The Moodscope Blog

8

June


Get Lost Saturday June 8, 2019


I don't mean to be rude or unkind, but "Get lost", no really, get lost and see where you find yourself.

I had a book to return to someone whose house I had visited only once before. It was about a 30 minute walk from my house through a park and recreational ground. I had a vague idea of where it was so was not overly concerned about not being able to find the house in question.

I made one wrong turn about 5 minutes from the destination, so I simply asked the next person who walked by, where the street in question was. We exchanged pleasantries and I went on my way. I found the house, deposited the book and decided since I was out and about, I might as well do a small shop for a few basics on the way home. I knew where I was heading sort of, but decided to follow my nose and see where it led me.

About 10 minutes in, I asked a young lad if I was heading in the right direction – no doubt he was completely perplexed as to why I hadn't simply looked at the map on the phone. But this was the point exactly. I was in a different part of town that I didn't know at all and so I wanted to explore it, not just pass through it. I spoke with several people along the way and had a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

I was open to whatever the journey brought. I was relaxed and unconcerned. Worse case scenario, I could have taken a bus in the general direction of home. I was not exactly in a threatening environment and I wasn't 'lost' as such, I was simply meandering my way home through a part of town I didn't know.

It struck me that it is not often we get the opportunity to set off on a journey with no real intention. Generally, we try to get from A to B in the shortest, fastest space of time. We try to get to the intended destination from the onset, from the first step taken on our thoroughly planned out journey.

I have now firmly decided that I am in absolutely no rush whatsoever to get to my destination, is it not the journey that counts, as the expression goes? I have finally understood this. What, after all, do we do when we reach our destination? Is it the end or is it the beginning? I have absolutely no idea, but either way, I'm in no race to find out. I am going to embrace the journey, ups and down, twists and turns, that it will undoubtedly continue to take. Seems to me, put like this, that it's a far more interesting journey than a long straight road ahead.

Try it, try getting lost! Set out with no intended destination in mind and see where you find yourself.

(Reminds of " The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry". If you are looking for a good read, borrow a copy.)

Millie
A Moodscope member.

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

36 comments - Permalink


7

June


Take Pride Friday June 7, 2019


Pride.

A deadly sin, some believe.

Precursor to a fall, say others.

And we all know someone who has a bit too much.

But for those of us who find day to day life a struggle, for whom the black dog visits and the darkness engulfs, a little pride can go a long way. I'm not talking about running marathons; I mean pride in the everyday achievements which poor mental health can turn into such a challenge.

Pride for getting out of bed when we really didn't want to.

Pride for getting through a busy week.

Pride for saying "No" to something and instead prioritising self-care.

We have so much to be proud of, even on our darkest days, and acknowledging that can be such a positive step to recognising just how good we all are, and just how hard we fight to get through.

So go on, dear Moodscopers, puff out your chests and tell us all: what are you proud of?

With love

Shizzle
A Moodscope member.

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

33 comments - Permalink


6

June


Thanks! Thursday June 6, 2019


I've had this certain ability for years... in fact, I'm a bit of an expert, if I say so myself! I certainly don't think it's unique because I know a lot of my friends have it too. Maybe you have it!

I've had it for years, as far back as I can remember and use it regularly. I'm not sure if it's some genetic, predisposed ability or a learned behaviour but I know it's taking me a long time to change it.

What is it? What can I do?

Deflect! I am a professional dodger. I can hand-off a compliment better than a rugby union flanker! I can put down or side swerve someone's good intentions and lovely words with absolute ease.

Someone may say, "Your hair is lovely", I reply, "It's due a cut". "That's a beautiful top"... my response, "I've had it for years". Even at work, "Well done, great job", my reply, "It was nothing".

But why do I do it? If I pay someone a compliment, it's for them, I don't want it back, I want them to keep it and feel it and enjoy the sentiment for the rest of their day. I don't know why I can't accept them easily myself. Maybe its low self-esteem, maybe its low self-worth but if it is, deflecting the compliments isn't going to strengthen my ego.

I made a decision. It's not always natural for me but I'm learning a new behaviour. I'm teaching myself to accept, that's all, just accept. The compliments are no longer being deflected, they're being received and appreciated to help my acceptance of me. The me that other people see fit to compliment and the me I'm learning to love a lot more.

I was recently stopped in a railway station by a complete stranger who was just walking past. She smiled and said "You look amazing, I love your style." I smiled back, laughed a little, maybe slightly embarrassed and then replied, "Thank you, what a lovely thing to say". We were both complimented.

