The Moodscope Blog

12

July


[To watch a video version of this blog post please click here: https://youtu.be/D_MIeMKC9os and to listen to an audio version, please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8844952]

I realised the other week that I seem to be addicted to anxiety. If there is nothing to worry about, I worry about there being nothing to worry about, or I invent things to worry about.

Being addicted to a behaviour is less easy to recognise than substance abuse… and yet, here I am being abused by a repeated pattern of thinking. A tiny amount of research reveals that there is a vast range of addictions on offer. You and I can even become addicted to exercise… allegedly!

I wondered if there was anything to learn from the 12 Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous model. It was surprisingly spiritual, which may make it unsuitable for Moodscope. However, it is clear that acknowledging the problem and having peer support are really important elements – as is the regularity of the meetings.

These strike me as elements already existing in the Moodscope Model (if there is one we can formalise.) We all acknowledge an issue, we have peer support via the buddies, blogs, and comments, and we can get support on a daily basis.

What fascinates me is the ‘ecology’ of any addiction. There is a positive gain that needs to remain even if the path to it is changed. I worry because it keeps me safe and makes sense of an often confusing and uncertain world. If I ask myself, “What would I rather have?” the answer is, “Peace of mind, and confidence in the future.” The quest thus becomes finding a more delightful path to peace of mind and future confidence (or hope!)

I’ve called out the problem and decided to change. I have a new goal – to seek peace and hope. I’ve got you here to support – and I occasionally get professional help. Is there anything else that can be done? I think there is: don’t feed the wolf.

I remembered that wonderful story of the Indian brave who was struggling with behaviour too. He asked his grandfather how he coped. His grandfather confessed he still had trouble with the very same behaviours. He said there were two wolves fighting inside him – one seeking a better set of behaviours and the other hell-bent on self-destruction.

“Which one is winning?” the young Brave asked.

“The one I feed,” answered his grandfather.

I hope this is helping others too. For me, I need to cut down on any stimulus – including company - that feeds the anxiety. Then, with your support, maybe peace will prevail.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


11

July

It’s not my birthday 

Sunday July 11, 2021


It’s not my birthday but this is about my birthday. It was written a long while back when I was writing only for myself to flush out a feeling, rather than writing to inspire or about a specific point. I never intended to use it. But I’m stuck in a spell of not feeling my best.  Depression is standing over me, flushing my head down the toilet pan, and I have not much writing capacity. So I leaned back and plucked this grumpy blog out of bag 101…  
 
“I’m tired of people telling me I don’t like birthdays. It’s not true. I enjoy other people enjoying their birthdays, very much. I enjoy finding ways to surprise my children on their birthdays. I don’t enjoy feeling pressure to make my birthday into something that helps other people tick a box. I enjoy no fuss. I enjoy eating poached eggs in a cafe. I enjoy a walk along a beach. I’d enjoy someone telling me they’d chucked a fiver into the donation box of my favourite venue struggling to survive the pandemic. I’d enjoy somebody helping me get out to go on the walk. I’d enjoy somebody noticing that the laundry needed hung out. I’d enjoy somebody knowing what I’d enjoy.

It’s my birthday. I treated myself to two cross tears. And now I’m sitting in the sunny bit looking through a gardening catalogue with a cup of hot, black coffee. And I’m enjoying that.”

My apologies for no cheery blog. It’s one of those tough times and this is what I had. 
 
I still send it to you with love.

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


10

July

Managing the mind

Saturday July 10, 2021


Do you know that song by Nick Drake: “Been smoking too long”? A very good song by a tormented singer. In it you hear the destructive energy which is probably recognisable to a lot of us. That downwards spiralling. You can replace the smoking by drinking, buying, having sex, doing sports… or thinking. The latter is the case with me.

Ever since I was a little kid I‘ve been thinking a lot. I also felt a lot and inside my head I started to make stories out of it. Not always positive stories. I remember when I was nine I was sitting in a classroom and looked at a woman who was in a kitchen opposite the school. I had thoughts about the meaning of the life of that woman, about life in general and also the lack of meaning. A kind of emptiness. The first thought generated the next and so it went on. My teacher called me a dreamer.

When I was 14 it got worse. I had even more thoughts and they started to move in circles. They didn’t take me any further, on the contrary, they did me harm. I then discovered that when I was doing sports I could break the circle. And with it I could manage my mind in a positive way. I did cycling everyday and while sitting on my bike I found that it was impossible to maintain the nervewracking cycle of thoughts (also called ruminating).

