The Moodscope Blog

24

May

Breaking Bad

Monday May 24, 2021


[To hear an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8567989 and to watch the video, please click here: https://youtu.be/T2iOkr6PKVA]

How do we break out of a state of mind that we’d label as ‘bad’?

The most direct and rapid way to change our position on how we feel about the world, ourselves, and the day ahead is to…

…change our position! By this, I mean our physical position – our posture.

Feeling ‘down’ is always accompanied by a posture that is down. We look down – literally. Our shoulders tend to be hunched, our movements can be lethargic and laboured, and our general sense of being closed off to the future is mirrored in ‘closed’ body language.

I write this on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest – two day’s in advance of Monday’s blog. Almost without exception, the songs will be buoyant and bouncy, upbeat and uplifting. Look at that language…

‘Uplifting’ means what is says – to lift up. Upbeat means using a pace and a tone that has a strong positive beat to it as opposed to the laid-back style of ‘downbeat’. And as for ‘bouncy’ – I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen Tigger’s posture.

I’m going to warmly invite you onstage to perform. The stage will be your own kitchen. A hairbrush may help stand in as a microphone replacement – or a wooden spoon will do nicely! We’re going to call it, “The Neurovision Song Contest,” and YOU are the Star attraction!

Neurovision? Yes, we’re going to change the way you and I see the world, see ourselves, and see the future!

Your mission, in the privacy of your own kitchen, is to change your posture to being uplifting and upbeat, to be bouncy and buoyant. Singing in tune is utterly at your discretion. What is mandatory is that you give it some welly! My two favourite bouncy songs are:

“Can’t Stop The Feeling,” Justin Timberlake (and with a mere 1,400,014,003 views on YouTube, I’m clearly not alone) https://youtu.be/ru0K8uYEZWw and
Jonh Lundvik’s Eurovision Song from 2019 “Too Late For Love.” Yes, I’ve mentioned them before, but I figured it was time for a revival! https://youtu.be/iEEuG5XML-A

You can choose your own songs but just promise me you’ll bounce! When you do that, you and I will bounce back to a more buoyant edition of ourselves.

OK? Want more? Good – if you get a chance to look at the video that goes along with today’s blog, I’ll show you a ridiculous exercise that will really get your body and brain breaking bad!

Love

Lex
Lord of the Bounce!
A Moodscope member.

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


23

May

Hide and seek 

Sunday May 23, 2021


What are you looking for? There’s a question. 
 
I suppose a popular answer could be happiness, maybe security, maybe a holiday! It’s well worth using the question on a daily basis, hourly basis even, as well as over a longer term. For we often get lost in trying to live somebody else’s life, somebody else’s ideal, somebody else’s creation or painting of how our life should look and be lived. 
 
If we look for trouble, we’ll manage to find it. If we look for simplicity, we can find that too. “Where focus goes, energy flows” and it’s so true. My mum can find the fear and the negative in any situation (any!) and her energy flows accordingly. Only it flows so much it’s drowning her and I’ve had to life raft my way out of that. 
 
When we sharpen our focus, and needle point the aim, then our mood cannot fail to be lifted as we achieve even half inch steps towards it. 
 
My needle points have changed. 

From “sleep earlier” to “read one chapter each night”. 
From “feel better about myself” to “submit my book to the agent”. 
From “make clearer lists” to “face the thing I don’t want to do and do it”. 
 
So, what are you looking for dear reader? Maybe by seeing it in black and white we can all put down some roots. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


22

May

Elephants never forget

Saturday May 22, 2021


Do you have a favourite animal? As the title might lead you to believe, mine is the elephant.

My fascination with these majestic creatures started when I was three. My parents had taken me, along with my toddler brother, to visit Chester Zoo. At one stage during this visit, I had wandered off and was found minutes later back at the elephant enclosure, staring open mouthed at a mother and baby
pair.

Elephants are revered in many cultures. For example, in Hindu mythology they symbolise power, wisdom, integrity and strength. Figures of elephants are thought to bring good luck and positivity to homes and gardens. If you were to visit me, you would find over 50 elephant figures/fridge magnets/soft toys and the like, which I have amassed over the last sixty or so years, dotted all over the place!

