The Moodscope Blog



Shining light onto the darkness Saturday February 2, 2019

Is there a point at which self-acceptance shifts itself into self-love, or is that change something I can do more to work on? Not forgetting the key component of course, self-compassion. The dictionary definition of compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" – flipping that to the self, is self-compassion where self-love and self-acceptance combine?

I think I have been learning how to accept myself more positively. The new year has seen a shift in my mood, reaching all-time highs in my Moodscope score and hovering consistently pretty far above my average for a few weeks now. Maybe January brought, like it can to so many of us, feelings of new beginnings; maybe working on the same stuff week in, week out for 12 months has helped to loosen some of my "stuff".

This week though there have been times when I have slipped into a more familiar form of acceptance. "You're just lazy and ugly and will be alone forever so you might as well accept it" – those recognisable thoughts. Looking in the mirror is hard; I know that if anyone can love and accept me it should be me. I want it to be me. And if I can't... why would anyone else? Of course, I then made it worse by looking through old photos going back 15 years and viscerally remembering feeling so unattractive and worthless in 90% of them. Some of them I see now through the eyes of today Lucy and think "Actually, she was beautiful. What a life I have wasted... or maybe I wasn't beautiful because no one else saw it or was in love with me then either". (Hello, familiar thought loops!).

This is more positive than it sounds, I promise!! I now know, understand and accept that these thoughts are my "brain-spam", not the "real me". But loving them... that feels different to welcoming them in. I'm not sure how far I am down that path to loving them.

I do know that self-love and self-compassion isn't easy (for some). I might have been terrible to myself over the years but that shouldn't mean I don't deserve love. That's the bit I'm working on believing. I might have been horrible to myself throughout the years but I want to believe I deserve love.

It scares me to think I do. But it scares me more to think I don't. This, now, is the darkness I've been afraid to be alone with. I've filled my life with things that do help to alleviate the sadness, but they don't give me what I now acknowledge I want... true love. From someone else. But also, from myself. I'm scared of the darkness. I don't know how big it is and I don't understand it. If it scares me this much how can I ever show it to someone else and expect them to love it? Maybe light really is the only way.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Does practice make perfect? Friday February 1, 2019

When I was child adults used to say this to me all the time. I used to try to practise all the time whether it was my illegible handwriting, diving, any sport, art, or singing but it did not matter.

However much I practised my writing was still hard to read scrawl, I still did belly flops, I could not draw or paint and I still sang loudly and out of tune.

I became frustrated because Practise did not make me perfect or at the very least not even make me adequate.

Why do we keep using this saying? I feel if you already have a natural talent for singing, sport, art or diving to name a few areas, then practising a lot will improve your talent. I understand that the more you practice a skill the more you will improve but I still think you must have some talent to begin with.

Instead of making me feel good about myself doing more practise, the saying made me feel more frustrated by making my low self esteem go even lower. I felt that even with all the practise I still could not be good enough.

Maybe you find saying Practice makes perfect, has helped you and can tell me how.

Do you find that saying annoying?

Is there another saying that you have problems with?

A Moodscope member

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

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Addictions Thursday January 31, 2019

I am addicted to video games. Not the complex treasure hunts, nor killing all those who step in my path, but the mindless free ones, such as 2048, Minesweeper and Tetris.

I delete them from my phone, and avoid them for months or even years. Then somebody mentions one in passing.

My evil voice entices me:

"Ooh! You used to enjoy playing that. Downloading and playing for a few minutes won't do any harm"

"It'll take my mind off things. A bit of Me Time."

And I succumb. But it isn't a few minutes. I can play this rubbish for hours. I waste the day. I have other, much better and more enjoyable things to do. But I can't quite stop.

"I'll just finish this game"

"Oh, that was a terrible score, I'm sure I can do better than that..."

Even when I force myself to do something else, I am haunted by the shapes and numbers trickling across the screen in my imagination. My brain won't switch off.

I'll stay up playing till 1am, sitting in the cold kitchen as the central heating has turned itself off. I can't quite pull myself away.

Eventually I come to my senses and delete the app off my phone. Cold turkey is the only method. I have to apply myself to more meaningful pursuits.

Unlike many other addictions, the only person who is affected is me. It doesn't cost money, nor is it illegal or exploitative. But it is wasting my life. I feel guilty that I haven't done chores or treats or worthy past times.

Each day should be precious and used wisely. I know this because I have friends who regularly post such homilies on social media, usually over a picture of a butterfly or country scene. It implies that they use each day wisely, but they don't. I know this because they are wasting their lives posting nonsense on social media.

I'd appreciate your tips and ideas to help me control this urge to waste my time...

A Moodscope member.

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

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When You’ve Tried EVERYTHING! Wednesday January 30, 2019

There was a blue cloud of invective roiling from my study this week. There were muffled screams of rage and howls of frustration. When I emerged, at periodic intervals, for food and (yet) more coffee, the family cast me wary looks and tiptoed around in silence. It was obvious something had gone badly wrong.

