The Moodscope Blog

16

January


The Root of all Evil? Tuesday January 16, 2018

The actual quotation is "For the love of money is the root of all evil". It is not money that is evil, but the greed and dishonesty it can inspire.

A few things prompted this blog. I watched a T.V. programme about the emergency services. It focused on the rise in calls involving panic attacks, and suicide attempts. Money problems, zero- hour contracts and unemployment were a common feature. A distraught woman reported that her husband, a successful businessman employing a large workforce, was missing. His company was in trouble, he felt responsible for 150 mortgages. Tragically he was found hanged.

Last weekend I watched The Florida Project. It is the story of the cheap rundown motels surrounding Disneyland, home to a large moving population of people scratching a living, fighting to maintain some dignity, and often failing.

Then I watched a Ted Talk by a pair of young Americans calling themselves The Minimalists. Their philosophy is that we have more than is good for us.

I am now financially comfortable, although I have an irrational fear of poverty. This is a hangover from a couple of periods in the past, when I truly did not know where the next meal was coming from. I recall one dinner, Weetabix, a dented tin of pears from the back of the pantry, strawberry blancmange. Surprisingly tasty, but most importantly, filling.

I was doing 3 jobs to pay the bills. Around the same time a friend suggested we meet for lunch. It was at a local wine bar, not too expensive. I worked out that if I lived on baked potatoes and toast for a couple of weeks, and cut my own hair, I could split the bill.

She was the daughter of titled parents, living rent-free in a lovely house owned by the family. She was just off to Los Angeles; plane tickets a gift from friends over there. She spent the lunch bemoaning her poverty, she could not afford facials and leg waxing before the trip. I heard myself say, "Let me get this" and she did not argue. I walked away, the meal turned to lead in my stomach. My idea of being broke was not quite the same as hers.

To this day I cannot put my card in the cash machine without a small lurch in my guts - will it get swallowed up, am I overdrawn?

I have had the usual bad times in my life, but next to serious illness or death of loved-ones, I can think of nothing that is as depressing and debilitating as long-term money worry.

A saying of my mother's - "When money goes out the door, love flies out the window". A therapist told me that more marriages break up over money than sex or infidelity. Money clearly represents something pretty powerful in our relationships.

It's not just marriage. How many siblings seem fine with each other, until a parent's will is read? Then all the grudges and resentments from the past come out.

I would be interested to know if money, or lack of it, has played a part in your mental health problems? On a lighter note, what has been the most "creative" dinner you have conjured up when strapped for cash-your penny-pinching signature dish.


Valerie
A Moodscope member.

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

15 comments - Permalink


15

January


Healed by Music. Monday January 15, 2018

On two occasions already this year, classical music has had a soothing effect upon my soul. Those of us who experience and understand depression, will resonate with the sense of torment that so often pervades everything and every day. Music can heal this torment.

Yesterday, in the dark before dawn, I stood on the platform at Dorking station and reflected on the fact that I would rather be under the train that was arriving than on the train. My day went OK and then the journey back was worse than the journey to London. I was not in my happy place!

My sister, bless her, gave me her ticket to see and listen to the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Dorking Halls. I sat with my Dad, who was well enough at last to go out, listening to the magic of Mozart, Brahms, and Schubert. What we saw was as exciting as what we heard – animated and enthusiastic musicians putting their heart and soul into creating a collaborative work of beauty. Dad said he had 'woken up' for the first time in weeks. The music was healing him too.

This, for me, was the climax of Civilisation – the highest expression of what it was to be human and part of a tribe or team. Whilst I am sure there are politics in any orchestra, we were blissfully unaware of any disharmony. All we saw and heard was harmony, unity, symphony. And, God, was it good!

The Orchestra offers us hope – hope that there are models of working together for common good that require no win-lose scenario. There were no losers last night, just winners. No teams fighting for supremacy, just one team.

Is it time for you and me to bring our own orchestra together to orchestrate a better future? The Double Bass section was close to the Cellos but they played a different yet complementary role. I can't go on like this alone – I need a team to perform with – I need to belong to something bigger than myself where my 'flow' supports other people in their talents. I need a team to create something of beauty with my life... and I'm certain you do too.

