The Moodscope Blog



Stretch Sprint Pause Monday March 25, 2019

OK, it's not exactly "Eat, Pray, Love," but it might work just as well! Following on from my recent blog on, "How To Get More Energy," I'd now like to explore a rhythm to our day that could make a huge difference to how energised we feel.

Your Body Clock can become a good friend... especially when our daily activities are synchronised with the Body Clock (and not vice versa.) The Rhythms of Life include Ultradian Rhythms – and I will generalise by saying we seem to biologically embrace 90-minute cycles. This is an especially accurate assertion from sleep research, but also appears to be valid in a healthy waking state. If you are happy to accept that, I have a cunning plan to suggest!

I know that many of us are musicians, and some are guitarists. One of the most delightful sounds we can generate on a guitar is a harmonic. When the string is vibrating, a subtle touch in just the right place creates a clear, chiming, tone.

I'm going to suggest we do the same with the 90-minute-cycle: to create harmonic harmony in life by touching the 90-minute-cycle at the half-way point to create 45-minute periods in our activity. Now, doesn't that sound like school?

This approach is so successful in my day-long workshops that we now call it "Club 45." A timer goes off every 45 minutes to allow for what we call a, "Fluid Adjustment Break!" Many participants have given feedback that this micro-break-cycle has helped them stay engaged all day.

Muscles benefit from gentle s-t-r-e-t-c-hing, followed by a sprint of activity, followed by restorative rest. It now appears that this too works for developing emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. My suggestion is that we get a timer! We then set it to 45 minutes.

The change that I'm now adding from my Club 45 approach is to focus on what I'm going to do in the pause at the end of the 45-minutes. I'm now focusing on developing each energy in turn. For example, I may go for a brisk walk around the field (physical). At the next break, I may ring my Mum or other family member (emotional – and something I don't do often enough). Then try a memory technique or play a mind-stimulating game (mental). Finally, read inspirational literature (spiritual).

If you think this is too rigid, trust me, I'm a creative! I don't do rigid! I do, however, let the timer do the work for me. It tickles my memory to encourage good new habits.

Will you join me in this energetic experiment?

What will you do in the breaks?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Halfway Down Sunday March 24, 2019

"Halfway down the stairs, is a stair where I sit. There isn't any other stair quite like it. I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top; so, this is the stair where I always stop."

AA Milne has a remarkable way of framing life's important things with the solid wisdom of childlike vision. Halfway is often an exceptionally important point. I may be well out of childhood physically but mentally I like it there and try to keep it close. Have you noticed children often have more wisdom in one thumb than they are given credit for?

Halfway Down is a beautiful little poem and it tenuously reminded me of something I used to do as a child. I loved reading and I shared a room with two brothers. In general, space in the family could feel limited and so one of my favourite things to do was to find the sunny patch in our bedroom (which was also right beside the radiator and so it worked as my space whatever the season) and lie in it and read. At the end of a chapter I'd sometimes roll onto my back and stare upwards letting the book be absorbed. Then, the same daydream always took place... I'd look at the ceiling and imagine it was the floor. I'd imagine stepping into the room and having to lift my legs over the deep threshold. I'd look at the expanse, vast compared to the filled room below, and imagine running across it and how that would sound. I'd rearrange the room according to the space I saw. I've tried it as an adult and I can still enjoy it although, admittedly, not for quite as long or as intensely as I liked to dream as a child.

I could play this daydream in any room in the house when I found myself lying across the floor. I'd even do it on holiday. Did you daydream as a child? Would you ever consider, just for a short time, having a go again as an adult, particularly with a daydream you may have long forgotten about? Dare you to visit there. Take a rest within. And, as always, I'd love to hear about it...

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member

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My eureka moment Saturday March 23, 2019

My plants are thriving now because I take care of them. I am present in all my interactions with people, not wishing I was home in bed all the time. Volunteering at the local soup kitchen makes me feel useful. I go to night school and keep my IT skills up-to-date. I no longer get a surge of adrenaline each time I hear a phone ring or the ping of a text message. My body is ridding itself of years of toxic build-up.

Rewind 12 months and I was in a job which was slowly suffocating me. The psychological pressure of dragging myself through each day, month, year was taking its toll. My job was restructured without consultation and my already fragile relationship with co-workers and senior management deteriorated. I was at rock bottom, having panic attacks, and getting pains in my chest. Once, in early 2018, I woke up in the throes of a mild seizure. I spent the night in hospital and a few days later I made the decision that my job was not worth the loss of my mental, or my physical health. I threw in the towel and quit after 11 years as a private school secretary.