What had gone wrong was my printer. I had asked it to print some photographs and it had, figuratively speaking, stuck its tongue out at me and blown a big fat raspberry. It then hunched a shoulder and sulked.

Oh no – it didn’t just go totally quiet: it would occasionally spit out half a page of printing and whirr meaningfully to itself. I didn’t have to speak “printer” to know what it was saying. Apparently, I was utterly unreasonable in my demands and so I was being punished.

I switched it off and back on again and restarted my computer. I ran the printer trouble-shooter. I found a YouTube tutorial and did technical stuff with the printer spooler, deleting all the files and restarting it again. I removed the printer from my computer and reinstalled it. And then I did it all again. When the printer decided it wasn’t going to talk to the WiFi either, I connected it up with a cable and – (sigh) did it all again.

Oh, it sounds so simple and quick when I list it all in one paragraph, doesn’t it! Let me tell you I spent hours on that blasted thing: HOURS!

I looked up replacements and talked loudly about their attributes, but my recalcitrant printer merely whirred at me again. It wasn’t dead, just sulking.

I was utterly stumped. I shut everything down and went to bed.

No bright ideas occurred to me overnight, but I did go onto my favourite Facebook group to express my frustration.

Several of the group came up with suggested solutions – all of which I had already tried. They came up with alternative solutions: feed it wine; take an axe to it; kick it around the room a bit (I didn’t try any of those, although the last was tempting). Then someone suggested I download the latest printer driver from the manufacturer and try reinstalling it from ground up.

“Aha,” I thought. That’s something I haven’t tried yet.

So, I tried that, and it WORKED! My printer is now printing again.

I tell you the story because, this morning, another friend was asking for advice regarding her insomnia. As I did, she received many replies: some sensible and some very silly. She thought she had tried everything, but some of our ideas were new to her. She now has more ideas to try. They may work, they may not – but at least she can try them.

We can often feel we are completely stumped. We have run out of ideas and are at the end of our resources.

But there’s always another thing to try. We just have to keep asking.

A Moodscope member.

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

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I am worth it. Tuesday January 29, 2019

I am learning to put a price tag on my own head. Yes. That is correct.

As an abused and otherwise neglected child from a poverty beleagured farming household; the "not good enough," message seems to have been singed deep into my spirit. Just like the cattle branding process.

Changes are occuring. Today, if you talked to me the way I sometimes talk to myself, one of us would have to leave. I am on the worthiness journey. The damaged child inside is realizing that she is valuable and deserves better than maltreatment.

There is a mixture of wounded pride and indignation that kicks up a fuss when something or someone insults me. How dare you. How dare it. I don't accept this. Do better by me or else!

Then when I am blessed by an event or kindness of another I am in a more difficult place minus the anger, still struggling to accept. It is hard to receive goodness. I want to. I might be worth it. I AM.

At fourty almost three years old, self esteem is overdue and one of my multiple battles. No one can perform this in my stead or hand me something to assauge the lack of positive self image. It has to be sourced from deep within myself, where the scars are.

I am worth rest when I am tired and friendship when I am lonely. I deserve respect and I will walk away from anything else. Self esteem is still such an unfamiliar concept that I ask myself what someone would do or say if they really cared deeply about me? And then I try and emulate their kindness. A sort of personal "W.W.J.D?"


A Moodscope member.

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

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Life in True Colours Monday January 28, 2019

This is a blog about you. It's about you being true to yourself – to your true colours. It's not really about individualism – more about letting your natural personality shine through. If you know the song, "True Colours," you'll know that they are beautiful when they show.

By the time you read this, I will have had another birthday. My colour period is what I call, "The Age of Beige!" What I aspire to, however, is, "The Period of Purple!" This is out of respect to Wendy Joseph's poem entitled, "Warning!" []

The first line is, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple," and has other lines that include, "And learn to spit." I'm not so keen on the spitting, but the poem is a call to bold action. It is about growing older not disgracefully or outrageously but courageously.

Whatever our age, we are all getting older, and too often we can conform to what we think we are supposed to wear, constrain our behaviour to what we believe we are expected to behave, and even believe what we're told to believe. I would like to challenge and change this... just a little bit.

My question to all of us is to do with permission. If we were to allow ourselves permission to do or be or believe something now that we currently deny ourselves, what would it be?

I wonder if you would share? What are your true colours that are currently hidden or denied to you? Personally, I know I've toned down my own outrageous humour just to keep some key people in my life happier. My Tigger-like bounce has lost its pounce! I realise this is not being true to myself. I would therefore give myself more permission to 'play' and to be silly. I also love a cowboy jacket with tassels! Oh, and I'd love to be brutally honest with some people! (I've always been such a chicken when it comes to uncomfortable conversations and potential conflict!)

Over to you – let's share – they tell me it's good for the soul.