I've picked you already for my team – my orchestra. Your support and understanding often plays the key role in keeping me moving forward. For that, I thank you all. Now, I wonder what beauty we could create if we put our minds together?

Neil
A Moodscope member.

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

38 comments - Permalink


14

January


In The Hole. Sunday January 14, 2018

I feel as if I have fallen into a hole, and I've left all the tools that I need to get myself out up on the surface.

I can try to figure out another way to get myself out. I can ask friends to throw some tools in to help me. Or I can sit in my hole and patiently wait it out.

I do know what I need to do and I have got better at being kind to myself, I'll eventually get around to using those tools again too. Some are easier, like drink enough water, get to bed early, get out for some fresh air. Some are harder when they collide with other daily duties of work and family care.

I bet we are all familiar with the frustration of finding yourself in the hole and knowing the tools are just out of reach to us at that moment. What do you do? What strategies do you have that are easiest to employ?

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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

21 comments - Permalink


13

January


Life... Saturday January 13, 2018

This is my first blog.

I've been reading the others for a while now and never felt able or indeed competent enough to contribute. The blogs are all incisive and thought provoking. Not sure I can match that. At the back of my mind, well, at the forefront really, I don't want to come across as a whiny self absorbed individual.

I'm feeling pretty low at the moment.

Work isn't going too well. An incident two weeks ago has left me feeling very shaken. Being shouted at by a member of staff openly in front of colleagues in the presence of my manager was humiliating to say the least. The incident was bad enough but then when the manager ignored it I felt completely unsupported. When I asked her she said 'leave it...that's the way she gets on.

I'm just shocked and stunned. Undermined once again by my manager who has her favourites and will always support them regardless. I did tell her in an attempt to stick up for myself that I disagreed with her indifference and felt unsupported. That honest approach just backfired. More senior staff were drafted in and I ended up being firmly told I was in the wrong.

Bullies rule....so best not to speak up.

Well that's my tale of woe.

How do I cope with this overwhelming sense of negativity. How do I move on. Any ideas, coping strategies...any advice would be welcome. I need some of your ideas to get back on track.

R
A Moodscope member.

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

39 comments - Permalink


12

January


Your Comfort Blanket. Friday January 12, 2018

I am addicted to 'Charlie Brown' cartoons. There is a character called Linus, who sucks his thumb and carries a blanket around. Everybody tries to 'wean' him from it, particularly his grouchy sister Lucy. Then, a challenge is offered, if Grandma gives up smoking, will Linus part with his blanket? He agrees with utter confidence, Grandma will never give up her fags. She does. Consternation, Linus pictured with hair standing on end.

I am writing this on Christmas Eve 2017, having the blog today on 'Parties'. At our age Christmas cards/letters/e-mails are usually fairly predictable. Aches and pains, deaths (if not notified at the time) and the achievements of grand-children. But one floored me completely, from very good friends in Adelaide, Australia. One of their daughters had bouts of depression, quite seriously – but she seemed cured enough to finish her doctoral thesis. Now I hear she is hospitalised with profound depression, which must be pretty serious. Their other daughter (two sons as well) is a GP.

With her husband they struggled for 11 years with infertility treatments, until finally giving up and adopting two Indian brothers (wee bit of influence from us). Now, we hear he has early onset dementia, and, at 55, is in a worse state than my husband at 87. Their life is wrecked; she has had to stop work. At that age you are usually at the pinnacle of your profession, saving for your retirement and educating your children. Not only is the present grim for the whole family but the future 'mortgaged' to this dreadful illness. I read this e-mail having left Mr G's care home, where at least sufferers are usually in their late 80's. I looked for comfort, and found it.

I keep my own blogs in my inbox – quick reference to the subject matter, try not to repeat myself. I read the posts to many – particularly to 'I never promised you a rose garden'. The replies, now over three years of blogging, are a 'comfort blanket'. My subjects can be something arising from a previous blog or post, something silly that has happened, a distant memory.

