The Moodscope Blog

22

September

Baggage and Treasures

Wednesday September 22, 2021


Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag,

And smile, smile, smile.

While you’ve a lucifer to light your fag,

Smile, boy, that’s the style.

What’s the use of worrying?

It never was worthwhile.

So, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag

And smile, smile, smile.

What’s your reaction to those words?

They fill me with unease. They seem to embrace the British mentality of putting on a brave face and making the best of things with a stiff upper lip. I’m not at all sure that’s healthy; it seems more like denial to me.

The trouble with packing up your troubles is that they can so easily become “baggage.” We come into new relationships, whether work-related, social or romantic, bringing our past experiences with us. When these experiences are negative, they can poison our new relationships.

I recently attended a workshop on resilience. After the past eighteen months, we have all needed resilience.

One definition from a fellow participant was resilience is the unpacking of one’s baggage and using those experiences positively. I found that idea interesting. In a sermon I listened to on Sunday, the related idea was introduced that our pain can be transformed into “treasure,” if treated in the right way.

I think there are two ways of unpacking that baggage and I think it depends on whether we have our old kit bag, or whether we have “The Luggage.” The Luggage is a character invented by author Terry Pratchett and introduced in his Discworld novels. It is a trunk made of sapient pearwood which faithfully follows its owner around on hundreds of little legs. Among its many interesting properties, I love the fact that you can always find what you need inside it and, when you throw into it your dirty laundry, what comes out is clean, dry and ironed clothes, smelling faintly of lavender. If you needed a diamond ring, or a mountain of gold, you would also find it inside.

I believe our negative experiences in life can be turned into “treasures,” if we let them. How else do we learn compassion, understanding and wisdom? It always takes time; we must always pack pain away for a time while we try to cope with everyday life but, when we eventually unpack, we might see those experiences differently.

I don’t want to make light of grief, hardship, pain and betrayal – these damage us and take time to heal. Our scars, however, can be either viewed as disfiguring or as badges of honour.

How much time does it take for our baggage to be transformed into treasure? Well, a diamond takes between one and three billion years to form naturally. An identical diamond can be made in a lab in three weeks.

Not many of us have luggage made of sapient pearwood, but we do have tools to transform our pain. I’m not sure it can be done in three weeks but hopefully it won’t take three billion years.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


21

September

I am not Sick

Tuesday September 21, 2021


Recently a local gossip stopped me while I walked my dog and asked;”Hey why aren't you at work? Oh that's right I forgot. You're sick." 
"I am not sick," I replied. "And I will be working later today." 

Given the source, he wasn't trying to be malicious, but it reminded me of the vast ignorance and redneck mentality of the small town I live in. It is the trend to work eighty hours a week and make truck payments, it is not okay to be on disability. I let them think as they want, unless they come at me talking gibberish about me being sick, like some kind of human write-off. 

Overcoming mental health obstacles means not over identifying with them. Especially with a CPTSD diagnosis. When I lift my proverbial gaze above the mental issue, I can still see a way for me to live as healthy as possible. There are things I have to do to be healthy, don't we all? 

I changed the meaning of the letters CPTSD to mean Can Party Til Sun Down. It evolves... some days it means Colossal Promises to Sing Dixie... a term used here to mean telling falsehoods, only put as “Whistling Dixie." But you see what I am doing. Instead of “woe is me, I have this thing wrong with me"...I play with the words and recently overcame some of the claustrophobias.

Note I did not say:"my claustrophobia." I do not lay claim to things I don't want. Hence why I don't talk about mental illness as "my disease." That will sink my functionality. Mental illness affects me, but so does mental health. And when I take my medication and go for my walks, take my deep breaths and play my musical instrument, I feel well. Those are my results.

Nobody's health of any kind is etched in stone, the best mental health can change for worst and vice versa. Things can get better. I just hope when I cross paths with someone struggling, that I come up with something helpful and kind to say to them.

A paramedic told me once:”We start healing the moment we are injured." I hope that is true for all aspects of the human life, body, soul, spirit, mind. I believe it can be.

Bailey
A Moodscope member.

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


20

September

The Time Traveller’s Companion

Monday September 20, 2021


I’ve been doing it again… time travelling. I drift… I shift…

What I mean is that my companion and I drift off into thinking about the future, or shift back in time to think about our memories of the past and the meanings we give them.

