The Moodscope Blog

26

February

I've Got a Little List

Wednesday February 26, 2020


How many of you, on seeing this title, are now humming the song from the Mikado, " ...They'd none of them be missed..."?

Well, this isn't a list of persons whom I wish I could remove from my life - although, now you come to mention it – but, no, it's not that.

This is about that wonderful conduit to productiveness, the list.

Most of us make lists. Shopping lists, lists of errands to run, lists of things we need to pack for that holiday, lists of chores to be done around the house, lists of things to do at work; lots and lots of lists.

Most days, experiencing a feeling of overwhelm, I make a list of everything I must do. Just the act of writing everything down gets it out of my head and traps it neatly on paper where it has less power to fill me with nebulous feelings of foreboding.

On Monday Lex wrote about acknowledging how far we've come, rather than becoming discouraged by how far we still have to go, and that made me think about my lists.

There's always a feeling of accomplishment when you tick things off your list. Sometimes I even write things I've already done onto my list just so I can have the pleasure of ticking them off.

One of the things I have learned, of recent years, is to tame my lists.

My lists used to be long, unwieldy things. Those lists wound, like giant anacondas, off the table, onto the floor, curled around the furniture, out of the door into the street… Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but the lists were far too long. No one could ever hope to accomplish all the tasks in a day or even a week – possibly even a year. I have learned to make the lists a LOT shorter.

On the other hand, a list of only three things ticked off is – unsatisfying.

My Monday list (I choose this because Monday is my "domestic" day) might be:

1. Clean the House
2. Cook dinners for the week
3. Write Moodscope Blog

I have found, however, the list is far more rewarding if I break down each item into smaller parts.

1. Clean the House:
1.1. Wash up
1.2. Sweep kitchen floor
1.3. Vacuum Hallway
1.4. Ditto Sitting Room
1.5. Clean bathrooms:
1.5.1. Upstairs
1.5.2. Downstairs cloakroom

I won't go on, but that should make it clear enough.

This breaking everything down into smaller parts means, especially when I don't complete the whole task, at least I can see I've accomplished something.

I confess there have been times when I have listed:

1. Get Up:
1.1. Get out of bed
1.2. Clean teeth
1.3. Shower
1.4. Dress – in real clothes
1.5. Make coffee
1.6. Make and eat breakfast

Because, sometimes, just completing that list is like running a marathon.

So, yesterday was Monday. I cleaned some of the house and I cooked the dinners. Some things on the list got ticked off and some didn't.

Today I'm writing the blog.

Tick!

Oh, and that song? Here's a link to my favourite version – warning – not the original words! http://bit.ly/2T9E1by

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


25

February

What have they scored Miss Ford?*

Tuesday February 25, 2020


If you're anything like me, you will have joined Moodscope and been intrigued by the score system. Flip the cards, make a choice, have your hand held at the end when your results come in. If you're anything like me, you might also have fallen out of love with them at some point.

I did. Some days I couldn't bear the hard evidence of my low. And so, I would skip it. Jump straight to the blogspot where I could hang a note in the tree for someone to read and read a note that someone had left there. The contact was good. The contact meant I was not alone.

Life has recently morphed into being, at times, overwhelmingly busy and I haven't always managed to keep up with everyone. It's not that I don't wish the contact but just that I am having to be a little strict with myself in my attempts to keep balance.

Inevitably, I still surf lows and highs. Daily. I've decided to prioritise doing my scores. When I look back over the words I included in the graph over the years, I realise they are very helpful. Very telling. Useful whether it was written yesterday or last month. (The sections lying empty, where I didn't enter evidence, are frustrating.) The lines showing my ups give me hard proof I can return there, the lines showing my downs give me hard proof I've coped. The lowest score points remind me I'm not there but that I have been and I do not need to fear it. Experience is the biggest cushion there is.

If you are keen to progress, or even just monitor, then keeping a daily score really is a strong tool for that. In my humble opinion, The Hawthorne Effect is living and breathing. Shall we?

"What are the scores on the doors?"*

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

*catchphrases from a family game show on TV in the UK when I was a thousand years younger than today.

