The Moodscope Blog



Community Sunday June 16, 2019

Feeling like we belong is really important to feeling safe. So where do you belong?

I have found friends amongst the dog walkers of my local park. We don't generally talk about the heavy stuff, and definitely not Brexit, but the fact of the matter is our joint love of dogs means we all have something in common and soon you find yourself looking forward to bumping into your doggie pals and their owners.

Recently many of us shared a collective joy as one of our number who is in his 70s returned to the park after an operation for lung cancer. The fact that he couldn't walk far would not keep him away and we all rejoiced as he returned in an electric scooter with fancy personalised number plates with Grandad on!! His rescue dog, Caramel, couldn't be happier and so were his walking companions who were pleased to see this kind, gentle man out on the circuit again.

Another place I have found community is among the people I make porcelain with. And many of us have confessed to us that having a morning a week devoted to this painstaking, laborious process pays dividends to our mental health. But it is also actually the gentle chat of people from different paths who only meet once a week that also makes the experience so special. This class got me through a really bad patch of anxiety earlier this year. Another of its members who has been confined to a wheelchair since boyhood acknowledges that it's not only the pottery, which as an artist he paints, but also the company and good hearted banter which makes the cost worthwhile.

Joining the group for a first time is daunting, especially if you are feeling depressed or anxious. But it pays dividends. After all,'No man is an island'.

What communities are you part of that make you feel good? Or what could you join to make yourself feel better?

A Moodscope member.

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

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JOMO Saturday June 15, 2019

I like finding out about new acronyms since I wrote a blog about the word FOMO. This means fear of a missing out just in case you have not read my blog from long ago.

JOMO Joy of missing out which is feeling content with staying in and in disconnecting as a form of self-care.

I like that there is a word for JOMO as I feel many people do not understand the needs for some of us to not go out and just chill. This is not being rude, or lazy but what it is what is needed at times to stay well.

These words may be seen as just being trendy but I think it shows how there is a need for new words to be constructed.

FOJI - fear of joining in is another acronym and is a word I can relate to at times.

I have a FOJI about going to parties where I do not know many people at all and the ones I do know I do not connect with very well.

I have FOJI when on a conference call as I worry I will join in at the wrong moment by talking over someone. I sit and wait till someone says my name and then I miss my chance to have a say.

Do you find the use of these words and words like them to be annoying?

How do these words fill a gap in the dictionary?

Would you ever use one of these words? Have you ever created an acronym?

Mine is FOGO, fear of growing old.

A Moodscope member

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Do we put too much pressure on ourselves? Friday June 14, 2019

This is something that I have really been thinking about these last few weeks. The last three years I have been doing a degree and working full time. During this time, I also decided to have a change in career after nineteen years... you could say I don't do things by halves.

Anyway, during the summer break leading into my final year I started having bad anxiety attacks, something that I had never experienced before. Yes, I have had nerves before an event or presentation but nothing to the extent of what I was going through. The most annoying part was it was tasks I had done hundreds of times before, like driving to the shops or going to work.

So, after some counselling through work, one of the things they told me to do was not over analyse why I was feeling that way, because if it wasn't anything obvious then it would wind me up more. Boy were they right!! The times I didn't focus on the why and just getting through the attack they went so much quicker.

Then in work, because I had taken some time off, I felt like a complete failure going back to work. Like I had let everyone down, including myself, but my boss was brilliant (I am so lucky) and said that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and only control things that are in my control.

This piece of advice has been invaluable, so for the past six months this has been my motto. I can only control things that are in my control and nothing else is worth putting pressure on myself about. I am also trying to instil this philosophy in my work colleagues who take on the pressure themselves.

When I started my degree, I just wanted to pass, I wasn't bothered about the classification, I just wanted one, as I had never been academically bright. My problem was, the more good results I got the more I wanted a first and I piled the pressure on myself to do well. I have now finished all the assignments, exams and dissertation and I feel like the pressure has lifted, not only from my lecturers but also myself as what will be will be.

As I write this, I know it sounds easy to control what is in your control, I kid you not this was harder than I ever realised that it would be but it has definitely taken the pressure off me and I feel so much happier. I am hopeful that the panic attacks will now start to alleviate too with this much more positive attitude.

A Moodscope member.