Emotionally I am in a better place, but admittedly, looking for a job in the 21st century has its challenges. It takes hours to craft the perfect job application, to create online profiles, upload links to CVs, and social media pages, and the reward for all this effort? A bog standard "donotreply". There is virtually zero human contact anymore. Your life history is reduced to the mechanics of cold hard data-crunching, processed like a Tinder algorithm.

I was prompted to write this blog because the expression "Arbeit macht frei" popped into my brain, out of nowhere. Roughly translated, "work makes free" didn't make a lot of sense, so I tried forgetting it; but it kept popping back into my head, so much so, that eventually I started turning the phrase round in my mind and looking at it from every possible angle. Also, intrigued as to why it had wriggled its way into my consciousness, I went onto Wikipedia. It says that the expression was first coined in 1845 by Heinrich Beta in Geld und Geist (Money and spirit):

"[...], but it's work that makes you happy, because work makes you free. [...], it is a general law of humanity and the sine qua non of all life and aspiration, all happiness and fulfilment".

After reading this, a lightbulb went off in my brain, hence the eureka moment. "Arbeit macht frei" epitomises the emotional turmoil I am going through. Deep down, what I really yearn for is a sense of purpose, belonging and meaning in my life. Being unemployed I have a lot of free time at my disposal, as you can imagine, but I don't feel free, I feel the exact opposite, trapped; and filling my days with stuff only seems to exacerbate the void.

Love from

A Moodscope member

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

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How did you meet Moodscope? Friday March 22, 2019

I am often interested to find out how people first met their partner, and am fascinated how often chance plays a part in our lives and how first impressions sometimes can be wrong.

I was thinking about how Moodscope members first discovered or found out about Moodscope.

Also what were people's first impressions of Moodscope.

For me, it was several years ago when I heard a radio interview about a woman who had written a book about how charting her mood everyday helped here when she was struggling with her moods.

I decided to search the internet and came across promotions for the book but also came across Moodscope. I had never heard of the organisation before.

I liked the idea of charting my moods and started doing that daily. I remember wondering why I was getting personal emails. I did not realise they were blogs. I felt as they were addressed to me - it was personal!!

I originally joined for the charting and ignored the blogs but now I read and sometimes write a blog and read the comments and have not recorded my score for a long time.

So how did you discover Moodcope? What were your first impressions of Moodscope?

Has the way you use Moodscope changed over the years?

A Moodscope member

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

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Criticism - can 'bad' criticism be good? Thursday March 21, 2019

Recent activity on Moodscope got me thinking about my own need for approval.

I'm about to launch a new product (but will I ever actually do it?) and have been busy of late making the product, photographing it for a website, designing labels and publicity material, researching, etc.

The photographs are great, I'm really pleased with them, as is the product. If I was looking at said photos on any other website, my first thought would be, "I love it, great product, clever", quickly followed by frustration that I hadn't had such a great idea that I have the skills to execute just as well. Silly me, another missed opportunity, deflated, disappointed me.

I've been sharing my idea and photos with friends and the feedback has been great, really encouraging and positive, everyone loves what I'm doing and is telling me to keep going, I'm onto a winner.

So what is the problem?

My inner critic is telling me I'm wasting my time and money, have got no idea what I'm doing, don't have a serious business plan (I do, I think!), etc., relentless self doubt.

I start arguing with this doubt;

Me (to Self Doubt): "But the feedback has been great, what's your problem?"

Self Doubt: "Of course the feedback is good, you are only asking people you know will give you good feedback! They are your friends after all, do you really think they are going to tell you it's a bad idea/don't like the product? They are encouraging you, this is great, this is what you want and need to hear to keep going, but it doesn't mean you'll be able to carry it off."

Me: "Fair point, SD, you win this argument."

SD 1 : Me 0

Which led me to asking myself how I would deal with 'bad' feedback. Actually I'm open to it (I think!), and feel that there would be a certain honesty in it, that it would actually be more helpful to hear why people don't think the product will work, or isn't quite right etc. Positive feedback is comforting to hear, but is it as helpful as more critical feedback?

The issue perhaps is not so much whether feedback is good or bad, but how it is delivered and for whose benefit. Is it delivered with kindness, with genuine interest, with experience and knowledge shared for success or is it with overly harsh judgement, bitterness or jealousy from someone disappointed that their own inner critic got the better of them and stopped them from reaching their potential and tapping into their creative self?

