The Moodscope Blog



Part of the Pattern Wednesday January 29, 2020

Every school day now, for the past six years, my daughters - first just the elder and then the younger too - have been leaving the house at 7am and walking down the road to catch the school bus. I used to go with them, but now they prefer to go alone.

Every day we would pass (they now pass) the main bus stop and would see a young man standing there waiting for his 7.05am bus.

We would nod and he would nod, and we would pass by. I think, about year three, we started to say, "Good morning."

Last year my elder daughter left school and started sixth form college, which meant she did not take the school bus, but instead caught the 7.05am bus from the main bus stop; the same bus as the young man. She would nod and he would nod. She would say, "Good morning," and he would say, "Good morning." Then they would both get on the bus and take separate seats without another word.

Last week she bounced in from college, eager to tell me that she had, for the first time, spoken to this young man and had a real conversation!

She had realised she had known him by sight for six years but knew nothing about him. She also realised that, unless she spoke first, they could spend another six years just nodding at each other.

"Mummy, he's lovely!" she said. "His name is Samuel and he's married, and he has a little baby and he works in the science park. He's an absolute G!"

(I had to look that up. It's a slang term – short for "Gangsta" but I think my daughter uses it to mean "Cool". Her favourite teacher is "An absolute G," and he is most definitely not a "Gangsta"!)

I think most of us have people in our lives we see on a regular basis, but to whom we never speak. It a peculiar kind of relationship. We would miss them if we no longer saw them and wonder why they disappeared.

A friend of mine had two Great Pyrenean Mountain dogs – those giant fluffy white things that you could mistake for a polar bear. When one of them died, she found that people stopped her and asked about the missing dog. One person driving past drew up to speak. "I always see you with the two dogs. What's happened to the other one?" My friend found that she was a part of the pattern in other people's lives.

I suppose I am a part of the pattern in your life. I drop into your in-box on a Wednesday and – although most of you have never met me and do not know me – you care. I am part of your pattern and you might miss me if I were not here.

And you too are a part of the pattern in the lives of more people than you know.

A Moodscope member.

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Still feeling lost... Tuesday January 28, 2020

It's been a while since my last blog. I've been away on holiday. Now you all probably think, wow that's great! But you know what, I found it quite stressful and a big reason for this is I spent a lot of the time with my partners family abroad... they are great but I'm overwhelmed with it all as I'm not fluent with the language and can't really communicate that well, I just sit and watch and my mind wonders to the negative as to what is being said.

I don't know how to relax about it all, it just seems hard work trying to fit in... well it's all in my head! On top of that since starting a new position at work, suddenly a much higher position has come around in the team and I feel it's created competition to the point where people are trying their best to stand out and just making things awkward. Also being away for 10 days and coming back, a lot has changed so it seems like I've been a little left behind.

Can't stand the way my mood changes quickly from day to day, I just can't explain it. I can be okay with things in general one minute and then something small can easily upset me and then it seems I can go into a spiral of self doubt, worry and general depression.

Will I ever feel like myself again or even normal...

Hope you are all well.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Where's Lex? Monday January 27, 2020

No! I'm not your new Monday morning blogger. No one can replace Lex long term. Maybe we can put up with a few weeks but our souls will start to wilt and we will suffer from No Lex syndrome. NLS.

We all say things we regret and sometimes I have said things which I haven't had a clue at the time had hurt someone.

We are only human after all.

The problem with writing a possibly inflammatory or hurtful comment on Moodscope and I have written them myself in the past, is that we don't really know the person we are directing our comment to.

This of course happens with Twitter. It's so easy to sound off on Twitter to an anonymous person or someone we think we know from their celebrity status or whom we've read about in the media.

But our comments can hurt. Sounding off at someone might fill a need in us and I am constantly criticising people to my OH. Of course, I remind him that just as we take a swipe at someone, at the very same time, they're probably taking one at us.

We think we know someone whom we've never met! How daft is that. We think we can tell from what they write that we don't like them but that just isn't logical.

