The Moodscope Blog



Changes Tuesday December 4, 2018

Once a year I am part of a big fundraiser for rescue dogs. I meet people who I never see in between. We are all busy on that day, but the conversations we grab are intense, lives are captured in a snapshot, soundbites bring us up to speed. No small talk.

A young woman, pale, underweight, scars of self-harm. Single Mum, two children. Two years ago she was waiting to hear if a man who had raped her was going to be charged. He was just a good mate, known and trusted for 3years. She had taken an overdose, a moment of anguish. Phoned him, would he come straight over, if necessary call an ambulance, stay with the kids.

She passed out, awoke many hours later, naked, raped, children alone crying. He told her that if she reported him, the children would be taken away because of the overdose.

Days later he returned, old school attack and rape, she tried to fight him off. This time she rang the police. She was covered in injuries, and the rapist had scratches on him. The police were dubious a charge would stick. One male detective was supportive.

One year ago. The court case was days away. She was in a state, a rape counsellor would acompany her. The police were confident he would get an appropriate jail sentence.

This year. He got 10 months, on a lesser charge of sexual assault. He had just been released, back home around the corner. Her barrister and the police did a very poor job. No mention was made of the fact that he had been to court on two previous rape charges. Got off both times, technicalities.

For all this, she looks better, smiled, allowed her anger to show. She has been having DBT therapy (I had to Google) and it has clearly worked for her. Therapist helping her claim compensation.

Another woman. A few years ago - exhausted, reclusive. She had a young son with severe autism. When he was diagnosed she was pregnant with the second child. Her husband reacted to the news by hanging himself.

Last year. She had found work in a busy shop. She was getting help with her son, some respite periods. Anti-depressants helping.

This year. Looked lovely, tanned, newly blonde. A man on the scene. Taking it slowly. Later this year she starts training to become a midwife, her dream job. Off the medication for now.

Third lady.

Four years ago her Dad was grieving the loss of his second wife. She and her siblings were arranging their lives to help and support him. He had walked out on their own mother when they were small.

His life seemed over.

Three years ago, he moved abroad to make a fresh start.

One year ago - he had lived with 5 much younger women since moving.

This year. He has fathered a baby, due soon. He is 83, the girlfriend in her 20's. He has changed his will, leaving everything to her. Furthermore, as his children have failed to be thrilled for him, he never wants to hear from them again.

Nothings lasts for ever. Things change, we change, for good or ill. Ordinary people are extraordinary.

A Moodscope member.

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

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More Motivation Monday December 3, 2018

I'm fascinated by what makes people tick, aren't you? Given my long battle with lack of motivation, I've been studying Daniel Pink's take on the subject. It's great content.

In his book, "Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us," Daniel talks about 3 motivational operating systems. Motivation 1.0 is the basic motivation we know as animals. We have hunger, we have thirst, and we like to get together to make more members of our own species.

Motivation 2.0 is what has run business, schools, and government for centuries – the carrot and the stick, reward and punishment. The idea is simple – if you do what we ask, you will get pleasure; if you break the rules, you will get pain. An assumption made is that work is not satisfying and so we need incentives to keep doing it. This belief is logical. Punishment and reward should work. However, it doesn't work often enough any more...

The truth is we are all motivated at a much higher level – Motivation 3.0. This is what we call 'Intrinsic Motivation' – where the activity itself is its own reward. What we do doesn't seem like work – it seems like play. You and I can discover what satisfies this drive by answering a simple question: "If money was not an issue, and if you had all the time in the world, what would you choose to do?"

I asked a group this week to answer that question and the results were inspirational. Here's what they wrote: "Spend time in my garden," "Spend time sewing, which I love." "Sing every day!" "Motorcycle trips." "Teach my son how to pedal/ride his bike :o)" "Understand what my parents enjoyed before I came along." "Exercise more." "Sleep." "Baking and making! :0)" "Quilting." "Walk more and be more healthy." "Write more poetry." "Spend more time with my children." "Bake a cake!" "Travel to South Africa." "Take my children to Snowdon." "Time to read." "More time with the kids." "Spend more time with my Dad." "Travel with family." "More sex*" (*Motivation drive 1.0) "Take some long weekend breaks!" "Spend more time with my partner walking the dogs." "Create my own Christmas gifts, would do a lot of baking and spend time with my family." "Personal health and fitness." "Spend time with my Mum and Son, and to find time for me!" "Give time to another rescue charity." "Would like a holiday." "Wildlife Holiday Photography."

Yes, you guessed the question I'm going to ask you. It's the same question! What are your answers?

Katie, my niece, also inspired me. We were talking about Bucket-Lists and she suggested it would be great to have smaller buckets – lots of them. The idea would be to have regular motivating activities scheduled into shorter time-frames. I'm going to suggest you answer the question for yourself and then plan to take some action on your answers within the next season of 90 days. This builds hope, drive, and motivation.