Moodscope was 'conceived' for depressives. But 'all human life is there'. We are, naturally, obsessed with our own problems – usually what drove us to Moodscope in the first place. But throughout there are word pictures of people's lives, loves, environments, problems. Also, favourite books, music, humour, information (on helpful therapies, medication etc). A comfort blanket indeed.

The picture is of yet another Christmas in India. I had made individual shawls for the children in the convent, and we'd gathered masks and hats. People might ask 'Shawls, in India?' But the children, in a Catholic convent, got up early for mass, they also got fevers. They had few personal possessions; those pretty shawls were personal, all very pretty, vital for an Indian girl.

I do hope you have a 'comfort blanket', real or metaphorical.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

39 comments - Permalink


11

January


The Rabbit of Destiny! Thursday January 11, 2018

Inspired by Ratg's blog on New Year's Day, I remembered a game that I had made up when things had gone terribly wrong for Mr. Bear and I.

When Mr. Bear got so low that he contemplated suicide, I knew I had to find things to support him, to help lift him out of the gloom that had taken over our lives. When he told me about his thoughts, it sent me down the same path.

Although I had put up with his bad moods and fierce temper, and also knew that there was depression in his family, when he actually put into words about how bad he felt, it sent me over the edge. We visited our GP together, starting on the road to recovery.

On the radio, I heard someone talk about making yourself get out of a rut by getting up and doing things together! Sometimes it was hard to be happy in front of our Little Bear, but as she was quite young then, this game was fun for her.

The game: no matter how small the 'thing' was, my husband, daughter and I wrote down ten 'things' we would like to have a go at. We each wrote on different coloured paper so everyone's idea had a chance.

I cut the lists up, folded the pieces of paper and put them in a bag. Each weekend, I took one paper from each colour and placed them in a triangle around a small cuddly toy, (which happened to be a rabbit) and let our daughter spin 'The Rabbit of Destiny'! Whichever, piece of paper was closest to the rabbits' ears was the winner and we would be excited to open the paper up to see what we would be doing over the weekend. (The other two folded papers went back into a bag to be re-used.)

We didn't have loads of money but what was great was that many of the things we'd written down were free! Making things together; baking, sticking and gluing or painting pictures, playing games; others were simply walking - to feed the ducks at our local park - or things that did cost, such as the cinema, bowling, renting a dvd, or driving to the seaside and having fish and chips and a play on the beach.

To be honest, there were things I know neither Mr Bear nor I wanted to do, but it made us try harder for each other's sake and for Little Bear's sake too. It made us see that some of the simpler things in life were there for us to just do, together.

What I liked about Ratg's blog was the simplicity of the Jar of Hearts (as I now call it!) which is also what I loved about 'The Rabbit of Destiny' game...and actually, you can play this even if you are on your own...just write down a list of ten, twenty, or fifty things you would like to do and put them in a Jar or an Envelope of Destiny....dip your hand in and pluck one out each week and just do it!

What might be on your list?

Love and Bear hugs xxx

Bearofliddlebrain
A Moodscope member.

P.S. No Rabbits were hurt during this game!
P.P.S. It doesn't even have to be a rabbit!

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

57 comments - Permalink


10

January


Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. Wednesday January 10, 2018

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/2mdCPn3]

It was a lime green gobstopper, about the size of the circle you make when you place the tips of your thumb and middle finger together. It cost tuppence in old money and I had already spent my weekly sixpence.

I stole that green gobstopper when I was nine years old and it still haunts me.

You only regret the things you don't do.

At first this seems like a stupid thing to say. After all, I bet we've all done some idiotic things in the past which seemed like a good idea at the time and then had to deal with the resulting mess, whether physical or emotional.

I know I have acted out of anger, out of pain, out of exhaustion. I have done some things which, on balanced judgement, I would never have considered: things which were against my moral code; things which broke the law; things which were dangerous. Things that hurt other people.

And I've also done some good things which turned out really badly.

But I don't regret any of them.

I don't regret going on that horse-trekking adventure which resulted in my smashed ankle. I don't regret taking Tom into our lives (and no – sadly, that hasn't worked out; I'll write about it one day) and I don't regret taking the job which turned out to be a disaster. I don't even regret that lime green gobstopper, because it taught me something valuable.