It starts with thank you... just thank you!

"You look beautiful today"... "Wow! Thanks – I feel great"

Yvonne x
A Moodscope member.

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

29 comments - Permalink


5

June


Fifteen Minutes – and GO! Wednesday June 5, 2019


Last week Cathy posted a blog on housework and this really struck a chord with me.

Several chords really.

The first is that I rate myself pretty low on the scale of "clean and tidy". There is dust on the windowsill – and smears on the glass beyond it. I have heaps of paper and magazines, and a pile of clothes on the floor ready to take to the charity shop. My kitchen floor could do with being swept and mopped and there are usually spiderwebs if you look up. I have random clutter on most surfaces. Oh dear, my house is not what I would call "clean and tidy."

But – there's another thing. A couple of months ago I was exhibiting at an event, with a table right next to the fire service. They had a series of photographs showing the fire service "Clutter Scale", as it relates to a fire risk. You can find a similar image here (you will need to scroll down the page to see it): http://bit.ly/2JXfvrP. I realised that my clutter scale tops out at around 2 out of 9: it is perfectly normal. I judge myself (unrealistically) by full page spreads in House Beautiful or by TV stage sets. Maybe you do too. Normality is where and how normal people live. A certain amount of dirt and clutter is – yes - normal.

I thought about some dear friends of mine. They throw the most amazing parties where you will always meet interesting people. But their home is very far from "show perfect." My husband loves going to them as he says they make him feel tidy. I admire them immensely for their joyful acceptance that people love them and do not care that there is a pile of shoes in the hall or that the kitchen table is covered with stuff. I envy them for their freedom from fear.

The chord that struck most loudly however, was something I read about a woman who has made a career out of teaching people how to clean their homes and keep them tidy. She calls herself "The Flylady". The thing I love most about her is that she teaches self-acceptance first. It's okay to be where you are, and you can only take one baby step at a time. She works with baby steps and fifteen-minute tasks.

Saturday's task was to spend just a few minutes in the hall, sorting out the shoes (I put all the winter boots away: we won't need those until October) and clearing the hall table of the broken pens, leaflets and oddments that collect there. Just having an ordered shoe rack and clear table made me feel much better. And it took ten minutes.

Today's task is to clear just one shelf in a food cupboard. Just one. I can do that in fifteen minutes and feel great.

You can do a lot in fifteen minutes. But set your timer! Then stop.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

45 comments - Permalink


4

June


Are our mental health issues being treated appropriately? Tuesday June 4, 2019


I have been pondering recently on medication for mental health issues.

There are almost as many different medications as for types of mental health issues. It's a minefield out there and it seems that it's trial and error (mainly error) over a number of years to find the right medication for you.

Some of us never find it. Other swear that their new medication works for their depression, bi polar etc etc.

I am really happy when I read on Moodscope and press articles that someone who has suffered depression, whatever form it takes, for years, has found a tablet which makes them better. I don't doubt it. I'm just pleased. Very pleased for this person.

I read an article recently, written by Alastair Campbell, political journalist and former ministerial aide whom many of you in the UK will know has suffered from depression for years. He wrote honestly about how his depression affects him. All very interesting but the thing that struck me most in his article was his mention of his Psychiatrist. His Psychiatrist prescribed his latest medication which is working wonders for him.

Now how many of us lesser mortals can afford a psychiatrist? Honestly? And how do we find one on the NHS or even privately? How can we afford to see one privately anyway?

I have a friend who is a psychiatrist who lives in another European country who has advised me that I should not expect my GP to prescribe antidepressant as GPs are not trained in the different formulations of these medications and cannot taylor them to us individually. We should instead seek the advice from a trained Psychiatrist.

What she told me makes enormous sense. She actually said it was dangerous to get antidepressants from our primary care provider or could be.

The point of my blog is that I feel in the UK (it could be different in other countries and I'd like to hear) depression/insomnia etc is not treated properly.

Whenever I've felt I needed antidepressants, I've gone to my GP and asked him for a certain brand. Who knows if its components are suitable for my physical make up? Certainly, none of the ones I've tried, and I've tried many, have worked for me.

Who knows if I am really depressed or insomnia causes depression? I do! I know that my insomnia causes my depression but doctors have always persuaded me otherwise that my depression causes insomnia. Not so!

My psychiatrist friend tells me I must get my sleeping issues dealt urgently with by my GP first and then if I'm still depressed (doubtful), I should see a psychiatrist to prescribe the correct medication for my particular depression.