I think we all know that the gestation period for an elephant is the longest of any mammal - 18 months for Asian elephants and 22 months for the African.
However, here are a few other interesting facts about elephants which you might not know. Elephants cannot jump, due to their leg bones all pointing downwards which means they don’t have the “spring” needed to push off the ground. And they are afraid of mice- or rather, because of their relatively poor eyesight, they get startled when mice dart past. They are highly intelligent animals with complex emotions, feelings and self-awareness. I read somewhere that an elephant is one of the few animals to recognise itself in a mirror.

So, as interesting (or not!) as this might be to you, what is my reason for sharing this with you? Is it because deep down I think I share some of the attributes of an elephant – and I don’t just mean the grey wrinkly skin! My husband, when asked about his favourite animal, said he did not have one. So I’m interested to know how many of you have a particular animal you identify with, and the reasons for this.

A final thought to finish. It is said elephants never forget – neither do I when it comes to feelings!

Welshgirl
A Moodscope member.

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


21

May

‘Whatever’

Friday May 21, 2021


When my daughter was a teenager, her favourite phrase was ‘Talk to the hand’ and her most used word was ‘Whatever’ which was accompanied by eye rolling and an ohhhh Mum!

That was 20 years ago and now I notice adults, even my age, are saying the word ‘whatever’ and it does annoy me because I feel it is a throw away word and it feels I am being patronised. I could be wrong.

Someone may ask me something and I think of the answer but obviously not the answer the way they expected so they shrug their shoulders and say ‘Whatever’.

I know this seems quite trivial when one considers all the problems Moodscopers face each day.

For me it is easier to talk about the small things that annoy me than the ones I find overwhelming.

Do you have a word that you find frustrating?

What do you think of the word ‘Whatever’?

Or is it not the word but the context and the tone and emotion that is communicated.
Do you find that if you are in a low mood certain words annoy you more than usual?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


20

May

Early morning delights

Thursday May 20, 2021


I joined Moodscope almost eleven years ago when I was going through a bout of depression following major heart surgery. I found the daily recording of mood scores of great benefit but I never got involved with the daily blogs. Skip forward to March 2020 when I suffered a mental breakdown. I decided to become more involved and have found some of the blogs inspirational, thank you. This is my attempt to repay something to my fellow Moodscope members. What follows is the email I recently sent to my local group of friends attempting to cheer them up. I hope it will help if you are struggling.

Now that the lighter mornings have arrived and the break is over for my leg, I have decided to recommence my routine of taking a walk first thing in the morning. And as you will see it can be filled with delights.

Yesterday I left the house about 8am and although it is cool, the brightness from the early morning sun lifts my spirits. I stroll a few hundred yards down the road and notice some wallflowers providing a lovely scented display at the end of a garden adjacent to the pavement.

A few minutes later I am chatting with the lollipop lady who takes school children (and some elderly folk!) safely across the road. She is five foot nothing and always has a jolly disposition.

After a few more yards I  cross the canal bridge and enter some parkland. Immediately I spot a squirrel scampering up an old oak tree. He stops about twenty feet up and turns upside down, releases his front paws and hangs using only the contact of his hind claws to prevent him falling. I laugh and move on.

The next delight is the sighting of a smaller blossom tree in full bloom. It is like a giant stick of candy floss, white with a few pink flecks.

I turn round to head home.

I return over the bridge and walk to the local newsagent store. My mate "Big John” is waiting outside. He is a local character about six foot tall, a few years older than me ( I think ) who shuffles to the shop each morning to buy his newspaper. We talk for a few minutes, mainly about the fish in his garden pond and walking his dog about three hours earlier! I continue home for a shower and breakfast. 

So many delights in around thirty minutes, I feel lucky I am able to walk and see all this. It restores faith in humans and nature.

Hope you are enjoying the Spring sunshine and if you have seen any outside delights I would love to hear about them.

Best Wishes

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


19

May

“Meh!”

Wednesday May 19, 2021


t’s such a good word, and so accurately sums up everything.

Lockdown is easing and you can meet up with friends outside!

“Yeah, that’s nice.”

You can open your studio again and finally see all those clients!

“Okay.”

From Monday you can hug your mother!

“I guess I’ll see her on Thursday, then.”

Things are a bit grim just now. The scores have slumped, and the great grey beast of depression is nudging my shoulder again and blowing his breath, like chilled chloroform fumes, in my face.

