The Moodscope Blog




Monday January 24, 2022

One of the first natural behaviours I observed that I’d never heard of through books or television was demonstrated by a couple of Herring Gulls ‘dancing’ on a tiny traffic island in Poole. In perfect alignment with one another, and side-by-side, facing the same way, the two gulls puggled the ground (I may have made that word up for this new use!) It’s like paddling but not in water.

I believe the gulls were simulating the effect of rain on the surface, encouraging worms to the rise and be surprised!

Since that first enchanting moment, I’ve seen this multiple times in the Poole and Purbeck areas. I believe other gulls have caught on and learned the new skill. I do not believe this to be instinctual. The other fascinating observation is that it is always in pairs – never alone.

Moodscope is like this for me – learning new useful behaviours from other Moodscopers… skills we’ve learned by experience, not instinct. What I particularly like is how my understanding of the blogs I write is transformed and improved by the dance of the commentary back-and-forth. I delight in this kind of collaborative change.

Thus, I wanted to say, “Thank you, for taking the time to think, reflect, and comment.” I am certain this means the world to everyone who writes a blog for Moodscope.

There’s more.

I do not know of another community that commits to the conversation as much as we do at Moodscope. It is notoriously difficult to get engagement on Social Media, and yet, here, at Moodscope, we are consistently excellent at sharing our feelings, insights, and support. That is something to be enormously grateful for and to cherish.

It seems it takes (at least) two to Gull-Dance. Thank you for being my partner(s) in the dance. May we feast on the results of our joint-efforts!

A Moodscope member.

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



Pop goes the weasel

Sunday January 23, 2022

I sit looking at this page. What on earth to write? 
Each year brings me a similar pattern. An adrenalin fuelled December, followed by a January and February slow-motion crash. At least now I can see it. I took on two extra ‘children’ in December and there was wider-family illness. There was also a broken oven just before Christmas day (I hosted). It didn’t feel that I was depleting myself - it was fun, I had my friend adrenalin helping me! 
Yep. I depleted myself. And that friend skulked off. 
Sitting in an exam this week, supporting a student, I knew that my body and mind were behaving mechanically - almost clunking clockwork, rather than automatic. It’s time to slow down but, for me, this means not having less to do, but more that I need silence, alone, and no clock to nag me. Then I can still work and function perfectly well. Few understand and it is hard to get what I keenly need. 
Have you slid a little post-festivity? Is there an adrenalin link? You might read flatness in my words, it will pass. And it is important not to shy away from flatness. 
Be well my friends. 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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



Book Recommendation

Saturday January 22, 2022

‘The Body Keeps The Score’ by Bessel Van der Kolk.

The author was born in The Netherlands in 1943 but went to the USA for his education and training. He settled in Massachusetts where he works as a therapist.

‘The Body Keeps the Score’ is ostensibly about trauma which can lead to PTSD. However, it covers a greater number of topics. Bessel Van Der Kolk discusses an extensive number of mental health issues and suggests various forms of treatment.

It is very readable, clear and very informative. He has sets of case studies embedded into the discussions of the various mental health topics covered in the book.

It is a book that I will probably re-read as it had such a positive impact on me. It was recommended to me, but I can’t remember the context. I have also recommended it to others.

A Moodscope member.

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



Your life as a review

Friday January 21, 2022

If you wrote a review of your life, part of your life, or one moment of your life as a book or film or painting I wonder what it would be like.
Reviews often give away more about the reviewer than what they are reviewing. We all have personal traits, thoughts and preferences that affect our judgments.

Our life is often reviewed by family, by friends by a loved one and also by strangers.

What if we could write our own review, what would it be like?
My review of my life as a collage entitled:

A mess of contradictions, a life of difficulties.

This piece is the artists first attempt at a collage so I will take that into account. I know she has had a few attempts at writing, At first, I found this piece overwhelming with all its confused messages and too many different textures, words, messages and so much clutter. I am not sure what the creator was trying to convey, but it was well titled.