Of course we never know what drives other people, the only constant we have is our self, and the ability to get to know, love and respect all of our self, the good, bad, yes and the downright ugly side too, with acceptance, familiarity and humour!

SD 1 : Me 1
(not that I'm keeping score!)

A Moodscope member.

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Stepping Back Wednesday March 20, 2019

"And coming up for re-election we have Des and Muriel," said the churchwarden, looking round the table. "We have Cheryl who has expressed an interest in joining the PCC (Parochial Church Council), and I assume that all of you here are prepared to serve another term?"

I swallowed hard and cleared my throat. "Erm..." I said. "Erm – I'm going to have to resign. I'm so sorry."

I expected frowns and silent disapproval. Instead I received sympathetic glances.

"Yes," said the churchwarden gently, "I've been thinking you looked a bit frazzled lately."

After the meeting, our Lay Reader (who conducts most of our services, since the vicar is on sick leave at present) engulfed me in an enormous hug.

"You've not been managing yourself again!" she said. "You need to look after yourself better!"

I have been a member of All Saints Church for nearly twenty years. Our two daughters were baptised at the old stone font and confirmed at the altar; my husband ran the Sunday school for ten years, and we have both sat on the PCC. The church is an integral part of our lives and we wish to serve it.

But I have too much on my plate. I am feeling overwhelmed and something has to give. I am making some hard decisions and giving up some roles.

I wrote a little while ago about finding your life purpose (Your Candle, 9th January). My purpose is to create beauty and generate joy. I'm not doing that by serving on the PCC. I'm not doing it chairing meetings at my bi-polar group; I'm not doing it taking minutes for the Patient Participation Group at my local GP surgery.

There are some duties I cannot give up: duties concerning my family. Not just my immediate family, but the wider family. As my mother grows older, she needs more help. To give that help is both a duty and a joy. I am lucky in having a close family; we're all nice people and we love each other. My mother lives just ten minutes up the road. But – it still takes time and energy.

There are only 24 hours in the day. We only have so much energy; both physical energy and emotional energy. There is a saying that you must put your own oxygen mask on first. It seems selfish to take time for ourselves when there is so much need out there: yet, if we don't, we will inevitably become one of those needy.

We must look at what feeds us; inspires us; gives us the energy to perform those tasks which must be done.

This is even more important when we suffer with depression. Our energy levels are already compromised, and we may need more emotional sustenance.

It may be a useful exercise to look at all the areas of our lives and all the hats we wear. What gives to us, and what takes from us?

And how do we balance that equation?

A Moodscope member

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

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Spring clean Tuesday March 19, 2019

"I find myself spring cleaning this morning. Well not exactly cleaning but decluttering. Two boxes under my bed have been sorted and books set out for the charity shop.

I have found many things of sentimental value: photos from my student days over thirty years ago, childhood books which I had hoped my kids would read (Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder) and letters from family members no longer with us.

Now this is progress. It's not the actual cleaning itself but the act of sorting and clearing out seems to indicate the start of a new phase in my life.

The last months have been grim and I have not worked for most of this year. This has left me waking every morning with a day without much structure. If it weren't for the dog I am not sure I would have bothered to get up or get dressed. Fortunately she has made me do that!!

But finally with time, increased medication and a belief that I can and will heal, I am starting to come to terms with some of the things that have made me sad and plan for a different future.

I'm not going to say all is rosy. Things are still up in the air with work but I can see a little more clearly.

My "spring cleaning" has allowed me to work our what's important to me, face some really difficult issues like the fact I hate my current job and start working out what on earth I must do.

So try it... just a bit of cleaning or decluttering... how's it make you feel?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Affirmatively a Moodscope Member Monday March 18, 2019

I have a bold vision... though it may not be ready in time for this blog! Watch the comments to discover more.

You see, you and I can switch on a mindset-state by using modern technology. By listening to certain sounds via headphones, we can help our brain trigger a highly helpful mindset and state. This is a phenomenon called "Entrainment".

Music with specific beats-per-minute, tones, and audio signals can be harnessed to help our minds feel better in the shortest possible time-frame.

I'm working on just such a recording for us. However, the positive language that goes with the forthcoming recording is already available. What do you think of these empowering statements? Each one is based on a Moodscope 'card'. Even the 10 unresourceful states I have switched, turned, and transformed to our advantage...

