literally in tears on her shoulder – because she's that kind of GP.

And out it all came. At the end of twenty minutes she said, "Let's look at your medication, shall we? Because I don't think the current dose is quite doing the job."

There was a stunned silence from my chair.

You see, after two and a half years on my current medication; having become used to the wonderful effect of "normality", it had never occurred to me that the medication would need changing.

Then I started to do the maths.

Every person who has bipolar disorder has their own pattern. Moodscope is brilliant at enabling us to spot the patterns. And my pattern is to have several small episodes annually, a bigger one every two years and a massive one every four years. When the dose was set, I had just come out of a big one, and I was put on the minimum dose. For two years it has smoothed everything out beautifully. But – I now realise - that dose is not effective against the bigger swings.

When you are taking an effective medication; when you are following a regime that helps you manage your condition; when you take every bit of good advice and see the results; it is very easy to forget that you're still dealing with a dragon, and that the dragon can fight back.

It's not just bipolar disorder; we all deal with the monster of depression.

So, my message to all of you who find the medication works, who do all the right things to manage your condition; don't ever take your eyes off that monster - that dragon – because, believe me, it will never take its eyes off you.

In the words of Professor Moody, Constant Vigilance!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Go outside Tuesday November 19, 2019

I was watching a programme about wellbeing and it was interviewing couples about exercise. One of the participants said 'I don't understand why people get so het up about exercise. It's simply a matter of going outside and drinking water. Have you found this to be so?

Going outside
Even on my worst days, I always try and get out of the flat. Just a short walk can help change my mood. A couple of years ago, I started to meditate when walking as I found it easier to focus and concentrate on my breath. That provided me with the practise I needed and some kind of routine to fall into when out and about.

I haven't been exercising as much as I should but walk to work everyday. It's now built into my routine and takes half an hour. I walk through two parks-and the centre of my city. Before it all appears too idyllic, the parks are beautiful but the high street, usually with the occasional person sleeping rough reeks of urine.

Drinking water
This has proven more difficult to crack. Still finding myself often with a dry mouth, headache and general dehydration. Why oh why don't I remember every half hour to drink a glass of water! I try but instead drink tea by the bucketful. I only drink on special occasions and this has helped enormously with staying well.

In all, I'm well at the moment but often reflect on the basic, small things that help me along and particularly to cope with the bigger issues I face. What small things have you incorporated into your life that help you?

The wee one
A Moodscope member.

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

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Making Your Marvellous Moodscope Mixtape! Monday November 18, 2019

Did you ever make a Mixtape for someone you loved? If you are below a certain age, you may not know what I'm referring to, so let me paint in the background. For most of the Record Industry's history, albums were recorded first onto magnetic tape before being cut to other media such as vinyl. Part of this evolution had a span of years when cassette tape was the most convenient way for folks to do home recording. Many of us would have a cassette-recorder, half the height but similar in size to a shoebox. We'd get this as close to the radio as possible to capture the tunes played by our favourite DJs. Devotion drove this delicate and diligent work!

More importantly, one of the greatest tokens of love you could do for a friend would be to make them their own Mixtape. It took hours and a lot of careful planning. Being such a personalised gift, this thoughtful present could even 'make' a relationship...

The dominance of magnetic tape even influenced some of the ways psychologists described how the brain works. A neurosurgeon called Wilder Penfield made amazing discoveries when he stimulated the temporal lobes of some of his patients. With their consent, he applied electrodes to the exposed brain as a prelude to brain surgery. The outcome was that some of the patients re-lived memories in full multisensory detail. The concept was seized upon in the famous book, "I'm OK – You're OK," to explain that our memories are like tapes which record everything we experience. These tapes influence the way we feel and act even if we do not re-experience the memory in the same vivid detail experienced by Wilder's patients. Something in an external event reminds us of an earlier experience (often unconsciously) and all the associated feelings come flooding back.

