The Moodscope Blog

19

November


I Know You Don't Know But... Monday November 19, 2018


Are you willing to play a thinking game? I hope your mind said, "Yes!" This is a good one!

When we feel 'stuck' in Life, there are a couple of phrases that will often be first on our lips. The first one is, "I don't know!" The second one is, "I can't!"

I've added exclamation marks because these are declarations. They are not very empowering statements, are they? Feeling like we don't know and that we can't do anything really aren't great states of mind to be in.

Here's the game.

We add a 'but' and then a little bit more.

Are you ready to play?

When you have "I don't know!" on your lips, add this: "I know you don't know, but if you did know the answer, what would it be?"

When you have "I can't!" ready to burst forth, try this: "I know you can't, but if you could, what would you do?"

Your mind, if it's like most people's, will then resist like a limpet resisting the sea as the tide changes. I'm certain an example will make this clearer.

When the children were smaller, they would often have trouble making a decision when feeling under pressure. We might be queuing for what seemed like hours in a café and they couldn't quite make up their minds. The exchange would go like this...

"What would you like to drink?"

"I don't know!"
"I know you don't know, but if you did know, what would you like?"

[Cue resistance!]

"I DON'T KNOW!!!"
[Cue patience]
"I know you don't know, but if you did know, what would you like?"

"...Pepsi Max!"

If I was a betting man, I'd be prepared to put money on all of us banging up against barriers in our lives at the moment where we don't know the answer, and where we feel like there is nothing we can do. My invitation is to keep grounded in reality ("I don't know," and "I can't" are statements that believe they are telling the truth) and yet push our thinking by playing the thinking game.

I won't promise a dramatic solution or turn-around, but I can promise that your mind will often offer up more ideas than when we initially close our minds with the definitive "I don't know!" or "I can't!"

If you're feeling brave enough to share, would you please share your own stories of where you've transformed not knowing into knowing, and can't into can!

Oh, and by the way, the limpet may seem stuck in its position, but time-lapse photography reveals that limpets move a long way... just not when we're looking!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

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18

November


A.D.H.D. Sunday November 18, 2018


I came across this poem, not written by me, the author is anonymous. I feel it is so true for those on the autism spectrum. I believe it can apply to other mental illnesses as well. It really touched me and I felt I wanted to share it.

A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Take my hand and come with me,
I want to teach you about ADHD.
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain.
Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.
What to do first? I can't decide.
Please understand I'm not to blame,
I just can't process things the same.
Take my hand and walk with me,
Let me show you about ADHD.
I try to behave, I want to be good,
But I sometimes forget to do as I should.
Walk with me and wear my shoes,
You'll see its not the way I'd choose.
I do know what I'm supposed to do,
But my brain is slow getting the message through.
Take my hand and talk with me,
I want to tell you about ADHD.
I rarely think before I talk,
I often run when I should walk.
It's hard to get my school work done,
My thoughts are outside having fun.
I never know just where to start,
I think with my feelings and see with my heart.
Take my hand and stand by me,
I need you to know about ADHD.
It's hard to explain but I want you to know,
I can't help letting my feelings show.
Sometimes I'm angry, jealous, or sad.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.
I can't concentrate and I lose all my stuff.
I try really hard but it's never enough.
Take my hand and learn with me,
We need to know more about ADHD.
I worry a lot about getting things wrong,
Everything I do takes twice as long.
Everyday is exhausting for me...
Looking through the fog of ADHD.
I'm often so misunderstood,
I would change in a heartbeat if I could.
Take my hand and listen to me,
I want to share a secret about ADHD.
I want you to know there is more to me.
I'm not defined by it, you see.
I'm sensitive, kind and lots of fun.
I'm blamed for things I haven't done.
I'm the loyalist friend you'll ever know,
I just need a chance to let it show.
Take my hand and look at me
Just forget about the ADHD.
I have real feelings just like you.
The love in my heart is just as true.
I may have a brain that can never rest,
But please understand I'm trying my best.
I want you to know, I need you to see,
I'm more than the label, I am still me!!!!

~Author Unknown

Molly
A Moodscope member.

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

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17

November


Calming oneself. Saturday November 17, 2018


We were on a bus and the man in front us was very loud and chatty with other passengers and was somewhat agitated.

He asked me to spell a word that he needed on a form. My partner whispered that I should not talk to him in case he got more agitated.

For a while the man just sat and sang quietly.

Several minutes later he was looking for a $2 (one pound) coin and started screaming at the driver telling him he stole his money as the money must have dropped behind the drivers seat.

