The Moodscope Blog



One in Seven

Wednesday September 23, 2020

How good are you at doing nothing?

Okay, I’ll rephrase that. How good are you at resting?

I’m not good at it at all. Oh, the idea of lying in a hammock with a glass of chilled white wine to hand, reading a frivolous romance, appeals. In fact, I dream of it. Today, is the last day of summer; tomorrow it will rain. The hammock is right outside my window. It sags, forlorn, over a scatter of crisp brown leaves, already fallen from the horse chestnut tree above. I’d love to go out to it: to rest, just for half an hour – but I probably won’t.

Growing up on the farm, under the autocratic rule of my grandfather, Sundays were sacrosanct. No farm work was done on a Sunday; even at harvest time when every fine hour counts because the weather could turn to rain at any time. We had dairy and beef cattle which had to be milked and fed but Sunday mornings were for church, and Sunday afternoons for rest.

It was difficult for us as young children to sit quietly for the whole Sunday afternoon, although there were some slight compensations. Television was allowed on a Sunday afternoon and there was often an exciting Western on, with waggon trains and horses and whooping actors dressed as Native Americans. That film might alleviate the tedium for a couple of hours, but the rest of the afternoon dragged. We were not allowed to go out to play; we had to sit in the stuffy front room, seen and not heard, until teatime.

Later, when we were older, any time other than Sunday was filled with homework and the unending round of chores associated with a big rambling house full of too much history and too few modern conveniences. There seemed no time for rest, and if I were discovered hiding in a quiet corner with my nose in a book, I was hauled out to do something productive.

Perhaps it is that combination of boredom and guilt that makes it difficult for me to rest. Add too, the guilt I feel when my bouts of depression force me to sit, shaking, on the sofa for weeks, doing nothing.

Depression is like any other illness – it demands rest. The body has healing powers and those powers work best when we rest.

Depression attacks our minds and so, even if our body can be active (this is not always the case), we need to rest our minds.

Meditation forces us to rest; reading a book which sweeps us away into the story without the need for critical analysis, gentle TV; crafting where the product is secondary to the process; all these can help us rest.

Without rest, we burn out; we stumble into exhaustion; we become prey to depression, again.

Maybe my grandfather was right, all those years ago. Once a week at least, we need some rest.

Perhaps I shall lie in the hammock this afternoon.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Lockdown = Stability?

Tuesday September 22, 2020

Whilst being in lockdown I’ve found a stability free from external ups and downs. Every day I do my yoga, I go for a walk or run, I eat healthy food, I don’t drink, I’m not going into work, seeing fewer friends, and keeping social media limited... so everything should be peachy. And generally, global pandemic aside and missing relatives it has been.

But a week ago or so I began to feel really irritable, hostile, argumentative and just unhappy with myself. I recognised this of course, and when I thought back to the Moodscope cards which I use religiously when I’m low, I remembered some of these were part of the test.

The feelings made me uneasy and I lashed out a bit, I could feel that my mind was overactive and if I engaged in conversation with anyone then I would irritate myself and I was irritating my family. I was annoyed that I became so unbalanced when I seem to be keeping it all together so well.

It was a good lesson too, a lesson that I’m not in total control of my brain but that I can manage, and use all those tools that I’ve been working so hard on such as breathing, feeling in the moment observing my emotions then letting them pass.

One of the things that bothered me though, and I don’t know how many of you out there find this; was that I started to suspect that my mental health has been misdiagnosed, maybe I have bipolar and that’s why my mind goes into the racing phases, maybe I have OCD and that’s why these intrusive thoughts come in and won’t let go, maybe I have PTSD from childhood trauma... so I read about them and find all the evidence I can to support my theories, because you can always find what you want on the internet.

Now that I’ve come out of the other side of this, I’m pleased with the way I responded, I had the time at the moment and I used it. I have a major depressive disorder and my mind isn’t always going to stay steady bobbing on the waves, there will be times when it becomes engulfed in storms.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Playing with Fire

Monday September 21, 2020

Dreams are real.

I was a sceptic. I doubted that Mental Rehearsal really counted when it comes to developing new patterns of behaviour. The experts on Neuroplasticity (the brain’s capability to redesign and even rebuild itself) say that Mental Rehearsal is a ‘real’ as direct external physical experience. For example, the basketball player who mentally visualises shooting hoops can improve her or his ‘real-time’ performance.

Last night I was immersed in one of those weird dreams. Mum burst in on me (in the dream – she’s dead), wearing a patch over one eye, nearly catching me in a compromising position! It was pure fiction (after all, I never compromise!) Nevertheless, I jumped in bed, and my heart pounded as if it ‘really’ happened. Yes, my dream was just a thought, but my body and emotions didn’t know the difference.