Whilst the brain is far more complex than this description, there's an action we can take as if this was true enough: making Mixtapes for ourselves. I know for a fact that I have some horrible recordings in my head and heart! If I make a mistake, the self-loathing statements that come flowing out of my mouth indicate a poor self-image. Those horrible words are simply a recording I've replayed far too many times – coaching myself into a low state. It's time for a new recording!

Affirmations are a powerful way of recording a new and more loving Mixtape for yourself. I've just recorded Martine Bolton talking about the publication of her first book, "Your Thinking is Your Superpower." One of Martine's favourite affirmations comes from Louise Hay, author of much loved works such as, "You Can Heal Your Life." The affirmation is:

"This situation is quickly and easily resolved for the highest good of all concerned." Another is like it, "All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe."

Not only am I recording and playing new Mixtapes for my faithful brain to play, I'm looking for suggestions! What affirmations would you recommend? Is it time for you to record a loving Mixtape for your mind to play?

A Moodscope member.

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

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What is Truth? Sunday November 17, 2019

The idea of what truth is
Has mystified many people
Over time.
But there are also strangers
To the truth.

When I discover this
About a person
I will never be able
To trust them again.

Truth is apparently nebulous
It is apparently illusive
Your perceptions of truth
Are not always mine.

This has been a great problem
When building up a relationship
I start wondering
'Is this person telling the truth?

When I question a person's veracity
Then the relationship
Can become marred.
I would love to know
Whether certain people
Are telling the truth
Or 'porky pies.'

My perception of truth
May not necessarily be yours.

A Moodscope member.

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

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I never thought I would but I did Saturday November 16, 2019

Please tell me about something you never thought you would, but you did.

It can be trying a new food, going to a place, or doing something adventurous you vowed you never would.

If anyone has read some of my blogs you would know I am hopeless at any sport. To say I was lacking in any team sport skills was an understatement.

At school I was not only last person picked, but often I was never picked and I sat and watched.

I would rather do housework, which I do not like, than play sport.

So fast forward to when I went to study after leaving school. I knew no-one and found this new freedom overwhelming. At orientation day I met this friendly girl who asked me to join a team sports club. I told her about my lack of skills but she said this was the friendliest club that had the best parties and I would meet lots of people.

So I joined and had a miserable year as I was the worst player and never went to any party as club members said you should have been here last year.

It was a very cliquey club.

What did I learn? I learnt to not be swayed by someone telling you to try something you feel uncomfortable with.

That is my story what is yours?

Please feel free to share anything that at one time you thought you never would, but you did.

You may be glad you did what you did and it may have changed your life.

A Moodscope member

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

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Conversation Friday November 15, 2019

Good morning Moodscopers. I have been taking the antidepressant Sertraline for a few weeks now and I am pleased with how well it has worked for me. I go to sleep with a smile on my face and wake up with a lightness and energy that I haven't felt in a while.

I feel like I'm getting more done, but another good thing is that I feel more conversational. I'm not sure if I'm a bit of an introvert, I do find it hard to start a conversation, but can talk a lot when someone engages with me.

One of the things I love about the Moodscope comments is that they inspire conversation. Those of us who have been members for a while and have come to know some of the regular names, have mini conversations within the comments. People always offer love and support when one of us comments about feeling low.

Another way of sitting in on a lively or interesting conversation is to catch some of the programmes they have on BBC radio 4 in the UK. It was while listening to Midweek with Libby Purves, many years ago now, that I first heard about Moodscope. Jon Cousins was on the programme and it sounded like just what I needed. Libby would have three or four guests who sat around a table and chatted about their field of work, but also life, the universe and everything. I loved it.

Saturday live, with Rev Richard Coles, is also a round table chat and is often amusing too. Chain Reaction was another fascinating programme, where the previous week's interviewee became the next interviewer of someone they admired.

I don't actually listen to the radio all that much, but when I catch a snippet of something while driving, I can listen again on my iPad.

Only recently I met up with a group of people that I don't know all that well, but I felt included and enjoyed my afternoon immensely. Sometimes I see two or three people deep in conversation, but don't feel I can join in. However, with my improved mood, I am trying more to participate and not feel that I am not worthy.