The driver remained calm but the passenger was becoming louder and was swearing. I was worried he would cause an accident by annoying the bus driver.

I could not watch was happening and was worried that this man was becoming out of control.

I looked up and the man was smiling at the driver. He returned to his seat and managed to calm down and get back in control.

I was so impressed that this man who could have become very violent and maybe cause an accident on the bus, was able to practise self-control and calm down.

I think we have all been out in public and become agitated or anxious to the point we feel we are losing it, but somewhere sometimes we can stop, take stock and regain control.

I am wondering if you can share a moment where you calmed yourself down when you were losing control and what strategy you used that helped.

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

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16

November


The Middle Way Friday November 16, 2018


In three short months I will turn 50. I have not really been thinking about my age in terms of a number, but regardless so much is changing. The business that I started 10 years ago is coming to a close. It has brought me joy, tears, a little money, some recognition, and a lot of stress. My 11 year marriage - with almost a third of it living apart - will be ending officially soon. My daughter turned 10 recently and the realization that her loving parents are not in love with each other has hit her hard and it has broken my heart. My body is changing. I haven't had a lengthy conversation with anyone in weeks for fear that I will burst into tears.

I am tired.

I know that now is the time to change course. Turning 50 is a milestone. Nothing lasts forever. But I don't know where to begin. I don't know where the strength to continue will come from. I spent the first half of my life just trying to survive. A childhood with little love and a lot of fear. A marriage I only said yes to because I was afraid to be alone. A business of feeling like I was never good enough. Making plans and then making endless excuses to get out of them because I didn't have the strength to be judged for my inadequacies, perceived or otherwise.

I was thinking the other day how I wish I had a shield around me to protect me from the world. A bubble gum colored ectoplasm that would extend off my body about 10 feet in every direction. I could exist in the world and not have my energy sapped each time I left my room. I know this is a gift I can give to myself. Each morning I can choose to wake up and meditate and visualize that shield around me. Rose colored love. But instead I wake up depressed and tired from a night of drinking because I couldn't bear to feel the weight of the day's thoughts and conversations and terrible news upon me. I could begin the day with meditation and stretching and feeling calm from a night of drinking tea instead of alcohol. I know life is not without suffering; I am not hoping to live a life free of pain. But I want to live more proactively? Purposefully? Whatever the opposite is of hiding from pain and shame, because it is exhausting and not the way I want to live the next half of my life if given the chance to do so.

But I'm afraid and I am exhausted. How do you make the change when you feel so defeated? I would love to hear how others have changed the path they were heading down.

Lexi
A Moodscope member

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

96 comments - Permalink


15

November


Staying present Thursday November 15, 2018


I have been a little anxious these past few days, after the loss of my parents I have found it very difficult to let anything go that was either theirs, their gifts to me, or anything that they loved or reminds me of them – that doesn't leave a lot!

Anyway I digress...

There are four trees so close up against our house that, although once safe (...and loved by Mum and Dad!) they have now become unsafe and my hubby and I have had to make the decision to have them felled. It was not an easy decision but one that with time (and more than a pinch of patience from my very supportive OH) has indeed seen the phone call made. So for a week we have been preparing everything in readiness for the tree surgeons' arrival tomorrow.

Now throughout that time my emotions have been up and down more times than a fiddlers elbow. I have agonised at length about whether we are doing the right thing (I mean we can't change our minds once they're felled) will we miss their presence? (even though there are few windows we can actually see fully out of now) will the trees feel anything? (I read somewhere only a week ago that they have heartbeats…) would Mum and Dad approve? (I'm sure they do, I keep finding feathers so believe they are watching over us) not to mention all the other little thoughts going round and round in my head.

Anyway, it was building up into a crescendo and my OH warned me not to let it make me ill. I must stay present, live in the moment and not let my thoughts run away with me. Then I got the text "Sorry can't make it tomorrow, tractor's broken down, it'll be next week now. Apologies for any inconvenience" I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, feel relieved or deflated. But then I realised something, I had allowed myself to get caught up in the 'what ifs' and 'overthinking pit' for DAYS. All the worry building up to tomorrow had been for nothing (I mean the emotional volcano that was bubbling not the practical stuff – that [as always] kept me grounded) and it reminded me of some of my favourite words:
You can't suffer the past or future as they don't exist – you can only suffer your memory or imagination!

... And I had indeed allowed myself to suffer my thoughts rather than run with them. Good memories are something to be treasured and being excited about something you are working toward is what keeps most people going, but these thoughts and memories must not be allowed to become destructive to us.