How do you feel when you say these out loud?

1 I am not ashamed – I am neither my behaviour, nor my past. What's past is past. The past has gone. I have remained.

2 I am excited and energised by what is to come today and how I can make each experience meaningful.

3 I will not be irritable any longer, but instead have chosen to be tolerant and joyous, recognising that any irritation can be transformed into a pearl.

4 I am proud of my progress, my resilience, and the way I am growing over, above, and beyond my circumstances. My potential is limitless. I am no longer 'under the circumstances' – no, I will rise above them.

5 I choose to let go of all hostility recognising that people make the best choices they believe are available to them at the time. It takes time for them to realise the truth that they can change and that they were wrong.

6 I am inspired - ready to be creative, productive, and constructive. I have found my flow and Life feels energised as a result.

7 I choose to let go of feeling distressed and choose calm instead; I am calm, I am becoming calmer.

8 I am extremely interested and engaged, actively looking for ways to make this day work for me.

9 I face my fears and I am no longer afraid; all my fears in the past have passed; so also, will all current and future fears pass; I love who I am and who I am yet to become. The past is not my potential.

10 I am strong; I am becoming stronger.

11 I let go of the past, move on, and no longer feel guilty; the mistakes of the past belong to a 'me' that I am longer the same as; I have changed and am still changing.

12 I am active and full of energy – physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.

13 I choose to let go of all feelings of upset, choosing, instead, calm inner-peace in the face of all storms giving me deep inner-stability.

14 I am extremely attentive, paying close attention to others and to the tasks I wish to focus upon – one at a time. I follow one course of action until complete.

15 I am no longer scared – I have faced my fears, they have passed, I remain; they are temporary; I am enduring. They are weak; I am strong.

16 I am determined to pursue my purpose and desires with passion and vigour.

17 I have chosen peace rather than to allow myself to be jittery. I speak peace into my heart, into my mind, into my thoughts, into my relationships, into my home, into my environment, into all my experiences and situations.

18 I am alert – noticing everything that will move me forward, remaining open to new opportunities. I mentally rehearse how Life can turn out for the best.

19 I am no longer nervous since I now have faith that everything will work out well and to my advantage. I am therefore courageous and of good cheer.

20 I am extremely enthusiastic – in fact, you could almost say my enthusiasm is contagious.

Whether the recording is available in time or not, I sincerely believe just saying these words will give you an amazingly positive frame for the day ahead.

To infinity and beyond!

A Moodscope member.

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

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The half and half walks Sunday March 17, 2019

I'm only half keen to do them. I only walk half way somewhere and back again. I only half pay attention to anything when I'm walking. Wait a minute... that's a good thing! I'm stuck and I'm grumpy. I'm negative and I'm waking up in the night. And so I'm trying to see if I can walk a little bit more often. Fresh air and a dose of proper outside daylight to keep that circadian rhythm on track. It helped that yesterday I had a partner to walk and talk with, even if she was a little press-ganged by the lure of buying a facemask. It helped that today it was cold, crisp and beautifully sunny. Let's see if I have the grit to lean into a walk on the tougher days. The ones I wish to resist will be the ones I need most. Let's see what I've got.

Do you need a half and half walk? If not, what do you need today? Realistic offerings are best but I'll take anything, dreams on a bad day work for everyone. (A caravan with a big bathroom on an empty shoreline, two floppy cashmere jumpers and Springsteen.)

It can be a revealing and helpful question... what do you need?

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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The mental merry go round Saturday March 16, 2019

The mental merry go round is in town again. Yipee. The rides are always free but never wanted. And then it stops. And you get off. And think to yourself... phew... they're off to claim another victim. But as soon as you get yourself back on some kind of even keel, bam... they are back again, claiming your sanity, your sleep, your very soul.

It suddenly reminded me of a dream I had a long time ago which kept recurring... when I lived in Scotland as a young girl. It involved little boxes which had legs but were like tiny houses which would come marching around to the house I was in and I could hear them chanting "we are the mental houses and we are coming to get you"... quite a scary thing for a young girl. Even if I was upstairs in the house they would march up the stairs to try and get me.

I do three jobs now – two caring jobs and being a Civil Funeral Celebrant. Recently I took a service for a gentleman who had lost his wife through cancer. She was 48. I started my funeral business in April 2014, when I was 49 and it was ground-breaking... terrifying, life-changing and emotional at times. However, as a professional you have to manage that emotion and there have only been a couple of occasions where I have felt close to breaking down.