I remember as a child being bitten by a dog in a dream only to discover my teddy bear was at the same position as where the dog bit me. We never had the same kind of relationship again!

So what? I’m now a believer! What we think about affects the biochemistry and electrochemistry of the brain. This, in turn, fires off the hormone-system… and we know what those little beauties can do. Can we build muscle-mass too? I’m not sure I’m going that far with my new belief, but I have a new respect for ‘thinking-as-if’.

I called this “Playing with Fire” because I do know that, “Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together.” Previously, I’d used this is the context of providing a sensory-rich experience for learners experiencing my seminars. If they could smell, hear, see, touch, and even taste positive aspects of the training, each one of these sensory doors could open the way to remembering what they learned and experienced. This is because the sensory neural patterns that ‘fired’ at the same time as the teaching would get ‘wired’ into the experience.

Today, I am thinking, “How can I use this for Mental Well-being?” and, “Could simply imagining happy experiences have the same positive impact as having them in the outside world?” These effects could be amplified by Virtual Reality experiences too! For example, I use special microphones that replicate how the ears hear. The field is called, “Psycho-Acoustics.” The wonderful output is the experience of ‘reality’ you have when you listen back to the recording through headphones. It’s like being there.

It’s early days yet but I’m making a commitment to “Think Myself Happy.”

Flipping that thought, I know that I know that I know that I am a Master of Thinking when it comes to Mental Rehearsal of the worst-case scenarios. I know that I can think myself sick! Why then couldn’t it also be true that you and I could think ourselves well?

Let’s give more attention to the way we think… it’s playing with fire!

Depression is always chemical. Depression is always electrical. Whilst there are chemical imbalances that can literally ‘make’ us feel a certain way, thinking still has a role to play in tipping the balance – the chemical balance – in our favour.

What are your experiences of thinking yourself into a state (happy or otherwise)?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Parakeets and Pigeons

Sunday September 20, 2020

You hear them before you see them, the screech. Mixed in with our dull, grey urban pigeons are vivid green parakeets. I disturb them and they take to the skies, still screeching. By the river I see the last few swifts, collecting insects to energise them for their long journey home. How I wish I was going with them, the thought of winter terrifies me.

Most of the houses have not woken yet, blinds drawn, curtains closed. I ponder on the state of the occupants. Us Northerners are big on booze, certainly in my local streets. I remember the sensation, the thick head, the taste in the mouth, the dread of facing what I have said. Nowadays any brief euphoria that may have been on offer, is quickly replaced by the reality that I have woken early, feeling like death and there are at least another 12 hours to crawl through until bed time. Yes I can honestly say I prefer the company of the parakeets and pigeons to the thrill of the Sauvignon Blanc and Netflix.

I am not out of the woods yet and I’ll probably revisit them at some point. Depression and alcohol have been my companions for many a long year.

The leaves are turning, winter beckons. I don’t want to take the wrong path.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



The Waiting Room

Saturday September 19, 2020

So... I am waiting again. This is not what I signed up for, my family dispersed, beloved grandchildren thousands of miles away in other countries. No this is not what I hoped for. How do I get used to heartbreak? How do I find a purpose for my life?

Now one family are in the UK. I have been alone since February. I just want to see and be seen, hold and be held, but I have to wait, first quarantine, then visits to other important people. Still I wait to find out when it is my turn, will it come, will they suddenly find they have to go. The suspense is suffocating.

Then today a large trailer is deposited on my driveway, well I suppose that means someone will come and take it. Yes, that means they will come. For a brief moment I can be Nan to my eight-month grandson, his weight against my body like I can still feel from the one hour I had with him in January. Now new memories will have to last for who knows how long. One slightly rusty trailer giving much needed reassurance.

No, it’s not what I thought would happen, a family apart. Things will change, perhaps I will get to Spain and Portugal to see them in a year or so. Now to get on with my life, start doing rather than waiting. I have a painting in my head, and a piece of stained glass to create, a jumper to knit , weight to loose, a body to get fit, friends to see and help . Oh… here a hint of purpose, there a smidgen of hope, a glimmer of self-care shines out. That’ll do… it could be so much worse.

What are you waiting for? What will surprise you to help you move on?

Best wishes

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Self- doubt will it ever end?