There is no point in living anywhere but in this present moment – so our task must be to make that moment as good as we can (but if it falls short – let it go) and move toward your new present moment.

How do you live in the now?

Kind regards

Rosemary
A Moodscope member.

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

74 comments - Permalink


14

November


Grief, misery, overwhelm and depression. Wednesday November 14, 2018


I should have known better: I really should.

It was 6am on Sunday morning. I had awoken cold, shivering and aching, with a dry mouth and a throat filled with red hot chilli peppers and broken glass. The previous day, I had exhausted myself (and my poor family whom I had dragooned into helping) in performing a heavy-duty gardening task which should never have been ours, but for which I had final responsibility. It was still only half done. I couldn't remember where I had left the keys to my mother's house, and – it was 11th November and there is one veteran who has come back physically whole, but emotionally disabled, and who is very special to me. 11th November is an emotional time.

So, why I thought it would be a good idea to do my Moodscope score right then, I have no idea. Stupidity: that's what it was; sheer stupidity! I sat in the kitchen, with a comforting lemon and honey in my hand and tapped those cards.

Of course, it came out low. I'm only surprised it was a mere 15% lower than normal! And I knew my buddies would be concerned.

So – I wrote them an email. I hoped that none of them would be up at 6.30am and so they would get my low score and the explanation simultaneously.

"I have a cold," I started, and proceeded to record the litany of my woes.

It's surprising how just writing everything out makes you feel so much better. After a whole blog's worth of moaning I finished, "But – mostly – I have a cold."

Sickness brings our score down.

"I am sorry to tell you that my beloved brother died last night," wrote a friend. Grief brings our score down.

In January something happened which cast me into utter misery. That brought my score down.

The overwhelm of this current responsibility (above) brings my score down.

It's important to realise that it is not only depression that influences our scores. And this is why tracking our scores over a period of time and annotating them is important.

"I had a dip there because I had a stomach bug."

"Oh yes, that was the weekend my mother in law came to stay; that's always a difficult time."

"That long dip there? My pet died."

It is those periods where there is no reason for the low scores, where there is no recovery from grief, or no surfacing from the overwhelm: those are the ones to watch out for.

In life, there are always griefs and sorrows. There will always be challenges which seem too much, responsibilities which weigh too heavy. There is illness and injury and hurt.

Depression is more than the natural reaction to these things. I am not making light of any of these, because they are hard, very hard to deal with.

But - depression is an illness, not just part of being human. We need to know the difference.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

65 comments - Permalink


13

November


Whistle while you work Tuesday November 13, 2018


Today was thick and white outside as I eyeballed the day. I brushed my teeth and I couldn't see the hill I know is there in the view from my bedroom window. It was cool but not cold as I walked into the day outside on the school run. On return I was talking myself into another day of avoiding more than the bare minimum of contact with people who are not my children, by using the walls of my home as armour.

And then I committed publicly on here to going for a walk. It would be a rare occasion for me not to follow through on my word. The argument going on inside my head about whether to go or not was like two bickering children. I stuffed an earphone in one ear and played Harry Potter on an audiobook. Stephen Fry's voice was unusually not what I needed but he was very good at being louder than the bickering. And I left the building.

I don't think there is anything that cannot be made just a little better from a walk. I thumped to the supermarket and back. A varied but short walk, say 20 minutes each way. Some woodland, some quite places, some roads and a main road. A school, a hospice, another school, many houses, trees everywhere, each one eager to smile.

From being 'I'm grey, I'm cross, don't rattle my cage, let's get this done' I somehow turned into Snow White with each step as creatures came to greet me. A heard a magpie's feet as he walked along close by. I got a fright and then smiled as a squirrel really did walk with me at my ankle for quite some way and the best part... I turned a corner and tiny birds were flying into my face! I considered being a bit scared, but it was lovely to see them change direction at the last minute and whack the hedge. They were shopping for red berries and in doing so were shaking the bush creating a little mist of water as their movement in the hedge unsettled the morning dew and yesterday's rain. It gently hit my face.

I came home happy, new and came here to write. A white butterfly has since kept me company sitting with a cup of coffee outside, as did the thick wedge of banana loaf. It didn't matter that it was dry on the edges and undercooked in the middle, I made it and so I declared it perfect (this is a nod to Sally and her 'untidy' house, it too is perfect!)