At the service, I found my anxiety levels were worse than ever... and the chapel started to fill... and then there it was, I had to go out and do it. And I did it, as best as I ever could... and the family and the Funeral Director were over the moon. But it took its toll. I felt utterly spent when I got home... I often describe it as like my guts were being pulled out. My husband used to be a Funeral Director but he now drives for a living. The stress of the role nearly took its toll on his mental health and was probably one of the driving forces for us moving 500 miles away to Scotland to start a new life and leave that all behind. I only do this role occasionally but I found that in a more religious and quieter area where no-one knows you, trying to get established has been very difficult and has in some respects affected my confidence e.g. why does no one want to book me, why are they ignoring me, why have they not replied to my email – again anxiety inducing stuff.

And here I am, unable to sleep, so much going through my head I have decided to write this blog... BUT when will the merry go round stop? Is it time to give up the celebrancy? What will I do for the rest of my life if I don't do what I am really good at even though it is exhausting me on an occasional basis? How did I ever cope with previously doing up to 14 services a month? Answers on a postcard please...

A Moodscope member.

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How I worked my way out of depression (Part 2) Friday March 15, 2019

Part 2 of 2

Moodscope was a blessing: every day, I couldn't wait to read the new article in the morning, where I read about people going through the same "sickness". I found myself in those articles. The tool gave me a way to be more in control of how I was feeling: I could see a chart that put in an image the way I felt in the last days, appreciate my good days and understand my bad ones.

Slowly, I got myself out of it. Slowly, things in my mind started to feel and look better. It was the most difficult thing I had to do in my life. I had to fight myself to win my life back. There were some relapse moments, but I was much more confident I could overcome them. I know now how courageous I was to battle it alone and I also know it is a powerful illness that needs to be known and talked about.

Depression is a horrible place. I believe no one can truly understand what a person going through a depression is thinking or feeling, other than another one who went through it. This is why I choose to speak about that time in my life whenever there's talk about depression or suicide. This is why I tell depressed people they have to be gentle to themselves, have patience and keep fighting. It's a long and horrible journey, but the prize at the end of it is worth it. And the prize is our beautiful life.

I have gained an appreciation of life that I didn't have before all this happened. The moment I realized I got out of depression, I felt so incredibly proud and powerful. And worthy to live and be loved. A veil had been lifted off my mind and I started to see the world in such wonderful colours. I felt I had crossed on the other side of the abyss and there was life there.

Please, love yourself and know you are worthy to live and be loved. Please ask for help and you will see that you will receive it.

With all my love,

A Moodscope member.

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

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How I worked my way out of depression (Part 1) Thursday March 14, 2019

Today's post is part 1 of 2, the second part will be published tomorrow.

A short story...

It's been almost 8 years now since that horrible year in my life when I thought so much about killing myself. This won't be a sad story, I'll let you know from the start, but a story about winning. This is how I see it and feel it now.

That year I got to the lowest point of my existence: the failed long-term relationship, the feeling of being betrayed, the immense hate, the lack of any sense of accomplishment at the workplace, the financial restraints I suddenly found myself into, the awful sense of being completely alone in the whole wide world, the feeling that life has no meaning and there's no point to go on...

My mind, my soul, my heart, they were all in pains and my whole being was in a constant ache. All day I wanted to scream to the emptiness outside of me. I was in a very desolate place and I will never forget that year. But I don't know if I want to forget it. It has helped shape me and made me so much stronger than I ever was.

I contemplated the idea of taking my life. I was dreaming about how a simple gesture will end it all and how the world will simply continue without me in it. So fast and simple... I was in complete darkness and I was beyond sad and desperate. I used to think if I would cut my wrists, no blood would come out anyway, because it has all gone dry in my body. I cried so much, I got to a point where I thought I also didn't have tears in me anymore.

For me, what got me out of it and helped me, was the idea of those people I knew loved me, my family, and that they will not be ok without me. I thought about my grandma, that had died some short time before, who had loved me so dearly and helped raise me. I wanted her to be proud of me and not see me fall. And with these realizations, I knew there was no one who could help me if I didn't want help. I began to say I need help. I started saying that to myself every day and I started to look for help everywhere around me that I considered possible.

