The Moodscope Blog




Saturday February 13, 2021

Have you ever been stuck in a toilet? I have been stuck twice. Both are funny after the event but one was funny at the time too!
Our downstairs loo is built in under the stairs so it’s not the biggest of spaces, but it’s not too claustrophobic either.
I don’t normally shut the door fully when using the loo but I did on this occasion. This was the cue my cat needed to start one of his attention seeking antics - clawing the carpet outside the door. He knows it’s bad behaviour and will run away in that way that naughty cats do - a bit sideways at speed taunting you to chase after them but with their tails up to signify friendship. Only this time there was no way I could chase after him because the door wouldn’t open! He had clawed the carpet in such a way that it had lifted from the grippers and created a very effective block. If he had clawed at the hinge end of the doorway I might have been able to open the door, but his choice of location was perfect to lock me in. I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation - how ridiculous to be trapped in the loo by a cat!
He returned to the scene of his crime and miaowed at me through the door. I acknowledged his presence and we had a short conversation about what a naughty boy he was - those with “talking” cats will understand this, everyone else will think I’m mad.
I knew I couldn’t get out of this on my own so started to bang on the door and shout “Help!” in the hope that my partner would hear me. At least he was in. After what seemed like an eternity (but was probably only a couple of minutes) I was released from my temporary prison. He thought it funny too, but said at least I had something to sit on, access to water from the sink, and of course access to a loo if I was stuck for any length of time - there are worse places to be stuck in.
The cat was nowhere to be seen of course!
There are no real lessons to learn from this but I hope you found it funny and it helped to lighten your mood today.

Have you ever been stuck somewhere and found it funny?
Little Drop
A Moodscope member.

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



Talking to myself

Friday February 12, 2021

I read recently that writing in the 3rd person in one’s journal helps one to organise ones thoughts.  3rd person is to say Leah or she did this rather than I did this which is first person.

It also found that by silently talking to yourself in the third person during stressful times may help you control emotions without any additional mental effort than what you would use for first-person self-talk - the way people normally talk to themselves.

Talking or writing in the 3rd person may help people get some distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for coping with  emotions.
This research makes sense to me as I have often talked to my self in the third person and over the years have written letters, now emails to myself. I have written a blog about it.

I have found that writing to myself in the 3rd person especially when I am upset makes it easy to explain how I feel and to try and work out what is happening.

Sometimes I am amazed by what I discover when I use the 3rd person. Since the fires I have used writing letters to myself as a way of expressing myself. Sometimes issues that I thought did not worry about come up and I realise I have not really coped with them but just buried them.

The results suggest that third-person self-talk may constitute a relatively effortless form of coping with emotions.

I realise some people will feel uncomfortable with writing this way so it is not for everyone.

I thought it was interesting that there was research into something I had been doing for years but felt it was maybe a bit weird!

I wonder if you have ever tried talking  and or writing to yourself as if you were another person? Did it help or did it feel uncomfortable? Would you consider trying it?

A Moodscope member.

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



Breathing and being alive

Thursday February 11, 2021

My psychiatrist caught me in the waiting room writing away. He said if you do at least three of these a day you're doing okay:

Exercise. Communication. Learning and giving. 

He made me think that day and I have done these things ever since. 

Age fifty seven and after early diagnosis of depression and anxiety, borderline personality disorder, bipolar, PTSD and OCD and now complex PTSD from my person centred counsellor. Also a mention of Dyspraxia because of Irlens from the eye doctor.

I’ve finally cracked it, determined to escape the feelings of mistrust and anger and anything to do with fear that was blighting my very existence and desire to live.

For 11 months now I have been medication free and can actually say I love being alive. My psychiatrist rang me out of the blue and I thanked him so much. 

Exercise… Bike riding and walking. Tick
Communication... Daughters and now Moodscope. Tick
Learning... Welsh. Headspace app.Tick
Giving… That was a hard one originally, but he said you give to your daughters. Now I also give the local woodland a tidy up five days a week and now I can add MOODSCOPE! Tick

He concluded I didn't need medication but said he couldn't say I never would. Which has made me all the more determined to carry out these four daily things.


A little light house
A Moodscope member.