And now the day looks wildly different to the one I was shown at the start. I'm saved. Again. And now to get some work done with vigour. No Snow Whites were impersonated during this morning. Other Snow Whites are available.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

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12

November


Mind The Gap Monday November 12, 2018


Every time I hear, "Mind the Gap!" or see it written in a station, I smile. Here is why...

If you are like most people, you'll often wonder why your mind reminds you of something you needed when it's too late. Typically, for me, I'm on the journey to somewhere when, out of the blue, I recall that I meant to bring something with me. Thanks brain!

I believe this happens because the unconscious mind – which is always busy – has been waiting for a 'gap' in the mental-traffic to pop a thought into our conscious mind. When I ask people where they have their best or most creative ideas, it's always the same three places, with an occasional fourth shared by some personality types. How would you answer that question? Pause before you read on if you want to have an Aha! experience.

The three shared by nearly everyone I ask are: in the bathroom (shower/bath/loo being cited), doing a routine physical task like travelling/commuting/gardening/
ironing/exercising, and at the gateways of sleep – such as just as they go to bed or middle of the night or just before arising. It's as if the unconscious mind has been waiting for an opportunity...

So what? Forgetting things is something I find stressful. Remembering things too late I find even more stressful. I would like to avoid that stress, and I'd relish the opportunity to help you avoid it too.

One solution for our mental well-being is to create more gaps. It's about giving the diligent unconscious mind – that part that is working so hard to help us – giving it space and time to have its say.

My friend, Shelina, has a company called "Press Pause." I love that concept. When we press pause by having a bathroom break, or have a beverage break – free from distractions (i.e. leave your smartphone outside the bathroom and away from your tea break) – we provide the time and space to get a thought in edgewise. We mind the gap.

What are your favourite ways to press pause, and thus, to mind the gap?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

33 comments - Permalink


11

November


The power of touch Sunday November 11, 2018


It was a small gesture, repeated on separate occasions by two people at the art society where I paint. Just a touch on the lower arm, a pat. But it lifted my spirits, and, I believe, has aided my recovery.

For weeks I'd felt way under par, all positives turned negative, low energy, low motivation, low self esteem, no organisational ability. I had missed a number of weeks, talking myself out of going, unable to face people. On that day, I suppose the mask might've slipped, and revealed, through my body language or general demeanour, that actually, I was feeling quite low. I could well be imagining this. Nevertheless, the point is that just when I needed it, two of my fellow painters had seemed to pick up on this mood. And responded through touch. Touch that was not forced, or patronising either.

I think touch is one of the most overlooked of the five senses, but highly effective for giving reassurance and support. Or so I have found. To my surprise.

Has anyone else had this experience of feeling acknowledged and supported through this one simple act? For it has had the power to set me on the way back to enjoying life fully again. Hurray for that!

I should be interested in your views and comments.

A much happier Sally
A Moodscope member.

83 comments - Permalink


10

November


Emotional Blueprints and Home Improvements Saturday November 10, 2018


I am eleven months into my journey of understanding my own mental health. I started therapy at the beginning of the year, joined Moodscope two months later and started medication six months in. I have said to friends many times that if someone had told me quite how tough it would be – understanding how harmful my thinking had become, coming to terms with the idea that I have something to get better from before even setting out on the road to a hopeful recovery – I don't know if I ever would have gone to that first counselling session. Despite many, many, moments of frustration I am just now starting to feel, nearly one year in, proud of what I have achieved so far and positive about where I might move to in the future.

I am the child of one of those relationships where everyone would have been better off if the parents had been brave enough to divorce. Now in my thirties and carting around the impact of growing up in a household where love was incredibly practical but never emotional, I have never had a relationship. My therapist and I are working hard on my non-existent self-esteem to get me to a point, we hope, where one day I believe that actually I do deserve to find love.

One of the things we have been stuck on since Day 1 (we are now on Day 302) is the notion of a blueprint. I have been given an emotional blueprint about romantic love and relationships from my family that doesn't function, for me at least. I asked desperately in my first session how could I ever find love with this damaged original blueprint underpinning everything I believe. "Simple", he replied. "Get a new blueprint".

Since then I have struggled to understand this concept – fine, you can get a new one but the original is always there. How is it possible to change the actual original blueprints of a house without tearing it down and starting again? I got to thinking today that yes... an original blueprint will look the same forever, short of starting from scratch – tough to do with life. But you're not the blueprint... you're the house. And you can change a lot of things about a house without that original blueprint being altered. You can paint the walls a different colour; hang new pictures; change the carpet; fit a new bathroom. Some people pop in a loft extension without needing planning permission, others knock down a wall (perhaps illegally!) without changing that original blueprint. The point is - that the house can end up looking very different to its' original plans, and it is that house that is the reality you create for yourself. Yes, the original blueprint remains – but it merely shows us a reflection of a past reality. It shows us where you started from. We only need to look at the house that you have built for yourself today to see how far you have come.