I could see and experience the mess, but the life of difficulties was confused with photos of happy times and sad times. There was so much going on in this collage my head ached at times. If this was someone’s life, I do feel sorry for the artist. Is it an  autobiographical work rather than art?

That is my attempt and I didn’t edit it. I was surprised at what I wrote as I was going to do a book!!
What would your review be like? Give it a go, no right or wrong way, can be funny or serious, long or short - whatever you want.

A Moodscope member.

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



I am hopeful

Thursday January 20, 2022

Leah posted a blog called ‘Plunging into the cold’ in October last year asking what is it about sea swimming that some of us are drawn to. Is it true that cold water can trigger the happy hormones? The replies were wonderful, honest and humorous.

I had a tough week recently. One of those ‘everything that could go wrong, did go wrong’ weeks. You know the ones. The sort of week you look up to the sky and cry: ‘Oh come on universe….’ I felt low, sad and uninspired. Even though I knew I would feel better afterwards, I had to persuade my sad, tired body to de-robe, pull on my swimsuit and walk towards the shore. I decided when I got out, no matter how I felt, I would write my thoughts down straight away. No cheating. I had a notebook and pen in my changing bag. I would emerge from the sea, scribble my feelings and share them with my Moodscope comrades. 

Here is what I wrote after my swim that sad Saturday…

"I feel hopeful. Optimistic. Lots of ideas and plans swirling and whirling in my head. The slow moving clouds in the sky, the touch of the water around my body, the smell, that fresh almost fruit-salady smell of the sea. The cold. Oh yes, yes, the stinging but it feels like a joyful, hopeful stinging, in fact it’s more zinging than stinging. Anything is possible, anything. It’s been a dark, upsetting week and I’ve been struggling but right now, right in this moment, I can feel, I can sense possibility, freshness, hope. My face is frozen in a smile, it’s a frozen-cold-smile yes but also it’s a smile of hope, a smile of knowing that I am strong, that I am alive, that there is a future with brighter, lighter weeks ahead, a tangible hope of more to come… more delights to come. I am strong, I am alive… I am hopeful.”

At that point, I started to shiver with the cold so I got dressed quickly! The high had hit and I was buzzing. Did it last long? I wish I could say it did but it only lasted for a few hours before reality started to nibble, snap and bite again. But the sadness wasn’t as severe. That sea-swim spark of hope had reminded me that the darkness will pass and I will feel brighter again. My skin will zing again. And I will smile. Even if the smile is a cold-water-frozen-face sort of a smile, it is a smile.

Every time I get into the sea, I repeat my mantra: ‘I am strong, I am alive… ’ In one way, it doesn’t sound much. But in another way, it is everything. It is, for me, the very essence of hope.

The cold Irish Sea may not help everyone. For some, it might be the opposite - a warm bath perhaps?! But, whatever it is, I hope and wish that all my fellow Moodscopers will find, or have found, something that works for you, something that gives even the teeniest little glimmer of hope just when you need it…  

Salt Water Mum 
A Moodscope member.

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



Clearing Out for Good

Wednesday January 19, 2022

I’ve mentioned before my parents-in-law have now moved into residential care. This means their house – their home for the past fifty years – must be sold.

Both academics, they have not been too concerned with their physical environment – so long as they were surrounded by their books. As things have broken or worn out or stopped being used, they have not been thrown out, but have just been moved to an unused room. Clearing the house is a monster task.

This is not the first time I have undertaken this kind of thing. My own mother moved, five years ago, to a small apartment on the family farm. She had to get rid of three quarters of her possessions. To begin with she declared, “I don’t need any help, thank you: I’ll do it myself.” As her moving date became closer, however, she realised she did need that help.

It was both a chore and a privilege to help her part with her things. Some decisions were easy, but many items had emotional associations, and she needed to process these feelings before she could let them go. I spent many hours with her, first asking, “Should we let this go?” then listening to her stories and memories around whatever it was, before she could say, “Yes, it can go.”