For many years sports helped me, and still nowadays it does. But I also experienced depressing episodes in which I had a lot of thoughts and was hardly able to move. Especially when I was lying in my bed, in the early morning, thoughts would come up and generate a lot of fear. They would almost destroy me. I was sometimes referring to my brain as a nuclear power plant.

When I was 40 I got into zen training and later Buddhism. This new way of managing my mind first made me aware of how much I was thinking. And how there was no space between me and my thoughts. I was my thoughts! With the training and the awareness I was able to look at my thoughts and let them go. Which was not always easy. My mind sometimes felt like a huge amplifier.

I recently found out that ‘meditation in motion’ really helps. It is a combination of everything I did up till now. Three years ago I started Zhineng Qigong and to me this is now my ultimate ‘mind managing tool’. You might know it from China, where you see people exercising it together on squares and in parks. The Chinese see qi as the basis of everything. Everything is made out of qi. Also your mind and your body (which to them are not separated). So by practicing Qigong you feed your mind and body in a positive way. And you let go of things you don’t need anymore.

Like thoughts…

Walter
A Moodscope member.


Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


9

July


I am sure I have mentioned this before that I really like quizzes. I like doing personality quizzes, trivia quizzes, general knowledge, and everything in between. When I am stressed I find the rhythm of a quiz with people answering questions to be soothing and interesting.

On Mastermind they have a section called your special subject so you can study up on it. People choose an amazing variety of topics and I suppose the list is endless. There are literary topics, film, television, history, famous people, singers’ actors’ artists comedians, events, philosophies and so much more.
 
I always have trouble thinking what my special topic would be as I am interested in a bit on a lot of different topics.
 
I had an idea, to find out a topic that you have a special interest in. Now, this is for fun, so it does not have to be a serious topic or a topic suitable for Mastermind. Think about your knowledge and what you know a lot about. It could be something in your family, you know people’s birthdays, or you are the keeper of dates, or statistics. You may have a knack of getting people to tell you things or laugh. You may know words to ads, you may know the words to songs, or you may be able to spell words backwards without thinking or given words longer than 7 letters and tell instantly how many letters are in word after hearing it once.

So, this is a Moodscope mastermind, no prizes just lots of interest and appreciation.
 
So have a think about what your specialist topic would be, your time starts now!!

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


8

July

Instant Karma

Thursday July 8, 2021


If the laws of karma apply, they do not act promptly. I still wait in vain for real comeuppance to strike certain individuals.
 
On the other hand, I have experienced some modest but gratifying examples of justice doled out swiftly, without any effort on my part. Occasionally what goes round comes round at a rate of knots.
 
Take the other day. Spock glanced up from his Sudoko.
 
“Did you know you have started making grunting noises?” he asked pleasantly.
 
“What do you mean ?”
 
“Like just now, when you came up the stairs”
 
“Oh, my hip is hurting, but that’s not grunting, more like groaning in pain” I said defensively.
 
He smiled, warming to his subject.”Oh no, you definitely grunted.
And it’s not just when you are on the stairs, you often grunt now.You were doing it the other day, just sitting reading”
 
We used to go to a local café which I called “God’s waiting room”. It was popular with  old people, and I used to comment how the odd vocal sounds they made got on my nerves.

“If I ever get like them please kill me” I recall saying. This was clearly my comeuppance.
 
“Well, thank you so much for pointing that out. What a very attractive and sexy picture you paint of me”
 
“Don’t mention it, I know you would rather I told you”. He returned to his puzzles, looking rather pleased with himself.
 
I did not have to wait long. Next day a friend was describing a benign skin cancer she had removed, when she stared hard at Spock. He has a short neat beard.
 
“You really ought to get that  lump looked at” she said, pointing at the wart thingy on his chin.” Maybe shave your beard off to have a good look at it?”
 
“No way, the one time I shaved my beard off, Val said because I am pale and  bald, I looked like a boiled egg, and she kept bashing the top of my head with a spoon”
 
She shrugged “Its probably just a senile wart, but I’d keep an eye on it. Sadly these things happen to us when we’re old. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it, but it has got  bigger”. I certainly did not mind her mentioning it.
 
Another very satisfying example goes back years ago, when I was really struggling with weight problems.
 
My friend in the village, no Twiggy herself, joined me in trying to lose weight. We both dropped a dress size, but I  fell, nay leapt, off the wagon and quickly slapped it all back on. She dropped by after being away.
 
“Oh my God, you poor thing!” she gasped dramatically  when I opened the door.” After all your hard work, bless you, just to end up even bigger than before by the look of it.” She did a little twirl, pulling her gaping waistband. ”I lost another 4 pounds last week”.
 