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


24

February

Look How Far

Monday February 24, 2020


Let's imagine a T-junction.
To the left is the past. To the right is the future.
To the left is happiness. To the right is unhappiness.
That doesn't make sense, does it?

It makes even less sense when we realise that the natural tendency, in the example that follows, is to turn to the right every time.

No, it doesn't make sense, but it's the truth in one very important choice point – a T-Junction – we all face regularly on Life's many journeys each day.

The T-Junction in question is the choice on what to pay attention to as a comparison.

This week I put in two days' worth of hard labour to tidy up my working space, and seek to get Lady Penelope's lounge back in order. You see, I'm a NIGHTMARE to live with. I spread out, I'm messy, I leave stuff everywhere. I have always been this way. But this is Penelope's house. She's been phenomenally patient and yet I know 'enough is enough'!

Thus, I wholeheartedly put my shoulder to the task and just got on with it. I've made amazing progress, progress I am proud of. It's not there yet, but I was excited for Penelope to get home from work and look how far I'd come compared to how it was only two days ago.

Her response what not what I desired. She intimated that there was so much left to do.
I felt deflated.

The T-Junction in question has two directions...
To the left is "Look How Far I've Come."
To the right is "Look How Far You've Yet to Go."

One promotes a motivating sense of happiness – of progress from the past to the present.
The other, an overwhelming sense of so much left to do – from the present to the future.
Guess which one is the more productive, motivating, happy direction to look in!

I say this today because you've come SO far.

Yes, your life is not perfect, and, no, my life isn't perfect either... BUT we've come such a long way. To think I was considering suicide only a few months ago – and on multiple occasions – and now I have 'everything' to live for. If I look how far I've come, I am delighted. But if I look to the right, and think about all the things I need yet to sort out, I can feel the energy and joy seeping away... along with my motivation to take action!

I've therefore decided to look left, to look how far I've come, and to rejoice in that.
From that foundation of joy, I can take more steps forward knowing that I am moving forward.

Will you look how far you've come too?

Perhaps you'd share with us just how far you've come?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


23

February

What brings you joy?

Sunday February 23, 2020


On Fridays for a couple of years now I spend two and a half hours making porcelain. I am lucky living in a big city that the local arts centre, in a big park, holds all sorts of classes. When I joined up I had no idea that porcelain was made by pouring slip and so my initial ideas of throwing clay around were dashed. Porcelain requires incredible patience. It's intricate and tricky and demands concentration.

So there is an atmosphere of quiet calm, punctuated with humour and interest in each others' work and lives. We all bring our own baggage, but disabilities, caring commitments or worries are set aside for a few hours.

This week I have tried a new technique 'Nerikomi'. It involves making a Swiss roll of coloured clays, cutting into small pieces and then assembling in a mosaic-like fashion to create a piece. I found it utterly absorbing. For two and a half hours my life felt good, and I could set aside the strains of parenting a school avoiding teenager and a job that I am really disliking.

A number of years ago a good friend of mine, a religious minister and mental health chaplain, talked about finding what gives you joy. When I was deep in depression it was not the easiest time to start new things or find joy, but if you do know what brings you joy, do it, and if you don't, try something new. After all my first week of puzzlement has become my favourite part of the week.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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


22

February


It is 1am or 2am or 3am or 4am and you are awake staring at the ceiling or constantly fidgeting, trying to get comfortable.

Your mind churns over your worries like a washing machine on full cycle and you feel all alone.

You want to press the stop button in your brain and think of nothing and fall back to sleep, but no, the thoughts are all entangled down in the soapy cycle of worry and fear.

Are you alone? I am sure many reading this will relate, if not nightly but maybe weekly or monthly.

In the early hours every little thought is magnified a thousand times and the longer you are awake the worse everything feels.

Maybe just knowing we are part of the club will help us relax a bit and maybe sleep.

So, hands up who wants to join the early morning club and why?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


21

February


I saw this quote amongst some funny emails my husband sent me... it made me think about depression, darkness and Moodscope!!

