The Moodscope Blog

16

September


What Would You Rather... Monday September 16, 2019


"What would you rather have?"
"What would you rather be?"
"What would you rather do?"
"What would you rather give?"

These are four of my favourite friends, but I don't always remember to listen to them.

Our Molly at Moodscope has challenged me in a brilliant way on a couple of occasions now... called me out from a position of perceptive insight that I believe is one of her gifts.

Last week, I shared openly how I had felt more suicidal than I can remember, and how difficult it was for friends to know what to say or do to ease the pain of that moment. Truth is that whilst I'd prefer not to continue with the current pattern life seems locked in, I'd much rather have something else. Unconsciousness or even death would ease the pain and would be a welcome escape, but I'd rather have a life to the full.

When we focus on what we don't like about now, it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed, depressed, hopeless, and develop a desire to escape at any cost. The four friends I have as questions shift the attention, as Millie was talking about last week too.

I wonder what your answers would be to the four questions?

What would you rather have/be/do/give?

I've just attended an Art event with Bridport Open Studios. Chatting with the Artists I met was exciting and energising. I've always been drawn more towards creative art than towards business, and I wonder if I've created trouble and unhappiness for myself by not being, doing, and giving in the way I'd prefer.

I'd rather be an Artist, mixing with other Artists, and living in an Artistic enclave like Bridport. Abraham Maslow, one of the leaders of Motivational Thinking, suggests that whatever we could be, we must be.

Could it be that much of our unhappiness emerges from knowing we're not being true to our heart's desires? If I could stop what I'm doing now and survive as an artist, I'd choose that freedom in a heartbeat.

How about you? Who are you really? Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? How do you want to give back to the world of which we are so much a connected part?

What would you rather have/be/do/give?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

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15

September


From crutches to baby steps Sunday September 15, 2019


I have not been in a good place this year, since February really. I have felt numb, listless, weary. Any activity has been a huge effort for me. I have felt as if I am simply going through the motions in an attempt to keep some semblance of normality. I have not been much fun to be around. When asked what I wanted to do, my answer invariably was "I don't know". I have clung onto my "crutches" - day-time TV, gossipy magazines and endless games of Solitaire – when it has been a gloriously sunny day outside!

So as the start of the new academic year approached, I decided it was time to take myself in hand – enough was enough. Here is my list of what I began doing:

1 My moodscope score – for the first time this year (though still not every day).

2 Consciously smiling, beaming even, (regardless of how I was feeling) at my nearest and dearest – who commented on how lovely it was to see me smile again.

3 Aiming to get outside everyday, even if it was just to the corner shop (I've not always been successful with this one).

4 Forcing myself to go out – for a coffee with a friend, to the cinema, for a walk.

5 Saying aloud "Action leads to motivation" (thanks again Hopeful One!) and "Anything I do is a bonus" as I tackled the most basic of chores.

6 Recording in my diary what I had done each day – and congratulating myself for it.

Re-reading this I fear that it may come across as being very simple on the one hand, and overly energetic on the other. Believe me, there have still been plenty of hours wasted on my tablet. I haven't managed to restrict that crutch yet...

It feels as if it is going to take some time before I am back to my normal, active self. In the meantime, I am accepting my "baby steps" as progress, and not berating myself for my "crutches".

What baby steps help you emerge from the fog?

Frankie
A Moodscope member.

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

46 comments - Permalink


14

September


Can you enjoy without remembering? Saturday September 14, 2019


What would you choose?

You can have any experience for one night you want, no money limit, but, and there is always a but, you will have no memories at all after the event is over.

What do you choose? The experience because it will be amazing, or do you say no because what is the point of an event if there is no memory.

Can you enjoy something that you can not remember or is the best thing about travel, telling stories to others and looking at photographs?

Some of you will answer so quickly and say this is so easy others will ponder and wonder what they would choose but eventually they are confident in their answer.

Other people I have asked will just refuse to decide and think it is way too silly and hypothetical.

So, do you want that once in a lifetime event you will not recall or are you happy to remember events however ordinary?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

128 comments - Permalink


13

September


You can't make a difference Friday September 13, 2019


My partner said this to me about 8 years ago but these words still loop endlessly through my mind.

He meant financially – although that hurt enough as I had always tried to work and feel that I was contributing money-wise as well as doing most of the childcare and housework. I took pride in the fact that, despite moving every few years with children to settle into new schools, I managed to do some kind of work. I had, before children, even earned more than him for a year or two.

I come from a background where money was tight. Lack of financial independence meant that my mother stayed with my father despite a multitude of reasons for her to leave. I had vowed to my 20 year old self never to be financially dependent on anyone.

So those words hurt. My self-confidence was shattered. They led me to question whether I was making a difference in other areas. If I couldn't "make a difference" by working, was I making a difference in any other areas of my life?