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The Cycle of Trauma Thursday June 13, 2019

Caution: Today's extremely courageous blog is about the sexual abuse of a child which some members may find upsetting.

"You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone." ― Jeanne McElvaney.

Rape. Molestation. Sexual Abuse. Sexual Assault. Sexual Violation. I never came across the words when I was a child. The gritty stories were shielded from me. Why do parents hide the reality? To let our young minds be devoid of fear? But, how does it help when the children are hunted down and trapped? What happens when the ones who are supposed to protect who, commit such crimes themselves? We are lured by the shiny promises, a toy, and a chocolate? The exciting proposal of playing and sitting on the lap? What is wrong with that? Nothing, not really to a child.

I was shushed saying that it is a friendly touch. When his hands went down, he said its affection. When he groped me, I remember his whisper, "I will miss you, my favorite niece." I was 10 years old. I just wanted to play with my closest cousin before he left the city. It felt wrong. But he assured it's the perfect way to say goodbye. If it's so, then why did he ask me to keep it a secret?

Whenever I saw him next, I felt nauseous. I wanted to run away when he greeted me with 'that' smile. It's the same smile that still haunts me. By the time he got married, I was older and I realized what he did was wrong on every level. But who would believe me? I just hoped that he had stopped being that 'monster' in my nightmares.

Out of all the sexual abuse incidents, this one is something I can't 'forget' as my family says. They said that I have lost the right to speak out now as I didn't speak out then. Yes, it's my fault for not understanding the consequences I would have to face still years down the line. It's my responsibility for not comprehending his actions at that time. It's also my own fate as I kept my mouth closed every time I saw him. I wish I could have surpassed the fear and severe anxiety and spoke out.

The tragedy is that the feeling of mistrust is deep rooted. I am surrounded by some wonderful men around me, including my best friends. But I hope that one day I wouldn't flinch when they try showing affection. I hope I can reciprocate that warm hug that I always imagine giving, without being cold and detached.

There are unreported and even unheard abuse cases against family members around the world. Either the victims are too young, or, when they yearn to be assertive, they are silenced, fearing the stigma from society. Being a psychologist, I pray that awareness prevails and such innocent children are given the support and are encouraged to speak up. Even as I fight through the vivid flashbacks and the fear of being confronted by the same actions by someone close, this time, I will choose to fight. My counselor once told me that the day I summon the courage, I should pen my thoughts down and share. Maybe for venting, maybe for closure, or maybe because others will join my fight. Don't be disheartened when they say it's too late to speak. Don't generalize by saying every seed is bad.


A Moodscope member.

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Are You Getting the Love You Need? Wednesday June 12, 2019

They say that it's love which makes the world go round.

I'm not sure of that – I think it's probably physics, but there you go: some people will say anything, especially if they think it sounds good.

It's true however that we function best when we love and are loved.

Even if we are in a romantic relationship, have families and friends who love us, we still need more. We need to love ourselves, and to show that love to ourselves.

There have been blogs before on the five languages of love: words, touch, gifts, deeds, time; so, I shall just jump straight in. We all tend to need one or two of these more than the others, so work out from this what kind of love you need most.

Words: Can we say warm and encouraging things to ourselves? "You did a good job there: you should be proud," "You look great!", "You've got a real talent for that." It's not blowing our own trumpet; it's giving ourselves some positive feedback, even if no-one else does.

Touch: While nothing can replace tender, passionate sex with another warm human being, there are things (beyond the obvious) we can do to satisfy our need for touch. And, touch within love does not only mean sex. A pat on the back can transfer love too. If we have pets, we know how good it feels to stroke them. Indulging our sensual side with a walk in the open air, a hot bath, or fleecy blanket to snuggle in can work too. For some people, working at something with their hands gives a sensual satisfaction. Wood, clay, fabric, wool are all particularly tactile mediums.

Gifts: giving ourselves something is often just as nice as receiving a gift from someone else. At least we know it's something we want! It doesn't need to be expensive: my favourite gift to myself is nice stationary, or a book I've been wanting to read. I often buy myself flowers. I love to see them every day in my office. We should be able to do this without feeling guilty.

Deeds: When was the last time we did something nice for ourselves? Something that gives us pleasure? Something which gives me great satisfaction is a squeaky-clean bathroom. So – occasionally – I give it a really good deep-down scrub. The pleasure is not in the job itself, although cleaning can be quite therapeutic, but in the sparkling bathroom afterwards.