I have made mistakes on Moodscope in the past and often (or maybe only sometimes) I am terribly tempted to write a sarcastic comment even now. However, I try not to as

A) I hate the repercussions and am a coward when it comes to reading what people have written in reply and

B) I must not make a personal comment or even an impersonal comment which implies I know that person deep down and I must be right. Because I don't and I am not.

I totally understand the need for others to criticise. It's human nature and the critical person might actually think they are being helpful.

I for one am very sorry Lex isn't writing for us. I liked what he said and although sometimes it wasn't for me, more often than not I took something from his words. And definitely his replies to my comments always cheered me up.

So when you are ready Lex, please come back! I don't like this NLS. And also I am not you. I don't belong on a Monday blog. You are Mondays for me. It makes Sunday evening worth enjoying! And Monday morning a good place to be.

Baby Come Back!

A Moodscope Member.

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

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My box saga Sunday January 26, 2020

As some of you know I use boxes. This is about my newest box.

I am having art therapy. My aim is to become more self caring.

For me it is very helpful to use images combined with a therapist who observes and asks questions. But... it is very expensive, so we agreed I should start reducing my visits. I came up with the idea of a maintenance manual and out of that came my latest box.

In it I have put things that may help keep myself in balance. I try to use it regularly. I've written actions on lolly sticks and I draw one each day. I try to carry out the task. It maybe dance, so I jig round the kitchen; write, paper and pen from the box; draw, crayons there ready. So far it is helping. I go away next week and my box goes with me.

What might you put in a box to help?

You know what I don't have chocolate! Hmmm, Can I express myself in chocolate?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Regression therapy Saturday January 25, 2020

It is time for me to check in with myself and sort out what's been ruminating around my head for the last few months, that and depression knocking at my door, trying to find room in my headspace again and push the blackness back in, as I push my foot in the door and try to stop it gaining entry.

So I made a decision to go back to therapy, but to find a new therapist. I did really like the last one, but didn't feel challenged enough, maybe that's my personality. I tend to like intellectual rigour and I felt I was just doing an emotional brain dump - which did work after my parents died, I felt as if I just needed to vent my upset and disgust at a life which seemingly had treated me so badly - but I need a bit more now.

So now I'm on a journey with another therapist, he's a man, which is different for me. He does clinical supervision and seems to like explaining things... but he's pricey which is a little more difficult, as it means I'll probably do a month and then have to cut it down quite dramatically. He also does hypnotherapy, as part of the armoury for treatment... so today is the first day I'll be hypnotised to try and look back at the reasons why I only fall in love with a certain type of man, the one who is as he put it a 'Byron type'...

It's the thing that's upsetting me the most at the moment. I spent about four years staying single, I was happy in the last few years, I'd manage to control the grief of my parents dying and the fact I was truly alone and in the words of the Moodscope test, I felt extremely Strong and Proud (both 3).

Then I fell in love, with obviously Lord Byron (apparently a jungian archetype, although needs more research), the great love I had always sought landed in my lap. It was fast and lovely and deep and amazing, so connected and delightful, we loved each other intensely... and then it unravelled, mostly when I kicked back and wasn't the 'in love' passive lovely girl any more. I became the slightly more difficult woman, who's needs weren't being met and I articulated it, gently then with more voice... THE END was nigh, the damage was done, the ghosting, the selfishness (both mine and his) and my childhood came back and I reverted.

So now I'm back in therapy working out why the damage from my schizophrenic mother and loving, but slightly controlling father, still affect and help me to damage myself (or save myself) who knows... So with a sense of trepidation I'm trying to stay calm and walk into hypnotherapy. I know it's not going to give immediate answers and I know it's just a tool in the psychotherapists bag of tricks. I wonder if anyone else has had hypnotherapy as part of their treatment? I know it's personal, but wondered if you felt it helped in anyway? I was also considering talking to him about Carbohydrates whilst I was under, see if I could get value for money :-)

A Moodscope member.

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

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Young Dog, Old Tricks Friday January 24, 2020

My step son "M' – let's call him 'M' because it sounds more James Bond-like, doesn't it? – my step son 'M' won't change the toilet-roll. Not, "Can't," but, "Won't."