I do regret not studying for my exams, I regret not going on medication for my bi-polar condition earlier, I regret not going to America with my friend Raz when he asked me.

But, if I twist it around, then – do I regret all the books I read, all the writing I did, while I could have been studying? Do I regret the years spent working through the highs and lows of mania and depression and the lessons learned from that? Do I regret prioritising the needs of my family over the desires of my friend?

When I change the negatives to positives my perception changes.

It's very easy to find ourselves in a vortex of negative thinking. When things go wrong, we start a vicious circle of self-blame and castigation. It doesn't help anyone.

We mostly do the best we can with the resources we have available. When we fail to do what we know or believe to be right, then it's because we do not have sufficient resources to bolster our resolution or to support us against anger, pain or physical weakness.

Sometimes we don't do things because we don't have the knowledge.

But we always did something else.

The trick is not to regret the something else.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

19 comments - Permalink


9

January


How can I forgive? Tuesday January 9, 2018

Most mornings, waking up, I'm already wrestling with the memory of what went wrong last summer. The consequences of my brother's refusal to look after my mother for just one day has led to a family breakdown in communication. I wonder if it will ever be fixed and if we'll ever be comfortable around one another again.

Then I try again to deal with the hurt caused by neither of my siblings attending the 90th birthday of our mother which I organised with great attention to detail. Several friends were there and all my children, but no representatives from my brother or sister's family.

I use the techniques of "mindfulness" and meditation to try and erase those memories but they lurk in the back of my mind and catch me unawares.

I have always assumed that I was quite a kind, forgiving person. I have been told I am in the past. But now I'm not so sure. How do I move on, get over it, forgive and forget when no forgiveness is sought from me. It seems my siblings feel totally justified in their absence and dis-engagement.

I read Suzanne's blog about missing her mother and I know I will miss mine when the time comes, even though she has caused a lot of pain and upset, causing the rifts that now separate me from my siblings. But I have a duty of care to her. I have to rise above the pain and distress in order to see her through her final years.

Then my logic takes me to the question of what to do when she is in hospital for the last time. Is it then my duty to inform my siblings that their mother is dying? Will they suddenly appear at her bedside to wring their hands and sob and ask for forgiveness? Or will the silence just continue, deeper than ever. And I will be left to pick up the pieces and deal alone with my grief?

I have only once written a blog before. I often mean to but the words escape me, drifting through my mind but not settling on the page.

I don't know if this will have any resonance with other Moodscopers but, if it does, at least we can take comfort that we are not really alone with our private tussles and torments.

Rebecca
A Moodscope member.

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

37 comments - Permalink


8

January


Sceptic Tank. Monday January 8, 2018

A Septic Tank is the first stage in the positive processing of biological waste! It plays a vital role in the health of Society, helping recycle unpleasant and potentially toxic waste, thus replenishing some of the Earth's finite resources.

A Sceptic Tank is the first stage in negative processing of cognitive waste! It plays a harmful role in diminishing the mental health and productivity of Society, accelerating the growth of unresourceful states, and consuming ever greater amounts of our capacity to do good.

Penny and I had one of those typical conversations that happen close to the turning of the year. It has been a mixed year for Penny. She's lost her wonderful neighbour and one of her beloved cats. On the other hand, she's also had two, arguably three, wonderful holidays - including a trip to the Holy Land with her former Mother-in-Law.

We reflected on whether 2018 would be a 'better' year. Penny's dominant strategy is not to expect too much from life so that she is shielded from disappointment. I suggested that 'Life' was a process of calibrating our expectations so that they become more realistic. Those of you who are familiar with goal-setting lore will remember 'realistic' as one of the criteria for SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed.)

The big issue for me is that 'Life' (whatever that may mean) doesn't send the same data to everyone. I've had a horrible year - in a string of horrible years - and yet my life is amazing compared and contrasted with many good folks I meet. I have to question whether the data is reliable, because it certainly isn't consistent.

The better choice has to do with how we process that data - the meaning and significance we attach to it. As I've got older, my natural tendency is to become ever more sceptical. This doesn't serve me well! At least I can recognise that. Too many people have given in to scepticism, and are diligently in the process of gathering ever more data to justify their toxic world-view.