As always, I'd love you to share your answers! Sharing them publicly can lead to a 10x increase in the likelihood of you actually engaging in these activities.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Onwards soldiers! Left. Right. Left. Right. Sunday December 2, 2018

This is how I feel my depression is best managed. Daily it claws at me, pulling and pulling. Sitting on top of me restricting movement and breath. And so I do the best I can to follow a firm routine and march my depression into submission trying to give it little choice but to shadow me, not lead. Left. Right. Left. Right.

I picked up a gem in this respect. Courtesy of Mo Farah some years back. He was being interviewed at the end of a race in which everyone was surprised to see him secure second place. The interviewer asked him what went wrong, and Mo Farah told him what his plans were for the following week. The interviewer asked him if he was surprised to find himself in second place, and Mo Farah told him in which race he would be competing next. The interviewer tried once more to drill out the 'failure' and Mo Farah smiled his glorious smile and said he was now training to be ready for next week. He blanked all attempts at dwelling on what had just happened and instead moved on to the next step. He dealt with second place the moment it occurred, and he left that moment behind. Lifted his eyes to the next. The best part about this, for me, is that he didn't intend to teach anyone anything, he simply demonstrated.

I'm inspired by Mo's second place almost daily. And I hope you might pull something from it too. What's next?

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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Sticks and Stones Saturday December 1, 2018

It's no secret that most people have a gossip about something or other, maybe about the new employee who's starting in the office next week, or their ex's new 22-year-old beau. At the end of the day, it's human nature, we all love a good gossip now and again, if for no other reason than to let off some steam.

Whilst most gossip can be construed as harmless, the problem seems to arise when the intent behind the gossip is a more harmful one, causing the rumours to spread like wildfire. The issue with this is, eventually, the gossip will reach the source. By the time this happens, the story has become so misconceived and ludicrous, that the damage is then, more-often-than-not, unrepairable.

What people don't consider when they're revelling in the rumour-spreading process is the effect it will inevitably have on the person(s) the rumour is about. Sure, a lot of people have the ability to let insensitive situations such as these roll right off their backs, however this is hardly the case for everyone.

Some people may have had bad experiences in the past regarding having rumours and gossip spread about them, experiences that still scar them to this present day. They may have been so affected by false rumours, that they had no choice but to change schools, or jobs; therefore completely uprooting and inconveniencing their lives. Rumours can cause irreparable damage. Not just to someone's general life settings, but to their mental well-being, which in turn can then cause more issues in their personal and professional lives.

When I used to be gossiped about at university (and believe me, I was gossiped about a lot), it's safe to say that I didn't handle it quite so well as I do these days. Knowing that people were getting enjoyment from discussing me and my personal life and shunning me because they chose to believe the rumours they heard about me... it left me in a very dark and lonely place. But thankfully, I managed to move on with my life.

Not everyone possesses this kind of resilience, and the damage caused by rumours can stay with some people a lot longer. And that's what people need to realise - that the rumours they're spreading affects and impacts upon people, sometimes irreversibly.

This especially rings true when considering the staggeringly-high number of people who commit suicide every year due to being a victim of bullying. People who may see rumour-spreading as nothing more as 'banter' need to start contemplating the fact that to someone who's mentally and/or emotionally vulnerable, being the pivot of others' gossip-wheel is a lot more than just banter.

So, understand that your words and actions have meaning. Don't do something to someone that you wouldn't want done to yourself. I'm not expecting miracles here; I know how unlikely it is that there will ever be a mass-revelation amongst people and suddenly everyone will start treating each other with nothing but kindness and respect, but everyone should at least start realising that a little kindness can go a long way...

A Moodscope member.

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

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Two Devils Friday November 30, 2018

Depression and anxiety come in waves - a never ending cycle of a constant sea change; a repetitive state, a thought and feeling that "I will never be okay ever again!".

It is a broken record which repeats over and over every day. My fragmented thoughts make me feel like things aren't so good, but after talking, I realise it's OK to say "I am not feeling good." It is a constant and draining battle everyday. If I do not fight it, it will take over me, with its cloud of negativity telling me I am not good enough and people are better off without me!

But I won't let these thoughts and feelings define me. I am stronger than them and with each day that passes, I realise I am stronger than they can ever be!

It's like two devils on my shoulders; one makes me feel like no one likes me and the other one makes me worry unnecessarily. They aren't just fighting me, they fight each other - some days I can cope other days I can't both are always there.

A Moodscope member

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"Moving forward with you no longer in my life" Thursday November 29, 2018

The following is a very personal note from my heart, to someone who will never see it!

I wrote it because I'm finally heading towards a closure that I've needed to find for a very long time. The person has created many different emotions in me over the years, and I can now see how much I have learned (and possibly will continue to learn) from their actions. If Mum and Dad were alive I know they would be pleased to see me beginning to let go and move on.