It was yesterday when I was forced to admit it. I had gone to the bank to get some paperwork signed. It took two delightful gentlemen to deal with my somewhat unusual request and, while one of them was away doing whatever gnomish things he needed to do in the Gringott Vaults, the other waxed lyrical about his prospective visit to the cinema. He loves the cinema and has one of those unlimited tickets. In normal times he would go three times a week and find his solace and escape in the dark auditorium and the bright lights and sounds of the story on screen. He has missed it very much during the last year.

“What are you really looking forward to?” he asked, and I was stumped. Before the grey beast arrived, I was looking forward to seeing my best friend for a cup of tea – inside, out of the cold wind; I was looking forward to being able to hug my mother; I was looking forward to a meal out, to inviting friends round for dinner, to long walks along the beach with more than just my immediate family.

Now? Now, I want lockdown all over again. I want to hide away and not see anyone. I don’t want to see my clients; I don’t want to see my colleagues; I don’t want to see my friends – all bar those very, very few who totally understand and never say, “What’s wrong? What has happened? How can I help?”

I can’t be the only one who is finding the easing of lockdown harder than being in it.

There are, however, some things I can do to help myself.

I know I need to keep faith that this will lift and that things will get better. I need to pace myself, adjust my diary and build in self-care.

It’s also important still to do those things which usually bring joy, even if I can’t feel it right now.

So, I’m still going round for that cup of tea, inside. I am still going to hug my mother and give thanks I still have a mother to hug, I am going to ask those friends around for dinner and walk with them on the beach.

Are you, like me, finding it hard to come out of lockdown? What are you looking forward to? And is it bringing you joy?

I hope so.

In the meantime, there is that useful word, “Meh!”

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


18

May

Thinking about thinking

Tuesday May 18, 2021


Yesterday I forgot to do something. And although I was a bit cross with myself, it was no biggie.
 
This is NOT how I would have responded years ago. 

Then I would have given myself a terrible time, calling myself every negative word I could come up with - and on a loop going round and round. I would have alarmed myself, scared myself, terrified that because of that error, all manner of other awful things would happen - lose my job, marriage, home etc.  I could "catastrophise for England".  
 
And I actually thought that was good in some peculiar, unhealthy way. I thought that driving myself hard and not allowing mistakes would make me better and make me less likely to make that mistake again.
 
What I actually achieved was a very severe mental illness.
 
As part of my recovery and ongoing wellbeing maintenance, I now check in with my thoughts a LOT. I realised the many errors of my ways. That was sooooo hard to do - your thoughts are second nature, often difficult to tease out and identify. Then you have to examine them and you need to invest in a lot of research and cut through a lot of nonsense to find what works, what actually works.

This could resonate with you, or you may know someone who is showing some of the many unhelpful thinking traps - just like me, a way of thinking that keeps them stuck, trapped, deluded, defensive etc
 
Often people need professional help with this. And everyone can access Talking Therapy without a referral in England.  The right help is worth the investment of time, effort and money if necessary.  Those thinking traps can be so painful and dangerous and difficult to see for what they are.
 
So - yesterday, just as I thought, when I forgot to do something, the sky did NOT fall down. What a better and more comfortable view of the world I now have! And so can you and your family, friends and clients. Change can be scary, but "do what you always did and you will get what you always got."
 
 Kind regards

Flea Magee
A Moodscope member.

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


17

May

Adults Only

Monday May 17, 2021


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8523919 to watch a video, please click here: https://youtu.be/4gdVHA_gjeI]

There’s a story or three to this week that I’d love to share with you. For example, how did I inadvertently get my first 18+ rating on YouTube? How did I discover the wealth of wisdom in a new friendship? And how did ‘coincidence’ suggest I begin working on ASMR Affirmations for Moodscope?

Let’s begin with a new mantra that I learned from deepening a friendship: “What will I do today that my Future-Self will thank me for?”

This arose from a series of serendipitous events. I’ve not been having a proper day off – clear of technology. By last Wednesday, my innermost being had had enough. I was invited to go for a walk near Worth Matravers – my home for many years. With road works outside the house, I figured my chances of getting any voice over work recorded were slim… so I went for a walk 3x longer than my goal, with ups and downs that covered the equivalent of 27 floors!