Now I should mention that like me, she was  a single Mum, poor as a church mouse.The  local farmer had a shop, and did deliveries. She once confided in me that in return for being “nice” to him, he brought her a free weekly box of veg, with a bit of extra meat thrown in, so to speak. I did not judge, times were hard. I was stung by her cruel comment, but said nothing.
 
Soon after, we were chatting in the street, joined by The Village Voice. The farmer went past in his van, and this lady chuckled. ”Off to do his special deliveries” she winked. ”God knows I don’t have much money, but I have never got that desperate. Mind you, he’s not very choosy himself, he singles out the real old slappers”. Now I don’t have a catty bone in my body, but Miaow!
 
I admit it, I smiled quietly to myself.
 
More recently a neighbour was always giving me horticultural “advice” and making digs about my garden. On my way out , she was there as usual tending to her roses. I commented that I would have to attend to my garden later.
 
She started laughing “I was saying to my sister, my neighbour Val doesn’t have a clue about gardening, but she will not admit defeat and get someone in to make it look presentable”. Well, thank you so much. On this occasion the wheels of Karma got going in record time.
 
Barely an hour later I returned  to find two ladies taking photos of my garden.
 
“Hope you don’t mind, we always look forward to walking past your lovely garden. It’s so vibrant and colourful, such a change from  these boring ones“ they called out, gesturing at the one next door. She was  behind her hedge, scowling.

I smirked with pride when they requested cuttings. She never commented again.
 
Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing the biter bit, or maybe been on the receiving end  of a karmic slap yourself?

Val
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


7

July

Expected Expectations

Wednesday July 7, 2021


Before my husband and I married, over 20 years ago, we attended a marriage preparation course. It had been recommended by the vicar who was to marry us, and it proved to be one of the most useful courses we have ever attended.

One of the areas addressed was the expected roles within the marriage. The leaders of the course, a married couple themselves, spoke about their own marriage where, for the first ten years, they held no parties or social events in their home. Growing up, it was her father who organised parties and his mother; they both expected the other to do it.

My husband and I quickly decided that we wanted a traditional marriage. I would take care of the housework, cooking, laundry and childcare, and he would be the main wage-earner, take care of the finances, the cars, household maintenance and so on. The gardening would be shared between us. He likes planning, so he would organise holidays; I am good at organising parties, so the social side would be up to me.

In the past 22 years, there have been some adjustments, not least owing to my periodic times of severe depression where I have been unable to do anything very much. I still feel guilty, however, when I see him ironing his own shirts. That is my job; he shouldn’t be doing it.

It took a friend, just this week, as I emerged from the latest depression, to point out that maybe it was time for a review. Times change: people change; perhaps the roles with which we were once comfortable now feel as if they don’t fit. Our daughters are now 16 and 19: their needs have changed too.

It’s a novel thought for me and an uncomfortable one. I can see, however, it may be time for a review. We need to sit down as a family and look at what needs to be done for the house and family to run smoothly, then assign responsibilities for each area. Both my husband and I hate confrontation and dislike change, so this will be a challenge.

This same friend also brought to my attention another issue. When I emerge from a depressive episode, which happens instantaneously (this time, 6.05am last Thursday morning), my immediate reaction is to try to do everything at once and to snap back into “normality.” There are all the tasks left undone while I was ill and the usual level of activity I wish to pursue. This friend pointed out, gently, that I am nearing 60, and cannot expect to behave as if I were 30. These days I need more time for recuperation after an illness (and depression is an illness as much as influenza or pneumonia). I am forced to admit the truth in this — another uncomfortable thought.

All my expectations need to be adjusted. And, importantly, the expectations I expect others to have about me.

Times change. Expectations change too. What about your expectations? Are there adjustments needed?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


6

July

A tough question

Tuesday July 6, 2021


I used to teach English to speakers of other languages. Ask any student of English “How are you?” and you’ll get a pat response: “Fine, thanks. And you?”. It was always quite a relief that it wasn’t until higher levels that we taught “How do you do?”: it's such a nonsensical question on paper – but by that stage, students were familiar with the notion that you just have to accept English ‘as it is’.

Many of you will remember the Whatsuppppp advertising campaign, where it was pretty well drummed into us that the response to “Whatsup” is “Wazzup”- the louder, the better. Long before the adverts, I had an American friend who used it as a greeting, and one day I asked him what he expected me to say when he asked it. He recommended we proceed as follows: “Whatsup?” -- “Not much.”