Time: This is the big one for me. The best gift to myself is time to myself – to spend however I choose – away from the demands of work, my husband, my children and even my friends. I wrote about one such day in "Going Down to the Sea (Again) on 1st May this year. I cannot recommend it enough.

So, don't wait to be given love by others; it's time to give yourself some love today.

How will you show yourself some love?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Does the weather improve/worsen your depression? Tuesday June 11, 2019

I have no statistics to show whether those who live in a cold climate are more subject to depression than people living in Bermuda or Tahiti. I believe suicide rates are high in parts of Scandinavia? It is claimed that the weather is the main topic of the British. But the French will always remark on the weather, and today is a goodee. I am watching, from my kitchen window, my weeping willow literally being turned inside out. It will survive, but there will be a huge mess to clear up, dead leaves and broken twigs, before I can mow the lawn. And I have two slates off the roof this morning.

All our adult life has been governed by rainfall, drought and wind. We started as agricultural contractors, and we took a lot of flak. It would rain on and off for a fortnight at haymaking or harvest time, then, of course, all our customers were ready at once. Then market gardeners until last year – how we kept off the psychiatrist's couch I know not, but I think we paid for it in stress and strained relationships. And I have had (still have) beautiful, demanding gardens. So I am either waiting for rain, to avoid mass watering, or for it to stop, then mass weeding. This is not a gardening dissertation, but a serious look at my future – can I cope with this large property? What can I do with it? And, what are the options?

On the blog, Molly said, jokingly, when I was having a good moan a few weeks ago that a care home might be the option. But the idea of a small flat, no responsibilities for upkeep, and freedom to go away in the winter is a huge temptation. But, 84 next week, if I could not travel (particularly not get insurance) I would be a virtual prisoner and bored stiff.

Huge outdoor events make weather headlines. Glastonbury usually seems sea of mud, but it does not keep punters away. Ascot races amuse the cynic, watching hats costing hundreds of pounds acting like Frisbees. Wimbledon has had to succumb to roofs. Agricultural shows rely on the 'gate', we were very involved for years with our local one, how our nerves suffered. We looked at pluvieus insurance, but financially out of the question.

Climate change is affecting us, severely. Not one clear, cold, frosty night this winter. The ubiquitous grey. A daughter-in-law, a geographer, said years ago that global warming would bring global dimming, and she's right, with increasing low light levels in winter. I have 'flirted' with the weather, for huge parties, and won. A daughter (31st May) and a grand-daughter (27th July) had sodden weddings. You do not choose where you are born, your work, marriage, or being rich might take you to a better climate. For many years we 'escaped', cheap flat in south of France, Far East, or India. If that solution is out of the question, how do we cope with weather which affects our moods?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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Jump Up to Happiness Monday June 10, 2019

Picture this. Close on one hundred serious businesspeople at a networking breakfast meeting. It's before the 9am watershed. Dr Hannah Beard takes to the stage – a wellness expert and qualified Chiropractor.

Hannah asks us where we think 'The Happiness Hormone' – Serotonin – is mainly produced in the body. One of us falls into the trap carefully laid for us and says, "The Brain!" Actually, it's the gut that produces the most Serotonin.

Allegedly, jumping up and down gets it produced very quickly too, so undaunted by our serious demeanours, Hannah gets us all to stand up, lift up our hands, and start jumping. (I have the evidence on video!)

After the collective jump-start to the day, she asks us whether or not our fingers are tingling. They are. This, she assures us, is a sure sign that the magic of Serotonin is taking effect.

Since then, I've been jumping around the kitchen each morning to this great Eurovision Song: - and just the sound of it now makes me feel amazing.

If you'd like more Serotonin – more happiness – in your life, this is only two steps away.

Step one: exercise. Jump, dance, run – especially outside in a bit of sunshine.

Step two: Carbs! Yes the dreaded carbohydrates are great serotonin catalysts. Whilst a bit of pasta and potatoes goes a long way to that happy tummy feeling, complex carbs offer a less hazardous route to happiness: sweet potatoes, blueberries, carrots, garbanzo beans (sound great, don't they), and apples!

Eat, jump, dance your way to better memory, greater happiness, and higher quality sleep.

What's not to love?