I find this irritating. He's nearly 30 and will, almost without fail, leave the toilet-roll holder empty when he's consumed the last resource! The replacement is on a spike less than two feet away from the holder. Does the spike have his name on it?

Am I wrong to find this irritating? After all, one of Moodscope's 20 cards is 'Irritable'.

What is definitely wrong is my attitude and desired response. I can be quite sarcastic. I want to give him a training session in how to change the toilet-roll... but I know that he knows full well how to do it. He just expects the toilet-fairy to do it. Clearly, I am Tabitha, the Toilet-Fairy!

I hold my tongue instead of biting him.

I'm not really sure what's happening to me at the moment. I'm not hearing voices. I don't believe in channelling. But I'm picking up thoughts.

Bathed in irritation, I sat down and the thought came: "Look around the room and notice the objects that are red."

"Now, notice what is green. Are there more green objects than red? Or is it the other way around?"

Two colours were enough for me to get the point. The thought 'said', "You are choosing to use selective attention."

"Yes," I responded.

"Do 'M's virtues outweigh his vices?"

"Yes," I answered.

"Then choose to pay selective attention to his strengths, his gifts, his character, his virtues!"

Result? Irritation evaporated. It's a toilet-roll, for goodness sake!

End of blog? No.

I then realised that the irritation was within me – not 'because' of what M was doing or not doing. The irritation in me was looking for a target – a reason to express itself. Now that I know where the real problem lies, I've changed... and M has noticed.

Who knows, he might even put a fresh toilet-roll on the dispenser without having to be nagged.

Even young dogs can learn new tricks 'cos this old dog certainly has.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Medication Thursday January 23, 2020

When I first went on medication, I remember the moment. Sitting in a café, carefully reading through all the disclaimers, wondering if this was a moment of no return as I popped my first pill.

Would they make any difference?

Four years on, I still don't know. Each time I tell the doctor I want to come off them, he/she (there have been several) cautions me against it. Certainly, they say, do not try it in the run up to winter.

I am now much more open about my feelings. But trust them? Personally, I cannot let them have the final word.

When I was considering getting married 20 years ago, I fought tooth and nail against the commitment. It was only friends who helped me see my irrationality. Having proposed, and been accepted, I have never looked back and consider myself the luckiest man in the world. She is one in a million.

When I thought I should carry on with work and refuse help, friends gently said I was making a mistake. When I thought I was not nearly well enough to return to work, the doctor gently said that it would be a key part of my rehabilitation, so long as it was a staged return. I trusted him and he was right.

So can I trust my feelings? Not entirely. I have learnt to be more open, but I have learnt it is not wise to base all my decisions on them alone.

A Moodscope member.

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

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It Shouldn't Be This Way! Wednesday January 22, 2020

Sometime in the autumn term, my daughter was invited to take part in a university outreach scheme.

We all assumed this would be a visit to the university with a taster lecture and tutorial session.

It turned out to be rather more than that. She was given a scientific topic (science is her least favourite subject), required to research it, and submit a 2,000-word essay.

The timings were strict but badly communicated, so she was not aware of the correct deadline; neither had she assimilated that points would be deducted for late submission.

Last Monday night, when we realised the essay was due by midnight at the latest, and that it had not been even started was – shall we say – tense.

There was no point in being angry with my daughter. We could neither contact the school nor the university: there was nothing to be done – except provide comfort and a hug.

My own reaction was extreme: I felt I had failed. I had failed to investigate the scheme thoroughly before we agreed to her participation; I had failed to ascertain what work needed to be done and the dates by which it needed to be submitted; I had failed to encourage her to do the work; I had failed to support her as a good mother should. I had failed.

I was desolate. I was more upset than she was!

Fortunately, I saw my therapist that week and she helped me see things in a more balanced light; I was not responsible for the entire mess.

More than that, she helped me address the "It shouldn't be this way!"

The "right" way, of course, is that all communications are clear and precise; all instructions followed exactly and competently with a cheerful heart; all submissions are made fully, on time and (naturally) top marks are obtained.

Oh, what a lovely fantasy that is!