Let's see if you can strike up a conversation today, and if you cannot get out perhaps you can catch something interesting on the radio.

Wishing you all the best.

Another Sally xx
A Moodscope member.

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Like father, like son Thursday November 14, 2019

This is a deep as it gets. The Oedipus complex. Does everyone want to murder his dad? At my father's funeral, I was hugely proud of him. As the oldest son, I wanted to honour his legacy. His values were henceforth my values. I would hear nothing bad said about him.

A year later, the bubble was pricked. Someone asked me, "If you had a son, would you want your son to feel the same way about you that you felt about your dad growing up?" The answer was dead certain "No way!" So what was this loyalty all about, wanting to do everything his way? Shortly afterwards I had swung the other way. Everything bad about me was my dad's fault. The truth about my dad was of course not all one or the other, but a synthesis. He was a human.

I had a joyous occasion recently (fast-forward 30 years). We were on holiday. My 19 year old son, who never knew my dad, asked on the last evening if we could go for a walk after dinner. My mind went into overdrive. What had I said? Did he detect problems between me and my wife/his mum? Things can sometimes be fractious. Had he got someone pregnant? None of the above. Instead, we had the most beautiful walk. He said things I could never have said to my father. He said I was the hardest person to speak to about this issue, but he knew I was the one who could help him most.

We could have walked for hours, down the dark lanes, lit only by a phone torch. I was in heaven. I loved being with my son. We were close. Best of all, the spell had been broken. My son had a relationship with me which I never had with my father. Or to quote the film Lawrence of Arabia, "It was not written."

A Moodscope member.

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Little Things, and Bigger Things Wednesday November 13, 2019

Life's been a bit grim lately, and overwhelming.

I'm rather proud however, of the way I have reacted. It's easy to wallow in the negative feelings and to hold a long, long pity party. And – yes, I will admit I have felt very sorry for myself from time to time; surely that's allowed? But I've also purposely done some positive things and refrained from negative things. And – they have helped, so I'll share them here, because we all have moments when life gets grim. Most of you are dealing with clouds far darker than mine and I humbly accept that. I also accept that some of the things I've done cost money and that money is a challenge for many.

I think the most powerful thing for me was the decision to be positive and move forward. It didn't feel any better at the time, but everything from there has been brighter.

I've always liked Steven Covey's first rule in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; "Begin with the end in mind." If you know what you want in the end, it is easier to make decisions based on working towards that end. If you want to be happy you need to work towards that happiness, even if you can only take baby steps.

The first thing is a bit controversial, I suppose. Nobody likes a Moaning Minnie, so I've purposely withdrawn from all but a few close friends. I don't want to spread gloom or to constantly rehearse my litany of woes. Yes, we all need our support network, but sometimes less is more: fewer friends give stronger support.

I've made the time to speak to and spend time with those friends and to purposely listen to their stories. They have their own challenges and triumphs and it's been good to be more involved with them and less with myself.

I've booked another series of sessions with my therapist. This will be painful, I know, but beneficial.

I picked the last roses from the garden and arranged them in my office. Very importantly, I didn't beat myself up about the state of that garden. An untidy and overgrown garden is better for the wildlife anyway!

I made birthday cards for my niece and brother. That was soothing.

I had a little clear-out. Nothing major – I just shifted a few things out of the door, so my office looks clearer.

I visited a cathedral with a friend and bought a CD of organ music – I'm playing it now. I love organ and choral music: rock might be more your thing.

I've burnt my scented candles (except not today as the roses smell so nice).

I gave myself a pedicure; it made me feel that I was honouring myself: giving myself time.

Most important of all, I am giving myself permission not to be perfect.

Big things and little things, but all positive. I'll know they've worked when my Moodscope score returns to "normal".

A Moodscope member.

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

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'But' Tuesday November 12, 2019

I read Moodscope every day and have done for quite some time now. It has helped me so much through darker times of my depression but also on good days. I could talk about so many things, but I think I would like to mention the topic 'Relationships'. A conversation I had with my mother today, which involved tears and laughter.