We all have the ability to be stars, yes! Me, even you - yes you hiding at the back!

But for many, we find it hard to shine because of our depression... that deep, dark pit of treacle we find ourselves in daily, from the minute we wake up, if we managed to get any sleep, that is!

But from the responses the blogs receive, you will see how many stars are there, shining quietly in the gloom. They pull us up a fraction, providing us with a liddle lift, reaching out with kind words and holding a hand out or a paw!

There are many amazing peeps on Moodscope who not only contribute by writing or responding to blogs from other peeps, but also in the background: people like Caroline, Adrian, and others behinds the scenes, peeps we never see or hear from.

Thank goodness they are there because they all help whilst asking for nothing in return and keep Moodscope going for everyone's benefit.

There are others - the Moodscope buddies. They are possibly never seen by us... it might be someone in another country, it might be your OH! But they are there, giving a little prod now and then, maybe sending a smiley face, a sad face, a question mark to ask 'How's your day going?' They also receive your score, every time you take the test, so they'll know how your day is going. They'll be there for you.

The darkness for many of us is depression and we need to let ourselves shine. Show the world it's not what defines us; depression isn't me and I am not depression.

Why not drop by, take the test if you feel you can or read and respond to a blog post; ask us for help, tell us what's happening with you... there's bound to be another star here in this community who has just the right thing to say, one who can share a liddle light with you.

So, as the Take That song goes:

'Stop! Being so hard on yourself!
It's not good for your health!
Don't you let your demons pull you down!'

Apologies if that song becomes an earworm all day!

Love and Bear hugs

Bear xx
A Moodscope member.

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


20

February

Che Sera Sera

Thursday February 20, 2020


I have been watching 'A Horseman riding by' TV series on books by Delderfield. An illiterate poacher's wife 'tells' the future by cards at the local fete. She sees something awful which she cannot explain. It is just before the start of WW1.

If a soothsayer could have 'seen' me now, a widow in her 80's, in a too large house in a provincial French town, listening to the third awful storm in a row (Dennis this one) and wondering how to find a roofer, it would have seemed outrageous. There may be people – doctors, dentists perhaps who knew what they wanted to do, and have been able to follow their chosen profession throughout their lives. Many must have had my 'fate', a roller-coaster, where you ride the waves and weather the next storm. I am writing this by default, no insult to 'Moodscope', because I have three projects, all in French, not strong enough, and my tapping fingers are restless.

In this area many people have hardly moved from where they, their parents, and grand-parents were born. Great friends are local farmers; she has milked cows twice a day for 35 years. A son has taken over the tenancy, and she has Sunday evenings 'off'. I sowed seeds of rebellion once, took them off to Devon (they had to lash out on relief milkers) and she rapidly got a taste for country house and garden visiting. Back in France she expressed a wish to visit superb properties in the locality; husband was not having it, end of story. I do wonder, should he die first, whether she will have the energy and will to 'make up for lost time'. She is a very devout catholic, but rather narrow minded. At lunch in their gloomy house another great friend, a Franciscan monk/priest was there. He quietly, but firmly, corrected her on the pretty awful things she was saying about Jews and Moslems, pointing out that she was incorrect and racist.

My husband and one of my sons worked for world-renowned companies. If you had started with them 60 years ago you could have confidently expected to 'rise through the ranks' according to your ability, retire with a suitable present and live on a good pension. They were the 'good old days' (??) before depressions, recessions, redundancy, hostile take-overs and, often now, awful financial management (recently shown in Thomas Cook).

Having got through the war, my husband having got his 'matriculation' at a good Grammar school, he wanted to be a farmer. His mother pleaded, I think, with him, to go to college and get a qualification to give him a wider choice. I have just written his life story for the College Magazine, even surprising myself along the way. Life was often Micawber-ish (something will turn up). Things did, and we got good at grabbing opportunities, despite dire warnings about the risks and insecurity. So, che sera sera, still. Just listened to Doris Day singing the song. 'The future's not ours to see'. Has it been, for anybody?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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


19

February

The Power of Hugs

Wednesday February 19, 2020


I heard something very sad the other day. Sad but not uncommon.