A Moodscope member

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

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What is 'IT'? Sunday January 27, 2019

My first blog (and only one so far) for Moodscope was in June 2018. In that blog I had acknowledged the return of 'IT'. 'IT' is the name I give to my depression symptoms. My relationship with IT has changed over the years. IT comes to visit on and off and although I'm not so angry with IT as I use to be, I find IT does affect my interaction with others, my motivation and my energy levels. Do you have your own version of IT?

IT visited in June because I'd taken a break in my medication from the start of spring, with the intention to restart them in the October. I'd noticed that IT always liked to visit around the time that the clocks go back in October. Last year that medication regime worked, this year it didn't!

It's taken me a while to get me back on track, hence the limited involvement with Moosdcope since June, par for the course when IT is around!

I'm always bouncing the boundaries with IT, observing what IT can cope with and what IT cannot. As a visually creative being I imagine IT in many forms, IT is like a shape shifter! IT is a cantankerous cat; a black dog; a black turbulent sea that drags me to its depth; a black worm of uncertainty that pulls me into the deepest, darkest pit. 'IT - the blackest of creatures', is how, in one of my early poems, I've imagined IT:

IT-The Blackest of Creatures
To everything there is a time and a season
A time to be born and a time to die
So the Biblical saying goes

The blackness-IT-has been born
But when will it ever die?
IT creeps amongst the jungled tendrons of a mind:
Black; sleek; cunning and ruthless to its prey

I've been told IT's a man eater
I've been told IT's cunning trick is not to kill the prey
I've been told IT instils so much fear and distress
IT's prey sometimes kills itself

I heard that a man fell in front of a stampede
I heard that a woman fell from a high rock
I heard that a teenager fell from a tree-
Found with creeper tendrons
Around his neck

This blackest of creature -IT- waits for the next victim
Then IT begins IT's cunning chase.
I must find out all about IT
I must find a way to stop IT
I must, because I realize,
IT is beginning to chase me.

I have found writing down my thoughts and feelings about IT really has helped me on my mental health journey. I have found that in my writing down about IT, to my surprise, my writing came out in a visual, poetic and metaphorical way.

I find describing my feelings, associated with IT, in a visual form easier too. Being trapped in a grey bubble; being trapped under a glass bell jar-watching/hearing everything from a distance; wading through dark black treacle; spiralling down into a black pit and plodding through eternal grey, are some images I've used in my writing.

Do any of you Moodscopers define your mental health condition and the feelings/symptoms associated with it in a visual way? If not, give it a go, see what comes up.

Love & Light

A Moodscope member.

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

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My To 'Done' List Saturday January 26, 2019

Last year I kept a diary, it was a monumental year for us in many ways. Some were very big 'firsts' ...most good, some not so, but I think I already knew it was going to be a year that I needed to document in some way, we knew we'd want to look back on it for lots of reasons.

So as I opened the new diary for 2018 I was ready to record everything that was coming our way.

I didn't want it to feel like a chore, like I had to keep it (as diaries so often made me feel) but I did try to be fairly consistent. There are a cluster of days here and there that have remained blank; health or life must have got in the way, not the end of the world though.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I've realised the thing that's made me jittery about diaries in the past, is how they have the ability to make me feel on the days that have been left blank. I think that [in my mind] a diary is closely related to a 'to do' list ...and they have the ability to leave me feeling guilty if I don't manage to cross off every last task (and more!)

So with this in mind, this year I've gone one step further and I have a new book. It's a pretty little notebook with blank pages. No diary format just a little box at the top to write in a date (if needed). The beauty about this little book is that it will simply document all the things we achieve over the following months but, and here's the big thing for me, as the pages do not follow on in dated format, if there are days when I do not need or feel unable to add anything it won't leave blank pages shouting "you missed a day you missed a day you failed!"

I have called it my To 'Done' List as it will only include a list of our [completed] achievements and NOTHING negative. I'll include the day to day jobs which normally go unnoticed but are nevertheless still achievements in their own right (especially some days!) but will all add up to be a quick reminder of how much was achieved, without the need to write an entire page (just because 'that happens to be the size of the diary') No, this is a smaller relation, content with just half a page, or just as happy if one day spills over a couple of pages. It's been nearly a month now and I have to say I haven't felt the pressure I've felt with traditional diaries.

Only a small thing I know but I wanted to share it with you all.

Do you keep a journal or would a To Done List be gentler for you?

A Moodscope member

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

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We are only human Friday January 25, 2019

I have had, like a lot of you, a tough few weeks.

Christmas never brings out the best in me, what with the enforced jollity and need to keep everyone happy, or so I felt. My focus at Christmas was my kids and my widowed Mum facing her first Christmas without my Dad.

In all this I thought I was getting depressed. And maybe I am but actually on reflection I may just be really sad. I had done that all too frequent thing of being a people pleaser. I was so concerned about other people that my needs didn't get much of a look in, and then to add insult to injury when I did try and plan a few days away my boyfriend wouldn't commit....