This is fun. (Sometimes.)

I’d like us to be a little more present, however.

I started drifting on the way to Swanage this morning. We were driving at the time and my companion was miles away thinking about the week ahead. I was driving safely – at least I think I was – nevertheless, I suggested we return to the present to enjoy the beauty of the journey through the Purbeck countryside.

My companion agreed and thus we started to think about what we could see – especially the colours and shapes of the fields and trees and then the breadth of the panorama that unfolded at the viewing point. From here, we could see all of Poole Harbour stretching out from the home of Billionaires at Sandbanks to the natural environment of the gorgeous Red Squirrels of Brownsea Island.

Who is my companion? My companion is my conscious attention. Clearly it is not ‘me’ as I can often direct it and ‘I’ must be the Director! Lest this turn into too deep a blog, let me share my intention: to drift and shift when I want to, and to come back to the now when it is important. Those important moments of being present include deeply listening to others and driving in difficult or dangerous conditions.

I wonder how you bring your time travelling companion back to the now. My primary technique is to focus on my immediate senses. What can I see, hear, feel, smell and taste?

Why be here now?

Top of the list of many reasons: here is peace. There may be trouble ahead! We may have had a turbulent past. Who will rid me of these turbulent memories? My senses in the here and now!

Over to you. How will you practice mindfulness this week. How will you enjoy this moment?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


19

September

Are you being served? 

Sunday September 19, 2021


For those of us of a certain generation, you might remember ‘Are You Being Served?’ from the 70s and 80s, an innuendo packed sit-com set in a UK department store. I probably didn’t know how to spell innuendo back then, and I did so love the programme. 
 
Being ‘served’ is a word I find very helpful in terms of my mental health. Even during the roughest of times, we still have some choices we can make and with choice comes empowerment. What serves you well? What no longer serves you? If we don’t run an audit with a reasonable degree of regularity, those things that are playing small or big parts in our lives (regular or occasional) could be running askew and we could be missing a trick.  
 
Who do you give your time to and how do you feel before and after? What is routine doing to you? Does it keep you inside your parallel lines or restrict you? You are in command. You are the customer. They (whoever they are!) say a change is as good as a rest. Perhaps there are departments and counters you have yet to try. And they might serve you well.   
 
I need to take my own advice and so in the words of Mr Humphries “I’m free” - it's time to refresh things a little and shop around.   
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


18

September

Is Facebook fake?

Saturday September 18, 2021


Is Facebook fake? I say this, a week on from my recent holiday, which for all intents and purposes, appeared blissfully happy if you saw my Facebook account. There are pictures of the location (Ilfracombe in North Devon), the kids running on the beach, the dog eating doggy ice cream and even one of me in my wetsuit!

The reality for me was somewhat different. The weather was cold and windy for all of the holiday except for a couple of hours one afternoon. And I am not exaggerating for dramatic effect. I am not a sun lover but the fact that it was overcast and cold did put a dampener on my mood. And the truth of the matter was that, having arranged a holiday with my ex, partly for the children's benefit, it did remind me of why our marriage was not a success and what with his silence and the children's refusal to get up at a reasonable time (they are teenagers), I think the only thing that kept me sane was taking the dog for an early morning walk on the beach and seeing her attempt to herd the waves!

This led me to thinking how I had portrayed a different image of things on Facebook! I don't think I was attempting to deceive, but the reality is we often present the best version of ourselves on Facebook. After all, I was hardly going to admit to the wider public about how I really felt. 

Don't get me wrong...I have no issue with social media. It's a useful tool which I use and enjoy, particularly when it enables me to connect with friends who live all over the world. But it did remind me that Facebook does not give the whole picture. So for those of us who feel inadequate due to low mood, depression or paranoia, it's important to remember that Facebook is showing other people's best lives and to not get weighed down by that sense that everyone else out there is having a better time than yourself.

What do you think?

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

PS Other social media platforms are available....

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


17

September

Acknowledge

Friday September 17, 2021


I was listening to a guest speaker at an online conference about mental health who was talking about her lived experience and felt that having other people acknowledge what you had or experienced was a start in being able to get help.

I also felt that acknowledging to yourself how you are struggling and how much grief and loss you are feeling is something one may need to work out what will help.
 