Out of fear of what I might do to myself, I started spending a lot of time with friends and family, forcefully in the beginning, but I realized it was helpful. I started praying and praying and praying, a lot, and talking to whom I saw fit about being in a poor state of mind. And that helped too. I started to read about depression, I meditated and I also discovered Moodscope. I took long walks in the park and dragged myself to the gym. I started playing the "Grateful for..." game, my own way of reminding myself every time of all the things I should be grateful for, that other people were not so fortunate to have and can only wish for.

I admitted to myself I need help and I need to be very gentle to my own self, I clinged to any nice moment and I tried to enjoy and live each moment fully. I know it would seem easy for those not having depression, but for me, at that time, it was a race against the clock, not to give into the weak moment of giving up on my life.

With all my love,

A Moodscope member.

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Lent Wednesday March 13, 2019

Some people give up alcohol; but I've already stopped drinking (at least in theory). Some people give up chocolate – but I've still got half that box of Christmas chocolates left and they are far too good not to eat. Some people take on the discipline of doing something nice for others every day, but – I don't feel the need to do that either.

A friend said she's giving up complaining for Lent. She is reading Will Bowen's book, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Enjoy the Life you Always Wanted. I thought about it for a while but that one didn't resonate either. I have always held with the philosophy of counting your blessings, and not your lacks, and hate complaining about anything!

So – why give up anything for Lent? I am a Christian, a member of the Anglican Church; but even within the Church, the Lenten fast is not obligatory.

Yet I feel I want to mark this period in some way – and in a manner which will make a positive impact on me and on others.

After some contemplation I had an idea. This Lent I am giving up being nasty to myself. For the six weeks up to Easter (only five now), I will cease to beat myself up, call myself names or castigate myself over anything. I will accept my actions without judgment. This is much harder than accepting the actions of others without judgment!

So – that alcohol thing? Saturday night I slipped up big-time. I went around all Sunday with a fuzzy head and a queasy tummy. This week, the healthy eating has fallen by the wayside. I have not written the chapter of my book I told myself I would. I have not kept promises made. As the book of common prayer says, "I have left undone those things which I ought to have done and I have done those things which I ought not to have done."

And I have decided not to feel guilty about them, or to sit in judgment upon myself, or to punish myself. Instead, there is a huge emptiness where all that judgment, guilt and punishment would normally churn away like a maelstrom. It's an odd feeling of nothingness.

My first observation was that I felt guilty for not feeling guilty, so I had to get rid of that too. Now there is a freedom; a limbo. And I don't know what will come next.

Of course, I do not wish to drink again – it really doesn't work for me. Of course, I feel better if I eat more vegetables and less sugar. Yes – I really do want to finish my book. I want to keep those promises I made.

But - it's okay to start again from here.

I don't know what will happen, but I do know that forgoing the inward punishment means more space and energy to look outward to others.

And that must be healthier. With or without that chocolate!

A Moodscope member.

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This word belongs in the bin Tuesday March 12, 2019

I read that using the word 'should' a lot can cause a low self esteem.

When we use should a lot it puts pressure on ourselves and if people say you should do this or that, we feel we are not good enough the way we are.

I am doing a public service by opening up my big should bin that is not recyclable.

All those should sentences you can put in my bin. They can be ones people say to you or ones you say to yourself.

Here is what I am putting in:

What I say to myself:

I should stop eating chocolates.
I should exercise more.
I should be more organised.

What people say to me:

You should be happy.
You should be more patient.
You should not be so critical.
You should act your age.

Do you have more should sentences of your own or from others?

What will you put in the bin, trash can, waste paper basket or whatever you call it?

Maybe shoulds help you and you can explain how and why?

A Moodscope member

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What Do You Want To Be Remembered For? Monday March 11, 2019

Penelope beamed with delight. She'd been foraging in the National Trust's second-hand bookshop at Kingston Lacy, and she'd found a treasure! That treasure was, "A Darzit Voice," by Beau Parke – "Poems and Stories from a Dorset Man."

In our village, where Beau lived, he was remembered for his poetry and stories, and for his much-loved friendly chatter. Penelope's find clearly triggered many happy memories.

Let's go back further in history. Dorcas, in the Bible, was known for her acts of kindness – specifically, "always doing good and helping the poor." When she died, weeping widows showed the Apostle Peter the clothes Dorcas had made for them. They were able to show Peter the evidence of what they remembered her for: kindness shown through her gifts of hand-made clothing.