Today, I thought about a Sceptic Tank - knowing that mine is full to overflowing, with the potential to explode at any moment. This isn't going to help anyone. Therefore, new choices need to be made.

Firstly, the current Sceptic Tank needs to be emptied and then sealed. The processing of sceptic waste is biological, just like septic waste. I need to apply new patterns of thinking (a biological exercise) to process these wasted years and extract some goodness from them.

Great ways to start are by applying empowering questions such as:

What can I learn from these setbacks?
How can these setbacks make me a better person?
Which of these setbacks can be turned into stepping stones?
What is the best possible meaning I can ascribe to and extract from the disappointments of these last few years?
Each of these questions can turn the tide of fortune and create a life more fortunate.

It's time to kick out that stinking-thinking, and think thoughts of possibility.

May your 2018 exceed all the positive expectations you still have pounding in your heart, and may it get off to a hopeful and encouraging start!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

27 comments - Permalink


7

January


Have you ever tried running in wellies? Sunday January 7, 2018

No... well, I have and it's not easy. So wellies may be great for keeping your feet dry but I can assure you they are not designed for running in. So picture this, I have let the dog off the lead, but suddenly realise that she has run ahead to chase the geese, and there am I, trying to move as fast as I can, in a pair of wellies, skippering and sliding, across the slopes of our local park. There is nothing gracious about this middle-aged, slightly overweight lady waddling her way through the muddy banks.

What can I do?

In life, when we are depressed, we often feel slowed down, not able to keep up, operating on a different level to the rest of the world. At times like these it's not easy to pull the wellies off. (Even in real life, getting the wellies off at times poses a challenge).

So what can we do? Wellies are not designed for running. Get your trainers on if that's your thing. When in wellies all we can do is slow down... and why run at life?

So the reality is the dog is going to chase the geese in any case, there is no way I can outrun her. And sometimes accept you are running in mud. It's a slow, ungaily walk which doesn't get easier walking. And maybe someone's trying to tell you something... now's not the time for running. It's time to slow down, allow yourself some breathing space, allow the mind to heal... there will be other days for sprinting.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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

19 comments - Permalink


6

January


Impatience. Saturday January 6, 2018

When my loved ones are asked what is my biggest flaw, they say in unison 'impatience". I find this perplexing because if you asked me what is my greatest strength I would say patience.

What is happening here, are my loved ones misreading my behaviour or do I have little insight into my behaviour. Maybe it is a matter of interpretation and context.

People say I am impatient when I see myself as eager and encouraging. When people talk I wait and listen but sometimes I may ask a question, which to me shows how interested I am, yet others see me as being impulsive and impatient. I see myself as being patient as I wait without complaining, I try to be patient with people who are having problems and to be tolerant of others behaviour.

I see patience as enduring difficult situations such as waiting calmly if things are delayed and it is also having provocation without responding in negative annoyance/anger.

Patience is the level of tolerance one can have before negativity in the form of comments and or behaviour but do we all have the same level of patience or does it vary from person to person and within the individual. I know when I feel low I am much more impatient and when I was manic I had virtually no patience with anyone else.

It occurred to me that I have always viewed patience in terms of degrees. As in common phrases like, "You just need to be a bit more patient" or "Developing patience." Or "Don't be so impatient."

Maybe the divide between impatience and patience is not along a scale. The change from impatience to patience is rather having a different attitude rather than an effort. Instead of being patient, maybe another way is to become patient.

When you are stressed how do you stay patient?

Do you have degrees of patience depending on your mood or the situation?

Do you think your friends/family see your level of patience different from your own?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

40 comments - Permalink


5

January


Fridays. Friday January 5, 2018

Fridays are great. No work for me. I have a yoga class first thing. I wake up knowing I can put on easy comfortable clothes and make my way to our tiny studio and class of just 4 of us. We're all a bit needy and our teacher oozes 'acceptance'. She easily assesses our moods/needs and we work through it, emerging from the class an hour later, re-energised with our heads up, almost cleansed.

