The Moodscope Blog

17

February


Tom Cat Monday February 17, 2020


We've been 'adopted' – or at least tolerated – by a local Tom Cat.
He's a bruiser.
He's also a proper Ginger Tom.
I call him 'George'.

George is teaching me much about people.

Firstly, he's is fiercely independent. Secondly, he's fickle. Yes, he'll purr one moment, and then the ears go back, and he'll biff you one or bite you. I suspect he's had a troubled journey so far. He's damaged goods.

Thing is, I love George.

He reminds me of me. One of my friends once told me I was like a Sullen Tiger (cool Kung Fu name, no?!) When I asked her to explain she said I was just like George... I'd rub myself round her legs sometimes, purring... Next minute, I'd claw her. I was, of course, offended!

But then again, I'm damaged goods.

I'm certain Bridget's insight to my own fickle nature has helped me cut George a lot of slack.

As a result of getting to know George, I'm learning about Belief, Expectation, and Unconditional Love.

Belief – I believe the best of him – even when the evidence points elsewhere.

Expectation – I expect nothing from him or of him.

Unconditional Love – he's a damaged soul that needs love – love that is independent of any required return on our investment!

I, too, am George.

You, too, might be George.

I wanted you to know that I'm learning to believe the best about you. I wanted you to be certain that I expect nothing from you or of you. You are great just the way you are. And I wanted you to be sure that, as far as I am able, I will 'love' you unconditionally.

After all, are you not worth even more than this beautiful cat?

[Check out this beautiful song: https://youtu.be/XjwZAa2EjKA ]

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

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16

February


Wandering Sunday February 16, 2020

Wandering around
Wanting to be found
But that’s never the case
I will always feel out of place
Its a puzzle
I’m a piece that won’t fit.

Wandering around
Will I ever be found
Won’t always be the case
I will find my place
It’s a puzzle
I’m a piece that now fits.

Just so you know I’m still in the won’t fit stage...

Hugo
A Moodscope member.

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

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15

February


Love... Saturday February 15, 2020


I long for the warm embrace of another not only physically but emotionally as well. I desire the distant feeling and vague memory of waking up on a weekend next to the one I truly love and care for, after being able to sleep in after a long work week. Sun shining through the window, my arm around her, feeling her skin against mine. Those feelings, those moments in time, they give you something only true love can give.

Once that person or that love is gone, nothing is the same. Nothing can replace those feelings. Love is most certainly a drug and a very powerful and a scarce one. Once you have it hold on to it, because you may not find it again - it's not just something you can buy on the streets.

I will never forget those little moments that warm your heart. It's not the things we plan to do, just the things that happen while doing other things, such as seeing their love for you when you lock eyes during significant moments. I miss making love, I miss passion. Sex is far different than making love. I don't care about sex, I want the passion, I want the love. I want the moments when she'd lay her head on my chest while I ran my fingers through her hair and kissed her forehead. These are moments and experiences that gave my life meaning and without them life is nothing and is a constant feeling of emptiness.

I've forgotten how to be happy without these things and I haven't had them in four years.

Every night when I lay in bed I can feel the emptiness I can feel, how hallow my heart is.

Cody
A Moodscope member.

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

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14

February


Judging without facts Friday February 14, 2020


I was recently watching my cats. One cat decided to poke another, that cat looked up and poked another cat. She did not see the one who had poked her but assumed it was the one next to her. I did think this was funny but then I thought maybe I do this too, blaming others when they have not been involved.

As a child, this happened a lot. My sister could do nothing wrong according to my father, so I constantly got blamed for things, even when I was not in the house at the time.

Knowing how this feels, why would I do it too? Learnt behaviour? Human nature? Bipolar? Who knows? What I do know is that I don't realise until after that I was wrong.

I can also see my perceptions of others in there. I can perceive how they feel about me or what they might be thinking. As a child, I learnt to watch people. I wanted to know if they were cross with me or that something might happen. This came from a place of fear and rejection. Something which still bothers me now. This is not based on facts, only my perceptions. It is a very difficult thing to deal with - a learnt behaviour.