So I have been single for seven years now, have two amazing kids, independent person, job, drive, like holidays and meeting up with friends. But there is a 'But'. I often think after unsuccessful dates over the seven years, am I going to be alone forever? Will I meet someone on my wavelength? I'm not abnormal to think this way am I? Surely people aren't all about themselves and selfish for just them.

This year has challenged me in relationships, not just a male companion who yet again wandered out of my life after many promises, but the other relationship I've been hurt by is a long term and this is a 30+ year female friendship whom I have shared lots with, who has sadly departed from our friendship about 4 months ago now. What a blow, I didn't expect it and its really knocked me quite alot. Analysing all our messages, looking at photos, I've questioned the friendship, has it ever been real? I know on my part it was, but never did I think I would question it. So this has knocked my mental health a bit and although it all probably reads a little bit higgledy piggledy I'm sure you understand...

A Moodscope member.

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

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Shift Happens Monday November 11, 2019

Yes, you heard accurately... shift happens!

This week, my friend Sam shared his experience of being stuck in traffic for nearly three hours only (normally) minutes from home. This was after a long journey of over five hours. Sam said it was the first time he'd ever seen a sign warning drivers to stay in their cars.

How would you respond in such a situation? Would you be honest and acknowledge that you were tired and that the last thing you needed was a three hour delay getting back to your family at home? Or would you, like Sam (who is a Mindset Master), suddenly be overcome with a sense of gratitude that he had avoided what was clearly a horrible accident. If he'd been a few minutes before, he may have been the victim.

In psychological warfare techniques like Neuro Linguistic Programming, this shift of meaning is called 'Reframing'. It literally puts the experience in a new frame that shifts the way we feel about an event.

Relationships really relish reframing. For example, if you and I were to become Mindset Masters, like Sam, we'd ascribe the highest motives to everyone's behaviours. We'd actively choose to imagine (and, yes, it is imagining) the very best of reasons behind everything we experience.

The power of reframing is that it frees us from what I call 'The Tyranny of the Absolute'. Let me explain. If I only have one absolute interpretation of somebody's (usually negative behaviour), I'm stuck. There's no negotiation. There's no room for manoeuvre.

This often happens in well-established relationships where one person 'mind-reads' the reason behind the other person's behaviour. They know them so well, they think they know 'why' somebody did something that made them feel bad, good, or whatever label you want to put on your feelings.

Let's face the facts – this is always mind-reading. We don't know. And since we don't know for sure, how much better it is to cut them some slack and allow space for reconciliation.

Mastery is a long way off for me. I still get annoyed when the computer doesn't do what I desire – and still occasionally blame it as if it was deliberate! I'm hoping that one day, I may grow up and realise any technical problem is not personal! However, I do have an element of wisdom entering into my mind now. It goes, "What if..." and in the gap caused by looking for a positive 'What if' – shift happens.

What examples do you have of re-interpreting events so that they make you feel less frustrated and more empowered or resourceful?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Granny Sunday November 10, 2019

My beloved Grandmother died five months ago. She was so much more that just another relation. Granny was my North star, my port in a storm, my cheer-leader, my role model. I could carry on but words can never convey her importance in my life and to my psyche.

Despite the fact she had been slowly deteriorating mentally and physically over the last 10 or so years, like an intricate tapestry losing its detail, her ongoing physical presence was reassuring. Still able to listen and give a response that was always helpful, never judging and always spoken from a position of love. Still able to hold my hand and just be with me, especially when I struggled to be with myself.

I feel the pain now, an ache in my heart area. Something that in some ways I have wished to feel over these past months but haven't been able to, the medication that I take for my mood numbing my feelings and of course protected by the initial denial stage of grief itself. I've not known how best to view this. Caught between knowing that the medication is keeping me well or well-ish but less cognitively sharp than I would like to be.

What I do know is that Granny always said that her strength would live on in me and that she would say that I am doing well. My ability to feel will allow me to heal and pass through this stage and that the feelings of loss now are part of the love then.