Lucy
A Moodscope member.

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

47 comments - Permalink


9

November


Project ME Friday November 9, 2018


Like many within the Moodscope community, I live with conditions, both emotional and physical.

As you all know, managing conditions means managing plans, and indeed managing life. Any proposals have to first be inspected and analysed as to what impact they may have on you. Amendments have to be made to accommodate needs, to avoid overwhelm, to minimise pain, and committing to things can prove difficult; sometimes impossible.

But I try. Behind the scenes, I do all manner of things to "help".

I meditate, despite finding it hard some days; I persevere.
I listen to positive affirmations, despite sometimes wanting to tell the orator where to shove his suggestions that I have all the resources I need within me...
I track my mood here on Moodscope.
I track what I eat; aiming to make positive food choices, and I attend Weight Watchers, to support that process.
I enjoy regular reiki and massage treatments.
I practice yoga.
I read, and immerse myself in other worlds.
I see a counsellor, to explore feelings and gain perspective.
I go outside, into nature; I feel the sun, the wind and even the rain.
I walk.
I swim.
I keep a journal to reflect on positives and acknowledge achievements.

Yet I feel a sense of disconnect from much of this, because it feels as though I am doing them just to stay afloat. That I have to get these tasks done; to tick them off a list. And I am angry - really angry it seems - at having to constantly "manage" myself, and my life. At having things I must "do", rather than feeling able to simply "be" and enjoy things for what they are, rather than as part of some bigger project.

Project Me as I have decided to call it.

I've tried to reframe this anger and embrace the relish of a real project. I accept that just like a real project, I have a desired outcome – to improve (and positively sustain) my overall wellbeing, which is an obvious benefit. I accept that all the things I am currently doing contribute to this goal, and could be classed as research, development and analysis. But I'm not sure how Project Me moves forward, or ends. Most projects are temporary, and Project Me is something I'm going to be working on for the rest of my life. (Fans of the SMART acronym would doom this project to failure.)

So, I've decided to recruit.

Volunteer team members required; immediate start.
Homebased; unmonitored flexitime; unlimited annual leave.
This is an ongoing position offering varying levels of support to the (ill equipped) manager of a new and exciting project of self development.
Role includes (but is not limited to) removing the stick from the manager's hand that she beats herself with regularly (HR); highlighting the positives and achievements of the manager (Marketing); and locating the manager's elusive will to live and motivation (Procurement).
No qualifications or experience necessary, however the role is well suited to an individual with high levels of sarcasm, humour and patience.
Please apply within the comment section, stating clearly how you feel you meet the (vague and ambiguous) job and person specification.

No, of course there isn't a closing date...

Welcome to Project Me!

Fiona
A Moodscope member.

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

54 comments - Permalink


8

November


By any other name Thursday November 8, 2018


It began when I heard of someone who was going under 4 different names, this got me thinking; what's in a name. We're told that a name can define us yet we rarely get the chance to choose (although sometimes we can). We are told that certain names promote success whilst others are prone to failure – now that's a thought... that we could be given a name at birth that could [possibly] define our future selves? The man was purposefully going under different names to evade capture but did I really have a different reason?

We moved when I was in my late teens to a place using a language I didn't speak in a time that was trickier to integrate into than now. I still had some time left at school which brought its own challenges; a confused teenager trying to work out who to befriend and who to avoid whilst the language barrier raged on... I decided, overnight, to go by my middle name.

My parents were confused (as was I), my brother thought it strange (as did I), my relatives forgot (as did I) and all in all it was a very strange couple of years but I soldiered on never fully understanding why I'd chosen to do it. It only came to me later; I had chosen a pseudonym, a mask to hide behind, a different person who could be stronger, funnier, more able to cope than Rosemary was!

A couple of years after I'd left school and embarked on a career path I decided the time had come to invite Rosemary back into my life. I was there all along of course, sitting quietly, patiently, waiting to be trusted enough to come back to the fore.

There was still some confusion for a few years; I'd bump into people who only knew me from my school days. I gave up trying to explain, an explanation wasn't needed anymore, not for me anyway, so I'd just smile and say "Oh I felt like a change for a while" I'd reconciled that I'd felt the need to hide my true identity (I also altered my appearance to try and fit in more) I was finally ok with it. The guilt at rejecting 'me' and pretending to be someone else had lifted.