I find it very difficult to trust. If someone appears upset or worse, cross, then I naturally assume they are upset or cross with me. How do I know if they really are? I don't, I am just guessing. It is exhausting to be on the alert all the time when I could not know. I ask sometimes and then wish I hadn't when the other person snaps at me. I don't know the facts and yet I make a judgement. It isn't like I feel the world revolves around me. It doesn't, it revolves around the sun. But, coming from a place of fear, I am assuming everyone is the same. I expect them to be like that as that has been my life experience. I am constantly on my guard.

I dread family situations as I have come to expect certain patterns of behaviour from them. This is often unfounded fear. They behave completely differently.

The question is how do I change this? Recognising it in the first place helps, which is something I am getting better at. I try to say to myself, "You don't know that, it may be different this time". I know that I internalise things without looking at the bigger picture. I assume that what has happened or how someone is feeling is in some way my fault. I have said or done something to cause this. I know where my anxiety comes from and can sometimes recognise it but what can I do to stop it?

Is there a way to change a learned behaviour like this? Any ideas from all you lovely people are very welcome. I know I am on a journey, this is part of it.

Ruth
A Moodscope member.

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

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13

February


Get off my land! Thursday February 13, 2020


I've been hovering in the background reading the blogs and always appreciating the effort made by you all in writing and commenting. It's been a while since I contributed and felt it time to pop in and say Hi.

Was that selfish of me? Taking and not giving! Should I have, at least, made a comment or acknowledged that I'd read it? Would that have made the blog writer feel any different? Or me?

I have found that my life has revolved around what I thought I should do or maybe more significantly, what I thought others thought I should do (if that makes sense!). People Pleaser: my middle name and yet I'm seen as very confident and assertive and was once accused by an older sibling of being heartless!

In retrospect, I understand that by creating my own space when I needed to, may have come across as being distant or disinterested and the "heartless" was perhaps a bit of emotional detachment. However, I have recently discovered that this opinion of me is generally made by people who are only taking from me anyway and in the search for my own space, I would no longer be serving their purpose.

I am learning to be quite protective of my own world, my space, my boundaries. Not in a reclusive way, not in a selfish way, just in an "I choose" kind of way. The best thing about this acceptance is that I don't feel the need to apologise for creating it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sociable, helpful and welcoming but I know its ok to do what's right for me and that might mean not inviting anyone in for a short while! So if you or I decide we need a little bit of peace behind our boundary wall, it's alright to take it, it's alright to recharge, it's alright to choose you, it's alright to enjoy it, it's alright not to feel guilty and it's alright to let people know.

Yvonne
A Moodscope member.

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

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12

February


Imagined Dragons Wednesday February 12, 2020


One of my friends had a significant birthday coming up and a couple of weeks before the day her boss stopped by her desk. "I see you're retiring next week," she said. "What do you want as a leaving party?"

My friend was devastated! She loved her job and had never thought of retiring – but with one comment, that boss had brought a large part of her world tumbling about her ears.

We have all been hurt by insensitive comments; I know I have. Yet, very often, these comments are not meant maliciously: they are just what occurs to the speaker and are voiced without any agenda other than straight communication.

Then, there's the other side. You probably know someone who always seems to take everything the wrong way. In my family we say, they don't just take offense: they take a gate too!

Occasionally, these two people are the same: they can dish out the blunt comments but cannot take them. Because they can lash out with their tongues, we tend to think carefully before saying anything. Usually, we say nothing at all; swallow those words, and feel them turn bitter inside.

One of the most common causes of upset and distress is undelivered communication.

Perhaps this is not you; perhaps you are good at straight talk. Perhaps you are mature enough to know that we are all responsible for our own reactions and how other people react to our words is their own business. I suspect not, however. I think most people who suffer with depression are sensitive; more easily hurt than many, and desperately anxious to avoid hurting others.

It doesn't mean we don't hurt others. I know that my own words and actions have, on occasion, been the cause of great pain and I am deeply sorry for it.