I believe this person has taught me much, and so I'd like to turn my anxieties, bitterness and feelings of worthlessness into being thankful for the lessons they have taught me ...without them even realising it.

Thank You

I thank you for allowing me to search out the healing gift of forgiveness
For enabling me to learn how to let go of all the times you made me cry
I thank you for teaching me I no longer need to hide until you have gone
And thank you for giving me the strength needed to no longer feel small and unworthy

I thank you for reminding me people don't always stay the same
And for teaching me that bitterness is futile and pointless
I thank you for reminding me that my health is not determined by your actions
And for showing me how paranoia can destroy ones soul

I thank you for the memories of when you were the way you were
The person I so loved and looked up to with all my heart
I thank you for the memories so ingrained in my very soul...
...of your support, your jokes, your smile and your laughter

I thank you for making me see clearly when the changes started
And for showing me; through your actions, when cracks began to appear
I thank you for behaving in a way that removes you from the person you were
And in so doing reminding me that you don't have to love someone unconditionally

I hope that one day you too will learn the gift of forgiveness
And that you eventually learn to forgive yourself
I hope you can learn that we create our own consequences
And that you begin the long and sometimes painful process needed forgive yourself for the years of blame you pointed toward others

In that forgiveness I truly hope you find light and happiness
And I hope you find a way to fully, open your heart.
And that you are finally able to find a true and lasting congruence that helps you heal; heal your body and soul; scarred by your false ideas and misguided beliefs

Despite our new reality I will always love who you were,
I just no longer like who you have become.

A Moodscope member.

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Madison's Story Wednesday November 28, 2018

This is a true story, told by Madison herself.

Grandma had been in the hospice for weeks and we all knew the end was drawing near. The cancer was eating away at her so every day there was less Grandma and more of the white sea of sheets on her bed. We all took turns keeping vigil.

It was my turn that evening. There was joy and pain in it. I had so many memories of my Grandma and they played in my mind as I watched her sleeping. Then her dark eyes opened and fixed on me.


"Yes, Grandma," I answered.

She coughed, then said, "Well, I know time's short. I guess it's time for me to give you the secret recipe for my lemon cake."

I leaned forward eagerly. I had only been trying to wheedle that recipe from her for the past dozen years! Every time I asked, she would smile slyly and say, "Not yet."

One thin hand, almost translucent, beckoned me nearer and I leant down to hear her whispered words.

"The recipe for my special lemon cake is," she paused and there was a twinkle in her eyes as they met mine. "It's a packet of Betty Crocker's yellow cake mix, a packet of lemon pudding mix, and a sugar glaze." She gave a soft snort. "The secret is the lemon pudding mix."

She nodded and lay back again, while I sat, stunned by her revelation. Suddenly she cackled. "Oh Madison, girl: you make everything so complicated. Things are rarely as difficult as you think they are. Think simple, girl. Think simple. Just make things as easy as you can. There's enough that's hard in life without making it more so."

After a bit she closed her eyes again and drifted back off to sleep. I sat and held her hand for a while and then gave up my place to my mother. Grandma died, without waking up again, a few hours later.

When Madison told me this story I was struck, and asked if I could relay it here, and she gave me her permission and her blessing.

We do make things complicated – at least I do. I'm always looking for that secret recipe to make everything perfect when there is no secret recipe.

In practical terms I must learn that there is no shame in letting others do the work. It's perfectly acceptable to serve mince pies made by Mr Kipling and to buy a ready-stuffed turkey crown. I don't have to be a domestic goddess this Christmas: I can be a relaxed and happy mother instead.

Last night our family sat around the dinner table and talked about what we all wanted out of Christmas. The answer was not any specific gift, or a particular food or tradition: we wanted an enjoyable family time.

My task now is to plan a simple Christmas, with as few complications as possible.

I wonder what Madison's Grandma would have done?

A Moodscope member

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I know where I am going. (No I don't.) Tuesday November 27, 2018

Well, I know where I'm goin'
And I know who's goin' with me
I know who I love
But the dear knows who I'll marry.

I have recently written blogs titled 'Watershed' and 'Aftermath', about reaction to grief. Now, our whole family seems in a train, and it's 'All Change'.

My husband has just died, and the company which bore his name has stopped trading, for the best of all possible reasons – but it is the end of an era. The two occasions drove me to tears, because, suddenly, six decades just fused together.

It seemed only yesterday that two young people, 19 and 24, were sitting on our bed, in my father's house, only solution after our marriage. I can even remember my 'nightie', orange and white candy stripe. My husband had just failed to get yet another job, he was 'too young'. I said 'Can't we go and grow cabbages somewhere', he said he had always fancied agricultural contracting, and off we went on a roller-coaster 60+ years.