Unfortunately this was the final straw and so he is now my ex and I am a little bit heartbroken and a little bit annoyed as well.

A long time ago a lovely friend gave me a fridge magnet which said "Be gentle. Feelings are everywhere".

It has taken me very many years to have the emotional intelligence and wherewithal to acknowledge that my feelings matter. I too am bereft of my Dad who this time last year I was busy visiting in hospital. I am also feeling sad the man I loved let me down.

The difference is today I have been kind to myself. After an awful night's sleep I am accepting that it's OK to be human. I have cancelled a few appointments and am trying to take things a bit more gently. I have not yet cried properly about the heartbreak but I am sure that I will have a moment when I snuggle up with the dog and accept it's not what I had hoped for.

My stiff upper British lip means that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve. I always felt it was wrong to feel sorry for myself but now I know that it's ok to feel a bit down. It's understandable to be grieving... I am only human.

Are you ever too hard on yourself?

I think many of us are. I am learning that it's OK not to be OK, whether that's because I am depressed or just upset by things that anyone else in my shoes would be upset about.

What is wonderful about Moodscope is we have a safe space to be completely human. However upset, angry, depressed or hyper we are, we can all take the test and assess our mood and read the blog.

So dear Moodscoper, you are only human. Don't be too hard on yourself...

A Moodscope member.

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

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Invitations to peoples' houses Thursday January 24, 2019

This might appear to some of you as a selfish topic for a blog but it's something which has been bothering me recently.

It's about being invited to peoples' houses for a meal and having to say yes to an invitation but when the day arrives, not wanting to go.

But lately it hasn't just been on the day when we are supposed to go for the meal, but while I'm being asked, I know I don't want to say yes, I know I won't want to go and I know I'll either have to go or will find a lame excuse and then feel guilty.

But should I feel guilty?

I have explained to one friend that I don't like socialising like she does. I told her I admire her for all the drinks etc she invites people to her house for but I couldn't do it and rarely enjoy it. Then what does she do? She rings me up and invites me and my OH to a meal at her house. She went through all the dates in the calendar until eventually I had to agree on one. MY OH works away so chunks of each month are no go socialising areas thank goodness but I can't spin his trips out for ever.

I have another friend/acquaintance to whom I've actually explained I'm not always good company in company and don't really enjoy it and he is always inviting us to join them, even on holiday!

I've actually laid myself on the line revealing my worries and anxieties to the two people who insist on ignoring all I've said.

Truth be known, I'm actually quite a social person given the right circumstances. I like meeting friends for a coffee or a drink but find sitting round a dinner table for hours on end trying not to drink too much, feeling tired and anxious and not being able to leave when I want to, exhausting.

I do wonder whether these invitations are meeting the host's needs more than those they invite. I mean why do they do it? Some of you may say. "To be kind" but I'm not sure. I think some people have a strong need to have people round frequently, to be seen to be entertaining. In that context I feel used but don't know what to do about it which would be socially acceptable.

I've tried to explain how I feel to friends and been quite open and honest about my inadequacies saying it's not them I don't want to see but it's the occasion but they seem to think they know better or ignore it.

How do you get out of an invitation? Is it better to say yes at the time and then make an excuse? I am now committed to go to this person's house in a week or so. I guess I'll go but very reluctantly.

A Moodscope member

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

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Just in Time Wednesday January 23, 2019

I was going to write a blog on procrastination, but I think I'll do it tomorrow...

Ah, well, if you're reading this, it is tomorrow (one of those paradoxes which make your head hurt if you think too much about it) and yesterday I did write a blog on procrastination.

Except it isn't really about procrastination – because, if you're like me, you have read all about procrastination and realise that pretty much all there is to say about it has been said already.

At least, it's not a blog on overcoming procrastination.

You see, I am always a last minuter. Every week I say to myself, "I will write my Moodscope blog on Sunday." And every week it is Tuesday. Occasionally Monday if I am really disciplined!

It's not just unpleasant jobs I put off – and, honestly, writing this blog is never a chore. I put off giving myself treats; I put off writing my novels; I put off making my cards; I put off baking – all until the last minute. And then, of course, the task is done under pressure.

I have a work-related task to do, straight after this blog. I must create a vision board for my business. I must produce it tomorrow at my coaching meeting. And – of course – I've already had a fortnight in which to prepare it.

The ideas for the vision-board have been churning in my head, but none of them coalesced until this morning; possibly because they needed that pressure of urgency to bring them into focus. One of the reasons why the current novel has stalled is because there is a sex scene coming up and I didn't know how my characters would handle it. Now I do know, and I can't wait to start writing again. Of course, the fact I have agreed to give a talk in June on "Being a Romance Author", might have something to do with that urgency!

Then there's the tax return...