Sometimes, however, things need to be said; communication needs to happen. Relationships can get stuck, resentment builds up and, when the dam of suppressed anger is breached, a destructive torrent of words can pour out. Words, once spoken, can never be recalled and the damage to that relationship might not be repairable.

I was talking to a friend recently about a situation where I am reluctant to say anything because I fear incurring a negative reaction. I feel frustrated and blocked in a whole area of my life because of that fear. My friend told me bluntly to get over myself and not allow my own power to be vanquished by imagined dragons.

"Can this person physically hurt you? Can this person destroy you financially, or cause your friends to desert you? No? Then, why allow the prospect of their words put you in chains?"

My friend is right. Communication needs to happen, and words must be spoken. Hopefully with more kindness and sensitivity than that boss used, but with the clear intent of full understanding.

Here's me, drawing a deep breath, squaring my shoulders and preparing to speak.

How do you deal with this sort of thing? Let me know.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

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11

February


Are you struggling? I am... Tuesday February 11, 2020


My Name is Jason. About ten years ago I had a hip replacement, it was a long struggle but I got through it. At the time I could push myself past the pain and just man up and get going.

Almost five years later I had to have my other hip replaced. At the time the doctors and I decided to go through the front so it wouldn't be such a hard recovery. The next morning the therapist got me up to walk and I fell to the floor totally unable to move (butt naked!) That put me back in pain but even so they sent me home that evening.

The next day I realised I had an infection and my daughter called my nurse. They gave me antibiotics which made me sick. It resulted in twenty one days off work, during which my job was changed and it was like 15 years didn't mean anything to them.

People I thought I could trust just seemed to leave me hanging. I was mad and upset with everyone including myself. I still think if I hadn't fell at the hospital I would be fine.

I struggle daily at times still because now I have arthritis in my back and it's getting worse. I have had thoughts in my mind that just bring me down. I never thought I'd be like this but I've been depressed and didn't know it. Sometimes hearing about others going through something similar helps.

I'm not over it, but I'm trying everyday. Take it from me, if you are struggling just try to talk to someone, I have a friend at work and if it wasn't for her I'd be a total mess.

Just try to find a way to help yourself.

Jason
A Moodscope member.

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

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10

February


"I'm Broken... Please, Don't Fix Me!" Monday February 10, 2020


One of the consequences of being hyper-creative and an INFP* is forever seeing ways to improve people!

I'm sure we've all got 'friends' who are full of... advice.

I used to have one ('used to') whose catchphrase was, "You know what your problem is?" [Fascinatingly, he knew what everyone else's problem was... though I doubt he had the same clarity about his own.]
l
Sam Sharma, a friend and coach, changed the course of my life two years ago. And he achieved this with just one phrase: "Never coach anyone without their permission!"

This resonated with me immediately, and it's only taken me two years to make sense of it in my own behaviours...

YOU DON'T WANT FIXING!

The truth is that we all 'need' fixing but we have so much invested in the current situation that we 'know'.

If we were to be 'fixed' or even to start the process, everything would change, and that's a massive commitment.

Your current friends and family have also invested in you staying the way you are! There's too much to lose!

Many people need MASSIVE discomfort before they'll risk investing in changing.

A health scare, a bereavement, a broken relationship, the loss of a job... all these can be sufficiently 'energetic' to give us the oomph to change.

Until then, I'll leave you in peace.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

[*INFP is a four-letter code from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. There's a free version of the assessment at 16personalities.com – and I recommend this bit of self-discover, especially in the light of Mary's blog on the Iceberg. If you'd be happy to share what you come out as, it would be a great way to get to know you better... but not to fix you!]

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

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9

February


Pebbles and Rocks Sunday February 9, 2020


One of my simple pleasures in life is walking along a beach or the bank of a river or stream, strolling or striding out and just relaxing into those moments and leaving life's problems behind for a brief time. I might even step into the water and wade through the shallows.

My eye is often caught by some pebble or stone or shell and by the end of my walk I'll find I have a pocketful.

Choosing those most appealing (often no rhyme or reason at the time except they please me) I bring them home.

What for? ...Well I'm not entirely sure - a reminder of pleasant places or people? The memories of a holiday/day out? To invoke pleasant feelings when I see them on my windowsill?