So that's the path I am taking but believe me, asking my GP to prescribe a course of strong sleeping tablets has been an uphill struggle. I felt like a drug addict begging for Methadone. I am sure it would be easier to get Methadone.

I'd like to hear about your experiences of trying to find the right medication (not alternative therapies) that has worked for you or are you still trying to get the correct treatment?

Julia
A Moodscope Member.

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

141 comments - Permalink


3

June


I Don't Get It Yet Monday June 3, 2019


"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."

Khalil Gibran

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

Helen Keller

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

Sir Winston Churchill

I was looking for words of comfort.

I've always been a 'thinker' – and I think I share that blessing and affliction with most of us here – deep thinkers who go beyond the blind acceptance of those less interested, less curious.

I have a model in my head that the world should be a good place, that people should be kind, and that there are meant to be happy endings... this in spite of all the evidence.

I don't get it... yet...

What a wonderfully ambiguous phrase.

When the world doesn't make sense, sometimes the words we say to each other can keep us going. I like this from Reinhold Neibuhr, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I know it's not cool to mention 'God' (or 'Brexit') here, so I'll pick up the bits that may not cause offence: acceptance and courage and wisdom.

I've been 'thrashing' this week, relentlessly trying to change the things I cannot change. It's been horrible, and it is not wise at all. I still don't want to accept the things I cannot change – but perhaps I can choose to give them no further attention.

What I need is the wisdom to recognise the things I really can change, and the courage (or sheer bloody-mindedness) to take action – either will do.

What disturbs me most is that when I am under pressure the emergence of a noble character is the least likely outcome. I haven't got better, I've got bitter.

So, I'm throwing this over to you and your wisdom.

What strategies have you successfully used to turn setbacks into springboards, stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and bad crap into good character?!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

50 comments - Permalink


2

June


Why? Sunday June 2, 2019


I love questions, I wrote a blog about too many questions a while ago.

Today this blog is brought to you about the question word 'Why' and its place in the world.

There is an urban myth that may be true of a first year philosophy exam whose only question was 'Why'?

Most students wrote frantically the whole time but one student left very soon after writing simply 'Why not'. That answer was given highest mark.

There was a scientist who had a show on the Television in Australia to popularise science. His favourite saying was 'Why is it so?'

Why do we ask 'Why' questions when sometimes the answers can be predictable.

Because why?

Because I said so.

Because it has always been done like this.

So how do you feel about the questions below?

Why?

Why not?

Why is it so?

Why do you always ask why?

Do you ask yourself a lot of 'Why' questions?

Ask questions, answer questions whatever helps you to understand the place 'Why' has in your life.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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

72 comments - Permalink


1

June


My housework phobia Saturday June 1, 2019


I am 72, retired and theoretically should have a spotless house, be able to produce gourmet meals at the drop of a hat and have a carefree existence. Despite being financially secure and very happy at home, I just can't get to grips with housework. My husband has very kindly offered to split it with me or to tell him when I want to "blitz" a room then will be happy to help me out.

I suppose it's all down to organisation, that is I'm happy to do shopping and cooking but cleaning the kitchen just seems so daunting. Likewise with washing which I'm happy to do but the Himalayan pile of ironing will attest to my reluctance to tackle it. Ironically I like ironing as I find it soothing as it's so repetitive but actually getting started seems beyond me. Most of the house is in a reasonable state but some of it really needs some TLC. I wish I knew why I was so reluctant to deal with it. If anyone has any solutions to this problem please let me know.

My husband won't hear of a cleaner as he has valuable home cinema equipment and so would be very nervous having a stranger in the house finding out about our possessions. I would love a housekeeper to keep everything under control, more like a mother figure I suppose, (I lost mine when I was 25.) I'm sure it's not that hard to get on top of a regular housework schedule then inviting people round is not the nightmare it has currently become. If I could crack this phobia I would be ecstatic as there's so much else I want to concentrate on rather than housework.

If you can advise me, I would be most grateful.

Regards

Cathy
A Moodscope member.

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

94 comments - Permalink


31

May


Breakfast, Dinner and Tea Friday May 31, 2019


Chatting with new friends over afternoon tea, different backgrounds, ages 40's to late 80's, we had something in common. All grew up calling the 3 daily meals Breakfast, Dinner and Tea. Supper now means an evening meal, but in childhood it was a bedtime snack with a milky drink. Lunch was sandwiches, popped into satchel or briefcase. Brunch was yet to be invented.