There are a couple of things that intrigue me though.

The man at the beginning of this was avoiding capture – I believe I was doing a similar thing, I felt like I was quite cornered in some ways (even though I'd been in full [excited] agreement about the move) but I felt the new school situation had put me in a dangerous place emotionally and I just didn't know how to deal with it. I don't blame anyone, it is what it is.

The other thing I ponder is whether that was the pivotal point at which I could have altered my future health issues? Had I realised they were even an issue.

Rosemary
A Moodscope member.

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

52 comments - Permalink


7

November


No Man is an Island Wednesday November 7, 2018

I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel isolated.

I hear the statistics saying that one in four of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives: I know many, many people who fall into this category, but I still feel I am the only one. The only one in my family; the only one in my company; the only one of the parents of my children's friends...

It's not helped when people out there in the public eye, people just like me, are dismissed by members of my family, or my friends, as "People who just can't cope with life."

Surely life is the same for us all?

"You're so emotional about everything!" say my husband and elder daughter. "You can't take on the problems of the whole world: people have to look after themselves. Their problems are not your problem."

Is it wrong to want to scream at them? Because, if I have compassion, their problems are my problems!

My problems are, after all, their problems! If I am so ill I cannot get out of bed and function, then that becomes a problem for my family. If I am not well enough to meet with or engage with friends, then that is a problem for those friends. If I cannot work, then that is a problem for my clients.

If I cannot cope with life, then that affects everyone I know.

This is where compassion comes in.

If, when someone we know "can't cope", do we withdraw? Do we leave them to sink or swim?

Some will answer "Yes. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Nothing to do with me; just walk on by."

And, when it's me lying on the sofa, shaking, unable to do anything or go anywhere, engulfed in the slimy grey fog of depression, then I do want people to walk on by: I can't cope with people: I can't cope with kindness; I can't cope with life.

I want to be left alone – forever.

In recovery, however, when I start to feel better, that's when I remember the kindness, the support and the strength lent to me when I had none of my own, and I am grateful.

So, now I am well, I want to be that person who offers kindness and support and strength. I don't want to walk on by or to dismiss the fallen brother as one who just can't cope with life.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Mary
A Moodscope member

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

47 comments - Permalink


6

November


Just a moment Tuesday November 6, 2018



I love postcards, especially old postcards, the beautiful pictures, the short space where well chosen words describe a special moment, a moment in time.

There is something so wonderful about holding a vintage postcard in ones hand and feeling around the lovely edge and reading the old fashioned writing by an inky pen. The words take me back, sometimes a 100 years, to someone telling about a holiday or just describing what is happening at home.

I like the idea of a postcard as it describes so succinctly a time, a small picture, and a few words that captures a feeling.

I was hoping you would share a postcard moment with me. It maybe from a real postcard that was sent to you or even you sent, and you can share the words and or describe the picture. Evoke a feeling we can all share.

Or you can make up a postcard, it could be from your kitchen or your garden or your imagination or anything that inspires you.

You can just write a few words - it could be what is happening right now in your life or share a memory from your past.

It could be something fun or a serious postcard.

The writing on the card in the phototgraph is as below:

Dear

Very pleased to hear from you.
I thought you had forgotten all about me,
which I had not about you and never will.
Wish you were back in Seymour.

There is more that I could type out if people can't read it.

Why had the writer thought she was forgotten? These words have so many questions.

I would like to receive your postcard moments.

Have a go and send me a moment in time.

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

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5

November


Melancholy Lane - No Through Road Monday November 5, 2018



I kid you not - this is a real road in a village called Stoborough, near Wareham in Dorset, UK. It must have a history to have such a dramatic name, though I've not found the reason yet...

I've seen it so many times and have thought to myself, "I really must stop and take a picture." Eventually, I did! The road was covered in fresh cow dung, which somehow seemed wholly appropriate!

Melancholy means a feeling of thoughtful sadness - often without any obvious cause. Many of us, I believe, have walked down Melancholy Lane. However, there may be a message in the text that followed: "No Through Road."

If my Melancholy Lane is the road to nowhere, what is the alternative?

My first thought is to try another way - another route - another road - even a completely new direction. This means that, if we have already begun walking down Melancholy Lane, we will need to do a 'U' Turn and walk up it again to where we started.

Too deep? I hope not. The message I took from the sign was simple - my current plodding down life's Melancholy Lane was not serving any useful purpose. Today, I turned. Some of the reasons were outside my control, and others were my own choices. Changes were made, losses were taken on the chin, and I feel... much better.