Pebbles are just stones, lumps of earth's rock shaped by time, water, ice, wind and fire. Ground under ice sheets. Smoothed by ocean waves tumbling them through sand onto the shore and reclaiming them on the retreat over and over and over.

Weathered by wind and rain on a mountain scree; scratching and scoring and sliding haphazardly across and against each other inching slowly down the slope year in, year out.

Over the years I've brought home smooth pebbles, knobbly stones, sharp flints (and occasionally a rock sized pebble) and though I weed them out occasionally - they go outside into the flower border - I've always got a few around in the house. Nice to run my fingers over or pick up and hold in my hands.

Rock is hugely important; here I can find a cave to take shelter in, a level shelf I can spread a blanket on and sit and admire a view and feel the warm sun. Lean on it for support and build my house upon it. Rock is solid and dependable.

Pebble I can pick up and cradle in my hand; reminder of rock from whence it came... gives me comfort.

If I collect enough pebbles I can make a path...

Ach
A Moodscope member.

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

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8

February


Forgiving the Crumpet Thief Saturday February 8, 2020


At work today a senior manager shook an empty coffee canister at me and said simply "There isn't any coffee in the downstairs kitchen."

I was deep in my work so it took a few seconds for me to realise she must think it within my remit. I explained she could fill it up from the upstairs kitchen cupboard, as that was for staff. I am only responsible for delegates attending in training rooms. Not sure if it was the assumption or the canister rattling that bothered me enough to write this blog.

Later in the day I put two crumpets in the toaster, and when I came back for them a colleague who hot-desks occasionally was sat eating them, I heard him tell someone "I wasn't sure who they belonged to so I thought I might as well have them."

Work colleagues can be as perplexing as family members, and our reactions don't always fit the crime, can you guess which one irritated me the most?

Mrs Mahoo
A Moodscope member.

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

59 comments - Permalink


7

February


Achievements Friday February 7, 2020

I felt somewhat deflated today about what I perceived as the lack of achievements in our house last year until my husband said to me... think about what we have actually done here. Write yourself a list to actually see what has been achieved. But I thought about going back a bit to when we moved.

We created a home from an unloved place that hadn't been inhabited for over two years. The dead seagull in the road (which I thought was an omen initially) had been thrown into our front garden, its wing up in defiance. Even with a brief and dreadful foray into housekeeping and the thought that I should just give up my self employment due to perceived lack of interest in the funeral directors in the area, I stuck at it and business is growing slowly and steadily. I will still have to 'pound the streets' to get more business but I'm up for the challenge.

We made new friends. I joined writing, art and badminton groups. As for last year, we paid off the smart new teal sofas, we lost our precious dogs but gained a beautiful new dog after such terrific loss. A man shed was built, a path was built to the back of the workshop by clearing the garage, a memorial area was created for the boys, the existing shed was completely cleared and tidied, a lovely flower bed was created with new plants and climbers, some fascias were replaced, gutters were cleaned, a back fence was put up, leylandi were cut down, areas were dug, slabs were laid, foundations were built, much pyromania was done, another fence was put up between us and the neighbours, a huge amount of clearing was done, a ton of decluttering was done, bags were filled and taken to the charity shops and in the meantime, jobs were changed, various friends and relatives were entertained and accommodated throughout the year and I won an award for one of my poems, as well as taking part in readings of my own work at our local theatre.

Yet still through all of this, I feel I have so much more to achieve this year and that I should have achieved even more last year. So this blog encourages you to think about some of your achievements. These are mainly practical things.

If I think about the other more deeper and emotional things, I have achieved a lot more than I give myself credit for. I've pushed through my anxious moments and challenged myself. I've relaxed into myself more and stopped trying too hard. This is me. Take it or leave it. I'm not afraid to show my true colours and if people don't want to join me, that's fine. I won't take it personally. I'll see it as an absolute achievement not to do so.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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

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6

February


The Big Issue Thursday February 6, 2020


What's the Big Issue?