Have you watched the film Forrest Gump? Forrest brings a simplicity to life because he accepts everything as it is without passing judgement on it. It doesn't mean he is not capable of being deeply hurt, but that he doesn't resist the hurt. He can let go and move on.

It's okay to be disappointed that things didn't turn out the way they "should", but that was just a fantasy. Once I brought that fantasy into focus, I could laugh, because life simply isn't like that!

The next day the three of us talked. We agreed that, given her dislike of the subject and the necessity to give priority to her school-work, it would be better for her to withdraw from the scheme.

The world did not end, and her teacher is not angry. It was all a storm in a teacup.

We all have fantasies about the way things "should" be. Most of them shatter when they collide with reality – because they are unrealistic.

Of course, we can aspire to perfection, but – let's get real – it's never going to happen.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Life with CPTSD Tuesday January 21, 2020

My sleep is broken, I come to consciousness each time with clenched fists, a racing heart, and gasping for breath. My panic morphs the darkness in to terrible threats that I must escape.

Deep breathing, I calm myself as I plan my strategy to reach the kitchen. I must not wake anyone, so I move slowly in the dark, subjugating my need for light, to escape the formless terror, trading it for silence and solitude at my goal.

I greet the faint dawn light of the landing window with some relief, but the fear has seized my spine, and so to descend the stairs safely I shuffle sideways, wincing with each step, and with each creak of the tread. I reach the bottom and I release the breath I didn't realise I had dammed up.

In to the kitchen, I weigh up which light to flip on. Both could wake a sleeper in the next room. I'm frozen with indecision, I don't know how long I stand there.

Finding no answers I opt for a small light, closest to me, and fumble for the kettle. Can I risk filling it? Should I fill one cup as it uses less energy, or fill more so that the next person doesn't need to fill it, and it will still be warm? What would a good person do?

Again immobile, my mind whirling with fear and helplessness, I can move only when the ticking clock finds me and returns me.

I flick the kettle's switch without adding more water, the fear making the decision impossible. I stand again waiting, the boiling of the kettle making my heart race, and I cover my ears with my hands. I start to pace. Maybe I shouldn't have a hot drink, it's all too much to bear. And yet, the promise of the warmth and comfort of the hot cup in my hands drives me forward.

I watch the kettle's switch finally click off, and remove my hands from my ears. I'm so nearly there. I just have to spoon the granules in to the cup, but the chink of the spoon on glass catapults me away from the now.

Moving as an automata, I pour the hot water, and add milk, leaning hard on the knowledge that the shape and feel of the warm cup in my hands will ground me. The heat and taste will assure me that I am, in those few future moments, safe.

I take my cup and head for sanctuary, but glare of the kitchen light calls me back, rooting me to the spot while my mind weighs up whether I can switch it off. I can't leave it on. I can't turn it off. My drink is warm in my hands, but it is not enough to break through the barrier, nor to ease my distress.

Nothing is enough. And yet, I persevere. I persist. I jab at the light switch, action hopefully serving me better than inaction.

I find the sofa in the half light, and slump down, hugging my cup to me. I sip. The warmth permeates, and for a fleeting moment there is nothing other; no fear, no irrationality, no anxiety.

There will be more decisions, more terrifying indecision, more demons dogging my steps to delude me. But, for now, I am alone, it is quiet, I am safe.

A Moodscope member.

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

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"These Boots are Made for Walking..." Monday January 20, 2020

I know that because I am so tired most of the time and lack self confidence as a result, I allow people to walk all over me.

When I sleep well, I am much stronger mentally.

So I think over the years, some people close to me have got used to seeing me as a push over, albeit someone who will always try to help and to go to if help is needed, but someone who will take whatever life throws at her on the chin without speaking out in her defence, someone who is ready to blame her own behaviour for the bad behaviour in others.

Now this may seem a very negative picture of myself.

But this is how others see me or rather they must do. Not many I hasten to add but those who really do take advantage of me now and have done so in the past.

When I've slept I feel angry at how defenceless I have become and tell myself this mustn't continue but then I'll have a bad spell of insomnia and am back to square one.