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



The Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Jar

Wednesday February 10, 2021

When I wrote my blog on gratitude last week, this story came to mind. Perhaps you might know it already, but I will give an abbreviated version here.

There once was a woman who lived in a vinegar jar. It was small and cramped and she was very unhappy.

‘If only I could live in one of those little cottages on the hill, with roses around the door and a garden, how happy I should be!’ she cried.

The Happiness Fairy flew past and heard this cry. She decided to make the woman happy and granted her wish.

A year later the fairy checked up on the woman and was distressed to hear she was just as unhappy as she had been before.

‘Oh, if only I could live in a neat town house with a maid to open the door and do the cooking and cleaning: oh, how happy I should be then!’

So, the fairy granted her wish.

The next year she wanted a house in the country and her own carriage; the year after that, she wanted to be a duchess in a stately home, and she ended up in a sumptuous palace as queen of all the land.

She was still unhappy, however, and finally the Happiness Fairy gave up.

‘Well, you are no happier now than you were in your vinegar jar,’ she said, and promptly popped the woman right back where she had started.

It is said the secret of happiness is not to have what you want, but to want what you have.

This does not mean merely accepting our lot or relinquishing ambition, or the desire to improve things. Humans are hard-wired to reach for more than we can grasp; it is why we no longer live in caves. It means instead recognising that achieving an ambition or obtaining a desire does not necessarily bring happiness with it. For me, I know the feeling of pride or joy I experienced on passing my exams or finishing my first novel lasted less than 24 hours. At the end of that time, I had a new goal or new desire; writing ‘The End,’ only meant another four beginnings.

It is more difficult for those who had what they wanted, and it was taken away from them, by illness, by bereavement, by fire, flood or pandemic. They may feel happiness was stolen from them. I have never suffered such a loss and feel utterly inadequate talking about happiness to those who have.

Yet, we all know people whose life circumstances are bleak, but who continue to exude peace, serenity, and happiness; and we all know people who seem to have everything, yet complain bitterly about the colour, flavour and scent of that everything.

I feel incredibly grateful for all my many blessings. I want my happiness to be now and not based on some future dream.

I don’t want the Happiness Fairy to get impatient with me!

A Moodscope member.

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




Tuesday February 9, 2021

As you may know from my previous blog posts, I’ve been receiving therapy - 16 weekly sessions and these have now finished. I guess I felt better on some occasions during therapy but at other times worse! I don’t seem to think that it’s completely helped to be honest, I write this today feeling completely lost in my mind.

I’ve also now got the keys to my new home and also in flux as haven’t started my new work position. So I’m writing this feeling confused. Lost. Upset with work because I can’t seem to have the constant motivation as some other colleagues do. I hate being depressed, hate how I don’t seem to be able to understand my depression or what exactly triggers it.

So new home, new job (soon)… should I not feel some achievement or contentment? I’m confused!!! What do I have to do to feel any kind of normality? Depression makes me stupid, makes me numb and makes be the person I’ve never wanted to be.

So I continue to be depressed…

Does anyone else feel like this?

A Moodscope member.

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



Wisdom vs Wishdom

Monday February 8, 2021

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here:]

Are you ready to allow something wonderful to happen?

Dreams, goals, and control are all good things. It’s great to work hard towards a specific goal and then to achieve it, and even better to enjoy what we achieve! This is good. It’s rather magical when our wishes come true through our own efforts – we deserve it. I call this “Wishdom” – the pursuit of our dreams regardless of the wisdom of them.

But, “Be careful what you wish for.”

It is also potentially deceptive. Too much success using this system can deceive us into thinking we can control more than we can. We can even believe that we can achieve anything we want to. This is not the whole truth. And along this path disappointment awaits in ambush because it doesn’t always work. We can even come to believe that because we have worked hard, we deserve our desired result every time. The concept of ‘worthiness’ can too easily become a curse.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m too busy”? Do you remember when your children or children you knew were rushing about so much, they couldn’t hear you? Too often, too many of us are too busy to listen. We use force to achieve what we desire and believe we are driven to achieve.