A Moodscope member.

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Knowing how to be Sunday June 9, 2019

Was there ever a time and when men were men and women were women and people knew how to be?

People often talk about 'the good old days', but back then the stereotypes of what it meant to be male or female, young and old, could be very restrictive.

For people in modern culture, there are conflicting messages on 'how to be'... Do you be strong and tough and bottle up your emotions, do you find it hard to be assertive without people saying you are aggressive, do your children tell you to act your age?

I understand as a mother of sons how hard it can be working out their role in life.

I also feel as a woman who is aging in a society where youth and beauty are valued it can seem that once you pass a certain age you become a bit invisible.

I wonder what a world would look like where everyone is free to be what they want to be if they are harming no one or the environment, there would be no pressure to act like a man, or a woman or to act your age etc.

If we could be free of gender, age, social stereotypes would we be more likely to like ourselves more?

Or am I kidding myself that this is just a dream.

I wonder what other people think.

Are you comfortable being who you are, or do you feel there are restrictions on how you behave based on your gender and or age.?

A Moodscope member.

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Get Lost Saturday June 8, 2019

I don't mean to be rude or unkind, but "Get lost", no really, get lost and see where you find yourself.

I had a book to return to someone whose house I had visited only once before. It was about a 30 minute walk from my house through a park and recreational ground. I had a vague idea of where it was so was not overly concerned about not being able to find the house in question.

I made one wrong turn about 5 minutes from the destination, so I simply asked the next person who walked by, where the street in question was. We exchanged pleasantries and I went on my way. I found the house, deposited the book and decided since I was out and about, I might as well do a small shop for a few basics on the way home. I knew where I was heading sort of, but decided to follow my nose and see where it led me.

About 10 minutes in, I asked a young lad if I was heading in the right direction – no doubt he was completely perplexed as to why I hadn't simply looked at the map on the phone. But this was the point exactly. I was in a different part of town that I didn't know at all and so I wanted to explore it, not just pass through it. I spoke with several people along the way and had a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

I was open to whatever the journey brought. I was relaxed and unconcerned. Worse case scenario, I could have taken a bus in the general direction of home. I was not exactly in a threatening environment and I wasn't 'lost' as such, I was simply meandering my way home through a part of town I didn't know.

It struck me that it is not often we get the opportunity to set off on a journey with no real intention. Generally, we try to get from A to B in the shortest, fastest space of time. We try to get to the intended destination from the onset, from the first step taken on our thoroughly planned out journey.

I have now firmly decided that I am in absolutely no rush whatsoever to get to my destination, is it not the journey that counts, as the expression goes? I have finally understood this. What, after all, do we do when we reach our destination? Is it the end or is it the beginning? I have absolutely no idea, but either way, I'm in no race to find out. I am going to embrace the journey, ups and down, twists and turns, that it will undoubtedly continue to take. Seems to me, put like this, that it's a far more interesting journey than a long straight road ahead.

Try it, try getting lost! Set out with no intended destination in mind and see where you find yourself.

(Reminds of " The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry". If you are looking for a good read, borrow a copy.)

A Moodscope member.

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Take Pride Friday June 7, 2019


A deadly sin, some believe.

Precursor to a fall, say others.

And we all know someone who has a bit too much.

But for those of us who find day to day life a struggle, for whom the black dog visits and the darkness engulfs, a little pride can go a long way. I'm not talking about running marathons; I mean pride in the everyday achievements which poor mental health can turn into such a challenge.

Pride for getting out of bed when we really didn't want to.

Pride for getting through a busy week.

Pride for saying "No" to something and instead prioritising self-care.

We have so much to be proud of, even on our darkest days, and acknowledging that can be such a positive step to recognising just how good we all are, and just how hard we fight to get through.

So go on, dear Moodscopers, puff out your chests and tell us all: what are you proud of?

With love

A Moodscope member.

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Thanks! Thursday June 6, 2019

I've had this certain ability for years... in fact, I'm a bit of an expert, if I say so myself! I certainly don't think it's unique because I know a lot of my friends have it too. Maybe you have it!

I've had it for years, as far back as I can remember and use it regularly. I'm not sure if it's some genetic, predisposed ability or a learned behaviour but I know it's taking me a long time to change it.

What is it? What can I do?

