The Moodscope Blog

29

September

Early Warning System

Wednesday September 29, 2021


Is it a battle?

Do you see coping with depression or bipolar as a fight against the enemy, or as something to be endured, or as some monster taking you hostage from time to time and against which you are powerless?

I think I have been in the latter two camps, but it has never really been a fight. My bipolar disorder is as much a part of me as having blue eyes. I accept it and see it as something I must live with, and which must be managed as well as possible.

If we are to take responsibility for our illness or condition or whatever you choose to call the depression/bipolar disorder we live with, then we need good information.

While general information is invaluable – the internet is great here, so long as you choose reputable websites, the most helpful source of information is self-awareness.

I have noticed several physical indicators that allow me to at least prepare for what is to come. Some of these can be noticed by others who know me well; some of them are internal.

Although my medication controls the worst of the symptoms, the ups and downs are still there. I have periods of ebullient high energy and times of extreme fatigue, where the world retreats in muffled and faded tones to the far horizon.

I have noticed that, about two weeks before I drop out of a “high” into depression, my energy starts to have an element of jitteriness. I start to feel nauseous (a symptom of anxiety, although I am not conscious of feeling anxious) and it sometimes feels as if there are spiders dancing under my skin. When I notice this, or my husband points out that I am not eating, then I know it is time to review the diary for the coming month at least and cancel everything not absolutely essential.

The depression part of the cycle is one of endurance and rest. It is not as bad as it used to be. Thanks to the medication, I no longer merely sit on the sofa, shaking, in an unresponsive and catatonic state but it’s still a bad time. Approaching the end of this period I experience about a week or so of bad headaches. I’ve learned now to welcome them, as they signal a return to “normality”.

One of the indications of fatigue, that I have done too much and exhausted myself, is that my speech centres start to malfunction, and I stutter. It’s something my friends and family now watch out for, and they ensure I rest.
I call all these physical symptoms my Early Warning System. There is, yet no cure for bipolar disorder and, while medication can alleviate our condition, we must still be responsible and manage ourselves.

Have you noticed any physical indications that give you advance warning of depression or manic periods? If so, how do you respond?

Mary
A Moodscope member,

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


28

September

Make it stop!

Tuesday September 28, 2021


I started this blog a couple of weeks ago, then abandoned it as rambling and  over-dramatic. I am in a better mood now, though I know that won’t last.
 
In early 2020 the house next to ours was bought by a young couple. It had been very neglected for years, and they got it at a bargain price. We knew there would be noise and disruption, but looked forward to being rid of the eyesore, not to mention the possible increase in value it could bring to our own Victorian terrace.
 
They are a lovely couple, both hospital doctors who slogged away on the wards throughout the worst of the pandemic. The planned building work was obviously put on hold, and they effectively camped out in there for months.
 
Early this year work began in earnest. The place has been gutted, taken back to brick, floors removed with what sound like pneumatic drills, everything ripped out and replaced. Some work continues well into the evening if they are on late shifts. The pair had to move out for a month or so, and I so wished I could do the same, as my house vibrated from the machinery pounding on the other side of the wall.
 
Two weeks ago we had the heatwave, I don’t cope well with heat and humidity. My dogs are affected too. I got up after a sleepless night, giddiness heralding a  migraine. Spock took the dogs for a quick walk, and I tidied up, had a cool shower and took  Ibuprofen. The plan was to lie down and try to grab some sleep. Then it started. Shouting and singing outside. I looked out and my heart sank as a team of scaffolders arrived. After a  few days without workmen we hoped for a break.
 
I tried the rear bedroom, but the window fitters were ripping out the ground floor windows, music blasting. They were lovely jokey men, like all the workmen they have employed. Everyone apologises for the racket, boxes of chocolates get left for us. No one is to blame, the work has to be done.
 
Later in the morning  a tradesman  arrived on the other side of us, installing decking and talking loudly on his mobile. I set off for a walk in the burning midday sun, struggling to stay upright as the migraine took hold. The rest of the week was a repeat of that day.
 
I had not been depressed or excessively anxious before this, but as the days wore on my mood sank. I felt so angry, desperate and tearful, but I knew it was no one’s fault. Therefore the fault must lie within me-right?
 