My need to be part of the world of work was only somewhat assuaged by working part time. It wasn't great but it seemed better than nothing until one of my children asked why I was doing it. He said that, when I came home I seemed either very sad or very angry! That didn't seem worth putting my children through either.

I stopped working, too demoralised to see what the point was and have since volunteered in a variety of roles. Those roles mean that I do make a (small) difference in areas other than in my family life. But it has changed the way I think about myself and how I assume other people see me.

We underestimate how much our sense of self and status is bound up with the work we do. Even if we don't enjoy the commute, the meetings, the inevitable one person at work who annoys us, whatever we do, we still like to be able to introduce ourselves with a job title. And the fact of a pay packet at the end of the month is irrefutable proof that we're earning our way.

There are many reasons why it makes more sense for me to volunteer. I can drop everything if I'm needed elsewhere in the family. But I do still wonder what all that studying, exams and qualifications, all that "keeping the cv going" was for.

How do we ensure that we can "make a difference" and be satisfied with smiles of gratitude rather than a healthier bank balance. We are told that we should be able to do good deeds with no thought for a reward but that's easier said than done. We're not all saints!

Learning to be content with the rewards of volunteering rather than those of a monetary kind is another skill in itself. It requires a different mindset from the "time is money" of capitalism that we have been encouraged to embrace.

How do you feel when people ask what you do? Does it make you proud of your achievements?

Frauke
A Moodscope member.

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

77 comments - Permalink


12

September


The black hole Thursday September 12, 2019


There are lines in one song I listen to a lot lately.

I wanna shed my skin
I wanna see who I really am
I wanna swim with all that drags me in every time.

These lines haunt me.

When I am down, depressed for some reason or another, I think of going deeper. I feel like I need to follow the current that drags me inside of that black hole in the center of any person, go along with it, just fall inside, don't fight it. Don't try to make myself feel better with all the techniques from the psychologist or from my own experience, just go down.

When I am meditating, it can be difficult for me to disengage. I am getting astounded or horrified by the thoughts and fantasies I have, I can feel like that's all that really matters... but I also know that the black hole is just under the surface of all of these thoughts. They cover it, endlessly streaming from some other place, but I still feel its magnet pull.

When I am in the flow state, writing, or planning a lesson, or playing some video game, I sometimes feel like being suspended in the air above this flow. The following correct word or phrase, the next good picture for a presentation for a lesson, another mission accomplished — and the emptiness below it. I can get back in the flow, and that magnet pull is not that strong. But I know it's there.

I don't think this emptiness is something bad. I do think it's unavoidable that we look in this emptiness from time to time. I think that we are the emptiness, actually, and all of our personality, all of our thoughts and ideas are just self-medication, trying to make us feel not empty. We are to acknowledge its existence, we are to accept it and we are to feel it from time to time. All of out thoughts, all of our accomplishments, all of our striving and desires is just a cover-up for the hole inside.

And that's okay. We are all into this together. We are building upon this emptiness. We have already made so much, and we keep getting better. The emptiness is there to try to fill, not to get sucked into.

I have been working on filling this emptiness by myself and with a psychologist for a few years now. I've gotten so much better at being me. I can't say now that I am depressed — most of the time I am at least 'alright'. I am in a very healthy and happy relationship. I am ready to fight for the things I think I want.

And yet...

I do want to go in and never return.

Maybe, that's also okay?

Regards

Alex
A Moodscope member.

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

39 comments - Permalink


11

September


Get it Out of Your Head! Wednesday September 11, 2019


Regular readers of this blog may remember that you left me at the door of my home last Sunday, as I realised I had spent all day cleaning the Beach House, when my own home needed cleaning much more.

Well, let me give you a quick overview of the week since then. Please take a deep breath now...

Monday, I cleaned enough in the morning to hold a Colour Analysis Session in the afternoon (my clients must walk through the whole house to get to my studio). Tuesday, I spent shopping in Cambridge for school shoes and stationery supplies for my younger daughter who had neglected to tell me she had grown out of her previous school shoes! Wednesday they went back to school and I cleaned; ALL DAY! Thursday, I ironed – ALL DAY! My husband says he honestly had no idea that he owns thirty-five shirts: one for each day of the five weeks I was away… Friday I attempted to clear my in-tray - I got it organised at least. Saturday was the street barbeque (yes, I organise this too), and Sunday was clearing up the barbeque, taking a delightful elderly gentleman to church and clearing all the furniture from upstairs, ready for the carpet fitters.

On Monday I attended a workshop on Overwhelm!

Now, before anyone gets cross on my behalf – my children did help with the cleaning; everyone pitches in with the barbeque; we all moved furniture – so it is not a case of me doing everything all by myself. I'm only telling you this because I think we all tend to do so much we often feel overwhelmed by it all.