Most of us were no more than a couple of generations away from farm labourers, factory workers, or in my case, housemaids, soldiers, miners.

The food we grew up with was clearly influenced by that ancestry.

My father grew up in a mining village. Every night his mother filled a tin bath, water boiled on the coal-fuelled range. She scrubbed her collier husband clean, before laying out a big stodgy, fatty tea. Food meant energy, body heat, essential calories. Smashed avocado on toast, with a lightly poached egg and a drizzle of balsamic would just not cut it for them.

Dad did not go down t'pit, but he still demanded Yorkshires the size of a pillow, stew and dumplings, spotted dick (anyone young reading this, it is not an STD, it's suet pudding with currants.)

My mother was from Ulster, where the "pan" is worshipped. Any leftovers or stale food like fruitcake, were made palatable chucked in the pan with a pound of butter. Fried Yorkshire with jam anyone?

My favourite tea was beans on toast, but tinned spaghetti or cod roes were often on the menu. Moving to London aged 17, I was puzzled by the blue paper packages in the grocers. I had no idea spaghetti started out like that. There was usually bread and jam, maybe wonderful Kunzle cakes.

The conversation moved on to more foods of the past. Whether state or privately educated, there was seemingly a universal cookery book for dinner ladies, dishes never seen anywhere else,like Concrete Pudding. This was cocoa-coloured, so solid that if you jabbed too hard with your spoon it flew across the table. Always served with pink custard. Nowhere else but at school did I have corned beef salad with mashed potato.

One woman recalled her grandmother's influence. A frugal woman, she made casseroles from the vegetables peelings. If she was really pushing the boat out, a tin of baked beans was added. For "tea" they had bread and butter sprinkled with sugar. I recall being put outside to play, with a stick of raw rhubarb and sugar for dipping, a hot drink made with blackcurrant jam.

We all fondly remembered tinned fruit with Carnation evaporated milk, banana custard, Instant Whip. Something in the brain fires up whenever I walk past our local swimming pool. One whiff of the chlorine and I am tearing open the box that held the fruit pies sold at my childhood baths. My ex-husband craved meat pies and Bovril whenever he watched Match of the Day.

The topic was an ice-breaker, everyone joined in, so how about you, were you a breakfast, lunch and a bite of supper family, or common as muck breakfast, dinner and tea folk?

Val
A Moodscope member.

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

42 comments - Permalink


30

May


Overly sensitive Thursday May 30, 2019

I am sure I am not alone when people like us react to upset and change in an overly sensitive way. The reason I write this is that having been in an administrative role in a care environment for some while now, a person I recommended to join our organisation has been elevated to a senior role. This was done without my consultation.

I only found out today that this person who has only been at the organisation only a short time is now senior to me and earning more money. My manager informed me without consultation and I spent the whole discussion crying buckets. I could not stop the tears flowing. I felt snubbed and of little worth. I told him that I was not over reacting, just that anyone would have reacted like this.

Am I alone in reacting to things like this? I do not think so. Having had depression all my life, I react to change and being overlooked in this way with over sensitivity and a feeling of low self worth. I cannot help it but I have to embrace it because it is my feelings coming out and they should not be contained.

Hey ho, hopefully something positive will come out of this albeit I feel exhausted with emotion. If any of you out there feel like me, give yourself a hug and eat something yummy, but above all rise above it and give yourself a pat on the back. It is not your fault. You are special, emotionally sensitive and a human.

Love and hugs.

Miss Dove xx
A Moodscope member.

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

44 comments - Permalink


29

May


Hall of Mirrors Wednesday May 29, 2019


She came out of the changing room wearing the dress with golden roses and both her husband and I caught our breath. She looked absolutely gorgeous! The colours lifted her, the style embraced her curves and the skirt flirted innocently with her legs. The dress was perfect.

Yet, as she twisted and turned in front of the mirror I could tell something was wrong. She was obviously not in love. And my rule is that, unless my client is in love, the dress or jacket or shoes stay in the shop and the money stays in their pocket.

"You must buy that dress!" said her husband (he is that rare husband who enjoys clothes shopping with his wife).

"I don't know..." she said and twisted again.

I walked over and stood by her, looking in the mirror with her.

"I feel frumpy," she said.

"Well - the hem needs to come up a couple of inches," and I knelt down and held it, so she could see. "See, that's better, isn't it?"

There was a further silence.