I know the words awareness and acknowledgement are bandied about a bit, but I don’t feel it makes them less important or relevant. If we don’t understand what we are dealing with, how will others know.

I think many times we say to our friends and family, I am fine - maybe we are lying to ourselves and others. Also, if others dismiss our concerns as “Oh everyone feels like that” or “Just move on and stop being so down”, it does not help us.
 
It can take years to acknowledge our shame, pain and or suffering. I know it took me 30 years before I felt ok to tell other people I had bipolar and to eventually talk to community groups.
 
Do you find acknowledging is a long process or was it something you realised you needed to do from the beginning of your mental health journey?
 
What does acknowledging your mental health experiences mean to you?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


16

September

Alcohol and me

Thursday September 16, 2021


I come from a family of alcoholics – grandfather, mother and uncle (all blood related) were and my husband has lived with one.

I wondered if my mum had a problem when I came across hidden liqueur bottles at the back of a cupboard – I was looking for a mouse's nest at the time as strange as it sounds. Alcohol was my family's dirty little secret. Grandpa did it to escape from my hideous grandmother (who my mum looked after and it was never appreciated). 10 years my mum was ill, so roughly about from 16 I never saw her completely normal. Her behaviour was deeply erratic. My self esteem took a battering as she turned her venom on me as the two men in my life (father and brother) did their disappearing acts. She made fun of me in front of my friends, constantly rubbished my dress sense and kept on about me being anorexic. Mum started off a size 12 when she was married but crept up to beyond a size 20 (she was only 5 foot) and I never saw her eat loads so thought it strange. For years dad trotted out the bulls**t line that she had an “inner ear imbalance”.

I was told she died of acute liver failure but after he died, we found her death certificate which stated “cirrhosis of the liver”. It turned out later on that Dad was unfaithful throughout the marriage with at least two serious trysts (both when myself and my brother were very young, almost at the same age – 4 years old). He nearly left her. All I could think of was “Please don't leave me with her”.

I have over the years had issues with alcohol and I pat myself on the back for sharing this as it's not easy. I have an issue with alcohol too and felt like at times I was teetering on the brink of something bad. After two (almost consecutive) but not deliberate Saturday nights where I cannot remember the last few hours of the evening and where I have been almost paralytic (but not deliberately), I have decided that enough is enough.

In the past I have had several occasions when I could have been in danger or really hurt myself – my spectacularly bad one was having to go to A and E years ago to get my lip stitched up which is horrific. This thing ruins figures, relationships and god knows what else. I know I cannot be teetotal but I'm thinking of following my husband's thinking. He has a couple of cans of beer a week and that is it. But I'm scared. I have a habit that will be hard to break – what will I replace it with?

I've recently started on HRT and come off anti-depressants for the first time in years and years. I think the hormones are flying around so the fluctuations will not be helped by intake. Wine is my woe. And my tipple of choice. And this time it was bubbles (and constant topping up) that was my ruin – as well as me not saying no. I did say to a friend about having tea instead (it was a 2 pm start) and I don't drink during the day as a rule. I also need to say to people I can't have any. They need to understand that I really mean it and I need to really mean it. I'm determined though. Wish me luck.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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


15

September

The Problem with Goats

Wednesday September 15, 2021


We humans are wonderful creatures. We have the largest and most complex brains of any animal on the planet. We are often told that we use only 10% of our brain capacity (actually, this is untrue) and asked what it would be like if we could only use the other 90%.

The answer is, we might be just as lazy as we are now.

“Lazy?” you ask! “I’m not lazy; I really use my brain – in my work, in my reading, in solving sudoku puzzles to keep me sharp.”

I’m sorry; the evidence shows nearly all of us are lazy thinkers.

Take this problem, for instance. If you familiar with this from your reading or if you work in this field, please stay quiet so as not to spoil it for the others.

Imagine you are a contestant in a game show. Incidentally, this really was a game show called “Let’s Make a Deal” with Monty Hall.

In this game, you are presented with three doors. Behind two of these doors there is a goat. Behind one of them is a new car. You are invited to choose a door. You pick door number one. Monty then opens door number three – to reveal a goat. You then have the option to change your choice to door number two. What would you do?

Give yourself a round of applause if you chose to switch. Most people don’t.