I cannot do that with my parents-in-law; they are not physically there, and they are not capable of that kind of prolonged decision-making. In some ways it is easy, as they already have everything they need in the care home; in other ways it is hard; we don’t want to just throw out those items they might like us to cherish – even though we have no place for them in our own homes.

I read a while ago, a charming little book called “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” by Margareta Magnusson. In it she recommends we start this clearing process for ourselves, much earlier than we think we need to, as an act of love to our children or those who must clear for us after we go. It is a light and humorous book, not at all morbid, and I would highly recommend it.

This is much more than clutter-clearing; it is making peace with our own mortality, removing a worry from ourselves and a physical and emotional burden from our loved ones.

Most of us know how therapeutic a good clear-out can be; how much lighter we feel afterwards. We know we can take nothing with us when we leave this world, so maybe now is the time to look at what we are leaving for others to sort out after we are gone.

I hope for all of us, that leaving will be a long time in the future, but it’s never too early to plan – and it’s never too early to clear.

On another note: does anyone here have use for a hostess trolley, or an electric trouser press?

A Moodscope member.

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




Tuesday January 18, 2022

Have you got a WRAP - Wellness Recovery Action Plan? Something to help you get back on the bicycle when you fall off.

I have. It has taken me about 4 years to develop it. I am still improving mine at 71. The local Recovery College is running a 15 week course soon and I am fascinated to hear what they think should be done.

Today is my 2002nd entry in Moodscope. I don't do it every day but most days. It is the cornerstone of my WRAP. It has 3 main parts:

1 My Moodscope score goes to my 2 buddies. Both are bipolar but of completely different characters. Both ring me if my score is above or below agreed limits. I offer the same service for them.

I don't worry so much about depression because I find it easier to control by a cold shower, brushing my teeth and a brisk walk. Highs terrify me because I can do damage to my close relationships especially my grandchildren and spend money like water. The money bit I have capped by having a current account which cannot go in the red. The debit card becomes inoperable. At the end of every month, the amount above £400 (new washing machine) is transferred to a an internet bank account which cannot be accessed for 7 days.

Those who I know and understand bipolar are not a problem. But relationships outside this cohort can be problematic. One man on my allotments referred to me as bampot.

2 Phase 2 is to talk to as many friends and family as possible. It grounds me.

3 If it carries on I contact a tame therapist. I have only got to his level once.

This isn't perfect but it works for me most of the time.

What pieces of a WRAP work for you?

Yours in friendship

A Moodscope member.

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



You may think I’m a bit over-the-top but I get ridiculously excited every time I notice a Lichen. “Why?” you may well ask… and I have an answer! It is because Lichen’s represent the best hope for our Planet.

“Lex, that’s as clear as… mud!” Let me explain. Lichens are not one living organism but two that cohabit as one. The two live as one in such harmony that each collaboration can legitimately be identified as a species in their own right.

All Lichens (pronounced like ‘Kitchens’ with an ‘L’ in the UK) are a lifetime collaboration between a fungus and either algae or cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). This creates the perfect ‘marriage’ between very different types. The algae or cyanobacteria have the talent to collect energy from sunlight. The fungi are brilliant at collecting, saving, and sharing water and nutrients, and most fungi are excellent at clinging onto otherwise hostile surfaces. This is why you find Lichens in the most unfavourable environments… thriving.

In Science, this collaboration is called, “Symbiosis.” It is Nature’s highest example of win-win rather than the win-lose model of predator and prey, or parasite and host. The word ‘Symbiosis’ means, “Living Together.” Other examples of Symbiosis include cleaner fish (often Wrasses) that clean giant fish like Groupers or even Killer Sharks! Personal favourites are the bird species that clean the teeth of crocodiles and alligators. For example, Plovers will crawl into the mouth of a crocodile (who will gladly open wide its jaws) to act as Dental Hygienists.

The focus of my delights in this message are on the difference between the two collaborators, and on the mutuality of the benefits. These species that work together towards a win-win are never, ever similar. You don’t get crocodiles cleaning the teeth of other crocodiles!