"Okay," I said. "Talk me through it. Tell me why you feel frumpy?"

I won't reproduce the whole conversation here, but what it came down to was that my lovely client has been going through a bad time recently, had gained a few pounds and had gone up a dress size. When she looked in the mirror, she couldn't see the lovely curvy woman both her husband and I see – she could only see the overweight woman in her mind.

We live life in a hall of mirrors. The mirrors are never objective, and we usually see a reflection of what we feel inside. The only time we might really see the "truth" is if we catch sight of ourselves but do not realise we are looking in a mirror.

I know when that happens to me I am always pleasantly surprised. Maybe you are too.

The mirrors in the hall of life reflect only our perceived faults and imperfections. If we feel fat, then that is what they will reflect – just think of those suffering from anorexia. If we feel our legs are short, we will see the human version of a dachshund. If we feel our stomach is taking over the world, then a hot air balloon will appear in the glass.

I won't tell you to ignore mirrors, or to ban them from your house. After all, I don't want you to go outside with misbuttoned coat and a smut on your nose, but I do want you to be aware that the mirror lies. So too does the camera, but that's the subject of another blog.

So maybe we shouldn't pay too much attention to what we think we see. Maybe we should listen to those who love us.

My client listened to her husband and me, and she bought the dress. She looks gorgeous in it and I hope she will soon see that too.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

25 comments - Permalink


28

May


5 Ways to Wellbeing – Learn Tuesday May 28, 2019


The fourth of the New Economic Foundations Ways to wellbeing is learn. Something I for one, spent a lot of time doing as a younger person. First there was school, then university, then a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. The 'trying to stay one step ahead of the children' I taught, making sure I was equipped enough to teach them whatever new topic we were learning the next week or term or whenever. I even went back again to formal education and studied for a Masters level qualification too. So learning has always been in my life.

What I have learnt has always been similar though; the formal kind of learning with tests, exams, qualifications and late night studying and essay completion! But no longer, since leaving teaching and the world of formal education behind, I'm looking for new ways and new things to learn.

'Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun'. That's one of the phrases on the leaflet I found about the 5 ways to wellbeing. It's stuck with me as I'm definitely experiencing low confidence and have little self-compassion and would really like a bit more fun in my life!

So what am I going to do about it, well I'm not sure because as I've probably said before anxiety about new things and new people has often held me back from having experiences which I would probably find fun and beneficial if I would only let myself!

I have recently found out about the recovery college where I live. The recovery college is offering educational courses as a route to recovery from mental health challenges. I've submitted my application and am now waiting to see if I am accepted onto my chosen courses. I am hoping by gaining greater insight into my mental health difficulties, I might find new and more effective methods to support myself and continue my journey to better mental health.

I'll keep you posted about what I learn and if you've a recovery college near you, do have a look and see what they are offering. You never know, you too might find that you can learn something more about yourself, or develop a skill you didn't realise you had!

Good luck on your road to recovery and I hope you find your street to success. I'd be interested to hear what new things you have learned to support your mental health and wellbeing or perhaps you've had to learn as a result of these difficulties.

Ellie
A Moodscope member.

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

10 comments - Permalink


27

May


Enhanced Reality Monday May 27, 2019


Some of the bright young things I occasionally mix with are getting excited about 'Augmented Reality'. This is where computer technology is used to add something (hence the 'augmented') to the reality they are perceiving.

The easiest is a heads-up display on some goggles where you can look at the world but also read data about what you're looking at.

Hmmm.

I've been living in an Augmented Reality for decades – and without the aid or need for technology's help! I've also been reading a lot more into it than was really there!

Sitting beside my desk as I type this is a piece of art that lights up. Most of the time, I feel it is gently mocking me, but I know the artist's intent was positive. It is a phrase:

"Live the life you have imagined."

When life is sad or hard going, this motivational piece of artwork feels more demotivating, but it has got me thinking: "Could I use my imagination to enhance my 'reality'?"

Like so many of us who read the Moodscope blog, I'm really creative! Creativity is an expression of imagination, and I have had my share of using 'Dark Imagination' to make reality even worse than it is!!!

Perhaps we could all learn to flip that tendency. What if we could use our imagination, our creativity, our story-telling skills, to tell a happier story to ourselves?

For example, it is time for our 'Alpine Sunset' roses to begin blooming... and blooming they are. This is my favourite rose – beautify and scented. I visit the bush each day because the beauty is extremely fleeting, and I want to make the most of this Spring.

Frankly, the reality is beautiful enough, but could I enhance it with my imagination?