There are solid reasons why most people choose to stick with their original choice. The first is, we calculate we now have a 50/50 chance – instead of the one third chance we had previously – and so, we might as well stick. This thinking is flawed: door number two now has a two thirds chance. You can find the logic here: https://bit.ly/3CdYj8P and the maths here https://bit.ly/3CcKFCz.

There is, however, another and more important reason why we might choose to stick. We have adopted the thinking that to stick by a decision shows strength of character, and to change one’s choice indicates indecisiveness and weakness.

This is where the lazy thinking comes in. Decision making takes energy; more energy than we realise. We often choose to reject new information rather than to consider it, as we will then need to take that decision all over again.
We can apply this to things like politics, religion and relationships.

This is not the platform for the first two, but the relationships area is vital to mental health.

Sometimes we continue to keep people in our life who are negative and who suck energy from us because looking at the evidence is painful, choosing to end the relationship is emotionally gruelling, and walking away takes effort.

Equally, we can choose to poison ourselves by refusing to forgive those who have injured us, even though we know it is healthier for us to forgive and move on. We chose to reject this information and to stick with our pain.

Intelligent choices are hard, and they are continuous. But they are worth it.

After all, we have a two thirds chance of winning the car and not a goat.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


14

September

Hopes and Fears

Tuesday September 14, 2021


Remember me Attic? So full of hope living in a spare room to care for Mum and Dad?

What a shocking nightmare the last six months have proved to be. I honestly do not know  now looking back how I managed to survive. Sound dramatic?

My father treated me, still treats me like something he found under his shoe. He hasn't spoken to me in months. My mother cries because of this often in my room silently in case he hears. She is afraid of him I think.

I don’t know what has happened to my family.

I have tried. I have cried. I have consoled and sunk very low. I am not wanted here as I am making things worse for my mother.

So. I have had to leave. I have bought a house nearby and moved again. My belongings were in storage and there was a fire at the units and a lot of people, including me, lost possessions. 
How unlucky can a person be? I have worked overtime to replace some items.

I cannot help thinking this is my father's fault. He asked me to come he wanted me there.

He hates me now. I don’t know why. I am broken again.

I still walk with my mother, I still feel her love, but I am not the same, I am not whole.

Attic
A Moodscope member.

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


13

September

I Had A Dream

Monday September 13, 2021


Strange things are happening…

I’m beginning to have ‘useful’ dreams – instructional ones. I’ve just had one about a most excellent friend who runs a Wine and Gin business! If Gemma were like a wine she would be sparkling, effervescent, and sophisticated. By this, I mean that her knowledge and breadth of experience is ‘sophisticated’, her character is ‘sparkling’, and her personality is ‘effervescent’.

This ‘useful’ content came after a weird portion of the dream where I was struggling to find three wines that go together. For example, “Wines for Summer.”

I am also thinking about going back into radio (as a volunteer) and was dreaming about having the stage name, “Apollos,” thus matching my new role as a ‘Mission Enabler’. It is said of the end of time that young men will see visions and old mean will dream dreams, though I’m not sure giving the amazing Gemma a wonderful LinkedIn recommendation is on the Divine Agenda! Nevertheless, I’m certain we can all agree I fit in the ‘old men’ category.

Why am I sharing this? I believe your unconscious mind and mine too need space and a place to express their thoughts, insights, and emotions. Our beautifully complex minds are forever at work but it is difficult in a busy modern life to hear the musings of the soul. We need undisturbed peace to let the gems percolate up from the depths.

Not everyone finds it easy to remember dreams. For example, I can only usually remember them if I am woken up in the midst of ‘processing’ the thoughts. In this state, I have written books, songs, and now, LinkedIn recommendations… but most of these are lost.

What visions and dreams, insights and ‘Aha!’ moments have come to you in a state of reverie?

How could you have more insights from the unconscious?

One of my all-time favourite stories is how the ‘Benzene Ring’ – the key to Organic Chemistry – was discovered. Friedrich August Kekulé, the famous chemist, was seeking to understand the mysterious behaviour of Carbon in Benzene (and thus all aromatic compounds). The version I learned was that he was dozing in front of the fire when he saw a snake biting its own tail in a ring. This is an Ancient Symbol called, “Ouroboros.” The ring shape was enough of a catalyst for his logical mind to then work out the theory.