There's no going back now. Deeds have been done! What isn't so obvious is which new direction to choose. Do I really want to walk the ways which in the past have been successful? Or do I want to pursue complete change? What about a mix? Is my comfort zone a friend or foe?

So, I throw this over to you to comment. Many of us have made life-changing decisions where new directions have been followed. I'd like to hear a message of hope that your bold choices have paid off in the longer-term. I'd appreciate honesty about the pain too because I know significant change can feel painful at first.

Who will be first to share?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

87 comments - Permalink


4

November


Man-child Sunday November 4, 2018

As I cooked, I looked over at The Boy. The wee lad. Now leaning above me (which will never be admitted on my part), he'd been playing football and walking up the hills which grow on the edge of our town. I couldn't bring myself to berate him over being glued to his phone. He'd been healthy, outdoors and hadn't had any phone at all in 24 hours (due to a replacement), unheard of in these modern times!

As I stirred and ladled, ladled and turned, my magic word appeared. PERSPECTIVE. I rarely capitalise. Even my moniker is signed completely in lower case. But this is a big word for me. A major tool. Deserving of different treatment.

The wee lad will be gone one day. I watched his man-child body lying on the rug, freshly showered, clean bed shorts and t-shirt, looking fine, smelling fine, relaxed in his skin and made only of bones and I was glad. Glad I can have perspective. Glad I can see a time he will hug another in the envelope he wraps around me and be glad for soaking in every moment I have him.

That perspective grows into my mental health battle. I'm now glad I raise my three children alone because these insignificant times serve me as major mental health wins. It's taken a long time to grow perspective. But it's here and I'm not giving it up for anyone or any thing.

Life has not always been good. Far, far from that. Life often still throws me a storm. But tonight, it's ok. It's even good. And I'm keeping that. Find perspective and hold on tight. I'm rooting for you.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member

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

54 comments - Permalink


3

November


Act Your Age Saturday November 3, 2018


How often when I was young did someone admonish me with those words. "Act your age." What did that actually mean? It always seemed to mean that I was being childish or immature and should be more sensible. But, when you're 10 or 15, well, you are often childish and immature. Why should that not be allowed?

You're only as old as you feel. Well, yes, but some days I feel ancient. Other days I'm a spring chicken!

These days I think a lot about my age. Not because of wrinkles and white hair. I'm not vain enough to care too much if I look my age at 60. But, as friends have observed, and I feel it too, when we are with our very elderly parents we have to be the young, energetic ones.

We do their shopping, organise various workmen, lug rollators into the boot of the car when once we lugged buggies. We help with TV and IT problems over the phone, patiently trying to explain passwords and routers, even though we know much less about all that than the young people in our lives. We try and be there for hospital appointments and ring doctors, dentists and opticians to try and make their lives go more smoothly, all the while being careful not to make them feel they are losing control.

When we are with our children – now young adults – we have to be energetic enough to cook meals, make up beds and make home feel as welcoming as possible. We can still give them lifts to the train station or pick them up from airports. Hopefully we listen and give advice when needed, but also listen quietly when they talk about their worlds of work and lives of which we are only a small part.

I am half way between my mother and parents-in-law who are all 90 - and my eldest son – just over 30. I suppose I am part of the 'sandwich generation' and I am lucky that I have my health and am still more able to give support than to need it.

On the one hand, I have to keep going with my own interests, hobbies and fitness regimes so that I can stave off the day when I need lifts to the doctor and dentist. On the other hand, I need to be able to drop everything if there's an emergency with any of our elderly parents. Or to help with the myriad administrative tasks that my young people don't have time for during their busy working lives.

Each day is a fresh challenge. And I don't even have grandchildren yet.

I hope that my mental and physical health will remain robust enough to be the stabilising fulcrum in the lives of my elderly relatives and my adult children.

How old do you feel? And does that change from day to day, depending on who you're with and what you're doing?

If we "act our age" let's not rely on the mirror to give us a clue as to what that means!

Rebecca
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please leave a comment below.

84 comments - Permalink


2

November


Why isn't mental health taken more seriously? Friday November 2, 2018


It may be 2018, but the level of stigma that those with mental health issues face still shockingly remains at an all-time high.

Considering that 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer with some sort of mental health problem at some point in their lives, it seems bewildering to say the least that the judgement and adversities that mental health sufferers continue to face is still so prominent. Not to mention the overwhelming and increasing pressure so many people face today to 'fit in' with ever-changing societal norms, as well as the fact that there's a monumental strain on the resources and services available to mental health sufferers.