Of course I could! And my pleasure is all the more so because of my engagement in the moment of bliss that is my reflective time with the rose.

For me, the imagination is around architecture and fashion design – with the rose as my muse.

How do you use imagination to make the real world a better place?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

42 comments - Permalink


26

May


Half the World Away Sunday May 26, 2019


I've been thinking lately about something my mum often says to me when I'm a bit grumpy or out of sorts – "Come on snap out of it! You can't keep moping about – you need to cheer up!"

I'm sure most of you have heard similar 'advice' when you're feeling a bit down, and if you're anything like me it won't have helped one bit.

But I still find myself sometimes thinking "I wish I could cheer up a bit!" when I'm feeling low.

So what is the answer? For me, if I am simply feeling a bit melancholy for no particular reason (which is sometimes the case) allowing myself to 'wallow' a bit does help me feel better.

One thing in particular I like to do at times like this, is listen to music with sad lyrics. I find it easiest to connect to songs I heard a lot as a child – whether it's those my parents used to play or ones I would put on as a teenager when I was convinced I was the most misunderstood person in the Universe.

Some lyrics just resonate with me, even if they are a bit corny or nonsensical when you truly listen to them. One of my favourites is 'Half the World Away' by Oasis. They're certainly not the greatest band on Earth but that song always makes me feel emotional – probably because it reminds me of my younger years and takes me back to a time when I was discovering what it was to feel 'depressed'.

I've even created a playlist of 'wallowing' music, full of songs with sad messages about life, love and many things in between. If I'm feeling low I like to sit on my own and listen – and I mean really listen – to every note and word, and I find that it helps me come out of my 'bad mood'.

I wonder if any of you have a similar method of coping with your 'dark times' or is there something else you do instead?

Miss Happy
A Moodscope member.

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

22 comments - Permalink


25

May


Be Like Barney Saturday May 25, 2019


I recently spoke about looking for that little light – the positives in your life that might just keep you going when all around feels so dark and lonely. Well we had a little light in our lives and now he's gone.

What lessons can I take from his short life, just short of five years in October with him, and just under four months of his 16th birthday.

Barney is a simple soul. He loves his food and cuddles but follows his own path. He doesn't get bogged down with worries but he can be quite stubborn and mouthy at times. He cries at fireworks and is stroppy with Timmy, his brother from another mother. He's a stranger to a brush and loves the water. He has a happy swishy tail and a little skip in his step. He loves life.

Barney was our eldest dog. I 'healed' him when he was desperately ill in May 2017, some six months after we took the plunge to move from Cambridgeshire to the Highlands of Scotland. He started off quite chubby when we first got him... but by then, he was skin and bone, no interest in anything, could not eat, suffering from diarrhoea and going out into the garden and just sitting forlornly by the pond. I almost imagined I would go out to see him lifeless on the grass at any moment. I sat with him on a really hot day and laid down on the grass, praying to the angels to take him if it was time and sobbing my absolute heart out. We were one day from having "that conversation" and taking him to "that place". We were both distraught. I sat down with him and placed my hands on him. I prayed that we would have longer with him and in the process healed my breaking heart at the prospect of something worse happening. He improved, with medical input (drugs) and, I like to think, positive thought. I thought that somehow maybe I was willing the dreadful event to happen before it was properly "that time" so unwittingly perhaps I reversed the process.

Fast forward two years and he is gone, unexpectedly, but quietly and gently in his sleep, only eight days ago. My little sea-otter is now buried in the garden where we can go and talk to him but so many emotions are going on inside of me. Each day a new memory pops up on Facebook with photos, constantly reminding us of this most painful loss, the loss of our eldest furry son. For he was like a child to us. However I know in my heart he went the best way, in his own bed, in his own house. He even had his own fabric leopard house, his little escape room. I loved putting my head in it and smelling it if he was "home" or not... it smelt of biscuits, gentleness and calm. His brother used to sit on top of it and flatten it so over time it collapsed sideways but he'd still heave himself in, little liquorice nose poking out of it. When we buried him, it was in his own bed, with the purple blankie over him and then gently laid the folded leopard house on top of him. Our little scruffy rapscallion, the keeper of the "estate" finally looking after his little land.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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

53 comments - Permalink


24

May


A watched kettle never boils Friday May 24, 2019


At the young age of 9 I read an Idiom in a book wedged amongst many other dusty books in my Grandmothers spare room. It said 'A watched kettle never boils' and from such a young age I was able to understand what it meant, not taking it too literally of course.