A friend of my daughter was feeling low. "Go home and give your parents a hug," my daughter recommended. "It always makes me feel better."

There was a long pause. Finally, "That's just not possible."

In his family, there is no physical affection. At some point, his parents stopped hugging him, holding him, cuddling him. He doesn't know when it was, but he envies my daughter the hugs she gets from us.

Please believe me when I say that, as a family, we absolutely have NOT got everything right; we are not the perfect family. I think, however, we have got the hugs right.

I get my girls up with a hug first thing in the morning, they (mostly) get a hug as they leave the house to go to school; they get a hug when they come home from school. My husband gives hugs too. They frequently ask for hugs.

I know many people reading this have nobody to whom they are emotionally close enough to hug. Hugging is so beneficial however, it is worth seeing if you can develop friendships to the hugging point, it will convey many health benefits.

Let's start with the mental and emotional benefits. Being hugged feels nice; it makes us feel loved and cared for. If you look at the science behind it – the firm pressure of a hug increases serotonin and dopamine – the feel-good hormones. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, which has sometimes been called the "bonding hormone" because it promotes attachment in relationships.

A quick and flimsy hug is no good, though; it could be worse than nothing. A hug should be firm, so that the necessary pressure receptors under the skin are stimulated, leading to the release of those beneficial hormones.

It also needs to last long enough. Sometimes a "social" hug is only two seconds. It takes at least ten to relax into the hug and to start to feel the benefits. One of my lovely Moodscope buddies, when giving a hug, warns, "Let me give you a warning: I don't let go. I keep hugging until you draw away."

Hugs also need to come with a few provisos. Hugs should always be offered, never be inflicted on the unwilling, and permission should usually be asked.

If your relationship with the huggee is not sexual, then care must be taken; be aware of where your hands end up.

And, if a hug is not appropriate, consider the power of a firm touch on the shoulder or upper arm. I remember, in my last depression, after the church service, sitting alone drinking tea, because I couldn't cope with being with anyone. A member of the congregation came over and just put their hand on my shoulder. That meant so much.

Touch is important. It even increases our resistance to disease.

So, if you have someone to hug, hug them today. If you don't, I hope you feel you know me well enough from these blogs to accept at least a virtual hug from me.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


18

February

Attempted burglary

Tuesday February 18, 2020


One night the house was in darkness as my husband was watching something on the home cinema system and was making sure the sound system was working at its optimum level. As a result he needed to concentrate very hard on the sound so had all eliminated all distractions such as the lighting to enable this. During a break in his labours he heard a crash from outside which turned out to be would-be burglars trying to break in through the French windows but the garden bench was in the way so they tipped it over very noisily. My husband turned on the outside lights which made them run away across the back garden, into an adjoining garden then into the house behind it which they did manage to burgle.

The result of all this was that we are now having external lighting and alarms fitted which means that the house has had to be radically tidied up to enable the workmen to install the cabling and other equipment necessary.

At first I found it a huge inconvenience then it became a blessing in disguise as we've been putting off blitzing the house for ages. Now we had to clear up thirty years of accumulated junk and it's been a fantastic experience.

Every day I feel I've shed pounds of anxiety so wake up feeling much lighter all the time. I realised I'd been hanging on to things for no real reason except a misguided feeling of security which I got from hoarding things like magazines from the 1980s which were never going to be read and it was a breakthrough moment when I picked up a pile and put it straight into recycling. That bin is a brilliant idea and for the next month or two is going to earn its keep in disposing of items from my past. I thought I'd be sentimental and backtrack on my decisions to throw things out but the results have been so beneficial I'm absolutely hooked on cleaning up and downsizing my possessions. I'm so grateful to those burglars who inadvertently started of this healing process so thanks very much whoever you are. I'm just sorry the house behind us got burgled instead.

I'm looking forward to being able to see what's going on outside the house and having an alarm for extra peace of mind but it's sad that after thirty or so years here we have had to resort to these measures.