Knowing that I can, as we all can, become my own cheer-leader and all I need to do today is get to bed time, put my head on the pillow and sleep, tomorrow is another day.

Catherine G
A Moodscope member.

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Everything is copy Saturday November 9, 2019

I saw a documentary about the wonderful and talented Nora Ephron, an American journalist, writer, and film maker. She is best known for her romantic comedy films like When Harry Met Sally..., and Sleepless in Seattle.

The Title of the documentary 'Everything is copy' was something Nora's mum who was a writer used to say. Nora did take everything from her life and used it in her writing. Heartburn the movie is based on the breakup of her marriage.

When Nora found out she had leukemia she did not choose to share it with the public and indeed she found not everything is copy. In fact many of her friends only found out how ill she was when they read the death notices.

So maybe even for someone who shared all parts of her private life , even for her, Everything is not copy.

Now in a world, when people reveal what they ate for lunch and their inner most thoughts and feeling on social media every day and sometimes every hour, is everything suitable to be published online or written in a book or talked about a radio or even put in a blog?

I like moodscope blogs because people will share their personal stories with honesty and appear vulnerable.

I must admit I don't often write about my children or my partner as I feel while I can share things about myself, I would respect their privacy unless I have asked them if it is ok. I think in my own life there would be boundaries I would not share here.

I wonder what you think. Do you believe that Everything is copy? Is everything available in one's life or others to be written about and shared with the world?

Do you have boundaries about what you share online or offline?

Do people have the right to use other people's stories or write about family and friends even if they are disguised, whether on FB, Instagram, for TV, movies, books, articles blogs etc, without asking them first?

A Moodscope member

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In the dumps Friday November 8, 2019

Hi all, thought I'd have another attempt at this blog thing since my last 'what it's like being depressed'. I must say I was pretty overwhelmed at the response and it gave me some sense of it don't feel abnormal', however my general mood pretty much is in the dumps and it seems to shift not matter how hard I try as I still feel lost.

Now, this might sound like a 'poor me' cry for help and it probably deep down is as I can't make sense of things and can't pinpoint exactly what is causing these awful 'I'm not worthy' feelings. Not even continuous exercise is helping lift it! Struggling with sarcasm/sarcastic people... how do you deal with it in general? Trying to tackle one thing at a time and to understand whether being depressed is causing me to take things personally...

I wonder...maybe you can share your experiences with me?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Privilege, luck, hard work or genetics? Thursday November 7, 2019

I may be pedantic, but twice recently the word 'privilege' has been used on Moodscope in the wrong context. A couple of weeks ago Mary described a family holiday in Wales. The gist was that a disparate group (of tastes, although one family) of wife, husband, two teenage girls, all got something which they saw as a great experience. One reply indicated that only the rich and privileged could afford such a holiday.

I wrote a blog longer ago dwelling on aspects of childhood (my children) in the 1950's and 60's. The gist was that we had acquired a large house (a cheap wreck which we had built on to) and a large garden. Our five kids had room to have friends around, make as much noise as they liked (no neighbours) and have animals. This, too, was described as 'privilege'.

I looked the word up, basically an 'exclusive advantage or right' i.e conferred, not earned.

I have been (favourite occupation) 'dissecting' the people who have come to my nearly stillborn 'Talking shop'. One lady after nearly three hours of conversation made me feel small, in my presumption that everybody had the same chances as me. She has had poor sight from birth. She has never been able to drive a car. I have driven everything I could get my hands on (the faster the sports car the better) since I was 13. I cannot imagine not driving a car.

We have had three days incessant rain. If you had a hospital appointment life would have been hell. Excellent major hospital and polyclinic in nearest big town, 15 minutes by car. But public transport here does not take you where you want to go, taxis reasonable but exorbitant if you have little money. Friends offer, but you don't like to ask when you do not know how long they will have to wait. Charitable organisations non-existent.