I once did a test, aimed at so-called extra sensitive people. I was not surprised that I scored very highly. I also felt a bit embarrassed. It sounds so narcissistic doesn’t it? It’s like saying the majority of the population are lumpen turnips, and we are a rather special elite. The fact is we all  have to make some noise, and the resultant misery it  causes me is just unfortunate. Likewise for every person I met who was suffering in the heatwave, there were many more who felt on top form.
 
As I said, I feel better now, but it won’t last. Among the list of jobs to be completed in the weeks ahead is the demolition of an ugly extension, building a conservatory, garden landscaping and tree felling. I am filled with dread. I also feel so sorry for the people on the other side of them. She  is a fellow migraineur, last year she developed epileptic seizures. Like us, they like the young couple and admire them for taking on such a challenge, but tolerance wears thin after a time. 
 
I tell myself I am blessed to live in a quiet part of a peaceful town. There are many for whom loud daily noise is unavoidable, and I wonder if there are higher rates of mental illness and stress in such areas. 
 
How about you, can your mood be thrown out of kilter by external factors like the temperature and noise?  I once knew a woman whose mood could plummet due to certain smells or tastes, but was otherwise stable and happy. Today is peaceful and coolish, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Val
A Moodscope member.

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


27

September

Energy Follows Focus

Monday September 27, 2021


I love to breathe! Even better is conscious breathing. In the gap between stimulus and reaction there is a space. This space is where we can choose to breath consciously and then respond instead of reacting on autopilot. Conscious breathing gives us that literal ‘pause for thought’ and may be the fastest route to self-mastery. When we learn to, “Mind the Gap,” by focusing on our breathing, the onward journey can become safe and satisfying.

This is especially so when the brain’s auto-reaction of fight, flight, or freeze has been triggered. Pausing to breathe can break the trance and bring us back to purpose-directed choice. When the focus becomes directed, energy follows focus. Breathe – Relax- Respond.

It’s fascinating, given that the brain is such an oxygen-hog, that when we feel under attack, the first thing that goes is breathing. This, I believe, forces a stronger emotional-chemical reaction designed to save us from danger. However, as we mature into more rational and considered versions of ourselves, conscious breathing can take command of where we focus. As we focus on our breathing instead of the perceived threat, the chemical-mist can clear and a way forward can be discerned.

If the brain talked to the brain, it would be as if your Pre-Frontal Cortex was telling your Emotional Brain, “We’ve got this. We can choose calm. We can think clearly.” Rumour has it that heart rate can also slow with steady breathing, and that even our immune response can improve. What’s not to love?

Breathing is a good idea – but conscious breathing is pure genius!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


26

September

Would you like to sit at my table? 

Sunday September 26, 2021


My garden table sits 6 people. It’s always been a lovely table, big, wooden and heavy.  I painted it a few years ago and it took on a whole new life.  The chairs are heavy too, comfortable, and I have thick seat cushions I keep for when we’re using the table more formally. I brought the table here from our old house and it fitted an area perfectly, just outside the living room doors. It’s a great spot for it.  The space is rectangular and so is the table.  My brain fitted them together and we were all happy. Twelve years of happy.

That was until this summer. This summer, as I do every couple of years, I sanded and painted the table and chairs.  I swept and cleaned the area around them and hung some lights.  When it came time to put everything back, my son helped me. For some reason the table ended up, just for a moment, sitting across the rectangle.  And my son and I looked at each other. The table felt so much better this way!  Why had none of us ever noticed this before?

We’ve enjoyed a whole summer out there, having breakfasts, coffees, dinners, working, pausing.  And we’ve enjoyed so much sitting in the new position - it feels like two jigsaw pieces had been switched and are now where they belong.

I’m looking at it now. It’s brilliant. It still makes me smile each time I pass.

So today I have this - just because it’s always been, doesn’t mean it’s right. It doesn’t mean it should stay unchallenged.  It doesn’t mean a change isn’t required. And it means that a change is sometimes an enormous gift.  
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


25

September

Me Time

Saturday September 25, 2021


Okay, back to basics. Not much thinking, a bit of CBT and most importantly, Me time.

I am grateful for the time each day that I can call my own. This falls mainly into two periods; first thing in the morning and in the evening after dinner.

The early morning is the great escape. My sole focus upon rising is to get outside before anybody wakes. I am usually up between 7.15 and 7.45 and it takes about 15 minutes to get ready. Enough time to wash face, get dressed (clothes laid out in kitchen the night before) and consume half a banana and a glass of water. Mandatory visit to loo on the way from bedroom to kitchen! I then grab phone and keys and I am outside.