Friday September 18, 2020

I hoped that at this age I would be confident and not keep doubting myself. I was full of self-doubt through my childhood through studies through marriage through child rearing. I think having children made my self-doubt go through the roof until I realised that sometimes whatever I did was seen or judged by someone to be wrong.
A few years ago, I told my son that a cousin was engaged. When he told me that he had not heard the news I immediately blurted I must have it wrong and I was not sure. He told me recently he could not believe I would change my mind simply because he had told me he had not heard that news. I also doubt my answer when people tell me I have a fact wrong, like date or a capital city. That can be checked but I will always say that my answer is maybe wrong until it can be checked.
I know the last 2 are quite simple examples but it explains how I doubt myself.

What is self-doubt?

For me it may involve low self-esteem, not having the courage to follow my feelings, being unmotivated and procrastinating, being emotionally all over the place, having no confidence in the smallest of decisions. When trying to overcome self-doubt, I try to focus on the present moment rather than my past attempts, It can also be helpful to try to find people who are supportive and know your strengths.

People tell me to believe in myself, but I find that hard when others correct or doubt me. When I was on a high, I would be so impulsive and so full of confidence that I made many mistakes. Maybe as I get older, I tend to question and doubt everything, so I do not make the mistakes I made when I was impulsive.

That is my thoughts. I want to find out what self- doubt means to you?

What causes it? How can you avoid it? How can you try to overcome it? How has self- doubt affected your life or Why hasn’t self-doubt affected your life?
Is there a positive side to self- doubt in the sense it makes one cautious?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Sacred rituals

Thursday September 17, 2020

I hesitated with this blog. Should I expose my crazy, in all it’s embarrassing detail? Will I lose what little authority I have to speak on any subject ever again? Then I remind myself of others here who are also quite batty – you know who you are.

It started over a conversation with a friend who has bad OCD. Her main problems involve imagined illnesses, so Covid fear has it her badly. She also has a lot of important rituals, and I wondered if she recalled the first triggers.

One involves checking her tedding is sitting upright on a cabinet, and saying “Be a good boy” to him whenever she leaves the house. This started years ago. She bathed teddy, all fluffy and nice. She sat him to try on the cabinet, said “Be a good boy” and went out. Next day, the urge came to repeat this, and it continued.

Another ritual (she strongly denies it is a kinky fetish) is that her knickers must match the colour of her lower clothing. On a hike years ago, she ripped the back seam of her trousers, and spent the rest of the day with her contrasting coloured bum exposed baboon-like to ridicule. She has a huge collection of pants. Even wearing something loose, the underneath must match.

Tonight is Friday, I will prepare a light supper, with a large mug of Assam. I never have a hot drink with my evening meal other nights. Getting into pyjamas, we watch the box, with a big dish of ice cream. This began years ago as ‘the weekend starts here’ release from a healthy diet on weekdays. Back in the mists of time it was cream cakes, then a box of chocolates for a few years, until we settled on this.

Tomorrow morning Spock will call out “Morning” passing my room, he only does this on Saturdays, family weigh-in day. I visit the bathroom, then put on a tattered old nightshirt, worn for weigh-in for 25 years. It is never washed, that could change the weight of the fabric. Then I fetch Tiny who lives in m jewellery box. He is a little Pokemon who says “I wuv you” when you press his tummy. He is the reason my weight has stayed stable for many years. I arrange the sales on the exact spot each week. Tiny also joins me when eating out. His presence changes the laws of physics, calories disappear.

We keep spare batteries for the scales. One Saturday they ran out, I refused to wait until later, obviously I would be several kilos fatter by then, so Spock dragged to the shops before breakfast, cursing.

Clutching Tiny, I hop on the scales, don’t look at the dial. Spock silently writes the figure in a book, which is kept hidden. I keep my nightie on, he has not seen me unclothed for years. He removes his bath robe, I discreetly avert my gaze. Knowing his weight does not frighten him (seriously strange bloke) so I announce it.

The dogs have their Saturday weigh-in routine as well. The blind girl runs to hide, wagging her tail furiously as we pretend we can’t find her. She is first on the scales, the biggest. After being weighed, they all sniff and lick each other’s faces, relieved to have it over with, as indeed am I.

Driving to the shops, we have boiled sweets from a round tin. This happens on specific journeys, varying the flavours. We have 15 tins in the cupboard.

There is clearly a food and weight theme behind some of my magical thinking, but others are hard to analyse. I buy the Daily Mail Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Guardian on Fridays, and the Times on Saturday. We used to buy the heavy Sundays, but felt guilty at how much went unread.

It is said these habits are a way of placating the gods, stopping them from smiting us, so the link with anxiety fits me. However, my partner has many rituals, and his is not cursed with anxiety. Unless they severely slight our lives, do they matter?