"What do you want to be remembered for?" Your answer may surprise you! The idea for this blog came to me in the night – in that dream-like state between wakefulness and sleep. I knew, in this state, exactly what I wanted to be remembered for: my poems. Not what I thought I ought to be remembered for: the good Dad, the dutiful partner, the kind person, the generous giver. No! The poet! In my dream-like moment of clarity, I wanted to be remembered for my writing, my words, my voice. My logical-brain kicked in as I began to swim back to a more traditionally conscious level (you know, the one where you edit the answers!), and added more of what we might expect – kindness and music for me – and I'm sure you could add to the list – but the point had been made by my sub-conscious mind!

The unedited truth was out: poetry. The problem is, I don't write much poetry... yet!

Dorcas left evidence that tied her in to what she was remembered for. Beau published his poems so that he lives on, easy to recall in our memories through his books. Once you know what you'd like to be remembered for, ask yourself what the evidence would be to link you to that memory.

The call to action is coming next, but before it does, I want to emphasise that this is not meant to be a morbid blog about death! It's a positive blog to help focus you on your passion so that you can live your passion – doing more of what you love. Beau loved to write and chat; Dorcas loved to make clothing and give..

What do you want to be remembered for? When you can answer that, the next choice is easy: go and do more of what you want to be remembered for!

A Moodscope member.

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Pull me back into the shallows: an open letter Sunday March 10, 2019

I wrote this recently when I felt myself withdrawing from social events, and from making contact with friends and family. Sometimes depression and anxiety make us want to withdraw and I often rely on those that know me well to pull me back to the surface.

Please don't let me withdraw too far. If you haven't heard from me in a while or I'm slow to respond to a text, or I've missed more than one appointment, or I cancelled that dinner or missed that party or you just haven't heard my voice in a while... please don't let me withdraw too far. Trust your instinct. Please reach out your patient long arms and gently pull me back into the light shallows because sometimes I won't realise that I've gone swirling back into my lonely shell. Sometimes you'll see it before I do. Sometimes it takes a person who's been there to know it in another. Sometimes I won't spot where I am sinking to until it's too late and by then, not only have I missed out on being near you all and living but I'm too busy berating myself for going too far within and allowing myself to float down into the depths.

I will never, ever resent you for reaching your hand out to pull me back to the warm sunlit surface. Drag me if you need to. And every time you do, no matter how bedraggled I am, I'll be more grateful than you could ever know. And I promise, if and when the times come, I will do the same for you.

A Moodscope member

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Healing hurts Saturday March 9, 2019

So, in the latest episode of Brum Mum's domestic dramas I cut my forefinger when washing a dog food tin out. Ouch it hurt!! A jagged cut with a flap of skin which was now oozing blood.

That was the same day that I got up to find that the dog had pooed all over the living room floor (mercifully mainly on a wooden floor) and then half an hour later I dropped my brand new phone which I had had for four days, and would cost me so much to repair that the upgrade has now been consigned to the back of the drawer. Or was it the day after?

Having survived half term, crawling through the days I had with the kids despite being mentally and physically exhausted, I cannot help but be cheered by this beautiful Spring weather. Yesterday I walked round the chocolate box bit of Brum I live in and marvelled at the first lot of primroses out and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face.

But I also considered how, just as my finger was now healing but was still sore, I was beginning to heal from some of the pain I have been facing, but that didn't mean that it was easy. I have indeed blogged before about the searing pain of losing my Dad, and the split with the partner last month, I haven't shared that I had a lovely date lined up for yesterday and then at the last minute he pulled out citing distance as his reason for not turning up.

Now I am resilient enough to know that the abortive potential date was not my fault, although I had built it up in my head and was as excited and nervous as a teenager.

The other painful stuff is stuff we all face at some time: the loss of a dear one, the relationship breakdown and for me currently a messy situation at work that I need to resolve.

This is all tough stuff, but I've won half the battle because I know that and I am trying to deal with it. I have arranged some counselling, taken time off work to re-energise and planned a weekend away with a girlfriend in the summer. WITH NO CHILDREN...

So, as I type this blog with my slightly sore finger, I have come to accept that I can't change some things, I am feeling what I am feeling and I am working to try to make a better future for myself... and that starts today.

I hope that when things hurt you can find some healing too... and the whole point of Moodscope is that we can share those tricky thoughts, those messy situations, that scary stuff which is just too much to bear on our own.

A Moodscope member.

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Blind Spot Friday March 8, 2019

Bang, the words hit me like an articulated lorry. I feel like I have been in a slowly emerging car crash for the last year, and I knew it would end badly, but I didn't think I would be blamed.