For much of the time, this is good. It takes force to develop muscle strength. Developing skill takes practice! Birds, too, expend effort to capture their food. My favourite example is the seagulls around here who have learned to paddle the grass to replicate what the worms think are rain. The worms arise and meet their demise! The seagulls invest effort and are rewarded.

I have also seen force fail. I remember watching children, learning to crawl, who would crawl in reverse. When they got stuck, they would simply apply more force – ineffectively. No amount of extra force – working harder – would produce what they wished for. Their wishdom failed when adult wisdom would have prevailed. They needed an alternative strategy.

Birds work hard. They are really focused. But they also experience the joy of discovery and they learn to sing. Every day, the fact that they pause, look, and listen leads them to surprising sources of new food. Who knows what benevolent gardener will decide overnight to commit to feeding the birds? The day before, only a bare garden… next day, a feast day. Thus, the pause, the listening, the looking leads to discovery. This is undeserved. This is not worked hard for. This is allowed.

Where did the energy come from with the example of the Benevolent Gardener? Not with the birds! They could only allow the opportunity to emerge. They did not work for this, they only allowed themselves the pause and awareness to discover it.

The birds learn to find the flow where the energy goes.

If you are working hard at the moment and getting nowhere, it may be that you are like the toddler crawling in reverse who has got themselves stuck. No amount of extra effort, extra hours, or extra money is going to get you a good result. Press Pause!

Become quiet.




Wisdom is always whispering.

Step into Wisdom’s flow and allow success. This will give you more faith in yourself and in Benevolence in the Universe… a Universe waiting to support your true direction.

A Moodscope member.

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



My children and I have (like every single one of us I think) been finding this stretch quite difficult. Whether you enjoy it or not, the focus and sparkle of the Christmas season brings a distraction from other things going on in life. Post-Christmas there can be a lack of ‘event’ on the horizon and it is often that which makes us feel the days are dragging. I am certainly lacking motivation - I have been trying to go for a walk for a week. I also know, from previous experience, sometimes this time just needs to be allowed to meander. Time will sort it. Allow it. 
One of the things I’ve tried in previous years, to fight this seasonal mud, is light therapy. But I wasn’t making half an hour each morning to sit in front of the light box and so I wasn’t giving myself a fighting chance. However, when I bought the light box, I also bought sunrise lamps to help my children wake up for school in the darkest mornings.  They’ve used them each winter for a number of years. I don’t know why I waited so long to try it myself. 
I choose the time I’d like to be fully awake and it starts with the softest of glows half an hour previous. It rises to full bright light by the set time. It is really suiting me to wake this way rather than a nerve-jangling alarm scream. It also has a sunset facility to help wind you down at the end of the day. It's not fixing everything but it is helping very much to ease in and out of the days. 
Maybe it’s a tool you’d benefit from. Maybe not. Either way, I hope your day is a good one. 
Love from

The sunrise room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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Remembering the Diamonds not the Coal

Saturday February 6, 2021

‘Remember the diamonds not the coal’ – this is a phrase that has helped me to reframe my thoughts from negative to positive a thousand times over.

So often our minds are drawn to worries and depressive thoughts and once our brain is on that track it can be difficult to escape this groove.

One day many years ago, while an inpatient on a mental health ward, I was musing that if I only remembered my very worst darkest days then the rest of my life would surely be better.

The ward sister, a wise woman indeed, replied, ‘Why no, you need to remember the diamonds not the coal; the bright, diamond moments not the black ones.’

As I share this with you now, I have passed this little phrase on to friends, family and work colleagues down the years since in conversation, in greetings cards and on post-it notes.

It is displayed on a postcard on my desk and in my eye line as I type to remind me to focus on the positive when glancing back and in the moment.

As you go through your day today and week ahead, as we continue to endure the various restrictions on daily life which Coronavirus has brought, I implore you too to ‘remember the diamonds not the coal’.

Liz S
A Moodscope member.

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Friday February 5, 2021

There was flour everywhere, eggs dripping from the table, coconut and cocoa stuck to every surface in the normally not so spotless kitchen.

In the middle of this mess was me, my hair white with flour my face sticky with green icing trying to hold back the tears of my self-doubt.