I try to make others' lives easy and make allowances for their behaviour towards me. I know deep down that they are the weak ones but how can I show them without a terrible fall out?

It's a new year. I wonder if I'll be strong enough not to take anymore nonsense from those who choose to bully me. We shall see!

"... and one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you"!!

Does anyone recognise themselves in my description of myself?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Free resources... Sunday January 19, 2020

Each experience is our own. Even those shared are not interpreted in the same way. The TINIEST of differences in how we perceive and react to things HUGELY influences how we feel. It fascinates me how something that does not bother one person, can be a major source of agitation for another.

A long 'to do list' might cause panic in one mind yet give comfort of being occupied in another.

The simplest of things can trigger my sudden sensation of feeling completely overwhelmed. It's like a heavy blanket falling out of the sky, dropping down on me closing out the light, the oxygen and the hope of me ever lifting it off. I do lift it off eventually and carry on mostly.

For me, good quality sleep, drinking plenty of water and even the gentlest of exercise, are my "free go to healing tools". They don't fix everything immediately and life can hinder your access to them, but like Moodscope and this amazing community they are always there to tap into.

A Moodscope member.

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

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A strategy for those tougher days... Saturday January 18, 2020

I have struggled with the ups and downs of my moods for many years. In the past, when things got really tough, I just tried struggling even harder to keep afloat.

The problem with this approach was that no amount of courage and determination seemed to break the grip of depression. Early morning runs, cold showers, endless meditation - none of this really made a difference. If truth be told, they all served to make me feel more miserable and defeated.

So I have now adopted a new strategy - I try and treat myself to a short bout of depression. I give myself permission to retreat to a dedicated comfy room where I will not be disturbed. Here I stock some of my favourite (unhealthy) food from the supermarket, light endless candles, listen to preselected music playlists and watch box sets.

Don't get me wrong, this approach does not take away the pain of depression. However, in a strange way I feel I can enjoy retreating into this safe space at least for a while.

So what are some of those special things that you would fill your own safe space with? Can you allow yourself time to appreciate them in those tougher times?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Detox Time Friday January 17, 2020

I think it's time for a detox and not just alcohol. I've read with interest about toxic people and how you can identify their behaviour. Eliminating toxins sounds quite harsh when you talk about people but can you recognise any of these... I've had some in my life and some I can't quite get rid of.

The family member that can never quite be happy for your successes and makes you feel like you are stuck right back "there" (the there where you don't want to be any more). You can go back into the mode that you were and it's almost what they expect from you so either wittingly or unwittingly, you find yourself reverting to type... the type they expect from you even though you know you are doing it.

You unsettle them because you change and they can't cope with the change so if they are really awful, they find your "Achilles heel" and they go for it. I'm one of the most defensive people on the planet because all I ever had for a while was myself to defend myself.

I was talked over as a young girl at the family dinner table. The men were more important and what they had to say and football was the order of the day. Perhaps that's why I hate football talk and the Grandstand theme to this day. I remember at a dinner party being asked by a stranger what I did and when I replied that I was a secretary his eyes glazed over and he proceeded to talk over my head to the bloke next to me!!

I remember the friend who said "Oh are you still a secretary" and berating me because I hadn't at that time managed to get out of that role... (the one who got gifted a house by her parents and then married a rich man and dropped out of training to be a chartered accountant – she got the certified instead – as she thought she was entitled to a life of ease!). Another friend who was gifted a house (again!) and her stock phrase was "It's alright for some"...!!

You know how I ended up realising it – I asked myself how I felt after I'd seen them. Always sh*t about my life, feeling sorry for myself, feeling small, worthless and envying them for what they had rather than realising what I did have myself that they would never have. Those people never want to give you a leg up if you are falling... they want you down there, not successful, not growing. So I said yes to a detox and the friendships gladly went to the wall. They may have changed or maybe not, but I have and I won't put up with it any more.

What do you want to detox from your life? Have you done it and how did you feel? Are you still wanting to do it? Have you identified the toxins? Remember this. YOU DESERVE BETTER.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Life stinks. And then you die. Thursday January 16, 2020

I have written some graphic things in my journal. It can seem like navel-gazing, but actually I have found it helpful.