Yours as a much lighter person and one whose anxiety lessens with every pile I put into recycling or take to the charity shop. It's a strange outcome from what could have been a terrifying experience so oddly enough things have turned out quite well.

Regards

Cathy
A Moodscope member.

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


17

February

Tom Cat

Monday February 17, 2020


We've been 'adopted' – or at least tolerated – by a local Tom Cat.
He's a bruiser.
He's also a proper Ginger Tom.
I call him 'George'.

George is teaching me much about people.

Firstly, he's is fiercely independent. Secondly, he's fickle. Yes, he'll purr one moment, and then the ears go back, and he'll biff you one or bite you. I suspect he's had a troubled journey so far. He's damaged goods.

Thing is, I love George.

He reminds me of me. One of my friends once told me I was like a Sullen Tiger (cool Kung Fu name, no?!) When I asked her to explain she said I was just like George... I'd rub myself round her legs sometimes, purring... Next minute, I'd claw her. I was, of course, offended!

But then again, I'm damaged goods.

I'm certain Bridget's insight to my own fickle nature has helped me cut George a lot of slack.

As a result of getting to know George, I'm learning about Belief, Expectation, and Unconditional Love.

Belief – I believe the best of him – even when the evidence points elsewhere.

Expectation – I expect nothing from him or of him.

Unconditional Love – he's a damaged soul that needs love – love that is independent of any required return on our investment!

I, too, am George.

You, too, might be George.

I wanted you to know that I'm learning to believe the best about you. I wanted you to be certain that I expect nothing from you or of you. You are great just the way you are. And I wanted you to be sure that, as far as I am able, I will 'love' you unconditionally.

After all, are you not worth even more than this beautiful cat?

[Check out this beautiful song: https://youtu.be/XjwZAa2EjKA ]

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


16

February

Wandering

Sunday February 16, 2020

Wandering around
Wanting to be found
But that’s never the case
I will always feel out of place
Its a puzzle
I’m a piece that won’t fit.

Wandering around
Will I ever be found
Won’t always be the case
I will find my place
It’s a puzzle
I’m a piece that now fits.

Just so you know I’m still in the won’t fit stage...

Hugo
A Moodscope member.

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


15

February

Love...

Saturday February 15, 2020


I long for the warm embrace of another not only physically but emotionally as well. I desire the distant feeling and vague memory of waking up on a weekend next to the one I truly love and care for, after being able to sleep in after a long work week. Sun shining through the window, my arm around her, feeling her skin against mine. Those feelings, those moments in time, they give you something only true love can give.

Once that person or that love is gone, nothing is the same. Nothing can replace those feelings. Love is most certainly a drug and a very powerful and a scarce one. Once you have it hold on to it, because you may not find it again - it's not just something you can buy on the streets.

I will never forget those little moments that warm your heart. It's not the things we plan to do, just the things that happen while doing other things, such as seeing their love for you when you lock eyes during significant moments. I miss making love, I miss passion. Sex is far different than making love. I don't care about sex, I want the passion, I want the love. I want the moments when she'd lay her head on my chest while I ran my fingers through her hair and kissed her forehead. These are moments and experiences that gave my life meaning and without them life is nothing and is a constant feeling of emptiness.

I've forgotten how to be happy without these things and I haven't had them in four years.

Every night when I lay in bed I can feel the emptiness I can feel, how hallow my heart is.

Cody
A Moodscope member.

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


14

February

Judging without facts

Friday February 14, 2020


I was recently watching my cats. One cat decided to poke another, that cat looked up and poked another cat. She did not see the one who had poked her but assumed it was the one next to her. I did think this was funny but then I thought maybe I do this too, blaming others when they have not been involved.

As a child, this happened a lot. My sister could do nothing wrong according to my father, so I constantly got blamed for things, even when I was not in the house at the time.

Knowing how this feels, why would I do it too? Learnt behaviour? Human nature? Bipolar? Who knows? What I do know is that I don't realise until after that I was wrong.