May we all have useful dreams and stimulating visions!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


12

September


I will be honest and say that I can struggle a little with being sure I call people the correct thing.  A friend of our family, whose name given at birth has always been a favourite of mine, is now a different name and I work hard to keep myself from using the old name. He is my friend, and I am his, and just because I can no longer use the name I so love saying (because it reminds me of my granny), doesn’t mean I should disrespect his request that he now be known differently. 

Anyway, the point is, I was brought up by a woman who burdened me with her inadequacy. I’m sad for that. But I also realised just before I drowned that I could reach a life raft, and so I grabbed for it. It had a little sign on it which reminded me that, to prevent the onwards bleed of inadequacy, I had to reframe myself.

And from that day onwards, as alien as it has felt, I started championing myself. I did things, just small things, and then when my kids said thank you, I’d say “It’s because I’m a Goddess”.  I’m not a Goddess. I’m never going to be a Goddess, I don’t even look good in white and strappy sandals. But I say it. And now, they say it back to me - they say “Thank you, you’re a Goddess”. And I use that type of terminology on them - “Legendary behaviour”, “Olympian”, “Well I worship you my God”… anything that is funny, but serious.

And I hope it bleeds through the next generations. Self-belief is one of our biggest tools.  I am not just a maker of poached eggs, am in fact a Goddess.

Tell me – who will you be? 
 
Love from

The room above the garage (Goddess) 
A Moodscope member.

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


11

September

Changing your mind

Saturday September 11, 2021


I used to think I was indecisive but now I’m not so sure!

This post is about changing “your Mind” and not “changing your mind”

I am sure you will agree that sometimes life is not easy. It is more of a challenge if you suffer from poor mental health. Making a decision about a relatively simple matter can get complicated.

The Mind has this annoying habit of producing both positive and negative thoughts about anything. As it is not possible to change your Mind in the literal sense, I think the best approach might be to make friends with it. That way we may be able to have a better understanding about how it operates, and make some kind of peace with it. (That does not mean you ignore negative or unhelpful thoughts. It is best to acknowledge them. If such a thought persists try writing it down and testing it with factual information.) So if you are seeking peace of mind stop fighting with your thoughts.

It might help if you talk to your Mind. This may seem crazy to you but I am not the only one to do it. Research has shown that talking to yourself is good for you. But don’t forget to listen!

If you want to change your Mind so that it becomes more peaceful here are a few ideas:

1. Focus on things over which you have control.
2. Spend time in nature.
3. Make your own decisions about what is important to you.
4. Help others.
5. Be assertive, take control.
6. Meditate.
7. Avoid trying to change others.

Each person has a mindset that is a set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. These have an influence on how you think, feel and behave. If you can change the way your Mind operates it may begin to alter your mindset.

You may be able to enhance positive beliefs such as gratitude, self confidence and creativity. Or diminish negative beliefs such as fear, laziness and anger.

If you dare research into “The Mind” you will find there
are many quotes from many people. I have selected one by the German Spiritual Teacher Eckhart Tolle:

“ The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation
but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking and separate them from the situation which is always neutral. It is as it is.”

Do you think you can change your Mind a little?

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


10

September

Are you too hard on yourself?

Friday September 10, 2021


A few weeks ago, Dragonfly commented I appeared to be too hard on myself. In my life people often comment on this.

I have two answers

1 It is my attempt at being funny to make light of myself.
2 I don’t feel I am, but rather being realistic.
 
Sometimes I am not aware I am being unreasonable on myself and expecting very high standards.
 
When we find that someone saying something positive to us is difficult but thinking the criticism is correct, this may be an example that we are demanding on ourselves.

We may never think we have done something well and are often annoyed for making a fault or being unwell.

Can you remember when someone made us feel that we weren’t quite good enough.? How did you feel?
 
I have read that comparing yourself to others, using negative language and thinking that everything your do has no value is part of being hard on yourself.

I think you can sometimes be hard on yourself in a humorous way without being negative all the time and having little self-esteem.
 
What does being  hard on yourself mean to you? Do you think you can be funny about your faults? Can being hard on yourself be a symptom of depression?

Leah

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


9

September

How useful is knowledge?