Are rituals part of your life too?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Acceptance, Blame and Reaching Out

Wednesday September 16, 2020

“I know I should get out and exercise.”

“I can’t just sit here. I ought to do something productive.”

“Look at the place: it’s a mess – and I just can’t seem to care…”

So often, people suffering with depression sit on the sofa and beat themselves up for having depression.

Oh, we know we are depressed, but we think, if only we could motivate ourselves to exercise, to achieve something, to tidy and clean our surroundings, then we would feel much better.

The temptation of this thinking is strong. We know that, when we go on a brisk walk in the fresh air, we feel invigorated. When we achieve something productive, we feel a glow of satisfaction. We feel more at peace when our surroundings are clean and ordered.

Even the “Experts” say, “Exercise has been proven to be as effective as medication in many cases of mild to moderate depression.”

Feeling unable to do these things makes us feel even worse.

Some of the symptoms of depression, however, are that very lack of motivation; a lack of focus; an inability to feel any sense of vigour, satisfaction; peace; or anything much. People with depression often feel dead and grey inside.

It is not only futile, but self-defeating to blame ourselves for exhibiting the symptoms of depression.

This lock down period has been hard on many who live with mental health issues. I think it has been particularly hard on those who normally manage their depression through organised activities with others. Exercise classes have been suspended; clubs have stopped meeting. Even if your group meets online, it is not easy to eat a meal, craft together, or to play scrabble without the physical presence of others.

It may be that your symptoms of depression have worsened over the past six months.

Don’t blame yourself for it; view it instead as one more side effect of the Covid pandemic. Accept it for what it is – a worsening of your symptoms through no fault of your own.

Acceptance does not mean wallowing in self-pity; it just means removing that weight of guilt from your shoulders. Beating yourself up will only prolong your illness.

But you can do something positive – you can reach out.

Text a friend.

A friend might not completely understand, but they might be willing to call round, to encourage you to leave the sofa and go for a (socially distanced) walk together. While we can still meet in groups of six, a small group of friends might keep you company, if only to watch a little TV together.

The first step is reaching out. Even if you feel you have no one to reach out to, you will be surprised at how kind and accepting even casual acquaintances can be.

You are not to blame; it’s not your fault, but you can take the first, teeny tiny step. If you’re reading this, that’s a first step in itself.

Reach out.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



On the top shelf of my mental wardrobe, there are a line of shoe boxes. Each labelled in black marker pen – Bipolar, bankruptcy homelessness, hospitalization etc. All of which I can open and talk about.

It is easy to talk about Bipolar. It is a disease and can be understood. But talking about homelessness is not. You pass through an invisible door which changes how people see you or too many don’t see you. The response to a man sitting on 3 layers of corrugated cardboard varies from an avoiding glance to kicking by a drunk on Saturday night – Saturday’s are good for takings. Money flows easily from the drunk.

The last box has the name Witchy Pooh on it. A woman who hurt me when I was in depression. It is taped up so that it does not come open; It contains a nest of vipers who would cause pain when they bit. Especially on the face. The venom would cause little surface damage but wreak havoc in my emotions.

It has taken me 2 years to come to the decision I should take action about the box and not let the box rule me. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with a coating of mindfulness is planned to kill the vipers forever. But I doubt I will ever be able to talk about the contents of box.

There may be other boxes on the shelf I have not found. But one thing at a time.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



Rescue, Revelation, Revolution

Monday September 14, 2020

[To watch a video version of this blog post, please click here:]