Deflect! I am a professional dodger. I can hand-off a compliment better than a rugby union flanker! I can put down or side swerve someone's good intentions and lovely words with absolute ease.

Someone may say, "Your hair is lovely", I reply, "It's due a cut". "That's a beautiful top"... my response, "I've had it for years". Even at work, "Well done, great job", my reply, "It was nothing".

But why do I do it? If I pay someone a compliment, it's for them, I don't want it back, I want them to keep it and feel it and enjoy the sentiment for the rest of their day. I don't know why I can't accept them easily myself. Maybe its low self-esteem, maybe its low self-worth but if it is, deflecting the compliments isn't going to strengthen my ego.

I made a decision. It's not always natural for me but I'm learning a new behaviour. I'm teaching myself to accept, that's all, just accept. The compliments are no longer being deflected, they're being received and appreciated to help my acceptance of me. The me that other people see fit to compliment and the me I'm learning to love a lot more.

I was recently stopped in a railway station by a complete stranger who was just walking past. She smiled and said "You look amazing, I love your style." I smiled back, laughed a little, maybe slightly embarrassed and then replied, "Thank you, what a lovely thing to say". We were both complimented.

It starts with thank you... just thank you!

"You look beautiful today"... "Wow! Thanks – I feel great"

Yvonne x
A Moodscope member.

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Fifteen Minutes – and GO! Wednesday June 5, 2019

Last week Cathy posted a blog on housework and this really struck a chord with me.

Several chords really.

The first is that I rate myself pretty low on the scale of "clean and tidy". There is dust on the windowsill – and smears on the glass beyond it. I have heaps of paper and magazines, and a pile of clothes on the floor ready to take to the charity shop. My kitchen floor could do with being swept and mopped and there are usually spiderwebs if you look up. I have random clutter on most surfaces. Oh dear, my house is not what I would call "clean and tidy."

But – there's another thing. A couple of months ago I was exhibiting at an event, with a table right next to the fire service. They had a series of photographs showing the fire service "Clutter Scale", as it relates to a fire risk. You can find a similar image here (you will need to scroll down the page to see it): I realised that my clutter scale tops out at around 2 out of 9: it is perfectly normal. I judge myself (unrealistically) by full page spreads in House Beautiful or by TV stage sets. Maybe you do too. Normality is where and how normal people live. A certain amount of dirt and clutter is – yes - normal.

I thought about some dear friends of mine. They throw the most amazing parties where you will always meet interesting people. But their home is very far from "show perfect." My husband loves going to them as he says they make him feel tidy. I admire them immensely for their joyful acceptance that people love them and do not care that there is a pile of shoes in the hall or that the kitchen table is covered with stuff. I envy them for their freedom from fear.

The chord that struck most loudly however, was something I read about a woman who has made a career out of teaching people how to clean their homes and keep them tidy. She calls herself "The Flylady". The thing I love most about her is that she teaches self-acceptance first. It's okay to be where you are, and you can only take one baby step at a time. She works with baby steps and fifteen-minute tasks.

Saturday's task was to spend just a few minutes in the hall, sorting out the shoes (I put all the winter boots away: we won't need those until October) and clearing the hall table of the broken pens, leaflets and oddments that collect there. Just having an ordered shoe rack and clear table made me feel much better. And it took ten minutes.

Today's task is to clear just one shelf in a food cupboard. Just one. I can do that in fifteen minutes and feel great.

You can do a lot in fifteen minutes. But set your timer! Then stop.

A Moodscope member.

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Are our mental health issues being treated appropriately? Tuesday June 4, 2019

I have been pondering recently on medication for mental health issues.

There are almost as many different medications as for types of mental health issues. It's a minefield out there and it seems that it's trial and error (mainly error) over a number of years to find the right medication for you.

Some of us never find it. Other swear that their new medication works for their depression, bi polar etc etc.

I am really happy when I read on Moodscope and press articles that someone who has suffered depression, whatever form it takes, for years, has found a tablet which makes them better. I don't doubt it. I'm just pleased. Very pleased for this person.

I read an article recently, written by Alastair Campbell, political journalist and former ministerial aide whom many of you in the UK will know has suffered from depression for years. He wrote honestly about how his depression affects him. All very interesting but the thing that struck me most in his article was his mention of his Psychiatrist. His Psychiatrist prescribed his latest medication which is working wonders for him.