The walk was exhausting and exhilarating! Breathless for much of it, I made the decision to listen to author Lee Groombridge, who has written an excellent short book on resilience. “What will I do today that my Future-Self will thank me for?” comes from Lee.

My Future-Self thanked me for the walk and the deeper friendship… though my physical self wasn’t too happy with me for the following 48 hours!

A week earlier, I had recorded the waves by Boscombe Pier using slow motion video. This post had received positive responses from some viewers, and one mentioned the hunger on YouTube for ASMR. This is a form of quiet speaking and other sounds that can provoke a deeply pleasant response. Inspired, I rewrote the Moodscope statements as affirmations and whispered them over some new footage I had captured of clouds passing overhead – the Cloud Whisperer or Wellbeing Whisperer.

I didn’t like it. Penelope confirmed my worst fears when she said the whispering sounded creepy! This morning I’ve re-recorded it using quiet speaking rather than whispering. You can see the new video here…

https://youtu.be/Jhqa6jisxUU

Inspired once more to take time out, Penelope and I went to Sculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester. This is a mixture of indoor and outdoor sculpture set in acres of lakeside gardens. It features many works by Simon Gudgeon as well as work from 30 of the UK’s most celebrated sculptors. The works are magnificent.

And this is how I got my first 18+ rating on YouTube. Let me say that the art is occasionally of an adult nature. In fact, no children or dogs are allowed into the gardens. Like Adam and Eve, some of the works don’t even need clothing! YouTube thought my video unsuitable for young eyes, and thus I learn another lesson. However, my Future-Self thanks me for going there and for capturing the memories on film!

The spooky thing is that a friend bumped into us there and suggested I did… ASMR recordings! When the ‘Universe’ works so serendipitously, it’s good to listen…

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


16

May

The lollipop man 

Sunday May 16, 2021


He stands in all seasons. His weathered skin is older, and his neon coverings hide shabby clothes. He says hello and he smiles, and sometimes he slurs his words just a little but it’s not very noticeable due to the limit on talking he puts on himself.   
 
I’ve seen him as himself, wandering the main road, checking parking meter slots for coin returns. I’ve heard him clink his way to the recycling bin on the side road. I’ve seen him clink home with replenished stocks. 
 
This lollipop man, I guess, is an alcoholic. And I’d love to hear his story. Hear what drives the unsettled momentum only calmed by liquid. But it is not my business. My business is to say hello, pass talk of weather and smile as he smiles to me.  
 
The lollipop man one junction up is the opposite. He is gregarious and upright. He engages with everybody, including cyclists and drivers, and sends everybody on their way with a laugh, a smile, sometimes a song!   
 
But I feel safest with the shabby lollipop man. As far as I know he has never missed his shift, morning or afternoon, he is reliable. I have never worried about crossing at the wrong time the way I have with the lollipop man one junction up, who has had quite a number of near misses due to his chatty distraction. 
 
My favourite lollipop man is as sure as the day is long. He does his job very well and is trustworthy. He is a high functioning, committed human. I like his cheery nod and I wish him well as he navigates his own safe route. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.


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


15

May

Be Your Own Best Friend

Saturday May 15, 2021


I enjoy reading self-help books and over the years have found positive strategies to ease difficult feelings of depression, grief and loneliness.

I’m also aware they have their limitations, one of my favourite author/speakers Brene Brown is quick to dismiss the term: “We were never meant to do it on our own,” she says.

Through many of the books I’ve read there is a re-occurring theme; if we can be loving and compassionate to ourselves then life can be a whole lot easier.

This is, of course, much easier said than done, many of us are quick to highlight our own flaws, criticise our own struggles and complain at our own uselessness. The truth being if a friend or relative was going through the same thing we would show nothing but kindness to them.

To put self-love into practice the author Elizabeth Gilbert writes a letter to herself every day from love. In the letter she says to herself what she had wished someone else would say to her. She promises to walk beside herself holding her own hand. “You mush learn how to tell yourself that you are loved. You must tell yourself this again and again until slowly you learn to believe it.” She says.

For our British sensibilities, all this is more than a bit cringy, and the default setting of caring for everyone else and not ourselves is much easier. For me personally this strategy has not worked, often leaving me exhausted and battling the mental health demons.

Gilbert suggests for those struggling with the notion of ‘self-love’ how about starting by just being a really good friend to yourself. For me this seems slightly more palatable, being kind and caring in my own struggles has helped me cope better with the challenges I have faced.