I was explaining how I designed my fashionable clothes on dolls, then, great big feet, she could not see intricate design and detail. But she must have acquired, reading large print, her work and listening, a wide grasp of current affairs, as she can converse knowledgeably, But she is very introverted and shy, is one surprised?

Another has had two fairly major strokes, and has returned to near normal. She is lucky, because she and her husband ran the opticians here, taken over by their son. He has four children, so she and her husband saw a lot of them. Their daughter has six children, and lives in Paris, so they have been much called on for grand-parent duties (just behind the Champs-Elysees).

A man I worked closely with on exhibitions has advanced Parkinsons. His tough little wife peeped in my kitchen – much admired. When she left school she worked a sewing machine there, alterations and repairs, with an old wood stove to keep them warm. She had no resentment that I was able to turn it into such an enviable room. So, how do you cope when life gives you a raw deal? I feel chastened by these people.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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It's All Too Much! Wednesday November 6, 2019

I've been having nightmares: let me tell you about them! Oh, I know the definition of a boring is someone who insists on telling you their dreams, but bear with me, please.

In the first dream I am running a Colour Analysis Workshop. My clients are lovely but, as I reach for the tools I need, my entire family invade my studio space; bringing with them furniture from the rest of the house, piles of old clothes and even the contents from my childhood dressing up box! I can't find anything under the mountains of stuff and grow increasingly panicked.

In the second dream I am taking an exam which comes in three parts. The first is a written paper. It is hard and I know I got only half the marks. The second is an obstacle course and I get stuck at the first challenge - a vast pit of slimy, sticky mud. The third part is a presentation. I am confident here because I know I am good at speaking. As I step up onto the podium to start, I realise I cannot find my notes. Instead of my clear notes in the folder, there are pages of unrelated materials; all torn and messy. I cannot give my presentation and ignominiously fail the exam.

I don't think we need a degree in psychology or dream analysis to see what is going on here. I feel as if my life is descending into chaos. The joint demands of my business and family – that includes my extended family, for whom I have administrative and financial responsibilities – are overwhelming. I feel inadequately prepared for all the challenges in my life and thus a failure.

On 11th September I wrote about dealing with overwhelm. I wrote about getting everything out of your head and onto paper. I have taken my own advice, but it still seems all too much.

But, what to let go?

"Why don't you give up your business and just be a stay at home mum?" asked my younger daughter yesterday? But I love my business, and we need the money.

"Can't someone else do the family and trust finances?" ask the close friends to whom I have confided. Well, no – not really; nobody else has the skill and a professional costs too much.

And – the family – well – family, you know?

So, for the sake of my mental health, I need to find a way through.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but the first thing I am doing is making time to do some relaxing things. I am spending time making Christmas cards and tomorrow I'm having lunch with my sister.

I'm scheduling, and not beating myself up when the scheduling slips.

I'm committing myself to swimming 500m each morning: it's my mediation time as well as exercise.

And I'm writing it all down here and sharing it with you. It helps me, and I hope it might help some of you, if you too are in overwhelm.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Trying too hard Tuesday November 5, 2019

I am struggling with a major issue at the moment, I was about to call a close friend whose advice I really value, but I did not. I went for a walk despite the driving rain. Rather than tilt my head downwards to protect myself from the wind and rain, I zipped my rain jacket up to my neck and turned my face towards the sky as I would on a sunny day. Embrace the rain I thought to myself, accept it rather than turning away from it. What is so bad about lovely fresh rain on my skin anyway – actually much better than the drying sun which simply ages it.

With my head tilted to the grey cloudy sky and my stride lengthening, I walked confidently as I embraced the weather conditions as they were, not as I wanted them to be.

After a while, I sat on a bench facing the sea, the rain stopped and the sun was trying its best to break through the heavy cloud cover. I watched the monstrous waves crash and disperse on the shore pulling the pebbles back into the sea before forming and crashing again. Crash and disperse, crash and disperse, each moment completely unique, pebbles thrown around, scattered, bumped, bashed, rearranged.

I watched the waves as I tried to figure out what to do next. The answer wasn't obvious. I was looking too hard. I was looking for the waves to answer my question, but they simply rolled in and out oblivious to my conundrum and needs.