The best part of the day. The cool fresh air on my face, the quiet stillness, the early bird songs and the colours and scents of the garden. I am in the moment, reconnecting with outside world. Then I have to make a decision; which path to take. I have a choice of around half a dozen using the local waterways, parks and walkways. The main experience is being with nature before most of world has woken. Sometimes I meet somebody, a complete stranger or a regular walker (often with dog). This is a bonus because we usually exchange a few words and it adds to my connection process.

Now to my early evening escape. After evening dinner and before I settle down to watch TV I escape to the office. Door shut, computer on, select sixties music and You Tube does the rest. For the next 30 minutes I am immersed in nostalgia. Slow romantic ballads to upbeat rock, quite a mixture. I have also discovered some new musical surprises such as Dana Winner singing “One moment in time”. Excellent treatment for anxiety. Particularly if you know the words and can sing along!

Why is Me time important? Because you need to find some peace with yourself. If you respect yourself you are in a much better place to help others. And if others respect you they will understand your need for a short time alone.

Me time has nothing to do with being selfish. It is part of finding the correct balance in your life between all available options. So there is no reason to feel guilty.

Someone once said “It is hard to love yourself if you never spend time with yourself.”

Don’t you deserve some Me time?

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


24

September

A difficult day

Friday September 24, 2021


"Today was a Difficult Day," said Pooh.
“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Piglet.
“No,” said Pooh after a bit. “No, I don’t think I do.”
“That’s okay,” said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend.
“What are you doing?” asked Pooh.
"Nothing, really," said Piglet. "Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don't feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either.
"But goodness," continued Piglet, "Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you've got someone there for you. And I'll always be here for you, Pooh."
And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day,… he thought that his best friend had never been more right."


I love this quotation - I like the simplicity of this situation and it has helped me on difficult days.

Unlike Pooh and Piglet and I know that I and other Moodscopers may not have a friend who understands about difficult days and be there for you by sitting near you. Sometimes even a text, an email, a phone call on a difficult day can make us feel someone understands.

Sometimes people close to us don’t know we are having a difficult day as we will not tell them. I like the way Pooh and Piglet feel they can communicate with each so simply that it is a much loved book for such a long time for adults and children.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


23

September


Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I go to an upstairs front window and look out onto the street below in the grey light. In the daytime, it is a main artery into the town, with a couple of school time pulses of activity, but at night it is empty and quiet. There are wide verges of grass before the front gardens, and in the shadows it is incredibly peaceful.

I moved here about a year before lockdown, and so I know most of neighbours in surrounding houses by sight and viewed their daily activities because of Lock down boredom observation. The middle-aged couple, who trim their hedges with precision, the daughter who emerges and goes somewhere. Next door to them carers come every morning, I see the first neighbour helping them by putting the bins out every week, and a young couple (presumably son /daughter plus partner) visit frequently after lock-down easing, unloading/loading suitcases to their modest car. A few doors down, the cyclist on his Sunday lycra clad excursion, a fine specimen of a sportsman. At night from my sleeplessness, I peer into the semi light of the street and feel the warmth, thinking of the familiar daytime sights and am comforted.

I also know neighbours through a street whatsapp group set up after Covid started. Here I recognise some names which keep coming up, the postman, the foodbank volunteer, other people offer things they have or can’t get (a few bricks for a garden project, a builders pallet etc), a sort of mini free-cycle.

So in this way I know neighbours and feel the community, even though they are somewhat hidden, and the identities are elusive. Either I know the face or the name, or some idiosyncratic habit they may have (the early morning jogger). The feeling is good.

Similarly, on Moodscope, I know the scopers through a veil, their handles, their comments, a vague location, a few family details but what they sound or look like is a mystery (apart from the velvet voice and golden sight of Lex in his videos). In the same way I am comforted by the scopers, familiarity, consistency and regularity.

I wonder if the magic would be broken and the fragility of the community disrupted if the connection was more visible? From my physical neighbours, on the whats app group I saw a few opinions I didn’t agree with, it was easy to hide in the shadows and not enter an electronic debate, it would be more difficult if we were speaking. On balance, I think as Covid eases, I would like to know my street neighbours more, but will go gently and expansion will be gradual as I explore new personalities and the richness of the tapestry that surrounds me.

What are you planning to expand? If anything?

Daisy
A Moodscope member.

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


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.


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