So if you do one thing today why not try treating yourself with kindness, compassion and love. You have absolutely nothing to loose.

Liz Gilbert on letters to herself
https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/the-most-important-words-of-my-life-dear-ones-some-of-you-may-remember-th/

Rosie
A Moodscope member.

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


14

May

No words

Friday May 14, 2021


As people who read my blogs or know me in real life, I love words, reading, writing, speaking, listening to them even making up words, playing games with words.

There are only one-time words let me down and that is when I am struggling, I am down.

I know many moodscopers have written unbelievably detailed blogs using metaphors and imagery to describe how they feel. I admire how even when feeling so bad they have the energy and imagination to write so expressively.

For me, no words come either in writing or talking, no wonderful analogies no mesmerising metaphors. All I could manage  when told just write, was to write  the same word hundreds of times, blah scrawled over 3 pages. I use up all my energy looking for a pen or turning on the computer.

Now I am going through a difficult time, but I cannot communicate to others what I am experiencing.

I wonder, are you like me who finds it hard to describe what you are feeling when you are down? Or are you someone who can compose writing that so many people can admire and relate to?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


13

May

Living with mother

Thursday May 13, 2021


Quite a high percentage of blog posts turn on the problems of parents – what sort of a childhood you had, did it undermine/ruin your self-confidence. And so, so many reflect on the sadness of a difficult adult relationship, even estrangement. Guilt often accompanies this, much more often with mother than father. My mother died 20 years ago, almost 100 – to the last she was criticising me – the care home staff said, after her death, they did not understand why I kept visiting her, she was so rude and unpleasant (on one visit I was going to her room, the cleaner came out ‘I could murder your mother’). I felt I was tough enough to keep visiting. Afterwards, staff said when we travelled I sent Faxes to the home and they read them to her, apparently she wanted them re-read. She would then talk of ‘my daughter who writes, who lives in France’ with pride.

I tried analysing the insurmountable problems. Towards the end she blamed me for the breakup of her marriage, my father preferred my company to hers. When he suggested an outing her reaction was it might rain, be windy or too hot. When he was making money he’d hire a chauffeur driven car before getting his own. She did suffer with terribly swollen legs. But she would do nothing to help herself – walk, keep them up as much as possible, exercise the ankles to improve circulation. And, of course, she felt she was always stared at. She was, people were sorry for her. I suggested she wore trousers, horrors. A younger sister with the same problem wore well cut trousers suits. So, Mummy would not go out – weather or being stared at. My father was very social so took me, till I was supplanted by a succession of mistresses.

The split up was very bitter – I stayed with my father (I was just 16) and did not speak to my mother for years, it was one camp or the other. When I married, and got more confident, I started to see her, I do not believe in depriving children of grand-parents. I visited her frequently, and she stayed with us often till her death. But she drove me bonkers – It was impossible to please her. She did not believe in sitting long at table, or meals being social, and would try and break up a party by jumping up to clear up. I would take her out for the day round all the prettiest villages in Hampshire, and she’d moan about the current warden of her flats the whole time. Fish and chip lunch in a nice pub. More scenery, cream tea in a hotel and home. Not a word of thanks, just ‘At least it didn’t rain’. She would never admire another woman – if I admired her ‘It’s alright for her, she’s slim, rich’. She was a terrible visitor, would do nothing for herself, had to be waited on.

Do you cope? Argue? Suffer in silence? And, in extremis ‘She’s my mother’.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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


12

May

Eat Dessert First

Wednesday May 12, 2021


“You can’t have any ice cream until you’ve eaten your vegetables.”

“No going out to play until you’ve finished your homework.”

“I’ll go for that walk after I’ve washed the kitchen floor.”

How many of you recognise that way of thinking? How many of you use it yourself?

There is a well-known book called “Eat That Frog.” In it, author Brian Tracy recommends that if one has an unpleasant task to do, it’s best to get it over with first thing, rather than procrastinate and delay. The task does not become easier or less unpleasant if you ignore it: frog-tasks have a habit of growing bigger and uglier the longer you leave them undone. He also says, if you have two frogs, eat the biggest one first. I’m glad these are only figurative frogs, as the thought makes me feel slightly nauseous.