I remember being so enlightened by it and felt proud of myself for understanding it without help that it has stuck with me. I genuinely applied to every day life. I translated it to time perception and that if I focused too much attention on one thing that time would go by slower, and of course if I distracted myself and didn't focus so much on it that time would go by faster. When times got tough I always knew not to dwell and be consumed by whatever was happening around me as time would pass quicker, and it always did get better.

A couple years ago I was truly tested mentally and emotionally. I endured something that I wouldn't wish on anyone and for the first time in my life I had spiralled into depression and I found it extremely difficult to focus on anything else and control my emotions. On top of that everything else in life I had been through came back to haunt me, all of a sudden I was upset about things I thought I had dealt with. I hadn't, I had just got on with life and let time pass. The idiom wasn't working for me anymore, and I felt helpless.

Through my partners advice I sought help and gradually I got better and spoke to someone about past experiences that were obviously bothering me and I learned that they all played important roles in my life now and helped me understand myself more. Time passed and I feel better but I also dealt with the problems rather than just letting them be so far in the past I forget about them. I now embrace everything I've been through and now I am stronger than ever!

What I'm trying to say is whatever you're going through, no matter how big or small, try not to focus all your attention on it, time will pass and you will feel better and be in a better situation but don't forget to deal with it. Talk to someone, help yourself get over it by seeking guidance from friends, family or professionals.

There are more people willing to help you than you realise. So will you accept yourself and the troubles you're facing so much so you get help? Will you accept time will pass and life will get better? Our thought of the day should be to look back at what you've been through and reflect on where you are now in comparison. If you don't feel there is a difference then pick up the phone and talk about it.

Laura
A moodscope member.

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

34 comments - Permalink


23

May


Maybe Nietzsche was Right... Thursday May 23, 2019


"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", famously said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

While deeply traumatic experiences can of course be damaging, scientists are now confirming that small amounts of trauma can indeed make us more resilient.

For example one study showed that people with chronic back pain who had experienced some serious adversity were more mobile than those who had encountered either a lot or none at all.

Researcher Mark Seery (1): 'A lot of ideas that seem like common sense are not supported by scientific evidence. Plenty of research shows that having miserable life experiences is bad for you.

In fact the best way to go through life is having nothing ever happen to you. But not only is that unrealistic, it's not necessarily healthy.'

'Of course negative events have negative effects. But I look at this as being a silver lining. Just because something bad has happened to someone doesn't mean they're doomed to be damaged from that point on.'

Those who go through difficult experiences are given the chance to develop an ability to cope with such situations in the future. 'Negative life experiences can toughen people, making them better able to manage subsequent difficulties'.

Steve
A Moodscope member.

(1) Report on adversity and resilience - in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

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

25 comments - Permalink


22

May


What Happened When She Smacked Me! Wednesday May 22, 2019


A couple of weeks ago I said something which hurt a business friend who is also a client. It was in a professional context and my comment was unprofessional.

I felt uneasy about it straight away, but the meeting had moved on and anyway, I didn't quite know what to say or even if I needed to say anything.

It turned out I did.

The person to whom I had made that unfortunate comment did me the great kindness in letting me know how much I had hurt her and how badly she felt my comment reflected on my business. Her text, while polite and totally professional, was the verbal equivalent of a hard smack.

I say kindness in all sincerity.

Because of her courage in contacting me, I was able to apologise and she to accept my apology.

I'm sure each one of you can understand how I felt; how I wanted to beat myself up for hurting her and for letting myself down.

But my Lenten discipline was to stop beating myself up, and I've tried to continue with that; so, having indulged in a few lashes – because I couldn't help it – I forced myself to step out of that self-destructive spiral and to think what I could learn from the incident.

I had an epiphany.

I realised that, professionally, I had been trying to control my clients. My job is to give them more confidence – but I wanted them to follow my rules. I wanted them to follow my rules because then I would feel validated.

Wow!

No – I didn't beat myself up again: I just decided that, from now on – I'm letting that go. If my clients feel confident enough to break the rules, then that's just fine – my job is done.

Going back to my friend who wrote me the text. What a hard thing it is, to say, "You hurt me. I think your remarks were out of order." When we say that, it makes us feel vulnerable, and nobody wants to appear weak. We'd rather stay quiet, move on and pretend nothing happened. If we do that, however, the relationship is not the same: there is an inevitable coolness and distance.