Now how many of us lesser mortals can afford a psychiatrist? Honestly? And how do we find one on the NHS or even privately? How can we afford to see one privately anyway?

I have a friend who is a psychiatrist who lives in another European country who has advised me that I should not expect my GP to prescribe antidepressant as GPs are not trained in the different formulations of these medications and cannot taylor them to us individually. We should instead seek the advice from a trained Psychiatrist.

What she told me makes enormous sense. She actually said it was dangerous to get antidepressants from our primary care provider or could be.

The point of my blog is that I feel in the UK (it could be different in other countries and I'd like to hear) depression/insomnia etc is not treated properly.

Whenever I've felt I needed antidepressants, I've gone to my GP and asked him for a certain brand. Who knows if its components are suitable for my physical make up? Certainly, none of the ones I've tried, and I've tried many, have worked for me.

Who knows if I am really depressed or insomnia causes depression? I do! I know that my insomnia causes my depression but doctors have always persuaded me otherwise that my depression causes insomnia. Not so!

My psychiatrist friend tells me I must get my sleeping issues dealt urgently with by my GP first and then if I'm still depressed (doubtful), I should see a psychiatrist to prescribe the correct medication for my particular depression.

So that's the path I am taking but believe me, asking my GP to prescribe a course of strong sleeping tablets has been an uphill struggle. I felt like a drug addict begging for Methadone. I am sure it would be easier to get Methadone.

I'd like to hear about your experiences of trying to find the right medication (not alternative therapies) that has worked for you or are you still trying to get the correct treatment?

A Moodscope Member.

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I Don't Get It Yet Monday June 3, 2019

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."

Khalil Gibran

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

Helen Keller

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

Sir Winston Churchill

I was looking for words of comfort.

I've always been a 'thinker' – and I think I share that blessing and affliction with most of us here – deep thinkers who go beyond the blind acceptance of those less interested, less curious.

I have a model in my head that the world should be a good place, that people should be kind, and that there are meant to be happy endings... this in spite of all the evidence.

I don't get it... yet...

What a wonderfully ambiguous phrase.

When the world doesn't make sense, sometimes the words we say to each other can keep us going. I like this from Reinhold Neibuhr, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I know it's not cool to mention 'God' (or 'Brexit') here, so I'll pick up the bits that may not cause offence: acceptance and courage and wisdom.

I've been 'thrashing' this week, relentlessly trying to change the things I cannot change. It's been horrible, and it is not wise at all. I still don't want to accept the things I cannot change – but perhaps I can choose to give them no further attention.

What I need is the wisdom to recognise the things I really can change, and the courage (or sheer bloody-mindedness) to take action – either will do.

What disturbs me most is that when I am under pressure the emergence of a noble character is the least likely outcome. I haven't got better, I've got bitter.

So, I'm throwing this over to you and your wisdom.

What strategies have you successfully used to turn setbacks into springboards, stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and bad crap into good character?!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Why? Sunday June 2, 2019

I love questions, I wrote a blog about too many questions a while ago.

Today this blog is brought to you about the question word 'Why' and its place in the world.

There is an urban myth that may be true of a first year philosophy exam whose only question was 'Why'?

Most students wrote frantically the whole time but one student left very soon after writing simply 'Why not'. That answer was given highest mark.

There was a scientist who had a show on the Television in Australia to popularise science. His favourite saying was 'Why is it so?'

Why do we ask 'Why' questions when sometimes the answers can be predictable.

Because why?

Because I said so.

Because it has always been done like this.

So how do you feel about the questions below?


Why not?

Why is it so?

Why do you always ask why?

Do you ask yourself a lot of 'Why' questions?

Ask questions, answer questions whatever helps you to understand the place 'Why' has in your life.

A Moodscope member.

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My housework phobia Saturday June 1, 2019

I am 72, retired and theoretically should have a spotless house, be able to produce gourmet meals at the drop of a hat and have a carefree existence. Despite being financially secure and very happy at home, I just can't get to grips with housework. My husband has very kindly offered to split it with me or to tell him when I want to "blitz" a room then will be happy to help me out.