I think I have accepted, however, after fifty-five years, that I am just a last minuter. I can't work without pressure. I have also recently realised that I do always get things done – and done to a reasonable standard. Because I do leave enough minutes.

It's Tuesday morning now, not Tuesday evening. Caroline will get this blog by lunchtime. It's January 22nd, and the tax return will be in well before 31st. The vision board for the business will be done by the end of the day. There are enough minutes. Just.

There is no slack, such as my husband likes to put in; I don't actually schedule my procrastination as my daughter does (yes, really), but things are done, just in time. And on time.

So maybe it's time to stop beating myself up for being a procrastinator, to treat it as a personality trait and stop apologising.

We all have things that we could do differently, but – just maybe – it's okay to do them the way we do.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Fractures, friends and healing Tuesday January 22, 2019

I broke my leg a couple of weeks before Christmas walking on The Sussex Downs, ironic really when GP's (in Scotland anyway) are now dishing out the open air and walking as medicine! (I actually agree with this prescription and the outdoors has helped me enormously, but that's another blog).

I'll do anything to get out of Christmas! And I did – get out of Christmas.

Friends rallied round, picked me up by car, drove me to their house, cooked, entertained and delivered me back home. Friends did my shopping, and when I was able to hobble around, drove me to the supermarket. Friends cooked for me or brought me food and reading material, dropped by to say "hello" to keep me company, texted, phoned and one way or another, looked out for me and looked after me.

I had to learn to ask and I had to learn to accept. I did both and I feel that my already fabulous friends have become even more incredibly so.

This was going to be a blog about friendship and gratitude.

Or a blog about how a crutch helps someone who is physically "broken" to get around and how the aid is welcomed without embarrassment or shame.

Writing this blog though, I have only just made this connection with my mother dying at Christmas time 5 years ago.

It has been a rough ride over the last 5 years to make a gross understatement.

The first Christmas after she died, I went for a long walk on my own, it was a beautiful sunny (but sharp) day and I was doing exactly what I wanted to do (really?). There were plenty of other walkers around and I did not feel alone, many people had chosen to enjoy the winter sunshine, working up an appetite for the family feast ahead - who knows? Loneliness though, that was another matter, but as long as I was walking, I could keep it at bay, there was much to see and stimulate afterall.

I look back on the last five years and I have absolutely no idea how I managed, yet here I am - friendships again having played a huge part in my surviving the stormy waters. Following my mother's death (my father died several years earlier), two of my three siblings categorically told me never to contact them again and so I have not. The other did not say so exactly, but we have not had any contact. All three siblings see each other, travelling from the UK to the USA to do so, as seen on social media sites (pictures of my sister's wedding posted with my other sister and brother present, sit alongside pictures of siblings and their family in black tie, celebrating milestone birthdays.) I knew of none of the events until sometime afterwards. I can't tell you how much it hurt.

A broken bone takes 6 weeks to mend and I am told, will be stronger than before. How long broken relationships? Can fractured relationships too be knitted together stronger than before?

I'm walking really well unaided and am hoping the x-ray booked in a weeks' time will tell me that the bone has healed and I'm good to go! I'll be back on The Downs in no time and am again planning to walk The South Downs 28 mile marathon early summer if I can, with a renewed appreciation for the intricate workings of how the hip bone connects to the thigh bone...

For me for sure, the physical body heals faster than the mind.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Kindly, interrupt me Monday January 21, 2019

If you're like me, you'll have few patterns of behaviour you'd be glad to see the back of this year. Me? I talk to inanimate objects. Yes, I do. I exhort objects that have no power to change to, "Come on!"

These objects are always in rebellion against my will or my schedule. They might be a froward pair of socks that 'refuse' to go on right. It might be a door frame that bumps into me, which I then command to, "Shut up!" as if it had done this deliberately. The really weird thing is that I know this is ridiculous. I know it's daft when I do it.

I'm working on changing silly behaviour patterns like these. They never make me feel good – in fact, they make me feel cross. The phrases, "Shut up!" and "Come on!" – when said in an irritated tone - have a bundle of negative emotions associated with them for me. The best way for me to calm down and get better is to interrupt the pattern.

We've all experienced a pattern of behaviour being interrupted – often when we are angry. If you are having an argument with someone who then does something to make you laugh, you'll know you can't go on playing that pattern of behaviour the same way. Once you laugh, the game is over! You can't stay angry. You might think you're even angrier as in, "Don't make me laugh, I'm being serious!" but it's too late.

A pattern (of behaviour) interrupt can be as simple as a word. My word is, "Adapt!" If something isn't going the way I want it to go, I give myself the command – usually out loud – "Adapt!" This morning, the towel wouldn't go back on the towel-rail the way I wanted it to. The towel had no way to change its behaviour – it's a towel! I said, "Adapt!" and instantly changed the way I was trying to put it on the rail. I got the result I wanted.