I managed a lady who is a vindictive bully. I did the best I could, but she was underhand. The emerging car crash was the slow realisation that she had been bullying multiple people over a long period, with significant distress and pain to them. The articulated lorry smash was me being held accountable as it happened on my watch, that I hadn't protected people from her. This was the absolute worst thing. I had tried my best, and tried to do the right thing, I had put my heart and soul into trying, even though I was frightened and tired, but I hadn't been able to achieve what was expected of me. And it had devastating consequences.

At that time, something got inside of me, and weakened my soul. I went to dark places. But I didn't give in, I kept on and took a long hard look, and started to put the pieces back together. How do I feel now? Stronger, that I have learnt some important lessons, and that I am vulnerable, I know have an Achilles heal, but I feel I would do things differently.

It took a long time to emerge but I found compassion for myself. For the other past victims, her current and future victims (because for sure they exist, even if they may not even realise as she manipulates them) I apologise that I wasn't able to stop her, and I send them my love and healing. When Karma comes to her I will try to feel pity and care, but her Karma seems a very long time in coming and I am not promising anything, for me there is still an even longer way to go before I can go that far.

And if you are be bullied as I and the others were, I am here for you sending love and healing, don't despair, stay strong you can and will get through. I wake this morning and can still see the scar, I touch it's edges and ridges, and feel grateful I am in a better place.

A Moodscope member.

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The well from which wishes come Thursday March 7, 2019

If I need to drink more water, I leave out the water jug. Fully loaded and ready to pour. But its not enough. I put it in line of sight. But its not enough. I put a glass beside it. But its not enough. I pour water into the glass. But its not enough. I place the jug and the glass beside the kettle and beside my notepad which runs my life. But. Its. Not. Enough. I leave it in front of all the important things, so my wrists have to trip over it to reach anything life affirming. But it is not enough. I need to leave it there for some time. Sometimes an hour. Sometimes a day. Sometimes a week, a month, a year. Now I've learned a bit and I just leave it all set up every hour of every day of my life. And I drink more water.

If only improving our mental health was so simple. Some of us need to work harder at keeping our mental health on the lead than others. Whatever it is you need to do, even if you are not sure what that is, just keep bringing 'things' that are good for you into your line of sight over and over and over again. One day you will find a rhythm and one day you will harness the good days and ride them like a wild horse and one day you will see the bad days and just sit beside them until they abate. The hurt does lessen.

Know that. And if you simply don't have any strength to know that, at this moment, then you can trust my word. It's taken me more than thirty years to glimpse it, learn about it and believe it, but now I know it. I'm not fixed or cured, I'm not sure I want to be, but I know I can cope with it.

Your rhythm will come. It'll start with random beats. Hang on.

Now do your Moodscope cards. They will illustrate your rhythm.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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If I Were Perfect Wednesday March 6, 2019

If I were perfect, my house would be clean;
My carpets all hoovered; my taps would all gleam.
If I were perfect I’d complete every chore
And you’d be happy to eat your dinner from my floor.

The dust bunnies would be banished, the grime all gone
Papers would be tidied and the admin all done.
The ironing would be smooth and all put away
And the bins would be emptied at the end of each day.

If I were perfect, our meals would be planned
We’d eat five a day and sugar would be banned.
My children would eat with relish and delight
And then they’d wash up with no hint of a fight.

Oh, if I were perfect, I’d never be cross
With my husband and children – and I’d always be boss.
My business would prosper, my clients would pay;
I’d be filled with such joy as I worked every day.

If I were perfect, I’d be slim and fit
Of gin and chocolate I’d consume not a bit.
I’d lift weights for pleasure and have lots of fun
And smile as I trained for that 5K fun run.

But, if I were perfect, my friends would all leave
They’d laugh at me: “Who are you trying to deceive?”
Where is the Mary we all love and know?
We want to find her under this show!

The Mary we love is scatty but kind,
She’s warm and witty with a sharp mind.
We know she hates housework and that’s okay,
We’d rather she wrote blogs than do cleaning all day.

The Mary we love gets impatient at times.
Her kids drive her crazy, time out of mind.
But we know she loves them, and we know she loves us
Life’s too short for that perfectionism fuss.

So, if you despair because you’re not there yet
And you’ve failed because of targets not met.
Just think of what your “perfection” would be
And what we’d lose – the stuff that makes you and me –

Just perfect.

A Moodscope member

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