I suppose it's all down to organisation, that is I'm happy to do shopping and cooking but cleaning the kitchen just seems so daunting. Likewise with washing which I'm happy to do but the Himalayan pile of ironing will attest to my reluctance to tackle it. Ironically I like ironing as I find it soothing as it's so repetitive but actually getting started seems beyond me. Most of the house is in a reasonable state but some of it really needs some TLC. I wish I knew why I was so reluctant to deal with it. If anyone has any solutions to this problem please let me know.

My husband won't hear of a cleaner as he has valuable home cinema equipment and so would be very nervous having a stranger in the house finding out about our possessions. I would love a housekeeper to keep everything under control, more like a mother figure I suppose, (I lost mine when I was 25.) I'm sure it's not that hard to get on top of a regular housework schedule then inviting people round is not the nightmare it has currently become. If I could crack this phobia I would be ecstatic as there's so much else I want to concentrate on rather than housework.

If you can advise me, I would be most grateful.


A Moodscope member.

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Breakfast, Dinner and Tea Friday May 31, 2019

Chatting with new friends over afternoon tea, different backgrounds, ages 40's to late 80's, we had something in common. All grew up calling the 3 daily meals Breakfast, Dinner and Tea. Supper now means an evening meal, but in childhood it was a bedtime snack with a milky drink. Lunch was sandwiches, popped into satchel or briefcase. Brunch was yet to be invented.

Most of us were no more than a couple of generations away from farm labourers, factory workers, or in my case, housemaids, soldiers, miners.

The food we grew up with was clearly influenced by that ancestry.

My father grew up in a mining village. Every night his mother filled a tin bath, water boiled on the coal-fuelled range. She scrubbed her collier husband clean, before laying out a big stodgy, fatty tea. Food meant energy, body heat, essential calories. Smashed avocado on toast, with a lightly poached egg and a drizzle of balsamic would just not cut it for them.

Dad did not go down t'pit, but he still demanded Yorkshires the size of a pillow, stew and dumplings, spotted dick (anyone young reading this, it is not an STD, it's suet pudding with currants.)

My mother was from Ulster, where the "pan" is worshipped. Any leftovers or stale food like fruitcake, were made palatable chucked in the pan with a pound of butter. Fried Yorkshire with jam anyone?

My favourite tea was beans on toast, but tinned spaghetti or cod roes were often on the menu. Moving to London aged 17, I was puzzled by the blue paper packages in the grocers. I had no idea spaghetti started out like that. There was usually bread and jam, maybe wonderful Kunzle cakes.

The conversation moved on to more foods of the past. Whether state or privately educated, there was seemingly a universal cookery book for dinner ladies, dishes never seen anywhere else,like Concrete Pudding. This was cocoa-coloured, so solid that if you jabbed too hard with your spoon it flew across the table. Always served with pink custard. Nowhere else but at school did I have corned beef salad with mashed potato.

One woman recalled her grandmother's influence. A frugal woman, she made casseroles from the vegetables peelings. If she was really pushing the boat out, a tin of baked beans was added. For "tea" they had bread and butter sprinkled with sugar. I recall being put outside to play, with a stick of raw rhubarb and sugar for dipping, a hot drink made with blackcurrant jam.

We all fondly remembered tinned fruit with Carnation evaporated milk, banana custard, Instant Whip. Something in the brain fires up whenever I walk past our local swimming pool. One whiff of the chlorine and I am tearing open the box that held the fruit pies sold at my childhood baths. My ex-husband craved meat pies and Bovril whenever he watched Match of the Day.

The topic was an ice-breaker, everyone joined in, so how about you, were you a breakfast, lunch and a bite of supper family, or common as muck breakfast, dinner and tea folk?

A Moodscope member.

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Overly sensitive Thursday May 30, 2019

I am sure I am not alone when people like us react to upset and change in an overly sensitive way. The reason I write this is that having been in an administrative role in a care environment for some while now, a person I recommended to join our organisation has been elevated to a senior role. This was done without my consultation.

I only found out today that this person who has only been at the organisation only a short time is now senior to me and earning more money. My manager informed me without consultation and I spent the whole discussion crying buckets. I could not stop the tears flowing. I felt snubbed and of little worth. I told him that I was not over reacting, just that anyone would have reacted like this.

Am I alone in reacting to things like this? I do not think so. Having had depression all my life, I react to change and being overlooked in this way with over sensitivity and a feeling of low self worth. I cannot help it but I have to embrace it because it is my feelings coming out and they should not be contained.