Enter the Almost Hero to our story: Neil as a child. All I wanted was ‘peace’ and pond life. Of course, there’s no peace in a pond if you’re the size of a Stickleback – only if you are a Giant with a net! I was a Giant with a net!
My broad windowsills were filled with fish tanks, brimming with pond life. I wanted to be a botanist, like David Bellamy, or a naturalist, like Gerald Durrell. Newts, Sticklebacks, and Great Diving Beetles filled my days. Happy pursuits!
All emerging heroes (and I wanted to save the World, so surely that’s heroic?) must have a villain to fight in order to become the best that they can be. Some of the many villains in my story included a group of older boys who spat on me and kicked me in the plums-of-potential every day on the way back from school. My life was hell. I needed an Obi-Wan Kenobi to guide me.
Instead, I got Mother. And rather than being the Guide with a Plan to help me overcome my oppressors, she rescued me. She ‘nobly’ took them on herself, dealt with the bullies AND their parents, and I was left in peace… but not strengthened nor was I transformed.
[This is one reason why I changed to my middle name ‘Lex’ (Alexander) to try and leave my impotent past behind.]
To become the hero we can be, we must overcome the enemy, slay the dragon, beat the odds. Instead, I’ve lived a life of fear and in fear. Mr Miyagi didn’t jump over the fence and teach me Karate. That would have been so cool.
The good news is that I wasn’t without a map. I learned Mind Mapping, and it has become my ever-changing dashboard to my desired destinations ever since. Out of the chaos of my creativity comes the order of organisation… occasionally!
Revelation. I’ve found my voice – here on Moodscope as well as elsewhere – and am well on track to becoming Bellamy! OK, that was an exaggeration. I’m on course for becoming what I call a Thecologist. A Thecologist is a theologically-inspired ecologist. Once again, I want to save the World, though not on my own. The United Nations have a magnificent set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Whatever you think of the UN, these goals are well thought out and make a great frame for change. I am committed.
Even more important to me is “Buy-one;Give-One” – a wonderful organisation that makes ‘impacts’ around the Globe in alignment with the UN’s goals. This means I have a channel to do what they call, “Business for Good.” I can have a heroic impact – every day… a peaceful revolution.
However, there is a long way to go. Somewhere, along the timeline, I believe I have to stand up to the ‘spirit of the bully’ – that manifests itself in so many ways in so many people and organisations. Only then will I become the hero I can be and overcome the fear. The fear will pass; only I, the hero, will remain.
[Hope this helps as a model of how you could share one of your stories on Moodscope – the audience awaits!]

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



With and without her

Sunday September 13, 2020

I was a twin the first twenty years of my life, Then I lost her.
I couldn’t throw her a life line, and she fell in the bottomless pit of despair.

Now I have been without my twin for forty years, Twice the time that I had been with her.

I am a fish in the vast ocean, staying above water. When I drown, I will be with her once again.

Now I float from the bottom to the top,
With the starfish and the sea turtles,
Swimming to the surface for a breath of air.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



What the World needs now is love sweet love,
It’s the only thing there’s too little of,
What the World needs now is love sweet love,
Not just for some but for everyone.

I’m designing a Utopian world, somebody has to! I’ve been ‘inspired’ by recent blogs, wherein happenings seem outside our control, but could have been less disastrous if more effort was put into ‘good management’ at a local level.

BrumMum had the devastating experience of her house being flooded. Global warming is the catalyst, long, exceptionally dry, hot periods shattering into freak storms.But there is ‘First Aid’. Plenty of data exist on the effects of mass building and extensive concrete. Ditches and storm drains are filled in, the water has nowhere to go. In the ‘good old days’ farmers and local councils in the UK would clear their ditches of matted grass and other rubbish (household quite often) well before winter rains arrived. The plethora of water authorities never agree about basic management.

Leah’s appalling tragedy in the Australian fires, when she lost everything, made huge headlines, but little seemed to transpire except acrimonious blaming of ‘authorities’. Rumour says that ecologists would not have the brush destroyed because of the habitat for small animals. But brush is often the catalyst, and when the fires came the animals could not escape the speed of it. Often fires are deliberately started – difficult to get into the mind of arsonists. Sick? Attention seeking (bit useless, they can’t broadcast the conflagration they have caused)? Often, like mass shootings, the perpetrator is sick in mind, and is seeking vengeance against a society he (usually he) which has mis-used them. People are always ‘wise after the event’. ‘He was such a nice young man’ or ‘Always thought there was something wrong about him’.

Trying to be sanguine on how Covid19 has changed my mind, I have been doing a Future Learn course ‘Demystifying Mindfulness’. It is a very good course, claims not to be orientated to any religion, but distinct Buddhist leaning ‘Mindfulness is a therapeutic practice rooted in the meditative traditions of Buddhism’. Doing a course on the latter at the same time, totally lost. The course advocates, naturally, how much better a mindful world could be. But it is very elitist, presumes you are well read – the millions who might benefit are not going to have access to, or competence to follow, the teachings.

In my degree studies much impressed with Rousseau, the ‘General Will’, a ‘collectively held will that aims at the common good or common interest’. In my town, I have, and still am, giving pleasure to residents and tourists alike of my mass flowering of the house exterior. I have tried, desperately, to generate what the French call ‘esprit du clocher’ pride in your own little corner. I have produced plans, a window-sill will cost 20 euros, why can’t the town encourage this pleasure to all? No way. The virus has disturbed us all, what have YOU found positive? A new interest, not just time-filler?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.