This week I followed yoga with the last lesson in a course on meditation. With my fellow yogis we trooped across town to the meditation teachers beautiful, peaceful, coach house. I'm new to meditation and it's been really interesting reading other Moodscopers recent experiences. This week I was feeling low, and couldn't manage to get my mouth around the chants, I couldn't tell the class how my practice had been going because tears came before words could. Then our teacher played her most stunning and grand Chinese gong and I was terrified. The noise and vibration was there to excite, relax, focus..... I just wanted to run away. Thank goodness we finished the class with some soothing music and lying under a cosy rug. I tried to keep my focus on my breathe and mantra 'Hong Sau' and I did, finally, relax.

I then had an hour of Counselling scheduled. I'd got my tears out of the way earlier, I felt relaxed and it was a good hour, a positive hour. I was able to say some nice things about myself which had never come naturally in the past.

Fridays used to be about rushing to the end of the week, making weekend plans, meeting for drinks after work, assessing the kids activities. Now they're about me. Just about staying on track and slowing down. Do you have time just for you? Or even a day?

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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

17 comments - Permalink


4

January


2017. What a year... Thursday January 4, 2018

After 6 months of nursing my dear, much loved Mum, she passed away in January.

My world had felt unstable and surreal when I realised my Mum, my best friend, was going to die. Plus, I was going to be responsible for my ageing Dad who was showing signs of early dementia.

Only a week later I was given the devastating news that my ex husband (of 32 years) had passed away. He was 61.

This second loss shook me to the core. The two people who knew me better than anybody in the world were gone within a week of each other.

I felt abandoned and isolated. But, I had to be strong for my kids and my Dad who had lost his life partner of 60 years.

I have suffered from depression since I was 17 years old. My parents were always supportive. My husband too. I had bouts when my kids were little when I really didn't want to live. Although I manage it well, it's always there in the background of my thoughts that at any moment I could begin the downhill descent into darkness.

My eldest son is an ordained Buddhist of The Western Buddhist Order. He encouraged me to meditate and practice mindfulness, and to remember that the more we push negative feelings away, the stronger they become. If we embrace a difficult feeling, it weakens and diminishes. We are able to manage our feelings more easily and accept reality.

It took me several months to learn to contain the sad thoughts and accept them without falling apart. To accept that life is not perfect. That everything changes and nothing stays the same. That we all suffer from the challenges of life. Everyone suffers. While it's not much comfort when we are in the depths of despair to know that there are others worse off than ourselves, it IS comforting to know that we are not alone.

I know that life will never be the same. I will, however, endeavor to make the best of it because I know there will be many more challenges along the way. It is our perception of them and the way we decide to respond and react to them that will affect our happiness.

If you're having a low day, it's ok. It will pass. Accept that it is part of who you are. Let it be. Allow it in.

My Mum always used to say to me, "Tomorrow is another day".

Suzanne
A Moodscoper who should take the test more often and not just read the blogs!

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

23 comments - Permalink


3

January


"Standards Must Be Maintained!" Wednesday January 3, 2018

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2lJy5Fl]

I sometimes think this is my husband's favourite expression. Along with, "You just can't get the staff…"

To be honest, it is usually used in a humorous way, such as when I thank him for doing some little service for me, like washing my car, or vacuuming.

But I was thinking about this phrase and the way it makes me feel.

You see, his standards are not my standards, and I have only just realised the difference.

We live in a world where the qualities of the left brain are valued more highly than those of the right. Left brain dominated people value order and structure in their lives. They are analytical and logical, gravitating more to the sciences than to the arts. The qualities of the right brain are admired, but not valued. A self-employed accountant tends to earn more than a self-employed potter.

In our household, we are equally split. My husband and elder daughter prefer a firm structure for family life. They like to know what they are doing and when; the family diary is meticulously scheduled. They prefer a clean and tidy house with no pets to track in mud and leave fur on the sofa. My younger daughter and I, with our love of spontaneity and our forgetfulness (and our need for furry friends), feel constantly inadequate as we fail to live up to their standards. Yet my elder daughter loves going to the home of her friend, where chaos reigns, the furniture is unmatched and the four cats sleep anywhere and everywhere.