At Moodscope, we may not have crocodiles or sharks. What we do have is differences that enrich us all so that we can live better together. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that our differences are our strength, and the greater the differences, the greater the opportunities to create a win-win outcome.

What is the greatest strength you bring to Moodscope?

For example, are you a particularly good listener?

Have you suffered much and yet come through the other side in a way that can guide others through the process?

Do you have a deep understand of bipolar disorder?

Are you a good writer who can articulate difficult feelings in a way that others can relate to?

Do you understand grief?

Take off any sense of self-criticism for a moment and consider your strengths. I can guarantee that you have strengths that differ from others here in the Community.

Now, ask yourself, “Who in the Moodscope Community could I add my strengths too, and whose strengths would I most benefit from?”

Let’s make each other stronger.

Oh, and do feel free to post your strength in the comments. Remember, the ‘Proud’ card is a good card in the Moodscope!

A Moodscope member.

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



Pants over trousers

Sunday January 16, 2022

On Thursday, Sally wrote to us about turning 70 and what the future might shape into for her now.

Looking back is not something I would recommend doing too often, for those of us who wrestle with our mental health - it seems to me that this can muddy and question our progress. However, looking back when you have half climbed a hill, isn’t just about garnering breath, it is also to see the view and celebrate your own hard effort to get to where you stand.

As Dr Seuss wrote in the book ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ - 

“And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done”

So if you question your age, your future, your ability, your capability, if you question yourself… remember that you are here, showing up, doing it, every single half day, and that you now hold all the wisdom that that brings.

Pretty much super-heroes.  Let’s fly.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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



How I confused the medics

Saturday January 15, 2022

This is a true story about myself. It covers a period of fifteen months.

It started on 23 December 2018 at about 8am. I got up, had a shower and then “nothing”. It was the beginning of a 2 hour period of some kind of amnesia.

Doctors in the A & E department could not agree on a possible diagnosis. A few weeks later I attended a TIA clinic where the possibility of some kind of stroke was discounted.

I began to suffer periods of dizziness and headaches and was referred to a neurologist. After 2 consultations and a normal MRI brain scan he tentatively suggested some form of epilepsy. It was the middle of 2019 and I had suffered two short periods of illness where I became incapable of rational thought. In January 2020 I visited another neurologist who failed to make a physical diagnosis.

After another mini “breakdown” in March I visited my GP and the first diagnosis of Mental health (MH) problems was made. All the physical symptoms I had shown during the preceding 16 months were attributed to my mental health illness.

The purpose of this post is not to bore you with my medical history but to demonstrate the close link between mental health and physical health (PH).

I have first hand (mind?) experience that poor MH health can cause real physical symptoms. There is also no doubt that a PH condition can affect MH.

In terms of treatment some PH conditions can be treated relatively quickly but treatment of MH conditions often takes longer.

Guilt is another consideration. Generally, if you have physical symptoms it is accepted you are suffering through no fault of your own. However, poor MH is still less understood and tolerated. It is easy for the sufferer to feel guilty and isolated. (Less likely if they are a Moodscope member!)
Because of the lack of understanding it follows there is less empathy shown to MH sufferers.

I have recently found it difficult to decide whether some of my physical symptoms are attributable to PH or MH. For a long period I was continually told my PH symptoms related to my poor MH. It has been difficult to alter this mindset and keep a more open mind if I am feeling unwell. It is not good for my MH if I jump too quickly to incorrect diagnoses.

Have you experienced physical symptoms that have been related to your poor MH?

A Moodscope member.

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



The Book of No Rubbing Out

Friday January 14, 2022

My family had a special book, the book of no rubbing out, where all our misdemeanours were put and remembered forever because there was no rubbing out.

My parents were still telling stories about what I did when I was three until I was in my forties. There was no forgetting.

I sometimes wished there were a real book so that I could rub out my indiscretions or rub them out so there would no anecdotes about things I wanted to forget.