I was intimidated by the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday book and the parents who could make them and stated it was so easy. My son poured over the book wishing he had a cake like other children did. All those parties he went to where each birthday cake was a work of art made him have high expectations. I felt I had to compare with these other parents and their cakes.

Why did I feel I had to compete? I was a caring person, a creative mother who wrote stories with her son, yet if I did not make a novelty cake, I would be an incompetent mother and my son may miss out on birthday party invitations. Worse he would tell the story at every family event. I could think of only one birthday cake plain and iced, I had in my life, but now children expect a spectacular cake every year. She could have bought a cake and iced it, but I did not want my son to be the only who had a shop bought cake on his birthday.

The first attempt of the train looked like it had been squashed by a huge green monster. I wanted to admit defeat, but my friends cake had three dinosaurs fighting. I would try again. After the second attempt of a number 7 made with two oblong cakes ended in crumbs, I cried. This was enough, I loved my son but making an amazing cake did not make me a better mother. Starting to clean up, I wondered if I had enough time to buy a cake.

Is there something you tried to do to impress by others but gave up? Do you feel intimidated by other achievements that you start doubting yourself and attempting things that will only end in tears? Maybe if you cannot relate there maybe someone you know who had an experience like mine but not involving cakes.

Be vulnerable, be honest and share your story so I do not feel so alone. I have lots more stories I can bore you with about my lack of skills in art and domesticity.

A Moodscope member.

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



It has been a while since I have posted a blog and commented on Moodscope. My creativity has taken a hit – only writing poems occasionally and my one and only painting has not been finished. I've started to learn crochet but the main concentration has been on keeping myself together mentally but creativity was the very saviour when I was low.

Right now, I have information overload and have had it for some time as I am sure many of us have. My husband likes to have the news on but if I lived on my own, I would probably be in a bubble, only occasionally surfacing, my head emerging out to see if I would get shot down or wounded somehow.

I was recently wounded by words and actually cried. After a very intense period doing three funerals in a week plus doing my caring role and literally weeks before Christmas (a time I find hard anyway) I received for the first time some feedback which I felt was very unfair. I'd worked really hard on a particular service, and had sleepless nights and even had to check something at 9pm the night before and the client had approved what I had sent only to then say everything was too long after the event, despite me including everything she wanted. I felt absolutely burnt out. I do two jobs that are so different and it is hard to juggle everything but I know I am very lucky as a key worker to be able to do both. So you get that sort of guilt piling up as well in the background. Doing two diametrically different roles both requiring great mental energy and resource which after the events of completely holding it together, I fell apart temporarily.

I'm like a sponge so I soak up lots of things, including many things from the past which are still present in my sponge (if that makes sense) and with the information overload, when you are busy and have several names to juggle in your head and you cannot get things wrong, it puts immense pressure on inside. Add to that other elements of myself (checking and constantly checking stuff which I have to keep in check!) and panicking that you have missed stuff because in taking a service, it is literally one time you cannot get things wrong. But you realise that is part and parcel of the role. But I find myself questioning at times how can I still do this being so emotional a person, but yet strangely able to hold things together at the crucial time. It is the small stupid pointless things that break me, not the important and larger things to deal with in life.

So I stepped back. From Moodscope. From “friends” that I realise were only acquaintances and who are only interested in the gossip about me and did not invite me to things because “we don't know when you are at work”. And strangely enough, during this really odd time, somehow I learnt the important stuff... who has your back, when you need to cut down your hours (doing so as of next week in the caring role), what keeps you together, when you can push yourself a little more and when you just squeeze the sponge out because you will go crazy otherwise and I'm more than half way there.

A Moodscope member.

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



The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Wednesday February 3, 2021

This Christmas I unwrapped an unexpected present. It was a bright blue notebook, A5 size, with nicely lined smooth paper, and with its own pen in a handy holder and a ribbon bookmark. It was a thing of beauty and I immediately fell in love with it. A new blank notebook is a wonderful thing; full of potential; alluringly sensual with the promise of words and imagination which can take one anywhere. A new notebook is a magic carpet, the pen a lamp with a genie inside. This notebook had an intriguing title on the cover: “Gratitude.”