I don't have a solution right now to my present predicament, but the more I search for one, the more elusive it becomes and the more tangled my thinking gets. I go round and round in my spaghetti mind getting more and more frustrated and further away from that which I seek.

The answers come when the questions cease and so I stopped looking for a solution. I stopped trying to make something happen. I stopped trying to figure out the best thing to do. I stopped berating myself for having got to where I am. I stopped being annoyed with myself for not knowing what to do next.

I stopped.

There is no point in my looking outwards for a solution, in looking to others to solve my problems and provide answers. No one knows better than me what is right for me and if I don't know, how on earth can anyone else know?

The best gift I can give to myself is to be able to know what to do when things are tumultuous and that might simply be nothing at all but ride it out. To be the pebble, tossed around and accept where I land. Is it not all this bashing around afterall that smooths and polishes the pebble taking away its hard jagged edges?

The waves were teaching me something afterall, I just didn't know it at the time.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Emotional Assets Monday November 4, 2019

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here:
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One of my favourite quotes is from Maya Angelou. She says,

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Doesn't it feel great when someone genuinely asserts, "I love you!"? My favourite, though, is not love, it is belief. When someone says, "I believe in you!" I feel like doing even more 'stuff' for them to believe in!

My mission, nowadays, is to make people feel great in three specific areas:




I'm told the greatest of these is love, but I choose not to tell everyone I meet that I love them! What I do want to do is make sure I leave them feeling loved – or at least valued and respected.

If I can have an encounter with you where I leave you convinced that I believe in you, that's an awesome achievement. Several people have given this gift to me over the years, and it's the main one I love to pass on. People are amazing, and, even more amazingly, they so often don't see this! Helping the scales fall from their eyes so that they can recognise their potential is the best vocation on the planet!

Then there's hope. This is such a precious gift. Again, for me, it's about convincing someone that there is a better, brighter, bigger, and bolder future ahead of them. The way is unlikely to be easy, but the results will be worth it. It's what many people call 'faith' – a belief in the future – but it's really the accurate definition of 'hope'. Faith says, "I believe in you now." Hope says, "I believe you have a bright future."

Of course the older we get, the tougher the hope challenge can be. Let's be fans of realistic hope. I may 'wish' I had the health of a 20-year-old, but that's not realistic. True hope isn't wishful thinking. Rather, true hope is a compelling vision to do with the yet unseen (in the evidential world) and future.

Moodscope is a powerful means to a hopeful future. Those of us who have travelled together for a few years have seen one another survive and even learn to thrive. It's a rocky road with many diversions, valleys, and tough hills to climb... but we've survived so far!

Hope is a vulnerable area for those who are feeling despair – hope's opposite. We can go a long, long way toward helping one another if we can alleviate many of the fears of the future that are the enemies of hope. Our blogs can be a channel of comfort into one another's lives.

Why am I sharing all this? I'm sharing this because I think focusing on how you leave others feeling is a worthwhile and noble way to invest your time and energy.

If we can leave others believing more in themselves, hopeful about the future, and loved, respected, and appreciated – well then, that's a great purpose to pursue.

Let's try it today, and notice what happens. I'm going to make it my goal to leave at least one person more hopeful about their future, confident in their abilities in the present, and loved regardless of their performance.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Judgement Sunday November 3, 2019

J is for judging people which we all do. Fairly or unfairly. We know only what we see displayed by their behaviour, not the whole of them. Alas. If only we knew...!

U is for usual. It is usual to greet, thank, be civil and praise. If someone fails to do this, does it make them any less human or deserving?

D is for dread. Dread and fear of putting a foot wrong. Some people seem to be looking for you to do this. To pounce and condemn.

G is for generous spirits. They are thankfully everywhere. Kind words heal wounds and nourish the soul.

E is for everyone. Everyone needs love and understanding. Even when they don't behave well. We haven't walked a mile in their shoes.