Hey ho, hopefully something positive will come out of this albeit I feel exhausted with emotion. If any of you out there feel like me, give yourself a hug and eat something yummy, but above all rise above it and give yourself a pat on the back. It is not your fault. You are special, emotionally sensitive and a human.

Love and hugs.

Miss Dove xx
A Moodscope member.

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Hall of Mirrors Wednesday May 29, 2019

She came out of the changing room wearing the dress with golden roses and both her husband and I caught our breath. She looked absolutely gorgeous! The colours lifted her, the style embraced her curves and the skirt flirted innocently with her legs. The dress was perfect.

Yet, as she twisted and turned in front of the mirror I could tell something was wrong. She was obviously not in love. And my rule is that, unless my client is in love, the dress or jacket or shoes stay in the shop and the money stays in their pocket.

"You must buy that dress!" said her husband (he is that rare husband who enjoys clothes shopping with his wife).

"I don't know..." she said and twisted again.

I walked over and stood by her, looking in the mirror with her.

"I feel frumpy," she said.

"Well - the hem needs to come up a couple of inches," and I knelt down and held it, so she could see. "See, that's better, isn't it?"

There was a further silence.

"Okay," I said. "Talk me through it. Tell me why you feel frumpy?"

I won't reproduce the whole conversation here, but what it came down to was that my lovely client has been going through a bad time recently, had gained a few pounds and had gone up a dress size. When she looked in the mirror, she couldn't see the lovely curvy woman both her husband and I see – she could only see the overweight woman in her mind.

We live life in a hall of mirrors. The mirrors are never objective, and we usually see a reflection of what we feel inside. The only time we might really see the "truth" is if we catch sight of ourselves but do not realise we are looking in a mirror.

I know when that happens to me I am always pleasantly surprised. Maybe you are too.

The mirrors in the hall of life reflect only our perceived faults and imperfections. If we feel fat, then that is what they will reflect – just think of those suffering from anorexia. If we feel our legs are short, we will see the human version of a dachshund. If we feel our stomach is taking over the world, then a hot air balloon will appear in the glass.

I won't tell you to ignore mirrors, or to ban them from your house. After all, I don't want you to go outside with misbuttoned coat and a smut on your nose, but I do want you to be aware that the mirror lies. So too does the camera, but that's the subject of another blog.

So maybe we shouldn't pay too much attention to what we think we see. Maybe we should listen to those who love us.

My client listened to her husband and me, and she bought the dress. She looks gorgeous in it and I hope she will soon see that too.

A Moodscope member.

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5 Ways to Wellbeing – Learn Tuesday May 28, 2019

The fourth of the New Economic Foundations Ways to wellbeing is learn. Something I for one, spent a lot of time doing as a younger person. First there was school, then university, then a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. The 'trying to stay one step ahead of the children' I taught, making sure I was equipped enough to teach them whatever new topic we were learning the next week or term or whenever. I even went back again to formal education and studied for a Masters level qualification too. So learning has always been in my life.

What I have learnt has always been similar though; the formal kind of learning with tests, exams, qualifications and late night studying and essay completion! But no longer, since leaving teaching and the world of formal education behind, I'm looking for new ways and new things to learn.

'Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun'. That's one of the phrases on the leaflet I found about the 5 ways to wellbeing. It's stuck with me as I'm definitely experiencing low confidence and have little self-compassion and would really like a bit more fun in my life!

So what am I going to do about it, well I'm not sure because as I've probably said before anxiety about new things and new people has often held me back from having experiences which I would probably find fun and beneficial if I would only let myself!

I have recently found out about the recovery college where I live. The recovery college is offering educational courses as a route to recovery from mental health challenges. I've submitted my application and am now waiting to see if I am accepted onto my chosen courses. I am hoping by gaining greater insight into my mental health difficulties, I might find new and more effective methods to support myself and continue my journey to better mental health.

I'll keep you posted about what I learn and if you've a recovery college near you, do have a look and see what they are offering. You never know, you too might find that you can learn something more about yourself, or develop a skill you didn't realise you had!

Good luck on your road to recovery and I hope you find your street to success. I'd be interested to hear what new things you have learned to support your mental health and wellbeing or perhaps you've had to learn as a result of these difficulties.

A Moodscope member.

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