Thursday September 9, 2021


My grasshopper mind is easily distracted; most things seem more interesting than the job in hand. Having had 18 months in ‘solitary confinement’, or ‘splendid isolation’ the time has passed somehow. 2/3 hours suffice to keep me clean and fed, and the house above the squalor category. Gardening an hour a day if possible. Limit to how much reading I can do, picky about TV. Knitting and music good combination, calming use of fingers, creativity and eyes get a rest. But it is Open University ‘Future Learn’ which has been a saving grace. I’ve done loads of courses: have I learned anything? Will it serve any purpose other than filling a few more hours? A bit of analysis seemed in order.

It was more pertinent today, with Walter’s blog on disciplining the mind, and the Chinese philosophies. I did two courses on Buddhism, useless. I am not hyper-critical (I hope) but they failed on all counts. Technical presentation appalling (surprising knowing Chinese technology). The presenters’ English was hardly understandable. So, you could say they were doing their best, lecturing in another language. But I’m English, and could not understand. Covid has made Future Learn so popular that ‘students’ are world-wide. How is a German, Japanese, Spanish person supposed to understand. The third criticism that they used so many Buddhist terms and quotations that you needed an enormous glossary.

Best courses, for me – were on literature – the detective novel – literature and the country house. Social problems were well covered: religious conflict, propaganda and ideology, planning cities to suit everybody. I am on my second logic course, but have to conclude that my mind is illogical. One that really worked for me was ‘Demystifying Mindfulness’, excellently presented, strong emphasis on the philosophers, practical exercises in relaxation. It came at the lowest point of Covid for me, third lock-down here, no foreseeable date to meet up with my family again, long, dark, lonely winter. I tried a second course, presenter’s voice drove me mad. I ‘failed’ two tries at Yoga, the teachers had silly voices and said silly things – seemed to think we (the paying customers) were putty and half-witted to boot.

I do not know how many I did on global warming and climate change. Every university on the planet seems to have had a go. Many were excellent, presentation, research, fair (ish) arguments rather than ranting at globalisation and corrupt politicians. The snag, and a big one, is that none had been done since Covid started, many before 2016. They were therefore pre Brexit, Covid and Trump. This made many of the courses’ content obsolete, overtaken by events. I count Trump in, because pre 2016 it seemed that there was a glimmer of hope that the major powers would start believing that global warming was real, then Trump pooh-poohs the idea, and pulls out of agreements. Covid caused chaos in the world economy, taking money which may have been designated to better use.

Don’t know what it’s all done for me, though!

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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


8

September

I’ll Just Do This One Little Thing…

Wednesday September 8, 2021


I don’t know about you, but I organise my life around lists. I especially rely on my “To Do” list every day. Even if I have nothing officially scheduled for the day, I still write my list.

There are a couple of reasons why I love my lists. The first is that it gives me focus and organisation for my day. If there is a lot to do, and it seems overwhelming, I will even try to compartmentalise the tasks into an “Important and Urgent” matrix. That way I have a basis for the order in which I do them. The second reason is that, when I look at the number of ticks at the end of the day, I have a sense of accomplishment. To this end, when I complete an additional task, I add it to the list and then tick it off. Sometimes, when you think, “I have accomplished nothing today,” it simply means that you have not done what you intended. Even if you ended up going back to bed for the day, then the task accomplished is that of “Rest” or “Recovery.”

I do have a bad habit, however, of reaching the end of the day and not stopping.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the importance of getting enough sleep. My day starts early, and my intention is always to be in bed by 10pm, with lights out at half past. I need to start the process of going to bed at 9.30pm. I know this; it makes perfect and logical sense. Inevitably, however, 9.30pm rolls around and I think, “I’ll just finish doing this…” or “I’ll just do that one last little thing…” Before I know it, another hour has passed and, again, it will be near midnight by the time I close my eyes.

It’s not just sleep that suffers, but my self-care too. The past couple of weeks have been crammed full of activities. My second daughter starts Sixth Form College this week and has needed a lot of support with her enrolment process and the course preparation work. The end of the summer break has seen a lot of clients contracting me. The Autumn Styles are already in the shops, and I need to familiarise myself with them. One of our guinea pigs is ill and needs additional care. There seemed to be no time for me to sit down quietly with a book or with my crafting supplies to create something beautiful. Inevitably my Moodscope scores suffered, and my “Buddies” were quick to point this out.