Now it's life changes, house changes, country changes. Two grand-sons engagements announced. The picture was taken in Northern France, just before Christmas 1964, pre motor-ways, travelling through the night with three children, risking hypothermia in a soft-topped Land-Rover. With two weddings coming up, and a Memorial service in the church where we were married on what would have been the 64th anniversary of our marriage, that subject has been uppermost in my mind.

Our family has a worse record than that of the Queen for divorce. Four out of five of our children. Eldest grand-child, married last July, split this May. Brother-in-law, niece, my parents. Even my mother-in-law's mother left her husband in 1900! Leaving the 7 year old to be brought up by grand-mother of Queen Victoria's generation.

I hope, fervently (as we all must do who have grown-up children) that they will be happy, and survive the enormous challenges marriage presents. More than if you are not married? Is it the actual 'tying the knot' which adds stress, commitment to what was just 'living together'. That is not a cynical remark, that people 'living together' are not seriously fond of each other. But if they have no responsibilities, house ownership, children, then it is possible to 'walk away'. And, statistically, more and more, the actual wedding is a catalyst for disaster, quarrelling relatives, over-spending – many marriages, including two of our own children, only lasted 18 months. But they all lived together before they married, none of your Victorian wedding night shock. One would think that the maddening foibles which we all have, which can become unbearable, would have been absorbed, or put up with.

I question why people get married at all. There are many legally binding systems now which avoid the little gold band. Marriage is a lottery, when you think of couple's history – propinquity usually, university, the work place, re-bound. No shot-gun now. Anyway, a new hat might be in order!

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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Simple idea produces a simple blog Monday November 26, 2018

If You Are Feeling Listless There May Be A Surprising Cure.

"Listless," is defined online as, "an adjective describing a person who is lacking energy or enthusiasm." Another definition adds, "...unwilling to do anything requiring effort."

We understand that, don't we? I really dislike that sense of listlessness, and I relish every opportunity to banish it to the waste-basket!

I'm making this up based on an 'Aha!' moment this morning... but it has a ring of truth about it and I'm willing to give it a go. Furthermore, I know that some of you will have already put to the test what I'm about to suggest...

What grabbed my imagination this morning was the structure of the word, "Listless." I suddenly saw it as, "List-less," or, "to be without a list." Silly, perhaps, but is there gold in that thought?

How many of us find solace in a realistic (there's another 'list') list? I know from way back that psychologists suggest a sense of well-being flows from three factors: overview, structure, and control. Without these, we can lose our sense of well-being.

A well-formed and realistically achievable list (I'm being careful here) can lead to all three. It can give us a sense of overview, as in clearly capturing everything we want to do that day. It can give us a sense of structure, as in what order and priority to do these things in. And it can give us a sense of control as we break the 'improbable' up into manageable bite-sized tasks. As we tick each bite-sized task off the list, we will get not only a sense of satisfaction and well-being, but also an awareness of increased energy – the opposite of listlessness.

This, then, is a call to all our members who live by lists. What benefits do you experience from living by lists? What suggestions would you give for creating a realistically achievable list?

Here's to the day where we can tick off everything on our list, then scrunch it up and consign it to the waste-basket along with any sense of listlessness!

A Moodscope member.

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Walking - the new meditation Sunday November 25, 2018

I enjoy reading blogs on Moodscope every morning. It's become part of my daily routine. Sometimes the blog will stay with me, other times, I can't relate so quickly delete. Then, its off to get clean, dressed and out the door to work.

I've started walking in the morning. My walk to work takes me 30 minutes door to door and I go through varied city terrain to get there. I'm lucky that I live in Glasgow and have the benefit of its local architecture to keep me company. I also listen to the radio on my jaunt.

There's something magical about walking. Not only does it get you to your destination, it's good for you but it also gives me a space to 'meditate'. Now, please don't be put off by the word as I once was. I often think meditation is over thought - or has connotations of chanting and spirituality - when all it simply is is observing and breathing. Those of you who have read Buddha Da by Anne Donovan, you'll know where I'm coming from. I even sometimes just experience how my body 'walks', observing and breathing while getting towards my destination.

So sometimes, the best thing is to do is just go. Follow one step in front of the other and see where it takes you. I know it's not the answer to everything but I do promise that it will make everyone feel a little bit better.

The wee one
A Moodscope member.

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Irrational Fears Saturday November 24, 2018

I suffer from a myriad of irrational phobias, despite my knowing they are irrational, they still appear larger than life. Perhaps they are my way of coping and distracting me from my health issues and having to live life in 6 month blocks awaiting results of the next scan.

Going on holiday that involved an early morning flight from an airport on the other side of the M25 gave me the ultimate challenge of keeping my fears in check. The crazy thing is that it's not actually the flying that sets me off, but all the other things. This was our first family trip with 2 almost new grandsons - a truly special occasion.