M is for mercy. Show mercy to the man with the Big Issue, for instance. Alright, so he might be a rogue, but then, he might not be. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

E is for essence. And unique qualities. What is the essence of your being? How do you like to define yourself, in essence?

N is for nurture. Nurture your inner self. Be kind to it, that way, you'll treat others similarly well.

T is for tenacity. Holding on, koko, or keeping on keeping on. Which Moodscopers have in abundance, thank goodness!

(My loose (and by no means definitive!) interpretation of the word "judgement" as an acrostic. Humbly offered. I like acrostics because they get my mind thinking.)


A Moodscope member.

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

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Mindfulness in town and country Saturday November 2, 2019

I don't know if I've got this right, but mindfulness seems to be about not relying on my mind to work my way out of every anxiety. My mind sometimes works very fast indeed. When my anxiety is up, I can think of reasons for, and reasons against, almost anything I do. Should I do this first? Or that?

Mornings are generally (but not always) worse for my mind racing. I can calm it by taking a short walk before going to work. Observing horses. Hedgerows. Looking to see if I can see the swallows. Admiring the shapes of the trees. Hearing. What can I hear? A snuffle behind the hedge. A distant train. Birdsong. More rustling. Do the horses have a relationship? What can I smell? By this time, my mind has dis-engaged. My other senses are engaged. The problems aren't solved, but the respite is welcome.

In town, I do some alternative mindfulness. Bizarrely, I like buildings. I observe them. I look at the sequence of shapes. The proportions. I count windows or pillars for symmetry. I suddenly notice a decorated stone strip I never saw before. Was it essential? Why did I never notice it before? Are those lines really parallel? Again, I am losing myself in my surroundings. My mind is no longer worrying over problems like a dog worrying over a bone. It is observing, marvelling. The problems aren't solved, but the respite is welcome. Sometimes the respite is all I need. It certainly doesn't do any harm!

A Moodscope member.

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

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My Life in Your Hands Friday November 1, 2019

Could you make a better life of my life? I've often wondered how, in different hands, my life might be. Of course I can never know, and neither can you... but would you feel lucky... or short-changed? Would you think you had been hard done by or had a great time? Could you look at me in the mirror and say well done. I don't find that particularly easy to do – in fact it's near impossible.

I could give you a description of me and a bit about my life. Tall-ish, 5 foot 6 and a half (the half is important)... long-ish blonde hair, slim-ish (used to be a 10, now I am a very fat 10 i.e. a 12 – laughingly which I see as a complete failure on my part), young-ish 50 something, with a blossoming very fulfilling self-employment, another half who adores me but also takes the mick, a stepdaughter who seems to really like me, more than a handful of friends and special people that care for me, a crazy home in the Highlands which all our visitors find easy to relax in, and a new dog that is totally gorgeous.

On the surface, I seem like I am successful. But... I am also an orphan (I really miss my parents and particularly hate what would have been my mum's birthday which is also near Christmas, another time I find very difficult for what reason I do not know why), I am a depression survivor, a body dysmorphic since the age of 12 (and people who see me and know me find this very very difficult to understand which makes it all the more bloody isolating), I compare myself CONSTANTLY to others and feel I fall short in most respects.

I'm desperate to change aspects of myself but I also cannot be bothered, which frustrates the hell out of me – I am a Pisces... perhaps that explains it! But don't feel sorry for me. I know I'm an empath, but I'm also blunt, I am a mass of contradictions, I do think I am slightly on some kind of spectrum and I am a complicated person, but in some respects I'm also straightforward. I also giggle uncontrollably and cry occasionally, I find simple things beautiful but sometimes crave for a more glamorous life... yet I know deep down I'm an old hippy at heart.

I spent so long in my life trying to get everyone to like me and now I really don't give a f*ck. Even though I have low self-esteem, I think people that dislike me just don't get me and are missing something. However, I do think that I often would love to say to someone... here you go... make something of my life, make it better, make me happier, make me successful. Isn't it strange? Have you ever felt like this? I'm sure I'm not alone but I'd like to know your thoughts...

A Moodscope member.

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

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