So, over the holiday period, we talked. I started to stand up for my own standards. Do we really have to have every meal at a scheduled time, all sitting round the table, valuable though that is? Could we not have it on our knees in front of the TV, from time to time? I pointed out the joy in saying, out of nowhere, "Let's all go and see a film!"

I could see the panic on my husband's face; the "but what ifs" forming on his lips. For him, a visit to the cinema needs to be planned; the film carefully chosen and the tickets booked in advance.

But, bless him, he took the idea away and chewed on it, and he came up with a solution: scheduled spontaneity. "How about having one evening of the week which is deliberately left free for spontaneous activity? We don't plan anything, but just do whatever seems right on the night."

I laughed, but we have agreed to give it a shot and see how it works out. And, hopefully, it's just the start of a campaign by my youngest and me to have our own values recognised and valued.

Where in your life do you find yourself living by the values of others, and what if you could live by your own?

Of course, first, you have to know what your own values are.

Please share, in the comments.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

28 comments - Permalink


2

January


Letting My Compass Be My Guide. Tuesday January 2, 2018

My mind is often drawn to thoughts about what's wrong and how to deal with it. If only these same things didn't spoil everything! They can consume me if I let them. They don't go away. They are what they are. There's just no point in immersing myself in them.

They are not my whole life though! In fact they are really quite a small fraction of it which tend to seem bigger because of the amount of attention I give them. It doesn't feel good. So I try to keep them in their place.

Does it help anyone to look back at what has moved forward, in a good way from 2017?

For me, looking back at how I have achieved a change in my home, that gives me a feeling of space and a new fresh feeling, amazes me! Something which if I'd thought too much about, wouldn't have seemed possible! I had help of course, but I've done it and it's good.

It's enabled me to tackle the clutter and that feels good too. That's all boxed up. Box by box I'm going to do it. Not so impossible now!

The New Year will just be the start of more moving forward. No pressure and no effort that doesn't feel natural. A fresh start, allowing my inner compass to guide me through. I have no plan or any resolutions. I'm just going with my trust in knowing that with the rubbish firmly in its place, where it belongs, (there will always be rubbish! ;) and support when it's needed for the hard stuff, (there will always be hard stuff), the start of 2018 will be the beginning of more moving forward. It just happens.

It's a great feeling to stand up and look back at how far I've come. That one thing that has improved for me has sprung to mind. I think if I were to make a list, it'd be longer than I expected!

Are there good things from 2017 for you? Either one, or maybe more? They might remind others of things they have achieved or feel good about. You might have simply been true to yourself, which was difficult in a certain situation. It might spring to mind straight away or may occur to you later.

For now my very best wishes to you all. I'll be going gently, allowing that inner compass to be my guide.

Love and light from

Lillypet x
A Moodscope member.

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

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1

January


A rebellious lack of resolution. Monday January 1, 2018

I've said it before. I am the grumpy one. I do not do 'New Year Resolutions". For me they are broken promises wrapped in last year's mistakes. Something to feel guilty about before and after. Let's flush that down the pan and think no more of it. There. Grump over, you are safe now.

My youngest daughter is custodian of The Jar. Each year at this time she empties it, washes it, decorates it and places it in the middle of our kitchen table where it stays for 364 days. We call it The Jar of Good Thoughts. We write tiny notes of a good thing that happened, date it, fold it, write our name on the front and put it inside. At this time a year later we open the jar and take turns in reading out all the good things. It is really, really special. To hear the year as all kinds of magic makes your heart grow large.

Instead of "my body will be a temple this year or even just 6 days" you might try this. It's inspiring and changes your perspective. One of our entries a few years ago was a reminder of the help we'd had with the dirty jobs after my granny died (ripping up her carpets was physically and emotionally hard). It's a wonderful thing to revisit that kindness again and much cheaper than gym equipment or memberships. Eat the cake, just go for a walk as well.

Perhaps you'll start a Jar of Good Thoughts. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

28 comments - Permalink


31

December


No resolutions, no pressure. Sunday December 31, 2017

Now's the time when we are all making resolutions for the New Year.