My long suffering wife continually panders to my foibles in an effort to quell my fears, and we decided to travel to the airport the night before and stay at an airport hotel.
So what do you ask was there that I could possibly worry about? Well get this - our room was located in a new extension that involved an intricate series of three left turns, a lift and then finally a right turn to our room. As we had to be up before 5 am I was determined to get off to sleep as quickly as I could. Perhaps this was not the best way to relax. I tried all the deep breathing exercises that I know before my mind kicked off thinking about the story of Hansel and Gretel where they left a breadcrumb trail to help them find their way out of the woods. The journey to our room was so circuitous that I started to worry how we would ever find our way out... had I not already undressed I would have recced the exit route.

As you can expect I woke up well before the various alarms that I'd set. We found our way out of the hotel without even one wrong turn, went through security and found somewhere to grab a coffee and a quick something to eat.

We were so relaxed that we left ourselves a little short of time to get to the departure gate, but we made it. All was going well until we discovered that we were at the wrong gate as there were 2 flights leaving for the same destination that morning. Fortunately the correct gate wasn't too much further and we made the flight.

It seems that I always have to have something to worry about. I don't enjoy worrying and would like to put a stop to it rather than building an arsenal of coping skills. I also believe that worries and anxiety can lower the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

I love keeping fit and enjoy the mundaneness and security of the treadmill... the exercise and mental effort at keeping me on the straight and narrow seems to keep the demons locked away. So maybe instead of travelling to the airport the night before I should have just gone to the gym!


A Moodscope member.

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How do you push yourself – in a good way? Friday November 23, 2018

And does it make your rabid dog go quiet? What do you feel?

In the YMCA after my eviction, I take the steps two at a time going up. (You know... exercise helps with stress response).

What about going down? I try it. Unsteady on my feet, one cautious hand on the hand rail. More certain now - hands off - focus on being fluid. Try to make the impact on my knees less. Try to make my footfall as I climb two at a time more quiet. Speed more consistent. I will be 60 next month. I am learning to dance through the obstacles the universe presents. Perform in the present. One huge benefit, it shuts that dog the hell up.

As a child and young adult I only had the present, really. The fear and pain of the past is miniscule, a lot less than I learnt to endure as I lived the consequences of my adult choices. Some children are not so lucky but I remember the wild freedom of living in the present as a teenager and young adult. Dancing through the universe in the present, all pain and joy in the instant lived.

In middle age I remember the intense pain of a failed affair (don't judge - I am being honest here so you understand my conflicted-ness) driving my Saab 9000i on the motorway at 90mph finding each concrete bridge support flashing by was inviting me to twitch the steering wheel towards it to end the tear-blurring pain I was feeling. That pain was in the present. My rabid dog had me by the throat and was trying to rip it out. But here's the thing. It was a past event – recent I grant you – but a past event.

My daughter is cycling in front of me on our outing that she has moved heaven and earth to force me to come along on. With her implacable 8 year old logic she was trying to cheer me up. My rabid dog was in charge. She was trying to ground me in the present. In the cycle ride I ignored the wisdom of children, my glorious child. I trace the beginning of the crack that is now an un-crossable gulf between us to that moment that I gave up. I hit the cycle brakes – forcing her to turn for home so I could nurse my past rather than to exist in the present with her. Her protesting tears ignored, to my shame.

Existing in the present seems to me to be a huge step in the right direction. I am not inviting you to take steps two at a time going down. Perhaps I am inviting you to choose to push your envelope in whatever way you find shuts that effing dog up if only for a minute.

More startling than anything - as I push it and take the steps down two at a time - I feel young again.

A Moodscope member.

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I am not your stress ball. Thursday November 22, 2018

Read it.

Read it again.

I am not your stress ball.

Now say it.

"I am not your stress ball."

Say it again.

"I am not your stress ball."


"I am not your stress ball."

Feels good doesn't it?


Does it not?

Then keep reading it. Feel it. Connect to it. Say it until it becomes comfortable.

You see sometimes we have been so used to allowing ourselves to take on, and try to fix, the stresses of others that it feels less comfortable to not allow them! Sometimes we are so afraid of the conflict that might come from not allowing them we just take them on anyway, even by the time we have gained the consciousness that it's actually not comfortable for us.

But we all start somewhere.

At one point we didn't take on the stresses of others. It doesn't matter if we started to do it because depression or PTSD or another form of mental illness began to distort our view of ourselves. It doesn't matter if the methods of our parents - or the lack of them - pushed us into a conflict averse state. It doesn't matter if an abusive relationship of some sort crushed our self esteem. It doesn't matter if we've only just noticed this trait emerging in ourselves and wonder why we do it.