I wish someone would ask me “Wazzup"! I’ve been struggling along for a few months now, and I live in absolute fear of that seemingly simple question: “How are you?”

Of course, it’s lovely of them to ask! It’s asked - usually in a text message - by people who care. They care sufficiently and know enough of my life that I can’t get away with “Fine thanks, and you?”. Deprived of the standard way to negotiate this heartfelt enquiry, and unable to come up with anything along the lines of “Good, thanks”, I’ve tried all ways around it but they ask again. 

Cue quite a long pause where instant messaging will tell the other person: ‘Alice is typing…’ – hopefully they’ve put their phone down and put the kettle on because this is going to take a while.  ‘Alice is typing…’ I hope they are not going to judge how long it takes to come up with four words... better think of a few more. Scratch that. Start again. That'll do. Phew. Pulse racing. Send: "Not on top of the world, but OK. How about you?"

It’s inevitable that we’ll get to the point in a conversation where we will talk about whether or not each of us is OK. Am I alone in finding “How are you?" a demanding conversation opener? 

Perhaps it would be easier to answer something more binary like “Are you OK?” – you’ve got a few options there – yes, no, not sure, more or less, all the better for hearing from you.

I might start campaigning to resuscitate “How do you do?”. It’s starting to feel like a legitimate question, and of course, the standard response also makes perfect sense: “How on earth do you do?”

Alice
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


5

July

Shiny Happy People

Monday July 5, 2021


[To watch a video of this blog post please click here: https://youtu.be/LDwArRqPyhE and to listen to an audio version, please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8808692]

People matter most. I mentally assent to that, and, occasionally, my heart gets it too. Take this weekend. After a long journey, we arrived at the check-in desk at the Holiday Inn, High Wycombe. Fakhri welcomed us so warmly, we felt amazing. He asked about our dining plans, and when we explained we were off to see my grandson for his birthday that evening, he asked, “Would he like another present?”

Thus, we popped down to Marlow with Fakhri’s gift alongside our own. Jonah loved the crayons and puzzles from Fakhri, and I pondered on how much pleasure a simple, selfless act of kindness could deliver. I’d never heard of the name, Fakhri, before. Its meaning is rather wonderful, “Worth of being proud of,” and, “glorious.”

At breakfast, I ‘sang’ our room number and other details to Alexander, who, to our delight, continued in conversational song as we shared the required information back and forth. It was fun. He was energised by the encounter, we were energised too, and all the other guests were simply bemused!

The feature wall was covered with motivational quotes, which, clearly at least two of the team members had taken to heart. On the video, I’ll share them at the close.

Here’s the message for today. The hotel room was clean but tired – nothing to get excited about but it was too late, we were already fans. I meditated upon this and realised that the first few moments of a ‘human’ encounter can help you and me become far more able to face whatever else the day has to bring. Our tiredness seems to evaporate in the warmth of the welcome. As it happened, the evening had more than a few hassles – car parking and then work for my son keeping him away until far later than expected. Normally, I’d get ratty and grumpy. This time, I went with the flow and genuinely stayed serene. It was a good evening.

Thinking more on this, I wondered whether you and I could have that impact on others every day. Most people think I’m a happy bunny because I sing to myself most of the time. Truth is, I do this all the time – regardless of how I’m feeling. I think I’ve just got music in my soul even when that soul is unhappy. Alexander picked up the tune and decided to play along, and the result was magical…

Crowded House wisely sang, “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you…” I sing whether it be weather or music – “everywhere you go, always take the music (of joy) with you,” knowing that people matter most… Shiny Happy People that is!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


4

July

Hey Matey! 

Sunday July 4, 2021


Between Covid lockdowns, restrictions, blended learning and now school holidays I have very rarely had time alone for 16 months. Having time alone is something important in my mental health battle. Today, I had 2 hours of alone time. It arrived after I’d done all the essential jobs and it would marry up with being able to leave the must-dos for another day. 
 
With my 2 hours of alone time, I did the most decadent thing I can think of – had a daytime bath! Bubble bath plus dead sea salts. I have no clue if one negates the other or if the pipes could cope, I just really needed 20 minutes in that decadent bubble of decadence. 
 
Here I sit. Back in my working clothes, feeling plumped up and shiny. Did me the world of good.   
 
What is a most decadent thing for you, which also serves as your saviour? 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


3

July

Appreciation

Saturday July 3, 2021


Why am I writing about appreciation? Because it is important and I want to raise its awareness so that it could improve your life. It has a few different meanings but for the purpose of this post I am using “recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” I have divided this post between the two appreciations - “someone” and “something”.