Here in South Africa we have a monthly small-run magazine issue called 'The Big Issue' which addresses issues of the day in a manner which touches base with the man on the street. It probably wouldn't have much meaning at all to the more affluent society, but to people like the middle-to-lower class society, it has real meaning and touches the heart and purse-stings. It always calls for involvement from the individual reader and there are multiple ways one can get involved in the community or broader society. Whether it be though financial involvement or giving of your time, possessions or skills, there is always someone needy.

Furthermore, the vendors of these magazines are usually found at robots (traffic lights) or walking around outside shopping malls selling the magazine – the proceeds of which they receive a proportion. The individuals are vetted by the publisher and all the vendors have an identity badge which permits them to sell the magazine for a set price.

Why the long introduction and what has that to do with you me you ask? Well, let me put this into perspective: in SA we have a statistical unemployment rate of 30% and if you take into consideration the number of people who have given up looking for employment who are no longer on the 'seeking employment' register, the figure is probably closer to 35%. Where does that lead? What have you got that the next person doesn't have? Think for a moment, about what you have and have been blessed with – whether or not you think of it as a blessing - and then spare a thought for the unemployed/homeless/in dire straits through retrenchment maybe - and then do a comparison.

Suddenly things become very clear – you either have sufficient – or you don't. Everyone aspires to more, and there's nothing wrong with that, but some will never have that opportunity. The Big Issue – if you consider yourself one who 'has' - is how about doing something for those who 'don't have'? I'm not talking about random handouts to street dwellers, but choose an individual who you see regularly whose life you might change by sharing positivity as well as a hand-up.

Mental health does not discriminate between race, culture or class, but anyone who has experienced mental health issues no matter how mild or severe will attest to the fact that they wished they never had been afflicted. You don't know the background or circumstances maybe, but I can assure you – it is more blessed to give than to receive.

The feeling of having blessed someone with something they never had before is a remedy that medicine can't provide. Suddenly your 'big issue' isn't so big! Yes, you will have down days but things could be way worse. If staying in touch with your local homeless person/retrenched friend from a position of one who 'has', then suddenly your position of a mentally affected person becomes almost nullified – trust me – I've tried it.

Mental health issues are no longer snubbed (hopefully) but you can do a lot for the next person albeit from a position of perceived disability.

I hope this motivates you to test the idiom – it is more blessed to give than to receive! The Big Issue – not mental health – help others who need your help!

Stephen
A Moodscope member.

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

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5

February


Icebergs Wednesday February 5, 2020


I think we've all been there. We look back and think, "I really wish I hadn't done that." Even if there are no consequences to our words or deeds, we still regret them.

But, have you ever thought about just why it is that we have these regrets?

It's all to do with that fact that we are icebergs.

No, not great lumps of ice lurking in the North Atlantic waiting to sink unwary luxury passenger liners, but icebergs in the fact that nine tenths of what we are is underneath.

Only our actions and behaviours can be observed. The drivers of those actions all lie beneath.

The reason why we have regrets and remorse – even when we "get away with it", is that we are acting in a way at odds with that nine tenths. There is a fracture in our iceberg.

The first level underneath is our skill set. We all have different skills. Some of them we are proud of, whereas others we take for granted. If, however, we produce a poor result in an area in which we have skills, we feel embarrassed or ashamed. For instance, I make a pretty good cake. If, one day, my cake was rubbery, or tasteless, I would feel ashamed and almost humiliated. New skills can be learned, however. I am still trying to learn how to make a good Yorkshire Pudding!

The second, deeper level, is our beliefs. Our beliefs are not just political or religious – they are beliefs about the way things are. My husband believes that Volvos are the safest car on the market and because he values safety (see values below), he will always drive a Volvo. Any other make would be a betrayal of those beliefs. Beliefs can change however, in the light of new evidence. Just think, very few of us now believe in Santa Claus...

Our values are deeper still; the product of our upbringing, education and natural inclination. Values are harder to change than beliefs, yet we can still betray those values, through fear, or anger, or hardship. Sometimes we compromise, and then feel uncomfortable. If we value loyalty but betray a friend; if we value hard work, but illness forces us into unemployment; if we value honesty but lie through fear: a profound, if subtle, unhappiness will result.