The games we play

Friday September 11, 2020

In the 1960’s there was a book called ‘The Games People Play’ by Eric Berne and I think it was published until the mid-1980s.

It was about transactional analysis but I want look at the games we play, mind games, emotional games, psychological games that we play in relationships and families and with other people in general.

People say: he or she play games all the time and they were never real. My parents played mind games and it affected my life. My brother or sister played mind games that affected our relationship. Some people that admit they may have played the victim game as a way of coping and getting attention. There is a long list of games people play but I want to mention a few and would like you to think of games that are played in your family or work or among you friends.

Blame game - This is a game the whole family can play. Every player blames the other for making s mess of their life. No rules, no boundaries. Often played at Christmas or birthdays and funerals.

Guilt-Tripping - The aim of this game is to make someone feel guilty unless they do what you want them to do. There is an on old light bulb joke - “how many parents does it take to change a light bulb?” None, don’t worry I will sit here in the dark while you go out and have fun”

Only joking - This is where a person says something that upsets or hurts another and then says “I was only joking; you are so sensitive, or you are so gullible.”
Then the person says you were not really hurt were you and the other person is now both angry and confused.
It is not my fault, if we believe that we are honest we might play games to make the other person acknowledge that we were never at fault. I am sure some us may have played this game or know people that have. Even if we are not accused, we may claim It was not our fault!!

Playing the victim - I know have played this game and maybe some other Moodscopers can relate too. It can be played in different ways. Some players take no responsibility, some are controlling, some have grudges, some are critical, some have trouble being assertive, some feel powerless, and some may not have limits. Of course, there are many more reasons to Play the victim.
What games do you or others you know play or have played the past?

I will own up to Play the Victim, blame game - it was not my fault and have been accuse of guilt tripping.

Feel free to add any games that you know about, as I left the list small so people can add their own.

A Moodscope member.

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



the merry-go-round

Thursday September 10, 2020

Hi all, I was hoping that one day I could write a blog that would inspire you all and show that I’ve finally beaten this emotional and mental anguish! No I’m not dramatising things, although some people might think that… (not until you experience it yourself, will you understand.)

However it’s not the case, I’m still on the merry go round. Lockdown has made things worse yet I continue to get up in the morning, work, sleep… the same pattern every day. I go for a walk but if I’m truly honest, I’m not well!

I’ve just started therapy after more than a year waiting, I’m also in the process of trying to buy my own home… this is proving all to be too much when this should have been a more pleasurable moment/time! I feel weak, my perception is skewed, I’m struggling at work, emotional when I shouldn’t be! I’m not myself… can I carry on for long! Who knows…

Is there light…

A Moodscope member.

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



The Borrowers

Wednesday September 9, 2020

If this book should dare to roam, box its ears, and send it home.

How many of us have loaned out a book and never received it back? More than a few of us, I think.

I have had to replace favourite books so many times, that now, if a friend wishes to read one of my books, I buy them a copy. Or, I take a deep breath and say, “No.” My books are old friends: I love them and will not willingly be parted from them.

Other things are lent out too, on the understanding they will be given back. I have lent my car on occasion, items of fancy dress (costume) and frequently lend out business tools to members of my team. In turn, I borrow from them. It all works out very well. They always give things back in good condition.

We may have in our possession things which do not belong to us - items on loan. If we are still using them, we are probably happy with the situation, but when they are no longer needed, if we do not return them, they become clutter. We cannot dispose of them, but sometimes there is no easy way to give them back. They sit there and make us feel guilty.

Last week I was able to return something.

2016 saw my last serious bout of mania and depression; it was that one that sent me back to the mental health team and resulted in my current (effective) medication. During that manic period, I joined a choir. When the inevitable depression followed, I just – left. I sat, shaking, on the sofa for three months, unable to engage with anyone. When I recovered I was too ashamed to go back. I still had three items of sheet music: expensive sheet music, that had been handed out (lent) to the choir members. Every time I moved them from one place to another, I felt guilty; but I never did anything about them.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from the choir master. It wasn’t about the choir at all, but an unrelated matter. It gave me a springboard for action.

I replied, explaining and apologising for that sudden disappearance, and asking for his address so I could return the sheet music to him.

It felt so good parcelling it up and putting it in the post-box. The feeling of lightness was out of all proportion to the physical weight of that paper.

It has made me have a look around to see if I have other things in my house that belong to someone else.

There is that book on curtain-making I borrowed from a friend some years ago. I made those curtains and vowed, “Never again!”

I haven’t seen my friend in a while; we should have coffee together, now that we can. And I’ll hand her back the book.

I think she’ll be surprised!