"What are the symptoms of overwhelm?" asked the course leader.

"Panic attacks," said one.

"A churning in my stomach and I feel sick."

"I forget things and then beat myself up."

Oh yes, that last? It's now 8.30pm on Tuesday and Caroline texted me a few minutes ago to ask where this blog was. I had planned it all out this morning, but somehow forgotten to write it – because I had too many other things to do. I was overwhelmed.

So, what can we do about those feelings of being overwhelmed by life and all the things we must do?

The first thing and the most useful thing is to get everything out of our heads and down on paper. Once it is written down in black and white (or purple on turquoise if you want to be interesting), it stops churning around in your mind and it's easier to organise.

You can see what's important and what you can put to one side. You can see what deadlines you can reschedule and what must be done right away. You might even see what you can ask someone else to do for you.

You can ask for help and you can talk things over with a friend.

Get it out of your head and into words.

And breathe!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

29 comments - Permalink


10

September


Where your attention goes... grows Tuesday September 10, 2019


I've had some spectacular losses over the years, where to start? There's at least a dozen blogs in the tales of my losses alone, but I've also had some heart-warming gains, although I realise that I didn't necessarily recognise it and appreciate it at the time, but I do now and that's all that matters.

So if 'where your attention goes, grows' – and I believe it does, I am not going to recount the tales of woe and loss, instead I am going to acknowledge and celebrate the priceless and touching gains that I've generously received; the caring friendships that I have been blessed with. Kindness freely given to me when it was really needed. Support that got me through a difficult period. The listening ear that helped me see a different perspective (yes, I know, ears hear and eyes see, but you know what I mean). The patient professional that listened without judgement while I recounted my losses, my fears, my pain, my hurt, and yes my anger. The strangers who shared their stories with me and allowed me to walk with them in silence and companionship. And let's not forget nature herself which has pretty much taught me everything without saying a word, but just by 'being'.

I am slowly understanding that going it alone is not always the best, or the only way to travel. It has its advantages for sure, some of the time, but there is also great value and depth in travelling with others, literally or metaphorically. Who wants to pay the single supplement anyway? (Albeit a totally unjustified charge in my opinion!).

I shall leave the question hanging therefore, as to what do you want to pay attention to and see grow and flourish?

Millie
A Moodscope member.

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

32 comments - Permalink


9

September


Beyond Best Intentions Monday September 9, 2019


I'm told that the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions. That's putting intentions in a bad light. I believe intentions are the essential starting point. Living a worthwhile life begins with being 'intentional' – which is deliberate and purposeful. Intentions can truly be good.

However, we always need to move beyond intentions to appropriate action. Yesterday, I witnessed a public display of solidarity that was heart-warming, at least at the intentional level. At a business meeting, of all places, a colleague shared with the room his battle with depression. What he did differently was to ask those of us who were suffering, or had suffered in a similar way, to stand.

More than 25% of the room stood, bearing out the 1 in 4 statistic we hear about when it comes to knowing how many of us face this torment. What happened next was even more astonishing. He asked those seated to stand if they were committed to listening to others who were going through depression.

Everyone stood.

The cynic in me would suggest peer pressure played a part, but it was a dramatic demonstration of intentional commitment! The presenter's call to action was two-fold: that those who feel depressed need to talk, and that those who are prepared to support need to listen. I am in complete agreement if we add a third step.

The deeper truth highlights a far more profound need – a need for education that leads to appropriate action. The month before, in that very same room, with the same network, one of the members approached two other attendees and opened up. They frankly shared that they were considering ending their life that day. Both people who 'listened' and then laughed. It wasn't callous laughter – they just didn't know how to respond. Also, it was way outside their perception of the person who shared – a normally bubbly, energetic, effervescent character... but that's enough about me!

I've just got off the phone with one of them. When they became aware of the gravity of the situation, they were mortified and called to apologise. It was a powerful conversation and one that has only strengthened our growing friendship. The truth is, though, that neither of us know what to do. My learning gained from this is that we all need to take any mention of suicide seriously – especially if it seems incongruent with the person. We also need help to understand how best to respond. We need education – that is, if we want to play a supporting role in bringing about positive transformation.

At our networking meeting, we are now considering some Mental First Aid Training so that a number of members can be available for those in pain. This, I believe, is a powerful next step in ensuring the road to heaven on earth is paved with good intentions and some positive direction around the right steps to take next!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

47 comments - Permalink


8

September


I've got a dream Sunday September 8, 2019


"Play that song again mummy", she said. And so we did. Again, and again, and again. But then, on the umpteenth rendition, the lyrics sang to me as if for the first time.