My friend who gave me the book had included instructions. “Every night, before you sleep, write down in this book three things for which you are grateful. I promise this will change your life.”

It’s only been a month and I have not used it every night – to my shame – but I have seen a difference. It makes a difference going to sleep remembering three things in the day which have gone well, or for which I am grateful. This lockdown has been hard and my depression for the last two months harder, but there are joys too. Sometimes it is difficult to find three things, but I keep thinking and always come up with something, even if it is a small something.

The three points of gratitude can be small, even insignificant things. Tonight, one of them will be the flower I saw on my walk today – a promise that spring is on its way. Sometimes they are big things, like my immense thankfulness that my dear friend Raz and his family are all recovering well from Covid.

I am not sure if the quality of my sleep is improved by this gratitude discipline, but I know I do drift off with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, rather than on a bitter reflection of the day with all its disappointments and failures. Even thinking about some of these points of gratitude makes me smile now. A zoom chat with a friend; a challenging paper engineering project which came out well; finishing my daily ‘to do’ list (that one is rare, but it has happened); watching an interesting programme on TV or reading a new and engrossing book; a blue sky and sun – or snow and my children’s joy as they built a snowman.

A constant cause for gratitude is the book itself. I am grateful for my friend who gave it to me, grateful for the lovely book itself, and immensely grateful for the discipline of gratitude itself.

A Moodscope member.

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




Tuesday February 2, 2021

I’ve been redeployed recently to work in the biggest intensive care unit (ICU) I’ve ever seen. The second wave of infections, with the significantly more contagious virus variant(s), have filled the hospitals completely. Nearly all other healthcare work has stopped.  

I’ve seen some comments wishing me well and I appreciate them. With this second wave re-deployment appears to be rotational and of relatively short duration. My stint is probably over as I write this. This actually seems to have been a lesson learned from the first wave.  

I’m coping fairly well, but other people are finding it harder. Here are some reasons why that might be.  

I was working with a colleague earlier this week and saw he was emotionally affected much more than I. His patients really mattered to him and I think he was finding it difficult to realise there is only so much you can do. It mattered to him that people he worked so hard with to keep alive would die. It's not personal.

ICU has two levels of reality: the humanity, the very sick people with their little pictures of being well and normal taped in clear plastic wallets to the machines. They are so much younger than in the first wave. They’re mostly 40-60s. They’re ventilated so you only “meet” their former self, the one they lived all their life, in their notes. It’s in the stories of admission to hospital with the little vignettes of their normal life slipping away as Covid-19 took over their body. I only get to work with their Covid self. For me, this is a technical job not a personal one. There’s a second level of reality which is conveyed by the data from the monitoring equipment. I find the later very calming; I’m comfortable working at the level of data it doesn’t upset me emotionally. So I’m okay.  
What’s working on ICU like? Tiring! All my colleagues are 20-30 years younger. The PPE is many layers: clogs, scrubs, gown, cap, mask, visor, and your gown (which itself is tied on) is topped off with a plastic gown. You sweat like that for four hours, have 30 minutes tea break, then do it all again. The FFP3 mask is no flimsy thing either; my model is semi-rigid and is clamped tightly to your face. However, I know that I tolerate physical discomfort fairly well, so I’m okay.

The biggest change for me has been noticing the appearance of Hostility in my daily scores. I am seldom angry any more but I have felt impotent fury when I heard the decision to delay the second dose of vaccine for people in the UK. I’m still angry about this now as I write.  

In summary: working in ICU has been okay. I don’t mind uncomfortable physical work. I find something calming being in an environment of relevant data which help you understand a problem and manipulate and predict an outcome. But sometimes the outcome is beyond what anyone can manipulate.  
A Moodscope member.

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



From Broken to Beautiful

Monday February 1, 2021

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post, please click here:]

Boy, was I a beautiful baby!

Then it all started to go a bit pear-shaped. That phrase itself holds promise. We use it as a description for when things go awry, though the history of how ‘pear-shaped’ came to mean this is not known – or at least disputed. My thought is that, “Hey, pear-shaped seems good to me!”

This is at the heart of a shift in thinking that may help many of us. Yes, I was a beautiful baby, but then Life really did go in directions I neither expected nor wanted. I became broken as my life fractured. Tough. That’s the way Life is for many. The question is, “How will we respond?”