It does matter that we don't ignore it. That little uneasy feeling you get when you question that thing you agreed to, or didn't speak up about, or are dreading later, is a tiny bit of strength willing you to make a better decision for yourself. That tiny bit of strength is willing you to use it, to positively reinforce it, to build on your prioritising yourself.

That prioritising yourself is one of the hardest yet most beneficial things you can do for yourself.

Yes, for yourself.

So the next time something or someone is asking of you a little more than is comfortable to give;

Repeat after me.

"I am not your stress ball."


Lolo xx
A Moodscope member.

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Anger Wednesday November 21, 2018

Anger came to me and I embraced her;
I held her to me as a lover.
Then she turned from me and in her face
I saw a thousand sorrows.

Have you ever been angry? By angry, I don't mean a bit miffed; a trifle peeved: I mean engulfed in a tsunami of white hot, incandescent rage; feeling it explode from you like lava and rocks forever changed by the force of your volcanic fury. Have you been there?

I have. I experienced that anger a couple of weeks ago. It was Sunday lunchtime and we were talking about a task we needed to do as a family the following weekend. I had been planning this activity for months: I had tried to do it for the previous two years. Finally, we had it scheduled and organised. And my husband said, "You do realise I'm not here, don't you? I'm going out with the lads from work..."

I have not experienced anger like that for more than twenty years. I yelled – no – screamed. I stomped around the kitchen. I picked up the big carving knife and then, not trusting myself, I threw it onto the floor, where it broke. The children quietly left the table and then the house; terrified of what their mother might do. I slammed doors; I flung myself out of the house and into the car. I had to get out!

And, as quickly as it had come, the anger drained away. I drove the car up to the nearest roundabout and came home. The problem still needed to be resolved. My husband greeted me with the words, "Would you like a hug?" (there are reasons why I love that man), and we sorted out the practicalities of how we could still get the job done.

Not the least advantage of my wonderful medication is that it stops the feelings of guilt; it enables me to analyse my actions and behaviours in a dispassionate way rather than just beating myself up about them. So, I was able to think through all this.

Anger is the other face of sorrow and grief. It is one of the ways we deal with hurt and pain. In this situation I was hurt that my husband had ignored something he knew was so important to me and had chosen to accept a social engagement. This time my anger took an outward form, but so often it turns inwards, and I choose self-destructive behaviours. When angry, I eat chocolate; I drink; I spend money on things I don't want or need.

But I'm not angry: I'm sad. I (subconsciously) choose anger because it is easier to deal with – because it doesn't hurt: or rather, it defers the hurt. The hurt and the sorrow and the grief are still there, and I must still deal with them. And, often, I must also deal with the outcome of that angry behaviour. My husband has forgiven me: my children have not.

The funny part? As I was dropping off to sleep, my husband said, "I've looked at the diary. It's not next week I'm out with the lads: it's the week after. I'm with you next Saturday..."

And we laughed.

I still regret breaking that carving knife, though, but better that than the alternative.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Role-ing with the punches Tuesday November 20, 2018

A recent post got me thinking about the roles that we all undertake in our life... and how some of them ebb and flow and others are always constant.

For now here are a few of mine... the ones that stay are Wife, Stepmum, Dog-Mother and Friend (although some of the ones made in England have not stood the test of time following a move 500 miles away).

The Stepmum role has been fully invested in since the daught was 3.5 (and is now 23) but in 2016 we moved to Scotland and she didn't want to uproot herself from all that she knew. Now I am more of a friend but I will always be a (albeit geographically far) parent. That will never change.

Wife is a nice role, occasionally challenging as most marriages are. I am lucky enough to find someone that gets me, is thoughtful, funny, intelligent, creative and my soul mate as we have negotiated life's at times, rocky road.

Dog-Mum is interesting... part door-person (one comes in, the other one goes out), separator-of-fights (with minimum collateral damage, to me at least), dog-egg-picker-upper (an egg is a polite word for poo), walker, soother, stroker, feeder, water-er, calmer-of-the-waters (one dog is mentally challenging as we are convinced he is on the spectrum... is there such a thing for dogs?).

I am also a sister, but not a daughter any more (both parents are dead, mum has been dead since I was 16) and an aunt to my wonderful nephew, as well as an in-law.

Other roles are as follows in my professional working life are currently PA/Carer and Civil Funeral Celebrant. Both involve a high degree of caring, an element of counselling, a good degree of mental energy, reliability and a massive amount of focus on others and at times at the expense of your own wellbeing. But it's part of both jobs. I ditched the Housekeeper role as on the three occasions I did it after we had moved, they all proved to be fairly miserable experiences – picky supervisor, horrid hotel and mildly deranged titled employer. I'm self-employed and also in other paid employment so at times will have to be a juggler too – of three jobs.

As for the home, I'm full-time chef, part-time cleaner, DIY'er, gardener and account manager (of our jointly managed bill account). I'm also a budding artist/crafter, writer (attempting a novel), poet, aspirational singer and Moodscope contributor.