Last, and deepest, there is identity. This is the deepest part of us that we cannot change. If we are straight-talking, we may learn diplomacy; but underneath, we will always long to tell it how it is. If we want to win, then we may learn to be a gracious loser, but our competitive streak remains. Not trying will always feel wrong.

Sometimes it's worth analysing these uneasy feelings of regret, to see where the dissonance lies. As Polonius says, in Hamlet, "This, above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man"

True words, those.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

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4

February


Self worth Tuesday February 4, 2020


I last wrote back in April, about juggling motherhood and work. I was working in a charity with an incredibly unsupportive boss and I was fired from this job just before Christmas. I fought them with a solicitor up to the point that I couldn’t bear it anymore - I felt it was unfair on so many levels.

My confidence took a further knock and my self esteem was in bits, I thought about all the things I might have done wrong. I certainly wasn’t perfect, but I was good at my job, I was passionate and I made so many good things happen.

I’m now working in a temporary job, and I’m starting my recovery. This experience has pushed me to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’m retraining to be a therapist. I took part in my first night class last week and it feels so right, I’m using my own experience to hopefully be a help to others.

Let’s make a pact together to stop others make us doubt our self worth and to stop them chipping away at our self esteem and confidence. We have power and we are strong, we are resilient at times - despite our experiences and our difficulties. We are deserving of love, and support, kindness and the life we want to lead.

Who’s with me?

Jenny
A Moodscope member.

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

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3

February


Our Space Monday February 3, 2020


Wouldn't it be great to feel safe, to trust that you and I have a sanctuary from the storms of life, and a secret snug even in the best of times – our space?

One of the great mercies of human consciousness is the sense of a fresh start to each day. Sometimes it may be a rough start if we've had a bad night, but it is always a new start. We can begin again.

For my own personal wellbeing (and I'm certain I am like many of us), I need rhythm, ritual, and routine. Not too much routine but enough to feel safe and that the day is building upon a firm foundation.

Moodscope starts the day for me: first the test, then the blog... and often a retest after the blog when it significantly shifts my thoughts and feelings. Jul's blog did that for me last Monday. It was like turning a page at the end of a chapter to open a much better chapter ahead. The publishing of the blog was timed to absolute perfection: my birthday. I left reading it, and the comments that poured in, a changed man.

I'm pretty sure that was a once-in-a-lifetime moment, thus I am keen to learn and respond with enduring gratitude.

Here is what I'm learning that I hope is good for you too.

Firstly, Moodscope works best in threes. There is a proverb that says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up their companion; but woe to the one who is alone when they fall and doesn't have another to lift them up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one keep warm alone? If the black dog prevails against one who is alone, two shall withstand the attacker; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (adapted)

The Black Dog of depression sounds quite cute. I usually see a black Labrador when 'the black dog' is mentioned... but the black dog is not cute. It is vicious. With help, we can withstand the attack, and if we fall, we can lift one another up. We can keep one another warm when life chills our bones.

The chief learning, however, has been 'a threefold cord is not quickly broken'. I love the assessment. I love the blogs because they are the voice of my companions. That's a twofold cord – a plait that doesn't quite work! The third strand is our dedicated buddy system. Here's the truth... I'd stopped using it well over a year ago... because I didn't want to be a nuisance.

When we let go of our buddies (and I know mine will forgive me for this stupidity), we then have to look elsewhere for intimate support. The blog comments aren't the best or most appropriate vehicle for that!

The 'Our Space' that is Moodscope's magic works in threes:
The Daily Assessment
The Daily Blog
The Daily Buddies – watching, listening, ready.

We need routine, we need ritual, and we need rhythm. Having buddies keeps me safe and warm. Thus, I give thanks to all our buddies too for the years of rhythm and routine and ritual that allow each one of us to thrive.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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2

February


The power of positive feedback. Sunday February 2, 2020


I signed up for a 6 week beginners Yoga Class. It worked out at £5 per session, I am fortunate at this time in my life I can afford it (it's not always been the case).