Every family has stories, but my family had a catalogue of embarrassing stories and would overshare the most cringeworthy anecdote to complete strangers.

Even when my mother had dementia, she still remembered the most awkward anecdotes about me.

I was surprised as a teenager that other families did not have a concept of no rubbing out and there were parents who did not remember every uncomfortable story about their children and children who did not mention incidents that showed their parent in a bad light. The tales were told in a joking playful manner but after the umpteenth retelling they lost their charm.

Why do some people want to continue to tell stories that accentuate a time in one’s life that one would want to forget?

I know comedians use family and personal stories and often ask permission. It is about choice as to which events from the past are repeated and are better erased.
I wonder if other families had a book of no rubbing out and how did you feel about it.

A Moodscope member.

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



Reality sets in

Thursday January 13, 2022

I have had 69 checkered years on this earth. The next birthday, this year, is a big one.

I am not dreading it. I am planning it. Planning to have... maybe not 70... but lots of little celebrations. Reasons to be cheerful, one, two, three! There are many. I have lots to be grateful for, believe you me!

But. (And there’s always a but, isn’t there!) I have to think carefully about the way forward. If I’m lucky, I’ve got a couple of decades left, however... nobody knows... do they?

So. What do I wish to achieve in the next decade(s)?

Everest climb? Nope. Don’t be silly!!

Work? No, no, no! No more stress-provoking deadlines, thanks. Ever.

Voluntary work? No thanks. I’ve volunteered all my life, and tried to put quarts into pint pots. It’s too much of a squeeze!

The fact is, I no longer want to undertake anything where the buck stops with me, this being in part because of my ‘dodgy’ mental health, which makes me unreliable. I have coping strategies that mask the worst times, and in elevated mood I try, for example, to self-monitor, and restrain my wildest shopping excesses! It’s not healthy, or without consequences.

But still today I feel a constant need to be productive, overtly so. As if the outside world is judging me on productivity.

Perhaps it’s all in the mind, however, with time slipping by, I’d like to prioritise. Show what I can do, leave something behind for posterity, if only for my children and grandchildren. I’m fumbling in the dark to find answers.

Perhaps you know this feeling , Moodscopers, and can help me see a little bit clearer.

Thank you!

A Moodscope member.

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



Taking the Long View

Wednesday January 12, 2022

I’ve lived with bipolar disorder for 52 years now.

Bipolar disorder normally manifests in older teenagers. I was an early starter as I had my first depressive episode at seven. It wasn’t recognised, of course. Why should a normal, healthy, happy seven-year-old suddenly become limp and listless? Why would she stay in bed and sleep and sleep? The doctor and my mother were convinced there must be something physically wrong and carried out all the tests they could think of. Then, one day, I just got better, started eating again, playing with friends, and was happy. There was no more need for tests.

I think that was the first episode. Looking through old school reports, I can see there were others. Frequent absences were cited as the reason for my spotty academic performance. There were periods where I “did not seem to engage.” Only one teacher mentioned the word “depression,” and I cannot think much notice was taken because, after all, in the 1970s, who would expect a normal healthy child to suffer with depression?

When I was diagnosed in 2004, I started to go back in time and look at the evidence with new eyes. Like one of those optical illusions, where a collection of random dots suddenly shifts into a picture of an old man carrying firewood, the regular periods of ill-health just as suddenly made sense.

I’m a great believer in the phrase “Knowledge is power,” although, of course, that knowledge must be valid. Our memories are incomplete and compromised. We can think we remember things when they may only have been told to us; we forget things and make up others. Our memories are not reliable knowledge.

I joined Moodscope in May 2011. Because I have Moodscope Essential, I can see a graph showing my entire history – nearly eleven years’ worth of daily scores. Those scores are not lodged in my faulty memory; they are hard evidence of my state of mind/health every day – recorded at the time. Over that time, I have been become better at using the test, so the elements making up the scores have ever increasing consistency.