Moving forwards to 2019, I intend to have some new roles – part-time singer in a band, artist who sells stuff (instead of makes it to gift to friends or stack up in the house) and more successful business woman (more of the celebrancy please) which means that I must get better at marketing and promotional affairs and set aside the time to do so. Another one will be personal trainer – to myself – with a big push on getting fitter.

How about you? What roles do you have?

A Moodscope member.

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

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I Know You Don't Know But... Monday November 19, 2018

Are you willing to play a thinking game? I hope your mind said, "Yes!" This is a good one!

When we feel 'stuck' in Life, there are a couple of phrases that will often be first on our lips. The first one is, "I don't know!" The second one is, "I can't!"

I've added exclamation marks because these are declarations. They are not very empowering statements, are they? Feeling like we don't know and that we can't do anything really aren't great states of mind to be in.

Here's the game.

We add a 'but' and then a little bit more.

Are you ready to play?

When you have "I don't know!" on your lips, add this: "I know you don't know, but if you did know the answer, what would it be?"

When you have "I can't!" ready to burst forth, try this: "I know you can't, but if you could, what would you do?"

Your mind, if it's like most people's, will then resist like a limpet resisting the sea as the tide changes. I'm certain an example will make this clearer.

When the children were smaller, they would often have trouble making a decision when feeling under pressure. We might be queuing for what seemed like hours in a café and they couldn't quite make up their minds. The exchange would go like this...

"What would you like to drink?"

"I don't know!"
"I know you don't know, but if you did know, what would you like?"

[Cue resistance!]

[Cue patience]
"I know you don't know, but if you did know, what would you like?"

"...Pepsi Max!"

If I was a betting man, I'd be prepared to put money on all of us banging up against barriers in our lives at the moment where we don't know the answer, and where we feel like there is nothing we can do. My invitation is to keep grounded in reality ("I don't know," and "I can't" are statements that believe they are telling the truth) and yet push our thinking by playing the thinking game.

I won't promise a dramatic solution or turn-around, but I can promise that your mind will often offer up more ideas than when we initially close our minds with the definitive "I don't know!" or "I can't!"

If you're feeling brave enough to share, would you please share your own stories of where you've transformed not knowing into knowing, and can't into can!

Oh, and by the way, the limpet may seem stuck in its position, but time-lapse photography reveals that limpets move a long way... just not when we're looking!

A Moodscope member.

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

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A.D.H.D. Sunday November 18, 2018

I came across this poem, not written by me, the author is anonymous. I feel it is so true for those on the autism spectrum. I believe it can apply to other mental illnesses as well. It really touched me and I felt I wanted to share it.

A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Take my hand and come with me,
I want to teach you about ADHD.
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain.
Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.
What to do first? I can't decide.
Please understand I'm not to blame,
I just can't process things the same.
Take my hand and walk with me,
Let me show you about ADHD.
I try to behave, I want to be good,
But I sometimes forget to do as I should.
Walk with me and wear my shoes,
You'll see its not the way I'd choose.
I do know what I'm supposed to do,
But my brain is slow getting the message through.
Take my hand and talk with me,
I want to tell you about ADHD.
I rarely think before I talk,
I often run when I should walk.
It's hard to get my school work done,
My thoughts are outside having fun.
I never know just where to start,
I think with my feelings and see with my heart.
Take my hand and stand by me,
I need you to know about ADHD.
It's hard to explain but I want you to know,
I can't help letting my feelings show.
Sometimes I'm angry, jealous, or sad.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.
I can't concentrate and I lose all my stuff.
I try really hard but it's never enough.
Take my hand and learn with me,
We need to know more about ADHD.
I worry a lot about getting things wrong,
Everything I do takes twice as long.
Everyday is exhausting for me...
Looking through the fog of ADHD.
I'm often so misunderstood,
I would change in a heartbeat if I could.
Take my hand and listen to me,
I want to share a secret about ADHD.
I want you to know there is more to me.
I'm not defined by it, you see.
I'm sensitive, kind and lots of fun.
I'm blamed for things I haven't done.
I'm the loyalist friend you'll ever know,
I just need a chance to let it show.
Take my hand and look at me
Just forget about the ADHD.
I have real feelings just like you.
The love in my heart is just as true.
I may have a brain that can never rest,
But please understand I'm trying my best.
I want you to know, I need you to see,
I'm more than the label, I am still me!!!!

~Author Unknown

A Moodscope member.

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

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Calming oneself. Saturday November 17, 2018

We were on a bus and the man in front us was very loud and chatty with other passengers and was somewhat agitated.

He asked me to spell a word that he needed on a form. My partner whispered that I should not talk to him in case he got more agitated.

For a while the man just sat and sang quietly.