It is easy to appreciate what someone has done or said but we often overlook it and an opportunity is missed. The easiest appreciation is the simple “Thank you”. But is so much better if we let the person know why we appreciate their action. If we tell them how it made us feel it will make them feel better by raising their self esteem. I am always looking for ways of appreciating people by paying them compliments. Some people can be suspicious of receiving compliments. They may consider the appreciation is not genuine or there is an ulterior motive in making it. I would advocate perseverance as it can improve relationships.

Appreciation of “something” is very subjective. It can involve any of our senses but we need to ensure they are fully functioning! If we care for something we are showing our appreciation of its worth to us. For example a pet animal or a garden plant. I have been trying to positively identify more things I can appreciate. It is a useful exercise particularly when going on walks. Sometimes I stop walking and closely look or listen. A duck paddling in the calm waters of the canal, a trilling bird, a colourful or scented plant, the sound of rippling water in the stream. The right kind of music is something I appreciate and it can change my mood. I enjoy upbeat or slow romantic music particularly from the sixties era. Half an hour in my disco (actually YouTube on the office desktop!) can really change the way I am feeling.

If we are fortunate, appreciation of both somebody and something can occur simultaneously. It happened to me yesterday morning. When I got up I was feeling a bit sluggish and anxious but I knew I had to summon enough energy to get outside for my early morning walk. I took the turning along the canal towpath where you can see the gardens of the homes whose boundaries are close to the canal. After a few minutes I stopped at a garden with beautiful roses. I was admiring their colour, form and scent when the lady of the house appeared (in her dressing gown!) . We spoke for around 5 minutes and I told her how much I loved the roses. I was very happy to see and discuss one of my favourite plant specimens; it gave me a warm feeling inside and certainly brightened my day. She also seemed pleased with our meeting and chat.

Would you like to try some appreciation therapy?

Comments will be greatly appreciated!

Teg
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


2

July

Assumptions

Friday July 2, 2021


I find that while I try not to make assumptions of others, I sometimes do, and I find people make assumptions about me.

Several years ago there was a customer in my shop choosing some paper butterflies, she was taking a long time, so I was starting to get a bit impatient as I thought, how hard it is to choose a few paper butterflies?

As she came to the counter to pay, she explained her granddaughter died recently and she loved butterflies, so she was making a little display of them in her memory.  I felt so ashamed I gave her all the paper butterflies.

Recently I had someone who barely knows me tell me I had an issue with forgetting as I did not remember something he told me, that I really do not think he did tell me. Then I left something behind and suddenly, I am being pitied and patronised. This fed into my lack of self-esteem. He hardly knows me but based on two incidents he decided I need special care and was elderly.

Everyday people may make assumptions based on peoples age, cultural background, height, weight, income, profession etc.

A relative I know who is a tall, big girl is and extremely fit, goes to gym everyday and runs in marathons. She is often judged on her weight not her ability and fitness level by doctors and others.

I know as soon some people know I have bipolar I am judged purely on that and anything I say or do is because of that label. Especially in past relationships, I was often been told that if I disagreed it was because of my condition.

What assumptions have you made of others that you prefer you had not?

What assumptions do people make about you that really annoy you?

How do you try not to make assumptions, is it easy or is it sometimes difficult and you do not realise you are doing it, or do you make assumptions and are ok with that? if so why and when?

Leah
A Moodscope member.


Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


1

July

Centered Awareness

Thursday July 1, 2021


I love games. I love their simplicity and structure... competitiveness. It gives me motivation. It helps me feel the range of human emotion… the drama, the action. If only life was so simple.

In the evolution of sports/games, game theory undoubtedly has emerged. Finding optimal strategies was once dependent on exploiting your opponent. These days, strategies in every sport/game are optimal regardless of the opponent. The idea is to find an unexploitable strategy.

In the simplified world of sports/games optimal strategies exist. They can be proven. In team games optimal always skews towards aggression. The aggressive monopoly player who always buys is more likely to win. In baseball, swing for the fences.

At the same time, the optimal strategy is balanced. Balanced aggression wins.

In cooperative games though, aggression is most definitely a negative attribute. In a zero sum game, where there has to be a winner and a loser, aggression will reign. Human society, life, the existence we live in -- is not a zero sum game. Alliances and cooperation are highly valuable attributes, but at the same time, aggression is still most rewarded. An optimal life strategy is very complex.

Eastern philosophies (Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, etc) commonly have the theme of balance/centeredness at their core. The middle way. It is the most difficult path as it is never set.