The pattern shows plainly how my condition worsened in 2014; I can see the times of mania becoming higher and less controllable. I can see the depressions become dangerously low. I can see where I began medication in 2017 and the effect it has had - stopping the mania completely and alleviating the worst of the depression. Six weeks ago, my dosage was increased to better manage that depressive part of the cycle. It’s going to take a couple of years to see the effectiveness of this change.

Depression is usually, and Bipolar always, a lifelong condition. If we are to manage it effectively, we need to take a long-term view. Moodscope is an invaluable tool for this, and to my mind, investing just a little each month, in Moodscope Essential, which gives your complete history is – well – essential!

A Moodscope member.

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



My morning dose of Moodscope

Tuesday January 11, 2022

Every morning, on the dot, I get my Moodscope blog post via email and it is always interesting and informative.

Sometimes it speaks uniquely to what I’m going through, at that time, and thus resonates even further. A recent one, on sleep, was of powerful importance given a new and unexpected bout of anxiety that had been - and sometimes still is - disrupting my sleep. Thanks so much bloggers for these tips.

Likewise, I’ve still kept a post on money being the root of all evil, from way back in early 2018, during some thankfully short-lived money troubles.

Basically Moodscope is an extra level of support to my daily routine - there when I need it. I thank everyone that contributes the thought provoking posts.

One day I may open up about my struggles, with a positive slant if I can, in a bid to try to help others in some small way. But, for now, here’s a blog of thanks, at least.

A Moodscope member.

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



Geese, it turns out, are far from silly. I was reminding myself of the value of the ‘V’ Formation used by Geese, Gulls, and Fighter Pilots. One wit said, “Why do Geese fly in ‘V’ Formation? Because it would be way too hard to fly in an ‘S’ formation!” Back to serious.

The classic ‘V’ Formation is a gorgeous triumph of behavioural aerodynamics. Each following goose flies slightly higher than the one in front. The result reduction in wind-resistance means they can fly for longer, using less energy – and thus boosting efficiency. When migrating, this can make all the difference… and aren’t all Moodscopers on the Great Migration?

Another bird that uses the ‘V’ Formation is the Pelican. The research referred to says that a Pelican flying alone has to beat its wings with greater rapidity resulting in a higher heart rate. This is great if it wants to lose weight but not good for feeling refreshed and unstressed. I think we have much to learn from this. A lone Moodscoper is an exhausted Moodscoper.

So, what is our ‘M’ Formation going to be? (‘M’ is a ‘V’ with stabilisers!)

Firstly, no Moodscoper has to fly solo. I’ve seen three ducks – when there were only three ducks together - fly in ‘V’ Formation. That could be you and your buddies, or you as a buddy.

Secondly, all ‘V’Formation flocks rotate the leader. I love that we have a different Moodscoper blogging each day. Our diversity is our strength. Thus it becomes clear that our commentators have favourite ‘V’ groups that they feel resonance with to comment upon… which segues nicely into…

…Geese make a lot of noise when they fly (which you’d think would use up a lot of energy. It’s like my blooming personal trainer at the gym I used to go to in Aylesbury. They’d wait until I was exhausted and then come and chat to me when I’m on the machines!!!) For the Geese, the energy expended must be worth it. My trainer was building the relationship. The reason given by many commentators is that Geese honk from behind to encourage the leader and the flock. Let’s keep honking! Honking, that is, at one another for encouragement this year!

“Let’s make some noise, people! Give it up for Moodscope!!”

Thirdly, the ‘V’ shape is ideal for keeping an eye on all the flock members. There are even some wonderful accounts of two geese leaving the formation when a member is down – through injury, sickness, or exhaustion. The two friends stay with the member who is low until there is a recovery, and then the three geese will join a passing formation. Moodscopers look after their own.

‘V’ is for Victory. Here’s to a year where we fly together, where we help lessen the burdens on one another, where we rotate the lead, where we honk encouragement to one another every day, and where we are prepared to take time out with a member who is down.

A Moodscope member.