It's at the church hall opposite my home so very convenient to get to (which isn't always the case). It's my third week and although I don't really know anyone, it doesn't feel awkward as we are all focused on doing our personal best.

The teacher comes round is encouraging and positive (which in everyday life - isn't always the case - it can be damaging to be criticised constantly) so to hear her say Beautiful - Maria that's great, and hear her mention others in the class by name and give positive feedback has left me with a glow of wellbeing and a prompt to be mindful of adapting this to my everyday in as many ways as possible.

Keep well,

Mrs Mahoo
A Moodscope member

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

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1

February


My Wallet is locked in my Fridge... Saturday February 1, 2020


... So with a packet of pate in one hand I went downstairs to Security in the YMCA and asked to be let in to my communal kitchen. As he let me in I said to him "Do you want a laugh?" and he watched as I unlocked the fridge and swapped the pate in my hand for the wallet in the fridge. One of my rabid dogs chasing its own tail had been front and centre in my mind.

This is a process thing.

I was lucky enough to have Sir Chris Hoy present on how an ordinary guy like him can achieve Olympic gold. "If you want to dream, dream big." Okay – nothing new. "Break down how you are going to get there into achievable steps." Yup – heard that, doesn't help me. "To execute on achieving each step you need a process. And you need to focus on the process not the outcome." Now THAT is something new. My responsibility is to choose, execute and tweak the process and the result takes care of themselves.

Sir Chris goes on "When you suffer from FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) focus on the process."

Whenever I think of the outcome I hear the voices in my head saying "not good enough" "don't make me laugh" because I have to continue the criticism of other people in my life and especially my childhood, of any effort I make even before the outcome is apparent. Focussing on the process liberates me from that litany of self-criticism.

And "When you fail, then change and improve the process."

So I decided to hydrate in the morning drinking two pints of water with half a lemon squeezed in each pint. I went to do that after porridge and it was a lot harder than first thing when I get up before porridge. A small improvement to my morning process. Drink lemony water first.

I am all about tweaking my processes to realise the outcome I want.

I think process is the "what" and "how" I do anything. I also know it as "being present in the moment" – yes but present with the purpose of the goal and the plan. I also know it as "behavioural activation" in CBT where the goal is to not be depressed.

So what about that wallet? My new process is to be present in the moment as I go to the kitchen, not because I don't want to lock my wallet in the fridge again, but because that is what I have decided is my process, and I am focussing on that process and ignoring the outcome (and the critical voices). It should also help keep the wallet in my pocket and pate in the fridge, but will also bring other benefits.

The security guard laughed when he saw my chilled wallet in the shelf in the fridge door. I hope it put a smile on your face too.

Adrien
A Moodscope member

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

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31

January


Difficult times Friday January 31, 2020


I know many people go through difficult times in their lives.

This is how I feel 21 days after my difficult times.

In 21 days, I have learnt my life will never be the same and I may never accept this.

In 21 days, I wonder who I am now without my shop that gave me purpose and routine.

In 21 days, I worry more about how I may upset people.

In 21 days, I have now divided my life into before the fires and after the fires.

In 21 days, I have learnt more sad things can happen in my life.

In 21 days, I forget names, I am afraid my memory is worse, I am confused and often vague.

In 21 days, I find shopping centres overwhelming and the plethora of items to be verging on the obscene.

In 21 days I am surrounded by a quilt of comfort and support.

In 21 days, I have not recovered, I am not better, I am not often ok, so please don't ask me if I am.

In 21 days, I like to get lost in the laughter and chaos of a toddlers delight in dancing with scarves.

So what has helped or hindered you on your journey during hard times.

Leah
A Moodscope Member.

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

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30

January


I've come a long way! Thursday January 30, 2020


Manic depressive illness (when did it change to bi-polar) according to Butterworth's Medical Dictionary is 'A person suffering from a psychosis, classified as an effective disorder, in which excitement and mania alternate with periods of depression, delusions are prominent and suicide is a relatively common termination'.

'The pain is too much. A thousand grim winters grow in my head. In my ears the sound of the coming dead. All seasons, All sane, All living, All pain. No opiate to lock still my senses, Only left, the body locked tenses.' Spike Milligan, 'Manic Depression'.