Sometimes, as guided by my counsellor, I write out numbered fears. Then I counter them with a series of facts. This is sometimes called 'challenging'; confronting bad ways of thinking with some truths/alternative ways of thinking. I suspect this will be familiar to those who have had CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Most days, this works. Not all, but most days.

My journal also helps me gain perspective. Does life seem particularly bad this week? Skip back 3 months, 6 months, one year, and what do I find? I was in a really bad place "back then", and guess what? I came through it. Wasn't I negative back then? Somehow I feel better about my supposed problems now. I am actually behaving roughly normally. I just have a tendency to be negative. And that is OK.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Accepting Help Wednesday January 15, 2020

A couple of weeks ago my sister in law broke her ankle.

Naturally, we were all very sorry for her. I empathised particularly: some of you may remember that I broke my ankle in February 2016; I would not wish it on anyone.

I texted my brother. Not my sister-in-law, because I remembered all too well how completely out of it on painkillers I was when I was in her position, but my brother; I knew he would be picking up the pieces.

"Tell me how I can help!" I said. "Can I cook some meals for you and bring them round? Do you need the children taken anywhere?"

He was grateful for my offer of help and asked me if I would pick up his daughter from the school bus one evening when he had a meeting and couldn't get back. In the end, he did get back in time and so my taxi service was not required. I felt almost disappointed: I would have liked to have helped.

They were inundated with offers of help. We humans are hardwired to offer help when disaster strikes – even for such a minor disaster as a broken ankle. (Just saying – when you're lying on the sofa with your leg elevated, unable to do more than use your crutches to get to the toilet – it doesn't seem so minor!)

When disaster strikes, we are automatically prompted to help; it's as if we're hardwired to do so. We really want to help and are distressed when it seems there is nothing we can do. So many of us are upset that we can do nothing for the victims of the fires in Australia. We are too far away to do anything but send money and prayers, and that hurts us deep inside.

When we have more long-term challenges, offers of help may be less forthcoming but they are still there, especially if we ask.

How do we react when we are the ones in need and others offer help?

I suggest that we are reluctant to take up those offers. We don't want to put anybody out. We don't want to be a nuisance. We do not want to appear "needy".

Yet, if we can offer help, we are hurt when that help is refused.

Community is based on give and take. It makes us feel good when we can give but we should also practice being gracious receivers as well as generous givers. We should practise asking for help.

In the depths of depression, in the belly of the great grey beast, we may not even be able to formulate that cry for help: everything is numb; we cannot even think of anything that could help.

So, the time to ask is when we are well – knowing (sadly) we will be ill again. Let people know what they can do for us when we are ill.

We would do it for others; let them do it for us.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Self-return Tuesday January 14, 2020

A couple of years ago, we installed a self-issue machine in the library – it allows our readers to return their own books – and it made me think of something...

In 2010, I lost the sight in my left eye.
In 2013, I lost my sight almost completely.

I am one of the lucky ones; because I have relapsing-remitting MS, my sight came back, or at least to what is described as 'near-normal'.

For every relapse there is nerve damage that will never recover. It may be minor damage and functions may return to 'near-normal' but when I'm fatigued or the weather is hot or humid my vision can fog. My eyes take longer to adjust to different levels of light, and brightness is particularly painful. They also do an amazing dance when I try to track anything that moves to the left.

Reading takes more time than it used to, and I find it more difficult to take in information through my eyes; bad photographs on small phone screens, disentangling all the sights in a busy place, or being in a room with more than a couple of faces at a time, for example.

When I lost my sight, I also lost the use of my right side.

As a reader, a walker/cyclist and a very independent introvert, I didn't know what to do with myself – I couldn't entertain myself with books, I couldn't escape the house, I needed other people to help me with tasks as basic as cleaning my teeth.

I had to ask for help and let other people in, I had to be patient, I had to spend time with myself, to sit and face myself without distraction and confront my own inner world.

It was terrifying.

But I noticed something important.

When I slowed down, I became calmer and more sanguine, more accepting and more able to respond rationally and reasonably to what happened around me.