I can also see my perceptions of others in there. I can perceive how they feel about me or what they might be thinking. As a child, I learnt to watch people. I wanted to know if they were cross with me or that something might happen. This came from a place of fear and rejection. Something which still bothers me now. This is not based on facts, only my perceptions. It is a very difficult thing to deal with - a learnt behaviour.

I find it very difficult to trust. If someone appears upset or worse, cross, then I naturally assume they are upset or cross with me. How do I know if they really are? I don't, I am just guessing. It is exhausting to be on the alert all the time when I could not know. I ask sometimes and then wish I hadn't when the other person snaps at me. I don't know the facts and yet I make a judgement. It isn't like I feel the world revolves around me. It doesn't, it revolves around the sun. But, coming from a place of fear, I am assuming everyone is the same. I expect them to be like that as that has been my life experience. I am constantly on my guard.

I dread family situations as I have come to expect certain patterns of behaviour from them. This is often unfounded fear. They behave completely differently.

The question is how do I change this? Recognising it in the first place helps, which is something I am getting better at. I try to say to myself, "You don't know that, it may be different this time". I know that I internalise things without looking at the bigger picture. I assume that what has happened or how someone is feeling is in some way my fault. I have said or done something to cause this. I know where my anxiety comes from and can sometimes recognise it but what can I do to stop it?

Is there a way to change a learned behaviour like this? Any ideas from all you lovely people are very welcome. I know I am on a journey, this is part of it.

Ruth
A Moodscope member.

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


13

February

Get off my land!

Thursday February 13, 2020


I've been hovering in the background reading the blogs and always appreciating the effort made by you all in writing and commenting. It's been a while since I contributed and felt it time to pop in and say Hi.

Was that selfish of me? Taking and not giving! Should I have, at least, made a comment or acknowledged that I'd read it? Would that have made the blog writer feel any different? Or me?

I have found that my life has revolved around what I thought I should do or maybe more significantly, what I thought others thought I should do (if that makes sense!). People Pleaser: my middle name and yet I'm seen as very confident and assertive and was once accused by an older sibling of being heartless!

In retrospect, I understand that by creating my own space when I needed to, may have come across as being distant or disinterested and the "heartless" was perhaps a bit of emotional detachment. However, I have recently discovered that this opinion of me is generally made by people who are only taking from me anyway and in the search for my own space, I would no longer be serving their purpose.

I am learning to be quite protective of my own world, my space, my boundaries. Not in a reclusive way, not in a selfish way, just in an "I choose" kind of way. The best thing about this acceptance is that I don't feel the need to apologise for creating it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sociable, helpful and welcoming but I know its ok to do what's right for me and that might mean not inviting anyone in for a short while! So if you or I decide we need a little bit of peace behind our boundary wall, it's alright to take it, it's alright to recharge, it's alright to choose you, it's alright to enjoy it, it's alright not to feel guilty and it's alright to let people know.

Yvonne
A Moodscope member.

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


12

February

Imagined Dragons

Wednesday February 12, 2020


One of my friends had a significant birthday coming up and a couple of weeks before the day her boss stopped by her desk. "I see you're retiring next week," she said. "What do you want as a leaving party?"

My friend was devastated! She loved her job and had never thought of retiring – but with one comment, that boss had brought a large part of her world tumbling about her ears.

We have all been hurt by insensitive comments; I know I have. Yet, very often, these comments are not meant maliciously: they are just what occurs to the speaker and are voiced without any agenda other than straight communication.

Then, there's the other side. You probably know someone who always seems to take everything the wrong way. In my family we say, they don't just take offense: they take a gate too!

Occasionally, these two people are the same: they can dish out the blunt comments but cannot take them. Because they can lash out with their tongues, we tend to think carefully before saying anything. Usually, we say nothing at all; swallow those words, and feel them turn bitter inside.

One of the most common causes of upset and distress is undelivered communication.

Perhaps this is not you; perhaps you are good at straight talk. Perhaps you are mature enough to know that we are all responsible for our own reactions and how other people react to our words is their own business. I suspect not, however. I think most people who suffer with depression are sensitive; more easily hurt than many, and desperately anxious to avoid hurting others.