We all have tasks that are necessary. If, however, those tasks expand to take up the whole day, every day; if they encroach into our rest, relaxation or self-care time, then it’s time to reassess.

I’m setting an alarm on my phone for 9.30pm. When it pings, I shall discipline myself to leave what I am doing and go to bed.

What boundaries and disciplines do you need to give yourself?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


7

September

The dragon, the monkey and the owl

Tuesday September 7, 2021


I’m not one for much creative writing, but I’ll try. I thought to use these creatures as metaphors for thinking, since they are so evocative. 
 
Throughout my life into late middle age, I have suffered from anxiety, sometimes most grievously, even to the point of wanting to end things, just to end the relentless fear. But, because of this, I have had a most pressing motivation to learn. I’ve also had many years to learn, and many great teachers to learn from. I have taken the ideas and exercises and put them to the test. And I use the things that work. 
 
I empathise with anybody caught in the grip of racing and terrifying fear, and fear created almost entirely by the mind. And especially in the dark, alone in the early morning, in bed, as that is also a vulnerable time for me. So it is, the dragon comes breathing fire, massive and powerful, and I run, heart pounding, breath rapid, thought out of control (it’s a waking nightmare). The dragon is not sympathetic, but he is almighty. Beware, he takes no prisoners. What can you do when he comes? This is always most challenging, the best thing is not be around when he comes, or rather, not to summon him into a vulnerable mind. So, after many years of working on myself, I have been able to disconnect, to some extent, from the thinking that the dragon uses as his sixths sense radar. 
 
The monkey is the dragon’s alter ego, where the dragon strikes terror, the monkey is up to his tricks, inquisitive and nimble and he often doesn’t concentrate well if you try to make him do the wrong things for too long. He’s like a hyperactive, intelligent eight-year-old, high on too much sugar and he’s been up late playing computer games again. So, he’s not too impressed by being made to study Maths on a Friday afternoon, and he acts up, again! But in the right circumstances, looking for adventure and with his friends he’s great fun, and he’s actually really fantastic at making and composing things and loves new ideas. He is the emblem for creativity, but if he’s not creative he can look for negative attention and so wreak havoc. 
 
The owl is mysterious, and rarely seen, so if you ever catch a sight of her gliding through the trees at night, then you are indeed privileged. She is wise. And, of course, she can see where most would be fumbling about, lost and bewildered. She represents a part of the mind, which is hard to define, a kind of faith, and some deep knowing, a distillation from all the pain and suffering but mixed with experience of joy also. The owl does not fly in the stormy sky, but she may come after the storm has passed.  
 
Respect the dragon, keep the monkey gainfully occupied and wait for the owl. 
 
 
Huw 
A Moodscope member.

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


6

September

Yes, And… Tomorrow

Monday September 6, 2021


“No, but…”
“Yes, but…”
“No, and…”
“Yes, and…”

Only one of these has a future.

Do you ever wonder why we communicate with one another? It’s easy to understand the value of language in passing on all manner of wisdom from experience, and sharing knowledge we can use. And yet, why do we talk so much?

One answer could be that it is a way for us to exchange energy. Some conversations energise us and leave us invigorated and wanting more. I had one of these with a 14-year-old student of mine. It’s the first Zoom call in 18 months that I didn’t want to end! Her enthusiasm for very important world-changing subjects and her erudite grasp of them was a joy to listen to. And listen I did. My role was as a catalyst, to say, “Yes, and…” to all her ideas and insights. The conversation flowed. It was the best part of that very good day.

Why am I bringing up, “Yes, And…” again when I’ve spoken about it before. I’m raising it again because I’m still saying, “No, but…” and, “Yes, but…” and even, “No, and…” to the people who are closest to me. I’m still blocking their energy. I haven’t learned the lesson deeply enough, and it is something I dearly desire to master.

If you want to keep a conversation flowing, saying, “Yes, and…” to whatever is offered is the best way to increase and maintain the flow. “Yes, And – How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration,” by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton, is one of only three books I have ever bought the audio AND the printed versions. [The other two are, “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen,” by Donald Miller, and “Lord of the Rings,” by J R R Tolkien.]

Do you need to buy the book? Yes, and I’d recommend the audio too!