As I recovered and returned to a not-so-near-normal life, everything became busier again and the rushing came back. And so did the inner critic, the irrational responses, and the inability to sit still and allow the thoughts to settle. Meditation helps, but it's the slowing down of life that made the difference.

Today, I have forgotten to bring my phone to work so I won't be able to listen to Radio 3 during my breaks or a meditation or text friends. I will have to sit with myself.

Very timely, given how active my inner critic has been lately.

The Librarian
A Moodscope member.

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

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Your Moodscope Monday January 13, 2020

Here's a physical challenge. Fret not, it won't require muscle strength, just mind strength. Moreover, the blog is not ruined if you don't have a go. It's just fun.

You'll need six sticks of equal length.

I use pencils, or pens, or chopsticks, knitting needles – but anything will work, even knives (blunt ones!)

Lay out three of the 'sticks' so that they form a triangle with equal length sides.

Now, I promise you it is possible to use the other three 'sticks' to add three further triangles of equal size. Yes, you will end up with four triangles of equal dimensions to the first triangle. I did not solve this problem, though I was wowed by its solution.

...more on this later.

The message is about four triangles. These represent how Moodscope can become an ever more significant source of strength in your life.

The first triangle I call "Connection". You can strengthen your experience by strengthening your connection in three ways.

Firstly, the frequency of interaction with the 'test'. The more you do it, the more you're connected to the benefits.

Secondly, the depth of commitment to the system – the paid for version gives you more data, and data shared and interpreted can bring you a breakthrough.

Thirdly, your engagement with the blog. You don't have to write one – it's not for everyone – but you can share it and comment. It's easy and it makes it 'yours'.

How did you get on with your six sticks and four triangles?

The only way to solve it is with higher thinking – you have to build up. In other words, you make a tetrahedron with the other three sticks – a pyramid with a triangular base. Clever, isn't it? I wish I was that clever.

Whatever happens next in the world, we are all going to have to create more options with less resources. Six sticks can make four equally-sized triangles. I was SO moved by Leah's blog, and she has inspired the naming of the other three triangles:


Let's deal with 'currency' first. Moodscope will only remain a part of your life if you get something from it – not cash perhaps but a pay-off in other ways. It's got to 'work' for you. I believe 'connection' is a currency. I have an ever-stronger sense of connection with you, my tribe. This keeps me going and builds me up.

Two other 'pay-offs' are the currencies of confidence and competence. Writing the blogs and commenting on others' blogs has boosted my confidence. Learning from your blogs has boosted my competence. Moodscope, for me, is an enriching experience. Thank you.

Collaboration – the next side of the tetrahedron – is a side I'd like to see more of, and it connects with Contribution too. Mental Health issues are everywhere once you know what to look for and what to say. We need to know what to look for and what to say. Guess what my next blogs will be on!

My point is that I want to become an ambassador for Moodscope – to represent 'us'. At a business networking meeting last Friday, I got talking to a Banker who was running a wellness day at Barclays Eagle Lab next Wednesday. I gave him a card with Moodscope's details on and he said, "Oh, do you do presentations?"

Guess what I'm planning to do!

I want to 'get' more from Moodscope by 'giving' more to Moodscope and 'getting' out there. If you're interested in this too – making Moodscope more 'Your Moodscope' – let's have a discussion here and think about how we could get the right tools to do this good work.

A Moodscope member.

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

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My 'Happy box' and my 'box of Burdens' Sunday January 12, 2020

I have a 'happy box' where I keep physical mementos from people who are and were vital in my life. That's the easy part. Recently I have struggled to find a way to 'contain' my fears, sadness and other burdens that seem to be increasing in my life, especially now that my family and I are getting older.

For many years I have had my 'Happy Box' on a shelf in my closet. It's a real box which originally held greeting cards. Inside I put special birthday cards, photos of family and other significant people in my life. I also have the last letters from my twin sister, before she passed away in 1982. I often open the box and can physically touch and see the photos, read the cards and letters. They are happy souvenirs and I cherish them.