I've got a dream. It's a song from Tangled, the Disney version of Rapunzel, in which all kinds of unlikely creatures from the underworld sing about their much more virtuous dreams. One dreams of being a concert pianist, another of falling in love and another about collecting ceramic unicorns. They all have dreams.

And that's when it struck me: what's my dream?

As a teenager and early adult I had all kinds of dreams. But I have either achieved these or they have faded into the mists of un-achievability and the realities of adult life. Children are encouraged to dream, to aim for the stars. When you're young anything is achievable.

But what about as adults? I've been feeling lost for perhaps the last 10 years, and these feelings of aimlessly trudging through life have intensified since I had my children and stopped working. Perhaps this is because I don't have a dream, and haven't for a long time? I don't have anything that ignites fire in my belly, gets me excited, or fills me with ambition.

So that's what I'm going to work on: find a dream or two (or ten!) to give my directionless amble through life a bit of a kick in the derriere and to act as an upper to all the downers of everyday adult life.

So, dear Moodscopers, shall we share our dreams and get some passion spreading through the blog comment walls? I'd love to hear what dreams you have.

I'll start us off: one day I would dearly, dearly love to run a marathon. And, once my kids are at school, I'd also love to find a job that truly helps people.

With love,

Shizzle
A Moodscope member.

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

75 comments - Permalink


7

September


Be Polite Saturday September 7, 2019


It's here again, that time of year. I came home just now to find a carrier bag hung on my gate, left by my neighbour. Inside there is a marrow, great in length and girth. She has an allotment, and I often enjoy the pleasure of carrots straight from the ground, green beans and strawberries. Some years back she left me the first marrow.

"Did you enjoy that marrow" she called over the fence later. Now I can't see the point of marrows. No flavour, no crunch, and probably no nutritional value.

"Yes" I lied "Very tasty, thank you".

Many many marrows have appeared over the years. I can't pass them on, people more honest than I have told me "No way are you palming that off on me".

I know there is a competitive element to vegetable growing, so it has occurred to me that she never actually eats the things herself. She saw me coming.

I take them into the nearby woods, hoping the animals will eat them. I can imagine the foxes and badgers "Here she comes, more ******* marrows".

Even this has to be done with stealth, the marrow wrapped up in case she sees the shape inside the bag. She sees everything, trust me. I lie through my teeth when asked how I serve them, stuffed, frittered, curried, you name it.

It's not the first time being polite has backfired on me. There used to be a perfume I hated, called Tweed. Not only did the person who first gave it continue to do so year in year out, but she told others, who followed suit. Body lotions and soaps were added. "Oh, my favourite!" I would cry.

My ex-husband told my mother once that he liked tomatoes and celery. Indeed he did, up to a point. My mother rarely cooked, her mental state inspired some odd meals on the rare occasions when she had visitors. However, this piece of information about her son-in-law stuck. A plate of cream cakes, chocolate biscuits with custard, a pint of Harveys Bristol Cream each maybe, but always for him a side dish of a kilo of tomatoes and a whole bunch of celery, served unadorned. It was not a good idea to insult my mother, you could end up in hospital, so he dutifully chomped his way through it all.

The biggest ever test of good manners came when I was around eight. I had gone to see my father at work. He was supposed to be taking me out to eat, but something came up. A nice man who worked for him insisted I come back to his house for a meal, and to meet his little daughter of the same age. Lunch was served. I stared at what was on my plate. The others tucked in, so I picked up my knife and fork. How I got it down I will never know.

"Do you have brains fried at your house Valerie, or pickled like this?" I was asked. "Pickled" I replied. So that's what this slimy disgusting thing was, served with bread and margarine. I finished it and said thank you.

Back with my Dad, he thanked the foreman. "Oh, it's a pleasure, she's welcome any time, she likes her food doesn't she?"

Have you ever regretted being too polite for your own good?

Valerie
A Moodscope member.

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

66 comments - Permalink


6

September


Intermittent Faults Friday September 6, 2019


When you're trying to mend something, whether it be a washing machine, jumbo jet, sick pet or a sad head, the worst problem to try and solve is the intermittent fault.

Each malfunction has a relevance to us, a different scale of importance and brings different emotions to the fore. The washing machine that fails to let you in occasionally, or pumps its dirty water out all over the floor is not life-threatening. Certainly annoying. Getting on a Jumbo jet when it has an intermittent undiagnosed fault is definitely life threatening, and Boeing's new planes are quite rightly still grounded – they know what the fault is, but can't fix it to the satisfaction of the authorities.

However, mechanics have huge resources, testing equipment and the advantage that their intermittent fault isn't likely to cause harm, and it doesn't move around providing the appliance that's affected is taken out of service.

Working with animals when they get ill is heartbreaking, watching your own animals suffer, using whatever experience you've gained to decide at what point to involve the vet, and knowing that whatever skills are brought to bear, you lack that vital tool, the ability to talk and ask what hurts.