I am once again, thankfully, in love. It’s not with a person, nor a pet, but with three ideas.

The first is Wabi-Sabi – defined by Andrea Jacques as, “The art of appreciating the beauty of the unfinished, imperfect, and impermanent in yourself, your life, and the world.” Her book is a work of exquisitely beautiful thinking.

The second is Kintsugi – which is the art and craft of taking what is broken and repairing it with lacquer infused with gold dust or silver or platinum. That which was broken becomes uniquely beautiful and most definitely one of a kind.

The third is from one of my favourite gifts for my 60th birthday. From Emotional Mastery Author and Mentor, Kim Searle, it is a plaque that says, “’Flawsome’ adj an individual who embraces their flaws and knows they are awesome regardless.” I can imagine I may have been offended by this at an earlier age where the ego was less conditioned by Life but now I think this is the definitive statement of a Life that can be lived well.

My mission is to journey onwards in the spirit of Wabi-Sabi – appreciating flawed beauty – and wherever appropriate, using the talent of kintsugi to turn every crack, fracture, and flaw into a unique work of art and beauty.

Boy, I was a beautiful baby… but then I became broken… but there again, there’s beauty in the broken made whole.

What beauty have you brought forth from brokenness?

What beauty have you seen brought forth from brokenness in others or in objects?

A Moodscope member.

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



The shadow boxer  

Sunday January 31, 2021

How are you? Is this time of year tougher for you? I’m trying hard not to be swallowed up. This time of year is my well-trodden path and each year I try harder to predict, pre-empt, and pre-judge the shadow boxer. Time for the tool box. I’ve been out having a half-day off. My eldest daughter left her teenage years behind her today and we treated ourselves to a big walk, through town, on a very cold, snowy but sunny afternoon. It felt utterly magical to me. Quiet roads which usually bustle with tourists, and the favourite viewpoints and photo spots stood uniquely calm. My idea of heaven. Luckily for me, hers too! 
When we were finished, we’d become quiet with hunger and knew we had to wait until our tummies reached home before we could talk again. Lockdown means no café coffee, no longer even pavement queueing, only order and pay in advance if you know when and where you’ll be. In other words, we were famished. 
Home for a birthday dinner, presents, it’s been a perfect day and I cannot tell you the last time I felt that feeling. Had the pandemic not visited us, we would not have found ourselves with the opportunity to do what we did today. Out with the drudgery, sorrow and dark spots, there was a little shining dagger of light and I will live off it for a long while! I wish for you the same.   
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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New Home

Saturday January 30, 2021

I had to respond to all you lovely people who remarked on my very first blog ‘Moving On’ (19 December 2020). Thank you. 

I have arrived in the room beside the garage. No it is not awful, just not the same quaint cottage I have left. I walk about 6 paces to my new office from my sofa bed. How strange it is to wake to the sounds of others in the home. Eighteen years of living alone. I am adapting well I feel.

I have noticed my father has some memory loss I think - he wonders when I am going home. Oh dear!

How lovely it is to walk with mum in the afternoon when the sun is going down and listen to her ramblings and I smile and hold her arm a little tighter. Yes. I'm here for you mum I'm here for you both as we all slide down like the big old sun.

Our choices make a difference to so many sometimes. They can be hard to make. Some are easy.

If you are not sure, stay where you are, you will know when it's right.

Be safe. Try to have compassion. It's a wonderful thing. And you know the hardest thing I think is forgiveness, but it's worth trying.


The Attic
A Moodscope member.

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A friend whose husband died over a year ago told me recently that she was experiencing an aspect of grief she had not been warned about. She knew she would grieve for him, but she was also grieving for the person she was when he was alive. She felt she had lost that person.

She knows she must live without him but how can she cope without the person she used to be. The loss of identity is very real and extraordinarily strong. She wanted to know how she can be anyone else but herself.

Some people say rather than letting go, you can bring the past into the present. The person she lost; the person she was; those are all things that will still be a part of my friend as she goes forward. A connection to the person she used to be may be a healthy part of moving forward.