If we keep on doing what we've always been doing, and expect matters to work out differently, we're as silly as I have been. Saying, "Adapt!" out loud might work for you too if you find yourself talking to things! It's interesting that the Commandoes use this word too. They have a code where they aim to be first in three areas: to understand and then to adapt and then to overcome.

Am I the only one, or does anyone else have behaviours they'd like to change? How will you interrupt the behaviour pattern so that you create something new? Do you and a close friend or member of the family have an agreed way to interrupt unhelpful behaviours?

If you catch me being silly, kindly, interrupt me!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Legacy Sunday January 20, 2019

Where was it that I was reading about that very thing yesterday, legacy? The writer had lamented that no one outside the family sphere would remember him when he died, and that THAT would only be until further generations of the family supplanted him and his memory.

Legacy, what is left behind.

During a two hour walk recently, my sister and I had returned to a well-worn topic in our family: our father. Whilst an eminent man in his field, who will be remembered for his contributions to science, we have always considered it very hard being his children, something our brother agrees with entirely too. The man was tyrannical, impossible (our mother's adjective to describe him!) and harsh on us all. He did not understand confidence-giving, preferring to find fault and deride. We felt he drove our mother to an early grave. And that's a terrible admission to make.

This may simply be our way of seeing things, but there we are. I have never met any one else so contrary, so clever and yet so merciless to those you'd think would matter most. I wondered then, and I wonder now: is that what is called flawed genius? If so, we were the fallout at the epicentre of the larva flow. His gain, in terms of scientific legacy, was our loss, in purely psychological terms. A friend once commented that it was a wonder we children had actually turned out so sane, subjected to the fatherly tyranny and wrath we undoubtedly were for many decades. She failed to detect the emotional scars beneath the façade of normality! For whilst it may be true that " What doesn't kill you strengthens you, " in our case, it has come at great cost.

Three individuals and their mother each deeply affected by the taint of genius, the unrelenting search for perfection which was carried over to the personal. Reins only to be held by The Head of The Family.

Legacy? For my part, an enduring interest in what makes people tick, as well as a desire to promote the sort of kindness which was in short supply when he was at home. Ironically, that's probably his greatest legacy to me: The desire not to be like him! Sad, or what!!

At the risk of sounding maudlin , what would you like your legacy to be?

Apologies to those of you not in your seventh decade of life!!

A Moodscope member.

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

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What have I learnt this year? Saturday January 19, 2019

Well... lots of things... that I am an awful housekeeper. That just because it says on the tin that she's a Lady... she might have money and a title but she ain't got any class.

That people can surprise you... with their lack of contact after you move 500 miles away... or despite regular and caring emails they dismiss you with one word and others whom you saw more infrequently become warm, closing and caring friends who are really there for you, rain or shine.

That you know when something isn't working out... such as a job and no matter how many people tell you things might get better, you just know that it isn't working out. That if a job sounds too good to be true, and they lie to you about seeing 20 other people to interview and then offer you a second interview the next day and people warn you about that person, you can still be blind and accept it because it sounds sooooo good on paper.

That I should take more care of myself physically and love my body more instead of hating it with a vengeance as it becomes more rounded and mature... but I know it will take lots of work to harden the lines but that's what I want. My idea of sexy is more muscular and toned and I will get there.

That I probably can sing in a band one day because if I can stand up in front of several hundred people and take a funeral service, I can probably shape-shift as long as I strengthen my vocal ability and hone my stage presence – the raw goods are there, they just need more oomph.

That I must build in more fun to my life – of late I have had what my brother called a sense of humour bypass, especially on myself – and my fun side was always what kept me going through the dark hours.

That I need to dance more – alone in my lounge, along with friends and in my heart. That I hated being on a minimum wage working in a hotel that did not care for its staff one bit knowing that I could earn in one service what I earned in a whole week.

That things take so much time up here in the Highlands – friendship, work (and the subsequent self-respect that comes from doing something that is important, that you are good at, and that you love).

That you need a mighty load of resilience to cope with such a huge culture change and geographical distance. That you will find your friendship tribe but may have to cope with a few knockbacks.

That anxiety will follow you like an unwanted stalker wherever you are unless you learn to deal with it in your own way.

That you will miss dear family and friends like crazy at times like Christmas, New Year and birthdays and that never goes away. That your life will never be the same again. And that fact is terrifying and liberating at the same time.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Write that blog! Friday January 18, 2019

Ever attended an event where everyone brings food for a buffet? For someone as pathetically eager to be liked as I am, it is not just a case of setting down the plates, and walking away to enjoy the company. Oh dear me no. I quickly scan the other offerings, weighing up the competition. What possessed the man (surely it was a man?) who contributed a bag of raw sausages, is he mad?