Most of us would agree with this philosophy. Another well known technique for improving one’s motivation to do unpleasant tasks or chores, is the concept of rewarding oneself on the completion of the task or chore by doing something more pleasant.

I find there is a problem with this. You see, the unpleasant tasks or chores seem to go on forever, and it’s never time for the reward. It’s always jam tomorrow but never jam today.

I’ve given the matter some thought over the past week or so. The concept of delayed gratification can be taken too far. In fact, it can be so severely delayed, there is no gratification left when one reaches the point where it was to be enjoyed.

One of the “rewards” I give myself is crafting time. If I have completed everything on my to do list, then I can retire to my paper, glue and ribbons, and create. But, somehow, that to do list is rarely completed and, if it ever is, I am too tired to do anything but slump on the sofa and watch mindless TV. Creativity takes energy.

That to do list is also subject to mission creep; it grows longer and longer. I’ve just counted and my list of fourteen tasks I wrote down this morning has grown to twenty-three! At what point do I declare it’s time for my reward? There are always more and more tasks that can be added and that reward drifts further and further away.

I know a man who served in the military. He saw combat and was more than once injured in the line of duty; he saw friends killed in action. He has no time for delayed gratification; he wants everything today as there is no promise of tomorrow. Given his history, I understand.

I am going to borrow a little of his philosophy; I’m going to make sure of my reward.

Brian Tracy is right – we do need to eat that frog first; but we don’t need to eat every frog on the plate before we have dessert.

Chocolate fudge cake, anyone?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


11

May

Think Before You Click

Tuesday May 11, 2021


I usually avoid writing anything personal but thought I would share my thoughts on how a recent experience has led me to review my whole approach to life. 
 
It all began a couple of months ago when a work colleague, I had considered to be a friend and whom I had nominated for a senior position in a voluntary organisation, turned on me when he did not get the role he coveted. This was simply due to a technicality because he had not followed the required procedures.  When this was pointed out to him, he became even more furious and circulated the contents of my private emails to him. This caused me huge embarrassment and, I felt, seriously damaged my reputation as a senior and respected member of my profession. 
 
My confidence has been shattered as a result leading me to question my judgement of people and my whole way of operating. I have always been a fairly open person with a tendency to freely share my thoughts on people and situations - without being malicious. The sort of chats one has with friends and colleagues over a drink. 
 
Fortunately, people tend to have short attention spans and the focus of colleagues has moved on to other matters. However, I have been so shaken by the fallout I have withdrawn from many of my public activities. The main lesson I have learned is that emails can turn into destructive missiles and one has to be ultra careful about what one says, even in confidence. Think before you press ‘send’, if it is forwarded to others you have no way of controlling the wildfire which may be ignited. 

Biboo 
A Moodscope member.

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


10

May

TruthSayer

Monday May 10, 2021


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8481693 and to watch the video, please click here: https://youtu.be/Mj8sxNm_aQw]

“All the World’s a Stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

So says the melancholic Jaques, as written by William Shakespeare in, “As You Like It.”

In my experience, what Shakespeare says here is true. I also know a deeper truth - that each of us HAS many parts at any one time in our lives – parts that all want to play a role. Often these ‘Parts’ are in conflict.

One of those parts has been my Inner Critic. Many therapists believe that, “Every behaviour has a positive intention.” The positive intention of this Part’s fierce criticism is to protect me from harm by nagging me into being a better person. It’s never worked. Instead, I have felt wretched.

Working with my therapist, Kim Searle, we’ve explored many of the ‘Parts’ that are present in my thoughts. There’s a Creative part of me, a Younger me, even a Future me – amongst many others. This is not multiple-personalities but rather a fascinating metaphor for exploring the many aspects of my single personality. When these parts appear to be in conflict, a therapist will seek a ‘Parts Integration’ to create wholeness and wellbeing.

Where there’s a Part of me that means well but goes about matters in an unproductive way, we ask it to cooperate with ‘Creative’ me to come up with a better way to get the outcome. Thus ‘Inner Critic’ has become ‘TruthSayer’! Now, when a critical thought arises, I address ‘TruthSayer’ in my imagination, and he demands of the thought, “Tell the truth!” You see, many of my inner critical thoughts are exaggerations or only one side to the story. TruthSayer helps me to find the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

Whatever mental magic Kim has helped me to perform has worked! TruthSayer has become a hero to my mind rather than a dreaded thought. I also call him LieSlayer! Like a knight in shining armour, he protects me from unfounded criticism and helps me learn from the many mistakes I continue to make. He protects me but in a pleasant and supportive way.