Recently I have been feeling triggered by sad events. My mind goes over these sad thoughts, over and over again, and it is difficult for me literally 'put them aside'. So I thought about my 'happy box' and decided to create my 'box of burdens'. I found an old metal box and I put a post-it labeled 'my box of burdens' on the top. I have since written on a piece of paper the events that are triggering my fears and sadness and folded it in the box.

Now I can keep both my 'happy box' and my 'box of burdens' on the shelf and I really feel more balanced, calm and serene. I can open each box and add items to each of them. More importantly I can CLOSE the boxes and remember that every feeling now has its 'home'.

What's in your 'happy box' and your 'box of burdens'?

A Moodscope member.

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

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What's in a name? Saturday January 11, 2020

I have a black dog. Well, she has some white on her, too, but her predominant colour is black. She is kind, funny, protective and a constant companion that greets me with a smile. Tessa came to me when her previous family admitted they didn't have the time to train her or give her the affection she needs and I am so grateful to them for having the strength to do this. My life is richer for her presence.

Whenever I hear someone speak of their black dog, I wonder if they also have a Border Collie that brings them joy and then I realise that they speak of a different black dog... a black dog that follows them around and sucks the joy from their lives. How can this be? Is it not like claiming that a black cat is unlucky? Even when the evidence proves the lie? Is this a sign that we, as humans, try to hide something that we find uncomfortable to discuss?

These days, there is still a stigma attached to confessing (as if it is a dirty secret) mental illness. Depression; anxiety and PTSD are all too often whispered in conversation. We seek answers from distant friends or social media and seldom share the information with others.

We don't hide the fact that we need glasses to read, or a cane to walk, so why the stigma attached to mental illness? Why fight against treatment, be this medication or therapy, for a mental disorder? These are the very things that can help us best. A good therapist can help you make sense of the monsters that visit at night. A good doctor can identify a missing chemical and help provide relief (and release) in the form of medication.

Mental illness can't be cured, just as a gimp leg can't be cured. We learn to live with it and work around it. Perhaps it is time to see mental illness in the same way.

My name is Cyndi and I have PTSD.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Our glorious natural world Friday January 10, 2020

Nature was my rescue boat – it always has been. I hadn't realised just how much of a lifeline it threw me until it felt out of reach. Having that thing you do when you are worried, anxious or upset, that thing that without even noticing or trying, brings a sense of peace and focuses you on the present, that seems to me a vital ingredient for mental health. For some people that's running through the mud, sexy salsa dancing or yarn bombing their local lamppost. For me it was forests.

I've always loved being among trees, that feeling of walking in an old place, full of a sense of magic and the quiet rustling of leaves. I was always trying to work out where that squirrel just disappeared to or what kind of bird was making that odd noise. Then a year ago I was badly bitten by a dog and suddenly that all stopped. The walking was replaced with chronic pain, hospital appointments and at 35, a walking stick, and an uncertain future. Depression quickly followed digging its claws deep into me. Perhaps it was always lying dormant, kept only at bay by my "forest bathing" but it's here now and so much worse that the scars left by the dog.

I tried to find something else to release the stress - but banned from all physical exercise by my doctors nothing seemed to cut it. I tried reading more, baking bread, joining a choir, seeing friends – all those things people generally suggest but I remained flat and broken, raw on the inside from the sense of loss.

And then it hit me – having a fall back for your stressbuster is a great idea, but why not adapt what you love instead. So one day I switched from focusing on what was now impossible to a new possible. Taking my car I drove through the countryside – I had no plan, no route or direction but just being out of the house and seeing the trees was the first dose of my natural medicine. Tentative hobbled steps followed: finding woods with car parks where I could just get out and sit in the trees, getting to know all the benches in my local park, RSPB reserves with cafes overlooking water and finding nature in the urban – bird feeders bring the forest to me when the pain is too much. Of course there are days I still shed tears for my missed long walks through a forest but I can breathe better knowing I've new ways to get my nature hit now.

So my advice to you – try a daily dose of our glorious natural world and if you think you are loosing something maybe it's a chance to rediscover it another way. You are stronger and more resilient than you think.

A Moodscope member.

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

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