Magazines talk about "finding the new you" and slimming groups and gyms see their numbers swell as the excess of the festive season is replaced with a will for a leaner, fitter figure.

I'm not against New Year's resolutions per se although I think that people readily set themselves up to fail. I also find that striving for perfection can just be so strenuous and also so disappointing as we so humanly let ourselves down and err from the masterplan.

This week I heard a wonderful interview with two young women on "Women's Hour" discussing their attitude to life. One spoke eloquently about "self-care". For her that meant making her bed properly and having incense sticks.

I believe that if there is one resolution which is worth keeping it would be "self-care". If we care for ourselves, not because we are striving for the perfect figure or to run a marathon, but to keep ourselves as well as we can, we then have the ability to function well in so many other ways.

Our society often encourages us to look after others, put others first, to work excessively hard and to keep going. Self-care puts our physical, mental and spiritual well-being first.

Incense sticks and making the bed would not be my first choices to look after myself, but each to their own!

What is important is realizing that if you don't look after yourself then you can't look after anyone else.

Have a good year and enjoy the good times.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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

16 comments - Permalink


30

December


Never surrender! Saturday December 30, 2017

Well I don't know about other Moodscope members, but I travel to the darkside quite often with my anxiety and depression, and being menopausal doesn't help either!! And everytime I go there I think that I'm not going to make it back, but I always do and suprise myself, be it with the help of medication, family and friends support or just with the strength of character that I don't think I posses but obviously I do!!

Life is a constant fight and it is frightening and very lonely at times even with a good support network around me. I know it is difficult for people to understand my condition unless they have experienced something similar themselves, so I do try and explain, eventhough it is difficult to find the words sometimes.

But I'm back again and fighting on and I will continue to do so and never surrender!!

Sharon the brave
Moodscope member

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

18 comments - Permalink


29

December


Different strokes for different folks. Friday December 29, 2017

Advice on how to cope with depression and anxiety isn't in short supply, but it's unrealistic to think that everything works equally well for all people. This isn't just true for self-help of course, but for a huge range of human experiences.

Take sport, for instance. A coaching tip that connects with one person might have no impact on another. As our friend told us, after years of struggling, his skiing was immediately improved when his instructor explained that turning required the same shift of weight you use to dodge around an opponent in rugby. It worked for him but not for anyone else in the group.

The moral is, try lots of different things until one connects directly with you. You don't know what it's going to be until you give it a go. One Moodscoper told us that for her, the best coping mechanism is a particular form of exercise, not exercise in general. Her guaranteed antidote her is circuit training - a gym session where you go through a prescribed set of exercises, moving from one routine to another without break, followed by a period minutes of stretching and relaxation.

She's tried many other forms of working out but none came close as a mood-booster. She's not exactly sure why circuit training is her thing. Perhaps it's because you have to follow a set routine, with no room for decisions. In a way, it doesn't matter why it works so well. She's just glad that she discovered an infallible method of lifting her mood.

What works for you?

Adrian
The Moodscope team.

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

17 comments - Permalink


28

December


From thinker to doer. Thursday December 28, 2017

I haven't been working now for 6 months. I was worried that a period of not working would bring on an episode as it did in the past, but it hasn't - thank goodness.

Many things have helped - but one of the things that has kept me well has been my transition from being a 'thinker' to a 'doer'. I've (almost) always ruminated and over thought and I'm sure that has added insult to injury. I knew I was going to be made redundant so while going through that stressful period, I made plans. I was going to look for work, do a work related online course, and decorate so that if the worst came to the worst, I can rent out my spare room to cover the mortgage.

As yet, I've not finished decorating but have made a number of different things (knitted 2 jumpers, set up two websites!) and have finished the online course. Work is still not forthcoming but I will keep on keeping on.

Work has always provided me with cash to live but more importantly perhaps is a routine which simply disappears when you stop. I'm making my own routine and it's working.

Despite the money worries and insecurity, I'm well - and that's what matters.

When life doesn't go to plan, how do you react? Is it having a detrimental effect on your condition?

The wee one
A Moodscope member.

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

23 comments - Permalink


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