My hope is that this TruthSayer/LieSlayer story will encourage you to get your own Creative part working with less productive parts to produce better ways to get what they want. I will assert that I was ‘stuck’ and that I would not have had this first of many breakthroughs without professional guidance. There are many Kims out there who can help you and I if you feel conflicted and stuck too. In the meantime, if you have an Inner Critic, ask them if they’d like to explore new ways of protecting you… and if you want to adopt your own TruthSayer and LieSlayer, you are welcome to the titles for your own Parts!

Mind Magic or Mumbo Jumbo? This one thing I know, I feel better for it and I’d like that for you too.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


9

May


My youngest daughter is a reactive girl. (That will change, she’s currently 16 and inside the toughest years of teenage, when the brain is still developing the part needed to balance her reactions.) She decided to have a heart to heart with me at an unexpected moment and it was deep. It was important to stop everything, act casual, and listen hard. 
 
The conversation left me drained. I was very happy she could talk openly with me. I was very happy she trusted me. I was very happy she wanted to hear my thoughts. But it left me drained. I really wanted to creep into a corner and digest everything for two days. But life isn’t like that so I carried on. 
 
The next day I was tearful. Our talk had brought up some things I would really rather throw earth over and bury. But life isn’t like that. I did have a little space so I did let myself cry. Not for long but enough to release some of the dam. 
 
In truth, it took me 3 or 4 days to find a peace, during which I could feel my mental health throwing shapes. Only because I now understand myself better, could I take myself under my own wing and hear my healthier narrative blue-lighting to attend. Most of that ability came from the process of scoring my cards some years ago. Doing so opened doors in my mind which may otherwise have remained just walls. It’s taken such a long time to get here, and I am not saying I’m ok, but I am saying that to make any progress we have to first look at ourselves. And be willing to do that. Look at our expectations and judgements of ourselves, and only then can we have half a chance of growing healthier.  
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.


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


8

May


I think I have written about this before but it’s a subject which occupies my mind a lot.

I wonder if our personalities which are in part hereditary and part as a result of upbringing in the early years, dictate whether we will suffer from mental health problems later in life.

I think and this is my opinion, that we grow up actually fairly happy (if we are lucky) with our family, school etc and it’s only when we reach a certain age, are we aware that our face doesn’t fit or we feel uneasy in a group, work or social setting.

Only then do we begin to question ourselves and our abilities to feel normal.

Anxiety plays a huge part in my health issues and that started when I was young but my real problems begun when I started work after having had children. I found I was unable to conform to what was expected of me even though I worked very hard.

My personality was wrong. I didn’t crack the same office jokes as everyone else and couldn’t laugh when I was expected to. I wasn’t vocal in meetings and was shy basically and not self confident. Even though I produced the work and everyone went to me if they needed something, I wasn’t appreciated or liked. I begun to feel very bad about myself. The seeds of disquiet were sown.

Eventually I developed mental health issues, not severe ones at all but basically I was angry with myself and felt I’d failed. I didn’t fit in and felt awkward in the after work social settings unless I drank copious amounts of alcohol. It wasn’t good.

But now I look back I can see that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I did try but I didn’t succeed. I was probably in the wrong job but who has the luxury of choosing a job which suits their personality?

What I am saying is this. Perhaps we are not depressed but just being ourselves and trying to fit into society and what we think, or are told we should be like. It’s a struggle for so many of us.

Mental health is a very complex issue.

Jul
A Moodscope member.

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


7

May

Acceptance

Friday May 7, 2021


I used to associate acceptance with saying yes to an invitation to a party.

In the past few years, and especially in the last year many people including mental health professionals and friends and family have told me that I need to accept what has happened to me and move on.

Now we are all advised that to be mentally healthy we need to accept we have an illness, accept the way things are, accept pain and accept what we have lost and experienced.

Often acceptance may change over time and be appropriate to the current life-stage of the person concerned. It may mean not being in denial but accepting yourself and not hating yourself so you become more open to doing the things that will help. This can be hard to achieve. I denied I had bipolar for 16 years. I do not think I have ever 100% accepted my label but I do not hate myself and never did.