It doesn't mean we don't hurt others. I know that my own words and actions have, on occasion, been the cause of great pain and I am deeply sorry for it.

Sometimes, however, things need to be said; communication needs to happen. Relationships can get stuck, resentment builds up and, when the dam of suppressed anger is breached, a destructive torrent of words can pour out. Words, once spoken, can never be recalled and the damage to that relationship might not be repairable.

I was talking to a friend recently about a situation where I am reluctant to say anything because I fear incurring a negative reaction. I feel frustrated and blocked in a whole area of my life because of that fear. My friend told me bluntly to get over myself and not allow my own power to be vanquished by imagined dragons.

"Can this person physically hurt you? Can this person destroy you financially, or cause your friends to desert you? No? Then, why allow the prospect of their words put you in chains?"

My friend is right. Communication needs to happen, and words must be spoken. Hopefully with more kindness and sensitivity than that boss used, but with the clear intent of full understanding.

Here's me, drawing a deep breath, squaring my shoulders and preparing to speak.

How do you deal with this sort of thing? Let me know.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


11

February

Are you struggling? I am...

Tuesday February 11, 2020


My Name is Jason. About ten years ago I had a hip replacement, it was a long struggle but I got through it. At the time I could push myself past the pain and just man up and get going.

Almost five years later I had to have my other hip replaced. At the time the doctors and I decided to go through the front so it wouldn't be such a hard recovery. The next morning the therapist got me up to walk and I fell to the floor totally unable to move (butt naked!) That put me back in pain but even so they sent me home that evening.

The next day I realised I had an infection and my daughter called my nurse. They gave me antibiotics which made me sick. It resulted in twenty one days off work, during which my job was changed and it was like 15 years didn't mean anything to them.

People I thought I could trust just seemed to leave me hanging. I was mad and upset with everyone including myself. I still think if I hadn't fell at the hospital I would be fine.

I struggle daily at times still because now I have arthritis in my back and it's getting worse. I have had thoughts in my mind that just bring me down. I never thought I'd be like this but I've been depressed and didn't know it. Sometimes hearing about others going through something similar helps.

I'm not over it, but I'm trying everyday. Take it from me, if you are struggling just try to talk to someone, I have a friend at work and if it wasn't for her I'd be a total mess.

Just try to find a way to help yourself.

Jason
A Moodscope member.

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


10

February


One of the consequences of being hyper-creative and an INFP* is forever seeing ways to improve people!

I'm sure we've all got 'friends' who are full of... advice.

I used to have one ('used to') whose catchphrase was, "You know what your problem is?" [Fascinatingly, he knew what everyone else's problem was... though I doubt he had the same clarity about his own.]
l
Sam Sharma, a friend and coach, changed the course of my life two years ago. And he achieved this with just one phrase: "Never coach anyone without their permission!"

This resonated with me immediately, and it's only taken me two years to make sense of it in my own behaviours...

YOU DON'T WANT FIXING!

The truth is that we all 'need' fixing but we have so much invested in the current situation that we 'know'.

If we were to be 'fixed' or even to start the process, everything would change, and that's a massive commitment.

Your current friends and family have also invested in you staying the way you are! There's too much to lose!

Many people need MASSIVE discomfort before they'll risk investing in changing.

A health scare, a bereavement, a broken relationship, the loss of a job... all these can be sufficiently 'energetic' to give us the oomph to change.

Until then, I'll leave you in peace.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

[*INFP is a four-letter code from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. There's a free version of the assessment at 16personalities.com – and I recommend this bit of self-discover, especially in the light of Mary's blog on the Iceberg. If you'd be happy to share what you come out as, it would be a great way to get to know you better... but not to fix you!]

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


9

February

Pebbles and Rocks

Sunday February 9, 2020


One of my simple pleasures in life is walking along a beach or the bank of a river or stream, strolling or striding out and just relaxing into those moments and leaving life's problems behind for a brief time. I might even step into the water and wade through the shallows.

My eye is often caught by some pebble or stone or shell and by the end of my walk I'll find I have a pocketful.

Choosing those most appealing (often no rhyme or reason at the time except they please me) I bring them home.