I hope she’ll be pleased.

A Moodscope member.

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



Who are you looking at?

Tuesday September 8, 2020

Walking back from the shops, I thought what a field day Desmond Morris would have if he was alive. Older Moodscopers will recall the excitement and controversy that surrounded the publication of “The Naked Ape”.  
The significance of facial and body movements in ape and man gave us all a chance to play at amateur psychology. I recall chatting to a young man, when some girls laughingly pointed out the hidden message in his stance  (legs apart, thumbs tucked into belt, like Paul Hollywood). He blushed, as did I.  
Who are you looking at?

Now, our body movements are becoming less fluid and easy, as we try to keep  distance. In shops and other places half our faces are covered. Is this affecting feedback to the brain, and our mood towards each other? The bit of chat one would previously have had with the shop staff or customers in the queue has stopped. For some, this would have been the only conversation of the day. I can’t get out fast enough, to remove the mask and wipe the sweat from my face.  
A lady I was talking to has been welcoming the return to school for her two children. Now she may refuse, and it has nothing to do with fear of Covid. Her kids are aged 8 and 11, open friendly youngsters who confidently chat with  peers and adults alike. A letter from the school suggests that the wearing of masks for the pupils is being considered,  she fears this will have a bad effect on their emotional well-being. I very much agree.  
I have noticed that people make far less eye contact when muzzled. Eye contact is often the cue for other interactions, a smile, a scowl, a greeting. I thought texting and phoning had affected how we react to each other, but masks take it to a new level altogether. It  gives me a taste of what my Aspergers partner must experience. He has difficulty recognising some people as it is, and as for reading emotions from their facial expression, forget it. A common conversation between us might go “How did he seem?” “Er, ok I suppose, why?” “Well, was he cheerful and friendly?” “How should I know, ask him yourself!” 
I made some small mistake following the  supermarket arrows , nearly bumped into a couple. It was impossible to tell from their faces if they were cross, were the eyebrows raised in annoyance or shared fellow-feeling? All the tiny facial movements that diffuse irritation are hidden. Given the level of belligerence that seems to be around at present, I can imagine trouble arising. I gather the car park at the local supermarket is now the scene of regular shouting matches and rude gestures.  
I have been looking at Covid masks that have silly animal faces. I think I will get one. It may raise a smile, you never know. Maybe if I transgress people will think, ”Oh bless, look, she’s a harmless eejit with a piglet mask”. Then again, there is one with a fierce snarling Gorilla, would that keep me safe from the angry brigade?  
Oh Brave New World!    

A Moodscope member.

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



Sharing Your Story

Monday September 7, 2020

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: ]

My first Physics’ lesson at Sondes Place Secondary was simply unforgettable. Mr Stubbs powered up his Van de Graaff Generator and sent an electric shock through all us First-Form boys. I’ve tried to bury the memory, but I do believe all we boys had to hold hands too - yuk! The result was instant! In shock, I immediately and irrevocably decided Physics was NOT for me!

Mr Stubbs added insult to injury by giving us our first homework, “Write an essay about ‘Electricity’.” It was the first and only time I remember having so-called ‘Writer’s Block’. Why? Because the subject area was too large and the focus too weak… I didn’t know where to start. My grades reflected this inauspicious beginning.

Writing a blog can be like that, can’t it?

You’ve got a great story in you but you, too, can be intimidated by the tyranny of the empty page. Where do we begin? “At the beginning!” is the kind of response that should provoke a punch in the kisser!

No, we benefit from structure.

May I offer one, and then an invitation?

All powerful stories lead us through a journey. I say ‘powerful’ and not necessarily ‘happy’. Many of you reading this or listening to the podcast don’t have happy stories with happy endings. You, nevertheless, have a powerful story to share.

Stories that capture our imagination have a hero that we like (that’s YOU!)

The Hero has a problem – sometimes many problems. This is a vital part of the story. This is not Facebook where the profile projects life is wonderful and sanitised. This could be Hell.

The Hero is an emerging Hero… not quite there yet – they need to be transformed as they travel, “The Hero’s Journey.” Their problems may be internal, like self-doubt, or external, like an illness or other threat. They may be facing a moral or philosophical dilemma. And of course, there’s always the baddie.

Behind the most memorable problems there is always a Villain! You must tell us about the Villain! This may be the Black Dog of Depression, the Monster-in-Law, or a certain unmentionable Voldemort-virus.