Several minutes later he was looking for a $2 (one pound) coin and started screaming at the driver telling him he stole his money as the money must have dropped behind the drivers seat.

The driver remained calm but the passenger was becoming louder and was swearing. I was worried he would cause an accident by annoying the bus driver.

I could not watch was happening and was worried that this man was becoming out of control.

I looked up and the man was smiling at the driver. He returned to his seat and managed to calm down and get back in control.

I was so impressed that this man who could have become very violent and maybe cause an accident on the bus, was able to practise self-control and calm down.

I think we have all been out in public and become agitated or anxious to the point we feel we are losing it, but somewhere sometimes we can stop, take stock and regain control.

I am wondering if you can share a moment where you calmed yourself down when you were losing control and what strategy you used that helped.

A Moodscope member

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

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The Middle Way Friday November 16, 2018

In three short months I will turn 50. I have not really been thinking about my age in terms of a number, but regardless so much is changing. The business that I started 10 years ago is coming to a close. It has brought me joy, tears, a little money, some recognition, and a lot of stress. My 11 year marriage - with almost a third of it living apart - will be ending officially soon. My daughter turned 10 recently and the realization that her loving parents are not in love with each other has hit her hard and it has broken my heart. My body is changing. I haven't had a lengthy conversation with anyone in weeks for fear that I will burst into tears.

I am tired.

I know that now is the time to change course. Turning 50 is a milestone. Nothing lasts forever. But I don't know where to begin. I don't know where the strength to continue will come from. I spent the first half of my life just trying to survive. A childhood with little love and a lot of fear. A marriage I only said yes to because I was afraid to be alone. A business of feeling like I was never good enough. Making plans and then making endless excuses to get out of them because I didn't have the strength to be judged for my inadequacies, perceived or otherwise.

I was thinking the other day how I wish I had a shield around me to protect me from the world. A bubble gum colored ectoplasm that would extend off my body about 10 feet in every direction. I could exist in the world and not have my energy sapped each time I left my room. I know this is a gift I can give to myself. Each morning I can choose to wake up and meditate and visualize that shield around me. Rose colored love. But instead I wake up depressed and tired from a night of drinking because I couldn't bear to feel the weight of the day's thoughts and conversations and terrible news upon me. I could begin the day with meditation and stretching and feeling calm from a night of drinking tea instead of alcohol. I know life is not without suffering; I am not hoping to live a life free of pain. But I want to live more proactively? Purposefully? Whatever the opposite is of hiding from pain and shame, because it is exhausting and not the way I want to live the next half of my life if given the chance to do so.

But I'm afraid and I am exhausted. How do you make the change when you feel so defeated? I would love to hear how others have changed the path they were heading down.

A Moodscope member

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

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Staying present Thursday November 15, 2018

I have been a little anxious these past few days, after the loss of my parents I have found it very difficult to let anything go that was either theirs, their gifts to me, or anything that they loved or reminds me of them – that doesn't leave a lot!

Anyway I digress...

There are four trees so close up against our house that, although once safe (...and loved by Mum and Dad!) they have now become unsafe and my hubby and I have had to make the decision to have them felled. It was not an easy decision but one that with time (and more than a pinch of patience from my very supportive OH) has indeed seen the phone call made. So for a week we have been preparing everything in readiness for the tree surgeons' arrival tomorrow.

Now throughout that time my emotions have been up and down more times than a fiddlers elbow. I have agonised at length about whether we are doing the right thing (I mean we can't change our minds once they're felled) will we miss their presence? (even though there are few windows we can actually see fully out of now) will the trees feel anything? (I read somewhere only a week ago that they have heartbeats…) would Mum and Dad approve? (I'm sure they do, I keep finding feathers so believe they are watching over us) not to mention all the other little thoughts going round and round in my head.

Anyway, it was building up into a crescendo and my OH warned me not to let it make me ill. I must stay present, live in the moment and not let my thoughts run away with me. Then I got the text "Sorry can't make it tomorrow, tractor's broken down, it'll be next week now. Apologies for any inconvenience" I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, feel relieved or deflated. But then I realised something, I had allowed myself to get caught up in the 'what ifs' and 'overthinking pit' for DAYS. All the worry building up to tomorrow had been for nothing (I mean the emotional volcano that was bubbling not the practical stuff – that [as always] kept me grounded) and it reminded me of some of my favourite words:
You can't suffer the past or future as they don't exist – you can only suffer your memory or imagination!

... And I had indeed allowed myself to suffer my thoughts rather than run with them. Good memories are something to be treasured and being excited about something you are working toward is what keeps most people going, but these thoughts and memories must not be allowed to become destructive to us.

There is no point in living anywhere but in this present moment – so our task must be to make that moment as good as we can (but if it falls short – let it go) and move toward your new present moment.

How do you live in the now?

Kind regards

A Moodscope member.

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

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