Sad heads, caused by who knows what combination of nature and nurture, possibly genetically predisposed, or caused by issues during childhood, lifestyle choices, illness, poor partner selection, being sent out to fight on behalf of your country or losing your home and running for your life from bombs and bullets, all of which leave a mark, intermittent faults that sometimes can be coped with, sometimes not.

The difference with us humans lies in our ability to communicate, which not all of us can do as well as we'd like, either spoken or written. Sadly excellent sites like Moodscope are by their very nature exclusive, as the ability to easily read, grasp and utilise sometimes interesting and complex blogs is only available to us lucky ones with a half-decent education, no dyslexia and a computer.

Get to the point, I hear you cry – where many of us on Moodscope are helped and supported by the blogs and responses in our quest to diagnose and cure our intermittent faults, we must also be cautious not to rely totally on Moodscope's reassuring presence. We must also continue the search for the engineer and tools that can help us to understand what it is that ails us, and how to fix it – who or what is your favourite or most effective tool to fix a hole in your head where the rain is getting in?

Mortimer
A Moodscope member.

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

42 comments - Permalink


5

September


Eye Movement Densensitization Reprocessing Thursday September 5, 2019


Despite having been told I have trauma related mental illnesses that will stick with me like the proverbial German Shepherd, EMDR therapy came along just in time.

It sounds too simple and frankly, too silly to count as therapy and muchless to be effective. Basically, you roll your eyes to improved mental health. Is that what my teenagers were aiming for when they used to roll theirs at my lectures? Haha.

Firstly, EMDR is therapy for trauma, which I have had alot of, some by happenstance and some by choice of bad association.

The therapist asks about the event and makes notes on a pad; how did the incident make me feel? What was the message received from such an experience? I answer; it left me feeling cold and empty, worthless and undeserving of lifes good things. More flawed than others, disconnected in a crowded room, anxious about everything and fearful of nothing. I get anxious about the unknowns but am not afraid of the known. Hmmm.

I told her about witnessing a head on car collision on August 15th, 2016. I was the first on scene of the crumpled car of the still seizing driver. The emergency service was overwhelmed by calls and placed me on hold three times while the victim squeezed my hand numb. I can sometimes still smell the gasoline, blood, spilled antifreeze and burned rubber, hear the sound of glass breaking, the thud of the impact and then the moment of shocked silence as that segment of society grapples with what to do next.

How did you feel? She said. What were the most pronounced feelings at the time? Hopelessness and abandonment.

When was the first time you ever felt that way? In my crib, at infancy.

Okay lets go there. Pull up the picture. Then she moves her index and middle finger back and forth rapidly for a few minutes and I try to follow with my eyes while maintaining the memory. Big breath in and out. What changed? What stayed the same?

I have been disassociating, she says. Trying too hard to follow the finger movements. So she taps my knees instead, back and forth, back and forth, instead, while I close my rolling eyes.

Sometimes the picture fades out completely. Sometimes it moves a great distance away or alot closer. Lets go with that, she always says. There is no wrong answer.

I leave feeling different mentally. A warm feeling spreads over my noggin sometimes. Othertimes I feel tremendous peace. Sometimes, good old anxiety. What now?! Who am I without the bad memories?!

I don't expect to wake up a different person but the therapy has reconnected some loose wires. My trauma-fractured short term memory has gelled somewhat. I forget less, remember more. I "blank out" less.

Journaling and writing about my life experiences helps. I don't want to dwell on the past nor be absorbed in self pity, but someone told me once: the cheapest form of therapy is a notebook and a pen.

Or in this case, pad, pen and pointer.

Joke: What did one shrink say to the other?
Answer:"You're fine how am I?"

Bailey
A Moodscope member.

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

43 comments - Permalink


4

September


Listen to Your Mother Wednesday September 4, 2019


7am and I was in an old tee-shirt and scruffy jeans, cleaning.

I'd said goodbye to my family the night before; had waved them off home and rejoiced in one last evening alone in the house by the sea. There was time for one last glass of wine with friends. There was time to watch one last sunset shimmy like a Pride march dancer dressed in silver, then gold; then orange and peach; turquoise and finally that soft, smoky harebell blue fading imperceptibly into night. There was one last joy of sleeping with the window wide open, listening to the waves lap closer and closer until they licked the wall below, and then lap further and further out onto the mudflats in their eternal tidal dance.

But now it was morning, and time to clean.

When you spend the summer on the beach, there is sand; when the house next door is a construction site, there is builders' dust; when you have teenagers, there is snack detritus everywhere!