Great stories need a Cast to make the plot compelling. In our story, we are going to have one or more Guides – the Wise Soul that brings us the insight we need to overcome our problem… just in the nick of time. The Guide has some kind of Authority – and whilst they may not be Gandalf or Obi-Wan Kenobi with special powers, they will be an expert in their field. Their Kung Fu is strong!

Our Guide also ‘gets’ us in some unique way. They understand us and our plight, and we trust them. Perhaps they were once like us.

The best Guides have a secret map, or a strategy, or a plan that they urge us to follow. This is the treasure most essential to our future success and the metamorphosis of our character.

Finally, there’s a fork in the road. If you, the Becoming Hero, turn one way, disaster will strike. But if you make the courageous choice, there is a better ending, and maybe even a happy one. We need to understand both of these.

You, your problems, your Guides, the plan, the action you choose, the result – there’s your plot outline. Now, will you share your story?

The audience is listening… and so is Caroline!

[btw, honour where honour is due – this is adapted from, “Building A Storybrand,” by Don Miller.]

A Moodscope member.

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



Gliding Towards Retirement

Sunday September 6, 2020

Currently it feels like
I am slipping and sliding
all over the place.
I have lost my foothold.

I wonder why this is the case?
Is it because of several abortive
attempts at connecting
to the staff portal
to check that my details
are in order.

Seems to me like
a pointless exercise
as shortly I will
no longer be part
of the institution.

It reminds me of a
census or audits
where institutions
use the results
as the way to curtail or curb
its staff.

We are not pawns
but sometimes I feel
as though I am.
This institution appears
to care about its corporate image
rather than individual members of staff.

Many are helpful and patient
with each other
this I experienced with
a member of Human Resources.
I am now on the staff portal
can log onto my details
better understanding how it works
have checked all my details are
accurate and updated.

There is life beyond
paid employment.
I have fulfilled my role.
retirement is not
the same as unemployment.

Life goes on
there will be other challenges
other hoops to jump through
like a circus acrobat.

Focusing on living
a day at a time
will ensure a smoother sailing
towards retirement.

A Moodscope member,

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




Saturday September 5, 2020

So, fellow Moodscopers, I was wondering if any of you have ever been left by a friend. Have you been suddenly cut off and left wondering why or what you’ve done?

This happened to me a couple of years ago. It hadn’t been a very long friendship but I suppose it had got quite intense quite quickly. It was totally symbiotic, we both needed each other for advice and we just got each other from early on. We used to meet to go for walks, we’d pick up a take away drink on our way round and sit and chat on a bench or on the grass. I’d always have a list of things lined up in my head ahead of our meetups, things I couldn’t wait to get off my chest and run by her.

She was starting a Masters in Psychology and given my history of past traumas we used to joke that together we’d write a book called ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (I know it’s been done!) and each chapter would be an extract from my rocky life story followed by her psychologists views on it all.

But then I got really mentally ill. I went through a summer of self harm to a September of suicide and in the last week of the run up to me almost taking my life she was one of those who happened to be around for me. Another friend intervened and took me to the hospital on the Friday and I’m still here and have been generally following an upward trajectory ever since but my friend has left me. I had a couple of texts in the weeks after that and then nothing. Two years on, still nothing.

I miss her, I have lots of friends but they’re not her. I put all my usual self blame and negative slants as to what I did wrong, I can’t reconcile myself as I have no answers, always so good at explaining things but she didn’t explain this. How do I move on when I haven’t got the answers?

A Moodscope member.

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



I like finding out more about Moodscopers and am interested in what people reveal about themselves in comments. I have done a few thoughtful blogs, so I thought it was time for a more light-hearted. One that will still bring out different parts of our diverse personalities. I also think a topic like this helps those who  have not replied before but maybe have been thinking about it.

I sometimes am doing something, and I think why they do not invent this or adapt that. I do not have the skill to follow these ideas, but I often wonder why.

Sticky tape/Sellotape/ adhesive tape (I hope to have covered the word in different countries) has troubled me. It is so hard to find the end of the roll unless it is on a dispenser. I wonder why they don’t  invent something to indicate when the roll starts. Maybe it could be something that turns it a dark colour when cut off. Not an amazing thought but would make life easier.
So put on your thinking caps, or maybe you have a few ideas of things that you wish were invented. I was thinking of everyday objects but really could be anything.

When my children were small, I wished their clothes could be stain resistant to every stain in the world. If there was a stain my children would find it!!

It can be a concept. I wished that there was a bell I would hear before I took on too much and became exhausted and often sick. If I had a warning bell letting me know not to take on anymore it would help me.

So, what would you like to invent, have someone invent, adapt, or have an idea that would make life easier?

A Moodscope member

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

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