There are many instances of philosophy/religion and science merging (they did come from the same stone). When discovered truths about our body reveal that beliefs that were centuries old, are in fact, essentially true, it is always mind blowing to me. And here we find that in the end, it's correct that balance is optimal.

If you are out of balance you only need to find/strengthen the opposing part. Balance is an intricate structure that requires maintenance and dedication. 

Utilize your strengths more fully by balancing them. An unbalanced power will topple itself. Use/develop your big muscles and take care of what is fragile.

There's no winning or losing, who can be most present in each moment for the most moments is optimal. The only way to win is to be a perfectly balanced, perfectly centered and absolutely aware person. It is an endless task, and what we should strive for.

Eric
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


30

June

Blessed Solitude

Wednesday June 30, 2021


Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

The answer is not as simple as it appears.

The traditional view is that extroverts are those who are the life and soul of a party; they are vivacious, chatty, “Hail fellow, well met,” people. We think of introverts as being quiet; staying in the background, not saying much.

Another view, however, is to look at where people draw their energy. Extroverts gain energy from being with other people; introverts need time by themselves to recharge.

My husband and elder daughter are extroverts. Before meeting me, my husband was single for twelve years. He once told me, with some pride, that in all those twelve years, he had spent only two weekends alone in his flat. He always had people around him: at work; in clubs, sporting activities; community organisations; social events. My elder daughter subscribes to the “Work hard, play hard,” philosophy: if she’s not working, she’s out with friends. She once asked me, in honest bewilderment, why anyone would ever turn down an invitation to a party! Neither of them, however, will ever be the focus of attention; they will join in the conversation but never take centre stage.

It is otherwise for my younger daughter and me. We love being with people, but each have a small, intimate group of friends, and we each need to spend long periods of time alone. It is not merely that we are happy in our own company but that we need it. If you were to meet me, you would find me (usually) vivacious and chatty, a raconteur and happy to “perform.” Afterwards, however, I need time alone to recover, because being with people takes energy.

The problem arises when extroverts do not understand or have sympathy for introverts and vice versa. My younger daughter and I feel injured when we are accused of “hiding ourselves away.” My husband and elder daughter are hurt because we do just that - they feel rejected because they need us with them. It has taken 20 years for me to realise I need to spend more time with my husband to meet his need for company, even if that time is spent just watching TV. It has taken time for him to be reconciled to my need for solitude.

I’m taking a few days for myself down at the coast. Looking out at the sea, with nothing to do but sleep, read and watch the birds is exactly what I need right now to recover. The family can look after themselves for a little while and, with each other for company, won’t be lonely.

So, where do you get your energy; from being with others or from being alone? What about the people you live with?

Once you understand your own needs and theirs, you can start to meet in the middle.

In the meantime, I send you greetings from the flat and wide, silver and grey, lonely peace of the Essex coast.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


29

June

Internal housekeeping

Tuesday June 29, 2021


Val's blog about "Mediocre Housekeeping' was thought provoking and as I trundled the vacuum cleaner around my house this morning, obviously inspired to do some cleaning (for once). As I pushed the hoover back and forth I realised that I'd been doing my own internal mental housekeeping for the last few months.

I'd been dating a man off and on through lockdown, I'd even described it to friends as a messy coming together of two people. He has a past history of trauma from an earlier relationship and my own tendencies to connect with traumatised men, meant he was magnetic cat nip to the nurturer within me.

Our semi fling was a distraction from the chaos and loneliness around me… he was lovely, funny and intelligent but self effacing… and passionate, no bad thing, it was a bit like sex at funerals… just that we were all in one big long covid funeral and embracing life seemed like the best way to cope with the death being spread liberally before us. But the deeper I wanted to go the more shallow the story went.

After Christmas he suddenly wanted to spend more time together and I wondered if there was a future in this, you know the normal things that happen in relationships, dates, phone calls, stupid little gifts, but no he refused to call our 'thing' a relationship, but he wanted all the trappings of a perfect relationship, but with no emotional responsiblity. It was 10 months by this time and becoming more obvious that his messy past didn't allow for any level of romantic connection and I started to feel used by the whole situation - it had suited me for a while and I wanted to give it a chance and not bury it immediately.

So my second lockdown birthday arrived and he sent me an IOU via text, not even with any birthday wishes, I was hurt by this, but then it forced me to realise that I didn't need someone who was so cavalier with my affections, I saw that his chaos and lack of commitment had no place in my life and I declined to see him again, ending the 'thing' with an explanation.