I glance over. My Nutella brownies are going well, lots of lip-smacking. But it's an hour into the party, and no one has sampled my lemon drizzle. I should have sliced it; no one likes to be the first to cut a cake. I saunter over, slice it, move it closer to the booze. Last time I made this it was scoffed. I tell myself to get real. No one knows who made what. Even if they did, no one is going to come over "Was it you who made that horrible lemon cake? What were you thinking?". Some of my cakes have been enjoyed, recipes have been requested. We are here to talk and laugh together, no one is being graded, on the quality of the baking or the craik. I am among friends.

You can spot the tortuous analogy. A common comment on Moodscope is that someone thought of writing a blog, joining in, bringing something to the table. Something stopped them.

"Who would be interested in my life?" Me for a start, being incurably nosy.

"What if someone is critical or nasty in their response? ". Well, that is possible. You can accept their reaction, respond or ignore it. My favourite is have a go back, but that's just me. Caroline will not tolerate offensive posts.

"It's all very personal, I feel ashamed". Understandable of course. Your secrets are your own. You might be surprised at the number of Moodscopers who know a lot about guilt, shame. You could end up feeling better.

"I don't think I write very well". I promise you no one is checking your grammar, or creative writing skills. This is not the Booker Prize, or a scientific paper for Nature, seeking peer approval. Your Moodscope peer group is a motley crew indeed.

You can be certain that whatever you write will strike a chord with some. They may tell you so, and that feels great. You know those self-help books "Reading this will change your life", surely no one still buys that? I recall however, blogs that have affected me deeply, brought change. Some made me feel better about myself, some made me examine my own destructive behaviour. I know that everyone who writes has wanted to reach out, be heard, connect, as one imperfect fallible human soul to another, making it a bit easier. I am so grateful to them.

Just supposing you did a blog, what would you like to tell us, what would you like to hear back? You don't have to bake a Showstopper gateau, just a bite-sized nibble.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Strategies for (Temporary) Relief Thursday January 17, 2019

I was due to fly out to a friend in Europe last Friday.

On Wednesday she texted me that she had received some distressing news. Naturally, I offered to reschedule our weekend, but she said that she would prefer me still to go.

We had a wonderful time together. We explored her local medieval town; we ate local food; we met up with other friends; we cooked together, and we talked. And I spent some time waiting in her car while she visited the hospital and did what she had to do.

"Thank you for being with me," she said. "Without you I would have had nothing to do but be miserable."

This morning I texted another friend. "Are you well?"

"Unfortunately, no."

I would send flowers, but he too is in foreign parts. I was in the supermarket at the time and I sent a photo of the flower area. "Help me choose flowers to put in the vase you gave me," I said. We turned it into a game. We both love Shakespeare and together chose flowers based on those mentioned in his plays. Turns out, old Will loved his roses, lilies and violets. Roses and lilies were easy enough, but we had to cheat a bit on the violets!

It distracted him from his troubles for a while and made us both smile.

Yesterday was a bad day for me; one of those days where you just go to ground, hang on and endure. Yes, even with the medication, I still have those bad days.

So, I sought refuge in my favourite fantasy writer. In that realm of dragons, witches and sorcerers, I can escape from the depression for a while.

My younger daughter gets out her bike and cycles as fast and as far as she can; another friend throws herself into a frenzy of cleaning; yet another friend gets out the flour and eggs and starts to bake.

We all have bad times; whether those bad times are from the internal black dog of depression, or from sickness, or from the troubles of life. We need to have some tools we can use to distract ourselves and escape for a while.

For some of us, it is always spending time with friends; for some, playing games; making music; cooking. Others need physical activity: either running 5k or hoovering the entire house. For some, it is escaping into music or books.

Our troubles are still there. None of these escapes and distractions are solutions; because, so often, there are no solutions for our troubles.

But they give us temporary relief and that is priceless.

So, it's useful to know what works for you, because what works for one person will be useless to another.

What reliefs do you have in your toolbox? What does and will work for you? And, how can you ensure that those reliefs are readily to hand when you need them?

Because, sadly, need them you will.

A Moodscope member.

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

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My big day Wednesday January 16, 2019

I can smell salt water, although it doesn't really smell, does it? There's just a change in the air, barely tangible, that occurs when your body realises it's close to the sea. My body loves it, needs it. I smile, I can also see hibiscus flowers, my favourite, breathing in the sunlight. I exhale. My dreams are all coming true; today I marry you, my adult dream, we can be together properly after all this time, me and you (and God) against the world, then we get to dive with sharks, my childhood dream, me and you (and them) with no cage and no fear just respect, gratitude, awe... Oh of course there are so many other animals and places I'd love to see, so many books to read, so many pets to home and I can't wait, to do it all with you and achieve your dreams too - you just want to do everything! But these are my big ones and I feel so settled knowing I'm reaching them.

I wonder how you're feeling right now, exactly where you are, if you're ready, if we'll be running late like most of the time! I wonder if our mothers are coping with their hats and egos bustling for space, will their looks be approving today, just this once? Will the worry usually just behind the love in the eyes of our fathers be gone, just for today? No doubt the friends who made it here will be happy, if not relieved. I am so grateful to them, for their support of us both.