It can often feel like there's nowhere to turn, and that the weight of the problem makes things seem even more hopeless than they already are. It's frustrating to think that still, even today, mental health is striving to be taken as seriously as physical and educational welfare. A person's mental health is arguably even more pivotal to the human existence than physical health.

As important as it is to maintain physical wellbeing, arguably one's mental health can deteriorate much faster, and cause much longer-lasting damage if it is neglected or detrimented than, say, not taking part in regular physical exercise from an early age - so why isn't mental health taken more seriously?

It's a prevalent question whose debate will most likely continue for an indeterminate amount of time yet. Ignorance breeds ignorance, and fear; people will continue to fear and ignore what they don't understand. Despite this, it's important that in the meantime, more is done to put a stop to the stigma and the negligence of poor mental health, starting with wider acceptance and awareness.

Tiffany
A Moodscope member.

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

69 comments - Permalink


1

November


Beautiful Scars Thursday November 1, 2018


After reading Rosemary's wonderfully reassuring blog recently, called "Smile, you're the best you've ever been..."

I remembered something that registered with me at the time and then forgotten.

I'd seen a woman on TV who had learned to embrace the large scar on her body, so that rather than seeing herself as being 'disfigured' she saw the scar as a part of who she is, having been through what she had and healed, a scar to be worn with pride.

It may not work for everyone, or it may take a long time to see things so differently, but it did give me hope that there might be another way to see what pains me, one that feels so much better.

I got to wondering about the equivalent, emotionally.

If I could move from carrying this angry raw wound, to it being an emotional scar, that no longer hurt when it's poked and prodded, just thick scar tissue with no sensation, wouldn't that be great?!

Once again, I've managed to arrange some short term counselling. I've tried it before and haven't managed to get to those deep wounds. I daren't hope after all this time that this could be the beginning of freedom.

Maybe this time, I'll discover what needs to happen.

Maybe I'll emerge having allowed the healing to begin, so that all that remains is the part of me that is as loveable as the rest, the scarring that I can wear with pride, because this time I made it!

I endured the pain until I managed to allow it to be touched. Handled and sealed. Then plenty of time allowed for healing.

Beautiful scars reminding me that I made it.

Lillypet
A Moodscope member.

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

51 comments - Permalink


31

October


This is my Graph. Wednesday October 31, 2018



On Wednesday 10th October, I wrote about why it might be a good idea to do your score even when you know you are going to get a score you don't like.

So, here is my graph. Seven years' worth of hard data...

If you're on the free version of Moodscope, then I know you don't have access to your whole history. At the end of this blog, I hope you will see the benefit of spending the price of a couple of cappuccinos a month on getting the full version.

For those of you who have not known me for all those seven years, a quick introduction. You can find it on Friday 24th May 2013, "Hello – I'm Mary and I'm Bipolar", but I joined Moodscope much earlier, on Saturday 14th May 2011.

In those days Jon was still writing all the blogs, and I signed up to Moodscope on the back of a Radio 4 programme. It was my therapist who said, "I've just listened to this, and I think it's just the thing for you." She was right: Moodscope has been my lifeline ever since.

How I wish Moodscope had been available all my life! My first episode of severe (bi-polar) depression occurred when I was seven years old and it has affected me all my life since; although I was only diagnosed at age 43, thirteen years ago. But, just the last seven years' data is useful, as I think you can see.

We don't really know what we are like. In my mind I had a cycle. Every two years I would get depressed. Every four years I would get VERY depressed. At least, that was the pattern I had come up with in the mental health assessment clinic. It was the best I could remember.

But our memory is unreliable at best and a bloody liar at worst.

You can see for the first two and a half years I measured, things weren't too bad. I had some downs, but they were short-lived. The highs were manageable. After January 2014 things started to get worse.

But – without this graph, I wouldn't have known how much worse.

Oh – I was still in denial, until October 2016. That "high" nearly cost me my dearest friend. I am still not sure if we have yet totally recovered. The crash was costly too. My poor family, of course, suffered most.

It was that episode which sent me back to the psychiatrist and to accept medication. The graph shows the effect of that medication. (I ought to explain that I have recalibrated from May this year: on my old system of measurement those most recent numbers would have been much tighter.)

This is my graph. It is what my GP and psychiatrist and therapist need to see. It is how my buddies keep track. It is what I need to see.

It is not anecdotal evidence. It is hard data.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

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