In past times i would have committed to helping him regain trust in women and become some sort of martyr, slowly sacrificing myself on the altar of connection, but now I brush them out of my tangled mane, shower away the grubbiness they leave me with and move on. Their chaos isn't my emotional responsiblity, so now I’m only looking for a man with a sensible tidy house and garden, or the ability stick on some marigolds and sort their own mess.

It might be boring to my bohemian need for crazy - but my head feels cleansed and ready to accept someone who arrives maybe a little bit careworn, but not covered head to toe in mud, with absolutely no intention of wiping their feet or cleaning themselves a little bit… I don't need their mess anymore, I'm keeping my house tidier than I have for a long time, well the internal one is getting better, the real one still needs a bit of dusting.

Andrea
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


28

June


[To view a video of this blog, please click here: https://youtu.be/S8zUKQSRG04]

Our own minds can create for us an enduring state of feeling blessed...
...and that same brain can get wired up in such a way that we are conscious of being cursed all the time. We make a heaven and/or a hell with the same 'components' of our mind.

As Shakespeare’s Hamlet says, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

It may well turn out to be my most important life's work to help us all thrash through how we can choose ‘the blessing of being’ over ‘the curse of consciousness’. Whilst it will come down to the way we think, there are actions we can take as well.

A prime example is choosing with whom we will spend most of our time! When we 'Associate' with uplifting and encouraging people, we learn to think like them and mimic what they do too. We’d become a better golfer by playing with those whose game exceeds our own, so why not ‘play’ with people who think more positively than us?

The other major association is the 'meaning' we associate with everything that happens to us. Are we being punished for something (according to our beliefs)? If so, we will suffer the curse of consciousness. Or is it something that is not personal, that can happen to anyone, and is part of life on Earth? If we choose the latter, we will become more resilient and will enjoy more of the blessing of being.

Mastering Emotional Intelligence is also going to be crucial for our ongoing sense of blessing. Imagine upping the amount of love and joy and peace you feel in your life - wouldn't THAT be great?!

But it is the Imagination that is the engine of our future blessing. When we harness the power of the imagination to create a 'bigger' future, we can enter into an adventure with the blessing of being at its end. Too many of us have mastered imagining the worst case scenario - using our own imagination against ourselves to catastrophise. Learning positive visualisation, or creative visualisation, is our most powerful ally in the pursuit of happiness.

A surpising friend on the journey to a sense of being blessed is 'Organisation'. Being organised reduces stress, improves productivity, and, very importantly, helps us to structure our time effectively. Do you remember a time when you lost your keys? Can you contrast that with the stress-free state of always knowing where your keys are?

Finally, we can fully enter the state of being blessed or the appreciation of the blessing of being when we discover, nurture, and celebrate our unique talents, gifts, and abilities.

Society has a strong interest in homogeny. The more similar we are, the easier we are to manage. This is against Nature. The whole drive of our DNA is to create a unique creature every time we breed! Our very race requires uniqueness to move us forward towards... well, you guessed it, more of the blessing of being!

Make richer associations, master your emotions, harness your imagination, become more organised, and express your unique talent and then don't be surprised when Life feels like a blessing - the blessing of being.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


27

June

Thanks pals 

Sunday June 27, 2021


Last week, I wrote when I was feeling unwell and I would say I’m one degree improved this week. That’s a win I think. I still feel like I walk and work wearing that oversized coat made of chain mail. And yet there are still things to cherish. 
 
I admit I have felt lonely this week. Holes I don’t normally see have opened up before me. And I can fill them easily enough, I just need to be sure I am the one choosing how to fill them.
 
Something that filled in many fissures, were the replies when I wrote last week. And for that I am very grateful. Nobody rushed round to my house with baking, flowers or coffee, nobody called to ask if I was doing the tickbox stuff, nobody chased me or pressured me to better my health. Instead, I felt your steadying hands, on my shoulder, on my forearm, over my hand, I felt your nod following eye contact. And the best bit was that it came from people who know. Who understand. Who all walk a slightly different path. And who I call pals. 
 
Thank you pals. And thank you Paul for reminding me to wear the favourite clothes. I went straight to my oldest, softest woollen jumper. It did make a difference. 
 
Onwards we go. I hope your Sunday has oldest, softest jumper moments. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


26

June

Coming out of Lockdown

Saturday June 26, 2021


For me it’s emerging
from my hibernation cave
a stretch, sniff of the air,
walking around, delighted
that I can go out and about.

I would have loved to be
a bumblebee, flitting from
flower to flower, nosing in
collecting nectar to transform
Into lovely honey.