And we've really needed that support haven't we! Our ride hasn't been an easy one, and it won't be necessarily from now on, life is still going to happen! But the difference now is that we have learned to keep going, to function regardless somehow, to fight the bad thoughts not each other, to look forward instead of back, with more hope than apprehension... how I've fought to get to this day, GPs, counsellors, police, relatives, friends, colleagues, employees, all to understand, to help, to actually do something. And I've fought my issues and I've fought yours and to everyone who said I wasn't strong enough for you, I am. And to everyone who thought you couldn't do it, you can. You can win and you can enjoy life and you can achieve and you can work hard and you can be successful and you can make connections and you can keep relationships and you can value me and you can love me. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, you can do it. And so can I, by your side. Always.

I can feel the sand between my toes. I'm grounded, my body is at peace. I'm exactly where I should be, finally. Surrounded by love.

I step into the light.

And I wake up.

This is what
Have been happening today.

My dream is still alive though.

Depression, with all its disbelief, PTSD with all its anxieties, the debilitating effects of any kind of abuse, they rage, but they cannot kill dreams... no matter how hard they try.

So I wait.
In hope.
And love.

A Moodscope member

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

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Time to stop Tuesday January 15, 2019

This year I decided for my mental health's sake to stop.

Yes dear friends I am no longer going to feel guilty regarding the state of my house: the hall/stairs/landing have only been decorated once in 27 years. All three bedrooms need decorating/painting. As do the two downstairs living rooms. The stress and guilt I've put myself under is, frankly, ridiculous! It is tiring enough surviving severe depression; OCD and anxiety. More than enough!

I no longer feel guilty for not holding down a 'proper' job for over ten years. Why? Because I worked from age 15 in Saturday jobs; leaving Sainsbury's on the Saturday as I began full time training for Dental Nursing the following Monday.

Brushes with one of the people at the Jobcentre has left a deep mark on my self esteem. Now, fortunately, I recognise that the person in question was a bully. He used to make me squirm in my chair, I felt so embarrassed and threatened by him that I dreaded going.

I have brought up my girls on my own for many years, so instead of putting myself down for not being 'good enough' I am going to practise self-care and patience with myself. Beating oneself up for being ill is pointless and damaging. No more!

Self respect and soul nourishing are the order of the day.


A Moodscope member

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

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Fixing the Light Monday January 14, 2019

How many moaning friends does it take to change a light bulb?


They'd rather suffer alone in the dark!

We all know friends who would rather moan than take action; friends who seem to find some comfort and reassurance in 'the devil they know'. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't," meaning many people feel it better to put up with a difficult situation they already are in rather than risk a worse one by trying something new.

Here's a true story called, 'The Fridge of Darkness.'

We've got a fridge with a bold declaration on the front:

"Discover the new power LED..."

Sounds like it should be a Hollywood trailer! This new power LED is supposed to last 30x longer.

Ours didn't. Because it is supposed to last 30x longer, there are no instructions in the manual on how to change 'the new power LED'. This is not as easy as swopping out a good old-fashioned light bulb. It was so difficult that we put up with the devil we knew for over a year.

Then, I was stirred up to take action. Old wisdom echoed around my mind:

'Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,' or, 'Better to fix the light than to curse the darkness.'

It wasn't easy. I broke part of the fixture trying to get it off. Several times, over a period of months, I tried, failed, and kept giving up. I even thought about how lovely it would be to have a new fridge. Having broken a part of it, I do understand the wisdom of 'better the devil you know...' because I'd made the situation worse, not better.

Inspiration is often a light-bulb moment, isn't it? Let's challenge the truth of 'better the devil we know...' I really wanted to fix this. So, I called on the help of two of my best friends: Patience and Perseverance who settled down to the task of removing the fixture. We finally did it!

We still had no certainty of final victory - in fact the fridge was now in a far worse condition. (Oh, and I left the electricity on - getting some shocking feedback! I now think I light up in the dark!)

Soon, we had the new part, and, after turning the electricity off this time, I managed to fit it... ish. (Shhhh, no one will ever know it's not in quite right!)

Power up, light on! Victory!

A simple light can add so much joy and pleasure to one's 'fridge-experience' – especially after such a long period of darkness!

We could have enjoyed a year more of light if I'd been more patient and persevered earlier. I quit too soon. Why? Because I enjoyed the darkness? No! I quit because it took too long and it was too difficult to fix. There was no guarantee that it could be fixed, and I doubted my own DIY abilities.

There are elements of our lives that we are 'suffering' because fixing them seems too difficult and will take too long, and they may not be fixable anyway. We have chosen to endure the devil we know rather than risk a worse situation under the devil we don't know.

I invite us all to call in Patience, and Perseverance, and Proactively to give fixing the problem one more bash... just turn the electricity off first, eh?

A Moodscope member

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

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