If, when hurt, you can find that courage to say something, you are doing a great kindness. The other person may not have realised or, if they did realise, may not know how to say sorry. If you can risk being vulnerable, then you allow the relationship to heal. Or – if your dignified statement is met with, "Then that's your business!" you can choose to walk away and let the relationship cool. You cannot be the friend of someone who does not care if they hurt you.

As for me, I bought my friend some flowers and wrote her a thank you note. Her courage in letting me know I had hurt her gave me freedom. I am grateful to her for that hard smack!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

14 comments - Permalink


21

May


In Remission Tuesday May 21, 2019


It used to be the other way round. A few days of depression and it would ease off. It would last a few weeks, at the worst. These days it's months of depression and a few days off here and there... if I'm lucky.

I am now in remission. It's been five days and yes I'm counting. It feels like a mini high. I just felt I wanted to share the extreme difference it makes for me personally when coming out of a depression and I am hoping others will be able to relate.

I'm looking at my house that I detested, I was repeatedly worried about how I would keep on top of all that needed doing. Now, out of depression, I think my house is not so bad after all and I will be able to do all of those things that need doing in time.

This is a big one, I don't feel I need to drink alcohol to numb the demons in my head! I had started drinking in the daytime, as it was the only thing that helped. Well that has broken the vicious circle as we all know alcohol doesn't help depression.

My appetite has improved. This is a real plus as I am underweight and I have missed food (for a long time) this was also due to physical health reasons but I am sure the depression played a big part and I am just hoping it is all coming together.

Recently, I mentioned I couldn't listen to music. I'm now listening to music and it's not affecting me, I am enjoying it, this is a real relief for me as I had stopped enjoying anything.

Might sound strange to some, but commercial adverts, I couldn't tolerate them, I think it was the jingles mainly. They now don't bother me. Well they are still annoying, but not to the same extent. Many other things irritated me so much...

Positive suggestions, on here or elsewhere, were impossible for me to carry out, when in the depression. I now feel that I can try these suggestions, hopefully to help maintain this state of mind.

Who knows how long it will last. It just intrigues me, this illness. Nothing happened, nothing changed. I still have the same problems, with the same circumstances.

But right now, I'm embracing every living moment. I feel like I am alive again.

I would love to hear from members with their own experiences of depression and whether you know what causes it or whether it just comes and goes for no apparent reason.

Love

Molly xx
A Moodscope member.

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

122 comments - Permalink


20

May


Self Esteem Monday May 20, 2019


One of the greatest defences again the wild dogs of depression is to hold on to and strengthen your self-esteem. Self-esteem a form of self-respect, and both phrases mean exactly what they say: we hold ourselves in high-esteem and we respect ourselves.

This can be tough when life doesn't seem to be working. However, there is a powerful way to maintain your self-respect and to esteem yourself: hold strong to your values and principles.

I love Eurovision. I know, I've probably lost a lot of you with that one statement, but for me, Eurovision is a fun, joyous occasion where we can, "Dare to Dream." Whilst it is a competition, it is also a massive collaboration with input from an audience of 200 million people. To me, it is force for good and for unification.

The biggest highpoint for me (and there were so many of them) was the Israeli group, The Shalva Band. In fact, I cried watching them perform the beautiful song, "A Million Dreams," from The Greatest Showman movie. The Shalva Band are made up of a group of musicians, all of whom have a disability. Their delivery was the best of the whole event – and they would, I believe, have won the competition if they had chosen to compete.

Aside from the pleasure their performance brought to millions, my joy was in their integrity. The authorities refused to adjust the rehearsals on Friday to respect the beliefs of some of the participants. Many of the Shalva Band are passionate about their faith, and they wanted to honour the Sabbath. When it came to the choice between potential victory and staying true to their principles, they chose their principles.

This reminded me of Eric Liddell's principled stance celebrated in the film, "Chariots of Fire." Eric, too, chose his principles over the potential to seek and enjoy victory. My purpose here is not to comment on the beliefs of either Eric Liddell or The Shalva Band. My purpose is to celebrate their integrity, their unwavering commitment to what they esteem.

When we hold fast to our principles, we maintain and nurture our self-respect and self-esteem. Others may not agree with us – they may even see us as foolish – but they will often respect our strength.

You and I can resist aspects of depression by being firm in what we are prepared to stand up for. This strengthens our identity and sense of self-worth. For this reason I thought I would throw this open to comments because I would love to know what principles are, for you, non-negotiable.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

42 comments - Permalink


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