Living from day to day
I haven’t done much
planning, yet I have filled my
days. Time has zoomed by.

Yesterday I wanted to hug my
generous, thoughtful neighbour
who had bought us a pot
Of pansies, bedding plants,
mostly purple.
Reminds me of the poem
called ‘Warning’
by Jenny Jones.

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


25

June

I do not want to be here

Friday June 25, 2021


His loud words clashed with the cold air, “I do not want to be here, don’t you understand?” I was walking past a place for assisted living when one of the residents was shouting to the world how unhappy he was and how misunderstood he felt. I could not see him, but I could hear him.
 
I wanted to tell him that I understood his pain, that I too had not wanted to be somewhere, and I too felt that no one had been listening. Many times, I had been frustrated like him and wanted to shout out so everyone could hear my pain, but I never did.

I remember being in my French class one day when I was 16 after being absent from school for some time as I was depressed. The teacher asked me to translate into French, “We should be happy” and I heard everyone snigger and giggle.

The girl sitting next to me said you really should wash your hair as it is disgusting. It was oily and stuck like stringy liquorice to my head as I had not washed it for weeks. I wanted to shout I do not even want to be here. It took all my energy to come to school and all you do is laugh. Instead, I ran out of the room without asking and cried in the toilet.
 
This young man was expressing what many of us feel. The fact we are not content with where we are and what we want is someone to really listen to what we are saying.

I wonder if any of you have said or experienced what this young man spoke. Have you ever felt like you did not want to be here and communicated that to people who did not, could not or would not understand.?

Have you ever heard anyone speak out loud those words and if so, how were you affected?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


24

June

Getting older

Thursday June 24, 2021


Since lockdown I have become 70. It was a shock even though I had prepared myself for it. I spent the day alone, not the family gathering I had hoped for. I was reflective and came up with a question. How have mental issues in older age affected you?

For me the highs are really hard. They were always the worst aspect but easy to recover from being young and healthy. Over the years I find the exhaustion takes weeks to overcome. Holding that driving force seems impossible. When I feel the surge, see the points sky rocket, I dive for cover, keep myself at home or go on solitary walks. The aches and pain seem to mirror the extreme energy too, increasing and intensifying. I haven’t found much written about handling mental health in later years.

This is also for younger folk, have you seen any changes linked to life events? Has one illness increased the impact of your mental state. Has the loss of a loved one started a downward spiral. What has brought your equilibrium back?

Love

Dido
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


23

June

Putting Yourself First

Wednesday June 23, 2021


I was born with a great disability; I can see every side of an argument.

I’ve been told this is because I have Libra rising in my star sign – or is it my moon sign? I forget; but whatever the reason, it really gets in the way.

Just last week, the managers of our company announced a change in policy. Some of my colleagues are up in arms about it, and I can see why: they feel badly treated. When, however, I look at it from the managers’ point of view, I see the logic and the business sense, even inevitability, about their decision.

When it came to appointing a representative from our family to negotiate a sticky situation within the wider family, I was the obvious choice. If I cannot keep the peace, at least I can be the peace, and I can explain the way each person feels to the others. I hope it helps. At least nobody has fallen out to the extent of not speaking, so that has to count for something, I suppose.

But it comes with a price. I feel torn in a dozen different ways. I am accused to taking both sides, and lectured by friends about not standing up for myself. “You look out for everyone else,” they say, “but you don’t look out for yourself.”

I see their point. Well, of course I do!

One of pieces of advice St Paul gives in his letter to the Romans is, “So far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.” This is great advice but, carried to extremes, it means avoiding confrontation and subsuming one’s own needs to those of others.

In my professional life, I have no problem with being assertive. Setting my business hours and holding firmly to those hours (ahem, with some exceptions) has been a habit well worth cultivating. Looking after myself in my personal life is not so easy.

This depressive episode is now in its fifth week; day 33 (sigh). I am finally listening to all those people who tell me to rest. Hey – I’m even listening to myself: do you remember the blogs I wrote a couple of weeks ago?

So, yesterday, I sat in a chair all morning, just reading. I slipped up by offering to take my younger daughter to the bus station, but she took one look at me and said, with some brutality, that I didn’t look well enough to drive. I slept all afternoon.

Today, after writing this blog, rinse and repeat.

The needs and views of everyone else are on hold.

What are your own views and needs? Do you see the argument from all sides but your own? Do you subsume your own needs to the needs of others? And, at what price to your own well-being?

Please learn from my mistakes. I shall report back next week after I have, at last, taken advice and looked after myself first.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


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