What for? ...Well I'm not entirely sure - a reminder of pleasant places or people? The memories of a holiday/day out? To invoke pleasant feelings when I see them on my windowsill?

Pebbles are just stones, lumps of earth's rock shaped by time, water, ice, wind and fire. Ground under ice sheets. Smoothed by ocean waves tumbling them through sand onto the shore and reclaiming them on the retreat over and over and over.

Weathered by wind and rain on a mountain scree; scratching and scoring and sliding haphazardly across and against each other inching slowly down the slope year in, year out.

Over the years I've brought home smooth pebbles, knobbly stones, sharp flints (and occasionally a rock sized pebble) and though I weed them out occasionally - they go outside into the flower border - I've always got a few around in the house. Nice to run my fingers over or pick up and hold in my hands.

Rock is hugely important; here I can find a cave to take shelter in, a level shelf I can spread a blanket on and sit and admire a view and feel the warm sun. Lean on it for support and build my house upon it. Rock is solid and dependable.

Pebble I can pick up and cradle in my hand; reminder of rock from whence it came... gives me comfort.

If I collect enough pebbles I can make a path...

Ach
A Moodscope member.

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


8

February

Forgiving the Crumpet Thief

Saturday February 8, 2020


At work today a senior manager shook an empty coffee canister at me and said simply "There isn't any coffee in the downstairs kitchen."

I was deep in my work so it took a few seconds for me to realise she must think it within my remit. I explained she could fill it up from the upstairs kitchen cupboard, as that was for staff. I am only responsible for delegates attending in training rooms. Not sure if it was the assumption or the canister rattling that bothered me enough to write this blog.

Later in the day I put two crumpets in the toaster, and when I came back for them a colleague who hot-desks occasionally was sat eating them, I heard him tell someone "I wasn't sure who they belonged to so I thought I might as well have them."

Work colleagues can be as perplexing as family members, and our reactions don't always fit the crime, can you guess which one irritated me the most?

Mrs Mahoo
A Moodscope member.

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


7

February

Achievements

Friday February 7, 2020

I felt somewhat deflated today about what I perceived as the lack of achievements in our house last year until my husband said to me... think about what we have actually done here. Write yourself a list to actually see what has been achieved. But I thought about going back a bit to when we moved.

We created a home from an unloved place that hadn't been inhabited for over two years. The dead seagull in the road (which I thought was an omen initially) had been thrown into our front garden, its wing up in defiance. Even with a brief and dreadful foray into housekeeping and the thought that I should just give up my self employment due to perceived lack of interest in the funeral directors in the area, I stuck at it and business is growing slowly and steadily. I will still have to 'pound the streets' to get more business but I'm up for the challenge.

We made new friends. I joined writing, art and badminton groups. As for last year, we paid off the smart new teal sofas, we lost our precious dogs but gained a beautiful new dog after such terrific loss. A man shed was built, a path was built to the back of the workshop by clearing the garage, a memorial area was created for the boys, the existing shed was completely cleared and tidied, a lovely flower bed was created with new plants and climbers, some fascias were replaced, gutters were cleaned, a back fence was put up, leylandi were cut down, areas were dug, slabs were laid, foundations were built, much pyromania was done, another fence was put up between us and the neighbours, a huge amount of clearing was done, a ton of decluttering was done, bags were filled and taken to the charity shops and in the meantime, jobs were changed, various friends and relatives were entertained and accommodated throughout the year and I won an award for one of my poems, as well as taking part in readings of my own work at our local theatre.

Yet still through all of this, I feel I have so much more to achieve this year and that I should have achieved even more last year. So this blog encourages you to think about some of your achievements. These are mainly practical things.

If I think about the other more deeper and emotional things, I have achieved a lot more than I give myself credit for. I've pushed through my anxious moments and challenged myself. I've relaxed into myself more and stopped trying too hard. This is me. Take it or leave it. I'm not afraid to show my true colours and if people don't want to join me, that's fine. I won't take it personally. I'll see it as an absolute achievement not to do so.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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


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