'When my brain gets heated with thought it soon boils, and throws off images and words faster than I can skim them off'. Percy Bysse Shelley.

These were all chapter headings for a book I wrote on 'Manic Depression'. (No advertising, never published). In fact, my first blog was possibly May 2015, another chapter heading, my own poem on depression.

This was over 40 years ago. I had been suffering severe mood swings; culminating in an emergency dash to Westminster Hospital, ambulance, bells jangling, on a Friday afternoon.

I emerged clutching a piece of paper allowing me to leave, just a stark 'Mania', Then the fun started. Perceived wisdom, try to 'turn the mood'. I was put to bed for a week, husband instructed that every time I woke up I was to be thrown another couple of Mogadon. But moods got worse. Medication never lasted long before side-effects stepped in. I think Lithium actually made me violent. Then the discovery of only one working kidney stopped all meds - too dangerous.

I had five children, participated fully in our farming business, and swallowed thousands of Vallium. A different GP took over, 'You don't need those'. Panic – but we managed, I was so used to them they had little effect.

Ten years later, at University, in the second year I just could not cope, decided to give up. My personal tutor begged me not to give up before seeing the Student Advisor. She sent me to a nutritionalist. My story from then on is the reason for the title. I had a lifelong intolerance to dairy products, although I had managed to feed three babies. But huge advances in medicine showed that lack of calcium 'locked up' my magnesium, provoking stress, mood swings, and even suspected heart attacks.

Balanced minerals cured the problem in weeks; I was never manic depressive in the first place. Life started. Got my degrees, wrote loads of articles, started life in France, and with husband got into historical research, exhibitions, conferences and books. We followed a geologist son round the Far East. We started sponsoring children in India, and got in deep with social problems there, nine visits in all. My 'gardening' in this town got many plaudits, and thousands of photos.

This story is, maybe, a message of hope. Don't accept ANY label, look at your life and health holistically and see if, perhaps, there is something simple in the background that nobody has thought of.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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29

January


Part of the Pattern Wednesday January 29, 2020


Every school day now, for the past six years, my daughters - first just the elder and then the younger too - have been leaving the house at 7am and walking down the road to catch the school bus. I used to go with them, but now they prefer to go alone.

Every day we would pass (they now pass) the main bus stop and would see a young man standing there waiting for his 7.05am bus.

We would nod and he would nod, and we would pass by. I think, about year three, we started to say, "Good morning."

Last year my elder daughter left school and started sixth form college, which meant she did not take the school bus, but instead caught the 7.05am bus from the main bus stop; the same bus as the young man. She would nod and he would nod. She would say, "Good morning," and he would say, "Good morning." Then they would both get on the bus and take separate seats without another word.

Last week she bounced in from college, eager to tell me that she had, for the first time, spoken to this young man and had a real conversation!

She had realised she had known him by sight for six years but knew nothing about him. She also realised that, unless she spoke first, they could spend another six years just nodding at each other.

"Mummy, he's lovely!" she said. "His name is Samuel and he's married, and he has a little baby and he works in the science park. He's an absolute G!"

(I had to look that up. It's a slang term – short for "Gangsta" but I think my daughter uses it to mean "Cool". Her favourite teacher is "An absolute G," and he is most definitely not a "Gangsta"!)

I think most of us have people in our lives we see on a regular basis, but to whom we never speak. It a peculiar kind of relationship. We would miss them if we no longer saw them and wonder why they disappeared.

A friend of mine had two Great Pyrenean Mountain dogs – those giant fluffy white things that you could mistake for a polar bear. When one of them died, she found that people stopped her and asked about the missing dog. One person driving past drew up to speak. "I always see you with the two dogs. What's happened to the other one?" My friend found that she was a part of the pattern in other people's lives.

I suppose I am a part of the pattern in your life. I drop into your in-box on a Wednesday and – although most of you have never met me and do not know me – you care. I am part of your pattern and you might miss me if I were not here.

And you too are a part of the pattern in the lives of more people than you know.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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