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



Dreaming is free 

Sunday January 9, 2022

It’s the end of the festive season, I’m not sad and not quite happy, I am a bit off kilter.  Nothing serious, nothing I can’t fix. But I’m wave hopping and that is tiring. Are you?   
Are you hopping over hurdles and feeling a question in your ability to hop another? 
What do you need? Try dreaming about what you need instead of being dragged by the moment. Enjoy that little dream. Fully! And then see where it takes you. Maybe your mind will rest. Maybe you’ll alter something in your day to go with the dream, even if you can’t book that trip to the Taj Mahal or the steam train journey through the hills. 
Dreaming is free. Restful. Healthy. 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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




Saturday January 8, 2022

As this is my first Post of this new year I thought I would write about something that is not only close to us but epitomises what Moodscope is all about.

Last year before I started writing these posts and just after the announcement of the first lockdown I sent an email to a small groups of friends. The purpose was to bring a little cheer to their lives at that difficult time.

First I wrote to them about my two new therapy friends. They were called Physio and Psycho. They do not know each other but have plenty in common. Both are friendly, knowledgeable and professional.

A few weeks later I wrote again and said I had met two more new friends. I have seen them this morning and they are fit and well. They didn’t have much to say but enjoyed breakfast. We meet most days but unfortunately they are not very reliable so our relationship is a bit hit and miss. I am not complaining; in this strange Covid world any friends are welcome. I know they are my friends because when I went outside earlier today they came running towards me.

Ducks are great creatures of habit particularly when you carrying a bag of seed! They regularly visit the pond at the end of our front garden. I have to confess they are not new friends. Two years ago they visited us but made no appearance last year. I think they are two Mallards; the male has a shiny green head and the female is almost completely brown. Earlier this morning after giving them seed I tried them with grapes. Cereal and fresh fruit breakfast - sounds good to me!

I remembered my new friends last week and this set me thinking about friends and friendships.

Good friends are invaluable. But what makes a good friendship? We all have friends but some people have more or better ones. A common purpose often defines friends. Just look at Moodscope! Sometimes we can have special friends; maybe whom we have known a long time or we can talk to about anything at all and know we will get understanding.

Whatever the reasons for the friendship there is no doubt it can brighten our world and is capable of changing our mood. So if you have such a friendship then be grateful and treasure it. Tell your friend how you feel.

Two researchers (Sias and Bartoo) described friendships as a “vaccine” against both physical and mental illness.

Do you have any special friends?

Have you made any new friends recently?

A Moodscope member.

PS In my Post dated 18 December (Past, Present and Future) I left a question unanswered. What was my Christmas present?
I had some lovely presents but the most intriguing was a small brown box containing 31 cards. Printed on the front cover “ 31 Day Mindfulness Challenge” (More to follow)

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



Question time

Friday January 7, 2022

Do you ever read a blog and you don’t feel you can comment?

So today I ask some questions as a starting point.

Answer none, some or all.

1 When did you last do something for the first time, what was it and why did it take you so long?
2 Do you like to ask questions or answer them or both? Explain,
3. Would you like a  pause button so you can stop and think before you put your foot in your mouth?  Why?
A Moodscope member.

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



Limiting Self-Belief

Thursday January 6, 2022

You know the one... that little voice that says “you can't do” or “you're no good at”... here are some of mine.

“You're no good at marketing”… (my business) …what is the result of that? I have always had to have a second job to supplement said self-fluctuating employment. Yet it brings in an okay amount. I tell myself I am not good with money. That I am terrible at dealing with certain pieces of paper (currently a raft of small pensions for my husband and myself and trying to put everything into one futurely-accessible pot (is futurely a word? It is now!)

Now it could be that the voice was heard from others who thought they were being helpful at the time (or perhaps not) and I just stuck with the stories. I had an art teacher who was a good-looking bully. All the mums loved him and he made most of the girls cry. He said to me once “those fingers look like pork sausages”. The result – I don't ever do humans, portraits, nada. Now I can live with that one.