I started at the top. I wiped down window ledges and skirting boards; I pulled out beds; I scrubbed at mud (and wine) stains on the carpets. I vacuumed with a will. The bath gleamed, the toilet shone; the bathroom mirror promised to tell me I was the fairest in the land if only I would stop this torture with the polishing rag! I evicted a dozen spiders and swept down a hundred webs, and still I was only halfway down the stairs!

The phone buzzed with the daily text from my mother. She likes to text, and I like her to text. Now she's on the family farm and no longer living in isolation, I worry less, but I still like to know that she's well and what she's doing.

I told her I was cleaning, and she replied, "Don't tire yourself out!"

I looked at the text and shook my head. Honestly – I'm 56 and my 83-year-old mother still worries about me! I started on cleaning the oven.

I finally finished late afternoon. The house almost quivered with cleanliness! The tide was up, so I went for one last swim, showered, cleaned the shower, changed into fresh clothes, switched off everything, and drove the hundred miles home.

When I walked into my own home, I realised two things. The first was that one husband and two cats can, in the course of a summer, dirty a house just as comprehensively as sand, building dust and teenagers; the second one was that I had expended all my energy cleaning the house by the sea and had nothing left for home.

My mother was right: I shouldn't have tired myself out.

Oh, it was lovely to leave the Beach House clean for the next people, but my home and family need me more.

I need to clean more at home, where it matters, and less where nobody cares.

I should have listened to my mother.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

26 comments - Permalink


3

September


Count your blessings and other things! Tuesday September 3, 2019


My anxiety is caused by a physiological condition (hypercalcemia) but it is the anxiety about the anxiety that causes me a problem!

One of my solutions has been to count time. If you feel too tired to get out of bed in the morning, count to 20 slowly with a determination to get up when you reach this number. Rise slowly and congratulate yourself on a good start to the day. Perhaps have a different breakfast drink, chamomile, mint or rosemary tea. Small pleasant things can make a milestone in your day.

Physical activity is so important when you feel anxious and tired. Do you have real difficulty in motivating yourself? I try stepping outside and walking briskly for just 2 minutes (or try a run, if you are able, for 30 seconds). Do not worry about what to wear; any clothes and comfortable shoes will do. Chances are after the time is up you will continue. If not, pat yourself on the back at having a achieved a brisk walk or short run that day. Make a determination to try again tomorrow for a bit longer. We all know that every journey starts with a small step!

Putting off doing that uninviting household task? Maybe clearing out a cupboard that has become a jumble? Resolve to tackle it for two minutes. Time yourself with something that beeps at the end of the time. Then see if you feel like continuing. Getting engrossed in a task often makes the time fly and provides the motivation to do more. If not, finish off and feel pleased that you have made a good start.

How about a bit of quiet time? Go into the garden (or look out of the window) for a full 5 minutes. Count how many birds you see. Try to identify them by species. How many sparrows, dunnets, finches, magpies or pigeons. Look up one of the birds you don't know much about and learn a new fact!

Counted time is time well spent. It gives a sense of achievement and acts as a springboard to continue the task/activity or the motivation to do other things. Start with very short periods of time and build up from there. It adds a structure to your day and keeping a log is a good way of seeing tangible progress.

Be well, my friends, and make those minutes count.

Jane
A Moodscope member.

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

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2

September


Maybe, Maybe Not Monday September 2, 2019


Jumping to conclusions is the only daily exercise I get. It's not helpful when those conclusions are extreme! It's far too easy, when something small goes wrong, to extrapolate the consequences to herald the end of the world! I need to stay more open to possibilities.

Once upon a time I heard a story about a fortunate farmer. Onto his farm wandered a most gorgeous wild stallion. Much strength could be harnessed if the stallion could be tamed. The farmer's neighbours all gathered to celebrate his good luck. "You are so lucky to have this wonderful animal on your farm!"

His smiling reply was, "Maybe, maybe not."

The farmer had a single son. His son and the stallion became friends, and when the stallion was almost tame, the son climbed upon his back. The stallion, startled, threw the son from his back, and the son became crippled, unable to walk without support.

The farmer's neighbours gathered together to console the family. "You are so unlucky to have had this happen to you!"

The farmer's smiling reply was, "Maybe, maybe not."

The king of their country went to war with a neighbouring nation. All the fit and healthy young men were conscripted into the army. The farmer's son could not join them as he could not walk without support.

The farmer's neighbours wept to see their own sons dragged off into conflict. They said to the farmer, "You are so lucky that your son has been spared..."

Of course, the farmer said, with a smile, "Maybe, maybe not!"

The moral of the story is to stay open. Not everything good that happens to us remains wonderful for ever – so we must cherish the moments. However, not everything bad that happens to us leads to a bad outcome in the long-term. Saying, "Maybe, maybe not," keeps us open to possibilities.

What the caterpillar concludes is the end of the world, the butterfly embraces as the beginning!