After more episodes or maybe a traumatic episode some people acknowledge and are prepared to accept that they have mental illness. This is often a period of intense loss of one’s identity and one's previous life. There are other times that we are encouraged to have acceptance, when we have death of loved one, physical illness and or disability, employment struggles, relationship breakdown and other issues or any other traumatic experience.


I think acceptance can happen haphazardly and not in a straight line It is a process that may not work for everyone. I know the hardest part has been accepting that I would not have the life I had again. I think acknowledging the loss and recognising the struggle I was having and ignoring those who said I had to move on helped me. I think how one defines acceptance in relation to one’s mental health is important.

I am interested in what acceptance means to you. I don’t mean the definition used psychologically but how you use/understand the word.

Do you the find the concept of acceptance, helpful or unhelpful to you or is it something you tr,y but struggle with at times?

Leah
A Moodscope Member.

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


6

May


The lifting of lockdown in the UK, the arrival of spring and so much good weather has appeared to bring a sunniness to the nation’s mood.

But I am on my guard....enjoying life’s pleasures but always with one eye out for that lolloping black dog. He who brings bad thoughts, paranoia and a distorted sense of reality.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, with a variety of emotions flying around. I returned home to my refurbished house. At last home after eight months in temporary accommodation. The delight of being home dropped as the sheer physical exhaustion of moving house kicked in. It was not helped by sharp criticism by my mother for the house ‘being messy’. This comment stung as two or three critical pieces of furniture had not arrived due to complications at the port post Brexit and I was surrounded by boxes.

Being sensitive to criticism (who isn’t?), tired, and emotionally processing the trauma of what happened and moving home, I did not respond well. Fortunately I spared my sharp tongue but was really unwell for a couple of weeks, hearing negativity and criticism everywhere.

Today in my garden as I turn the soil, finally tackling the weeds and break into the compost heap, I am looking to the future. To the crop of red and black currants currently flowering. To the prospect of a daughter finishing dreaded exams and having a summer of freedom. To a big birthday and being able to celebrate with friends (not family!). To being me, aware of the dreaded black dog, but not letting it stop me dream nor believe in a better future.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member

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


5

May

Great Expectations

Wednesday May 5, 2021


It’s my birthday today. Well, not today as I’m writing this, but tomorrow while you’re reading.

I love birthdays! No, I’m not going to tell you how old I am. Oscar Wilde wrote, “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.”

I love birthdays because I love cards and gifts and well-wishes – even those casual greetings from Facebook connections prompted only by the algorithm popping up in their notifications. I bask in all the attention.

I am also unashamed in my requests for gifts. Not from all and sundry, of course: I don’t corner random strangers on the street with demands for birthday presents, but from the family members and close friends I know want to give me something. I reason that most people would rather give a gift they know will be well received, than chance an offering that will be met with a strained smile, a dutiful thank you note, and which will then be quietly passed on at the first opportunity.

Today I got a text from a dear friend. “BTW can you send me again that link? I thought I had bookmarked it but apparently not. Sorry I have delayed so long with it. Chalk up the usual lame excuses.”

I laughed and was unsurprised. Nor was I disappointed. In a true friendship, one accepts people as they are, and does not build false expectations. I shall be delighted and touched to receive a gift in due course. After all, it just makes the birthday last longer!

Many years ago, I attended a personal development seminar where we were introduced to the idea of analysing our upsets. When we are upset or distressed by anything, the leader said, it is from only three possible causes: an intention which was thwarted, an undelivered communication or a disappointed expectation.

Take a moment to think about the last time you were upset over something. You will most likely find its cause was one or more of these – perhaps all three.

At my last company conference, we had to complete the following: “To work with me, you should know…” My answer was, “I have a black hole of admin; if you keep track and remind me of what I should be doing, I will be SO grateful. Be straight with me: I appreciate it. If you recognise my contribution I will cry with gratitude. I will ALWAYS give you everything I can – but I may forget what I have promised to do.”

My friends and family know I am forgetful; they know I never mind being reminded. They also know I do my best NOT to forget.

Sometimes, of course, there are traits in those we love that we cannot accept; we must be continually disappointed and upset.

It’s always worth considering, however, if our expectations are reasonable. Maybe we should lower them to avoid disappointment.

I shall be delighted then, with just one birthday card.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


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