I want to work on the money one. I could tell myself “You'll never give up wine” or “You'll never get toned” or “You'll never sing in that band”. Perhaps it's because I take on so much and jump about from one task to the next that I never finish anything so I can add “You'll never complete your art projects” to that one. I found one painting that I emulsioned over, so sick was I looking at that magnificent partly painted buzzard on a post with Scottish mountains behind. He had to be put out of his misery at sitting forlornly in a cupboard for all those years.

Instead, I shall have a new mantra which says “Try it, you'll never know until you do”. “Go for it”. For example, I tried being a support practitioner (new posh word for worker) and lasted one week. It wasn't the right fit for me and I knew pretty much after the first shadow shift.

I'm starting a new part-time job soon as there has been way to much month at the end of the money. I'm becoming better at marketing but it's a slow burner and always has been. I'll learn this year to trust my inner voice more but also be brave and try new things and to hang with the self-limitations. I can and I will. And so can you. I believe in you. Now do you believe in you?

Think of the self-limitations you have and the inner voice that speaks to you. I know I need to change my dialogue to say “I find this hard but I am going to do my best and it will be good enough”. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be right for me. I will have faith. And sometimes I will let slip things that I feel I ought to be good at but make me miserable trying because no one can be good at everything. I'll be good at what is important to me. And I will get there in my own sweet time”. Wishing us all luck for 2022.

A Moodscope member.

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



A New Year: A New Point of You.

Wednesday January 5, 2022

January 4th, 2017, I wrote my blog, “Making Plans for Nigel” (you can find it here, if you want). In that blog, I wrote about my dislike of New Year’s resolutions.

One phrase I particularly dislike is, “A New Year; A New You!” I don’t think we can, out of nowhere, exchange who we are for someone “new.” While many of us might like to be issued with new (young) body, not subject to the aches, pains and fatigue of the one we have now, would we really choose to begin all over again and relearn the hard lessons of life?

No, of course I know that is not what is meant by that ridiculous phrase. The “New You” possesses the qualities we desire but do not have. Maybe the New You loves to exercise and eagerly runs five miles each morning. Perhaps the New You is ambitious and proactive; finds no difficulty in asserting themselves; is endlessly patient with a demanding job or family. Perhaps the New You manages their time better; reads more improving books… I could go on.

The New You is a myth. The New You is based on New Year’s resolutions. Statistics show that most resolutions are broken by 5th February.

I am encouraging you to make no resolutions to change yourself, but instead to look at yourself with “new” eyes.

When I work with my clients to develop their own personal sense of style, I ask them to do some homework before the consultation. I ask them to look at the qualities they possess which they bring to the world. Many of them are challenged by this; it is not our habit to blow our own trumpet and boast of our virtues. I prompt them to ask their friends and loved ones what they think. The client typically arrives with a list of about ten words. I find, with focussed questioning, that list can be expanded to at least twenty.

Here are some words that come up. There are 50 words here, and my challenge to you is to go through them and tick the ones you feel you can claim. Try for at least fifteen. If you have access to a printer, then print this blog and go through the words with a hi-lighter; if not, write them down. Feel free to add your own. The only rule is that they must be positive words.

Accepting; Analytical; Approachable; Authentic; Calm; Compassionate; Considerate; Courageous; Creative; Determined; Disciplined; Down-to-earth; Empathic; Energetic; Enthusiastic; Fair; Far-seeing; Free-spirited; Friendly; Fun; Generous; Gentle; Good in a crisis; Hard-working; Honest; Humorous; Joyful; Kind; a Leader; Level-headed; a Listener; Loving; Loyal; Meticulous; Motivated; Neat & Tidy; a Nurturer; Open; Organised; Passionate; Patient; Positive; a Questioner; Reliable; Stoical; Sympathetic; Tenacious; a Thinker; Tolerant; True.

Once you have all those words, look at them. Do you like yourself?

Is there really a need for a New You when the Old You is so great!

A Moodscope member.

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

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