I'd be fascinated to hear your own stories of setbacks that became a blessing.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

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1

September


Cigarette anyone? Sunday September 1, 2019


Nope, I'm no smoker. I did almost choke to death on a bi-daily basis as I tried hard to be a smoker for about two weeks as a young teen. Put on my best James Dean bomber jacket and brooded over my ciggy trying to look like I was inhaling as I didn't inhale. And I did once make a friend spray his drink across a terrace at a wedding when I tried his cigar, didn't know what to do with the smoke and inadvertently blew some sort of smoke art out of my nostrils. I also managed to chew the odd cigarette butt, back in the 70s, as my older brother and I tried sipping the dregs of empty beer tins at family parties. The beer tins which, as it turned out, had been used as ashtrays after the contents had been slurped. The lessons we learn!

Nope. Not a smoker. But I recognise a good thing when I see it. I see smokers in all scenarios taking a little ciggy break. A few puffs around a doorway. Shared with colleagues, pals, even strangers. They've got a bit of a good thing going on. They allow themselves this break. They're often to be seen simply enjoying their break, not phoning, not scrolling, not dealing with anything other than allowing their smoke time to be uninterrupted and enjoyed. That little part, without the smoking, is incredibly healthy!

I'm going to take a leaf from their tobacco plant. I still can't be a smoker as I just have no interest there, but I can take a couple of tiny breaks in my day to just be. And that will be precious. Fancy it?

Score time. I will if you will.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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33 comments - Permalink


31

August


An Angel Boy Saturday August 31, 2019


In 2009 we were gifted with a real live angel. Lucky us. Strictly speaking he was no angel but that moniker of Angel Boy was what his previous owner, Joan, gave him. And this is what he became to me.

I always remember the first time we saw him. Tied up outside a shop, I pointed to him and said that I wanted a dog like that. He came towards me with Joan and I started chatting to her about how we were looking for a dog and the rest is history, as it is said. He came to live with us.

Timmy has lived many lives in one. An only dog for a period of five years with us, he was small farm assistant to my husband who worked at an alpaca farm. Timmy would bark at the owner for entering his own land! He got up to speeds of 34 MPH running alongside the quad bike my husband used. The alpacas hated Timmy and would try to kick him when he crawled under the fence and it was funny to see all these huge animals chase such a tiny dog around a field! We would get in the old rattly land rover at the top of the lane and "pretend" we had forgotten him only to see him running madly behind us in the mirror. Then we'd let him in and we'd drive back home.

When we lived in Cambridgeshire, Timmy was used to flat lands and big skies and the nearest he got to water was at Grafham, the man-made lake. Then we totally turned his life upside-down by getting Barney in 2014. I'd started a new self-employment business in April and this was October. I really struggled with the concept of having two dogs and felt like Barney was taking precious time away from me and Timmy. In 2016 we upped sticks and moved to what felt like the other side of the universe, the Highlands of Scotland. Pine forests, sandy beaches, rolling moors and exploration abound for dogs and humans alike.

Timmy has always "got" me. My husband and I joked that he was on the autistic spectrum for dogs. Perhaps by inference that means I am or that we both are. But I have struggled with my mental health at times and Timmy always understood that. He would kiss my tears away and was the most loyal boy you could ever wish to have. I loved everything about him and especially his funny little ways. He was a lot like me. Thinking too much, having so many strange foibles, attentive, sensitive and a complete doofus at times and being totally silly.

His brother, Barney, as you know, passed away on Sunday 12th May and I went downstairs to find him asleep finally in his bed. Heartbreaking, but the best way to go. It was a double and cruel blow to find Timmy the same way just over 9 weeks after Barney, on Friday 19th July, totally unexpectedly, after what we assumed was a short illness with some spells of sickness and diarrhoea. Both had died in their sleep and I take comfort that Timmy's last memories (as well as Barney's) were being surrounded by love in their home with their mum and dad. Miss our beloved boys so much.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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

48 comments - Permalink


30

August


Disagreeing with respect Friday August 30, 2019


I have noticed especially in social media but also in real life, that people find it hard to disagree with respect.

We have seen politicians being personal and rude to each other just because they have different opinions.

I don't think it is possible for us all to agree with each other, but it is necessary for us to discuss our differences without attacking the personality of the other person.

How do you disagree with people showing politeness and respect?

I encourage you to share your ideas, even if you find it hard to disagree respectfully.

I feel for our mental health it is important for us to be aware of how our comments may affect others.

How we handle any disrespectful feedback from someone is also very important. The temptation is to answer in kind but that only escalates the tension and does nothing for the discussion.

However, allowing someone to explain and giving our full attention to what is being said is a respectful attitude.

Sometimes the only answer is to walk away when people are being rude. It may feel as the other has 'won' the discussion but in reality, I believe the other person will know the response is unacceptable no matter what they say.