Since consciously taking a, “Yes, and…” approach to my conversations, I am feeling more alive and engaged than I have in the last 18 months. Give it a try – especially with anyone you’ve been in danger of taking for granted. You may well be surprised at how your intimacy can be so rapidly enhanced.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


5

September

We’ll do it our way 

Sunday September 5, 2021


May I start by saying thank you for the comments when I wrote last weekend. I was finding the week tough and, although I didn’t reply, I read every comment.  (I like to reply having felt the importance of receiving that when I was at the start of opening up about my depression.  I was simply under time pressure and then the moment was gone.) Most comments made me have a little eye leakage, I found them moving, and I felt comforted in the gentlest of ways. This is a precious community. And you gave me something to revisit through this week.   
 
It can take a bit of a leap of faith to write a blog, particularly to begin with. But I encourage you to consider it for a few reasons.  (1) it helps keep the 365-day supply high across the year (2) it shares with others your thoughts and feelings, and this helps us all feel more together in what can be a lonely battle (3) it can reassure and be inspiring and (4) it can be a form of therapy - emptying something out, giving you a line in the sand and maybe even a starting-again point. 
 
I used to write a batch of blogs when I was at a comfortable point to write (physically or mentally). I decided to challenge that to see if I could write weekly. It is a different ball game altogether, and I’m not sure I always feel comfortable with the quality of what I’ve produced, but it does make me check-in with myself more often. That is no bad thing.   
 
You helped me last week just as I needed a friend. I’m so grateful for this little place where we can find a pool of willingness to help, from near strangers. Your writing could help others and it could help you. If you don’t know where to start, think of what you’d like the ending to be, the message, then work back from there. This works in general as well as blogs! 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


4

September


Waking up to another day of decluttering on the horizon. sense of heaviness, emptiness. Treasures uncovered, mostly purple files and forgotten novels. Needing to be donated.

The nearest place to offload our surplus is The Climate Shop. The profits from sales are converted into tree saplings to be planted in Kenya.

Today I went in and the lady volunteer said, “You were in on Friday. You remind me of Miriam Margolyes.” I am not sure how to take this comment.

Many years ago, maybe fifteen or twenty, when it was still our Post Office, I was waiting in the queue to be served. Someone in the queue said “Have I told you that you remind me of someone I know called Helen?” My response was “Well as long as it was a good reminder I am ok about it.”
His reply was “No she was horrible.” I didn’t speak to him for years after that episode.

I shouldn’t have asked the lady volunteer in The Climate Shop about whether it was a good reminder or not, but it seems to be my default position. She was kind and complimentary. ”She is so real. I like her.” This cancels out the previous negative memory.

Have any Moodscopers experienced anything similar?

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

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


3

September

Paralympics

Friday September 3, 2021


I didn’t watch the Olympics, but I have been watching the Paralympics and enjoying the camaraderie among contestants and the sheer joy people have of just participating.
 
I think it is wonderful that Paralympians are finally recognised at true athletes.

While these elite sports people are wonderful, they represent a tiny, tiny percentage of all the people living with disability in the world. I know people will say that all able-bodied people are not expected to be Olympian athletes. But I feel that there is an expectation and an assumption among some people that because they are disabled, they can become athletes without realising that people need long training, amazing talent, and determination.

I know someone who had her two legs amputated just below the knee due to diabetes and people said to her, sincerely, she could now compete at the Paralympics. The fact she was over 50 and had never played any sport in her life seemed to have eluded them.

I think sometimes with, mental health we may see a famous singer, actor, writer, and a well-known person who has a mental illness explaining how they still managed to have career, write a book and be competent at their jobs. This is great to hear and well done.

I do wonder what about all of us ordinary people who will probably never win a gold medal, write a book, have an international career.
Sure, having role models is one thing but expecting everyone else to achieve the same things is just not realistic.
 
For many just getting up, looking after ourselves and others, bringing up children, caring for elderly parents, and coping with moods is more than enough without the pressure that maybe we are not doing enough

This is just my humble opinion, and I would like to hear yours. I think hearing about people winning medals, getting PhDs, and talking on leadership roles while having a disability is encouraging.
 
I would like everyone who is getting on with their life with a mental or physical to be valued and appreciated.
 
Do you think positive role models like Paralympians, academics, writers, or actors are helpful in showing what people with disability can do and why or why not?

How do you feel when someone with a mental health label achieves a lot and says it is all due to hard work and perseverance?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


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