About the worst thing to do in a disagreement is to shout. Even if you're not calm, try to control your voice and body language. Appearing angry or defensive is a not a good idea. Maybe you need to think and plan before you speak.

You need to accept that not everyone will agree with you and that is ok.

I believe disagreement comes about because we have learned to think differently from someone else, based on our experiences.

How do you cope when you disagree with someone?

What do you do if someone disagrees with you with disrespect?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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

119 comments - Permalink


29

August


Redemption of a balanced soul Thursday August 29, 2019


It is said that the brightness of one can illuminate the darkness all around; if offered with love and openness. I believe this to be true. Often we are not aware that our light has been seen by others, but frequently we can light a darker path for someone without even being aware. Finding the calm within the chaos can sometimes seem like an endless search for limited resources, but if we are fortunate enough to have a light shone for us, if we sit and just allow it to unfold organically, it can be less of a struggle and ultimately, we all benefit. After all life is a lattice work of relationships.

One of the most constructive things I have learned over recent years has been finding the healthy balance between the masculine and feminine. I now see there is an undeniable strength in both, and I have come to realise that my original confusion derived from feeling there was a weakness in the feminine, and an enormous strength in the masculine. I now understand this was too black and white, and definitely incorrect!

In the wild there is no such thing as a healthy gelding (a castrated colt or stallion.) A stallion has to breed with his mares, that's his job, and to keep the best for this job the lesser/younger males are made to leave and they form what is called a bachelor herd; a herd of colts and stallions who have no mares in their herd, and will only ever mate successfully if they are able to take over an existing herd by overpowering their stallion, or creating their own by enticing mares to join them in making a new herd. Consequently, a gelding in the wild, will only have come about through injury. This (on a lesser scale) can be seen in domesticity; the struggle for the gelding to find a valued place in a herd, especially if the herd is kept in a less natural way. But balance is their key to success (& survival); finding their place and embracing it.

So how does this affect us?

I believe we must find a healthy balance between feminine and masculine, not one that has been distorted by social protocol and peer expectations, but one that can dance in harmony. Working together rather than pulling apart. Embracing each other's strengths and finding a way to nourish each other in mind and body. I believe that when we truly learn to look within, to see everything as a gift to our development; it all becomes a little less scary and a little more exciting, sometimes all we need is that light...

Once we begin to search for a healthy way of co-existing, a way that encompasses what each and every one of us has to offer then, and only then, we'll become closer to finding our way back to a more nourished, balanced soul.

Rosemary
A Moodscope member.

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

22 comments - Permalink


28

August


Where do you Spend Your Energy? Wednesday August 28, 2019


It's good to meet up with old friends, isn't it!

At least, it is sometimes. I remember the last "Reunion" I attended. I came away, having had a very pleasant evening and pleased I had caught up with the lives of people who I once knew well, and having enjoyed their company. Nonetheless, I also realised that I have stayed close to the people who really mattered and have no desire for renewed intimacy with the others. Basically, if you weren't best friends then, you are not going to be best friends now: people just don't change that much.

Exceptions do happen though.

This weekend I met up with old friends I have not seen since university days, some (ahem) thirty years ago. I had a long lunch with a girl I knew only slightly then (and yes, we are still girls, even though we are in our fifties). By some magic we were able to be open and vulnerable with each other in ways we had not expected, and never achieved then, and thus have, I believe, forged something new and deeper than we had all those years ago.

I shared an issue I have which had been bothering me for some time – and she shared a similar issue. It was the moment of bonding when, as C S Lewis says, friendship is formed in that moment of recognition: "What, you too? I thought I was the only one!"

My friend is further along the path of dealing with her issue than I, and she was gracious enough to share her experiences.

Towards the end of the conversation, when I was detailing, yet again, all the aspects and complications of the situation, she said, "Mary – you know what you have to do. Going through it all again, and yet again, is taking your energy. Your energy is too valuable to waste in this way. Take the action; be resolute; don't go back; don't listen to arguments; stand firm."

I realised she was right. Spending time and energy worrying about it, when I knew what I wanted to do – and needed to do – was taking energy away from what I do want to do and what I do need to do.

We have only finite resources. Every moment we spend worrying; delaying action because we will hurt or disappoint others, or because we will shut down potential future opportunities, or because we will say goodbye to unrealistic dreams, is a moment wasted; a moment we cannot spend on the real; on hopes and dreams we can make come true.

Oh, I'd be the first to swing on a moonbeam and to chase a dandelion wish, but those are beautiful day-dreams which feed the soul and help create art. But I don't want to pour my soul into a churning vacuum of negativity.

And I'm sure, neither do you.

So, yes, I've had that hard conversation and I'm walking forward. I feel lighter already.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

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