When we lose someone, we often feel we have lost this relational sense of self. We find ourselves asking questions like, who am I if not a partner, child, brother, sister, or even a neighbour?

After both my parents died, I wondered whether I was still a daughter and questioned my identity. I still define my life into when I had parents and after I did not. I found it hard, there was no one of the older generation to defer to, no parents no aunts or uncles. I felt quite lost until I thought I would always be a daughter as I would talk to them, write to them, and include them in my life.

My friend felt that now she was not a wife but a widow; her identity changed in that way.

I want to discuss this loss of one’s own identity when through loss and grief, to include spouses, siblings, children’s, cousins, and loss to mean as well as through death, maybe illness, divorce, separation.

If you did not experience any change in identity can you share why?

Most of the literature tends to focus on grieving for the person who died, not the person who is left behind and finds their life and often themselves to be changed too.

Can you share your experiences about any loss that has caused you to question your identity and feel it has changed?

Were you prepared for the experience of grieving for the person you used to be?

A Moodscope member.

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



I Accept

Thursday January 28, 2021

Acceptance is not a word I have previously associated with me. I am one of those who has always battled against the machine. The machine being anything and anyone I believe is not helping alleviate whatever situation I think needs to be alleviated. I battle. For decades, I have belonged to many groups who also battle against the machine. For short periods of time, I have felt that I have finally found a group of people with whom I have lots in common.

Then realisation rears its head. Not necessarily ugly, just its head; and I see through my rose-tinted spectacles that no, these people are not like me. They say they are raging against the machine, but actually they are concerned mostly about their position in the group; Chair, Treasurer, Secretary. They are actually part of the machine I am raging against.

So I leave, disillusioned once again. They accept my resignation. Not interested in hearing why I am leaving; knowing they are Right and by leaving, I prove my lack of commitment. They will continue to rage without me. Good luck to them, then. I stalk away, feeling righteous indignation at them; knowing I am right to do so.

What I was not prepared for, were the petty squabbles - over tea money, subs, the washing up – that dog all groups, regardless of their size and importance.

I wanted more. I wanted bright lights and shining truths. I wanted change with a capital C and I wanted to know that I had been part of it. I wanted to be proud.

I always left feeling utterly disillusioned. And this is where acceptance comes into its own.

You see, after more than six and a half decades on this planet, living this life, I have finally realised that this is what it amounts to. Acceptance. Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

In these very strange days of 2020/21, there is not a lot of anything I can change anyway. Maybe re-arrange the mugs or the cutlery drawer, but not a lot else. Instead, I am learning to accept this is my life; small, unimportant and all mine.

It is up to me what I do with it. And I accept that. I can change nothing other than the way I look at me, and how I look at the world. We are all looking for that state of being, it seems to me, where what we do and, in these days of pandemic, what we don’t do, is as important as anything the world leaders say.

The folk I abandoned; the ones I felt such disdain about; they too were aiming to make changes. What they knew, what I am only now understanding, is that they, like me, are only human. Doing people things in people ways.

And all we really want is to feel at home in our bodies and in our lives.

I am accepting that. Do you? Can you?

A Moodscope member.

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



Being Nice to (Insert Your Name Here)

Wednesday January 27, 2021

‘I want you to think about your three goals for this month,’ said the coach to the business club I go to. ‘Of those three goals, you will have one that is a “Must do,” one that is “Important,” and one that is a “Nice to do.” If you have any more than these it will be too much for you and you will be setting yourself up to fail.’

I looked at the three goals written down on the page. The first one, the “Must do,” is to get well again. I came out of the fog and physical weakness at the end of December but I’m still not well. The Moodscope scores are better than they were, but they are not yet back to normal.

For once, I am listening to advice.

‘Don’t push yourself,’ say my friends and family. ‘You won’t get better if you don’t rest.’ ‘You need some serious R&R.’ ‘Most of all,’ they say, ‘you need to be nice to Mary.’

They are right. I know they are right. It’s hard to accept but I can’t argue with the logic, and it’s what I tell other people, after all.

So today, with a score thirty points lower than a “normal” figure, I shall rest and relax, because I’m not well. There are senseless tears pricking my eyes and a lump in my throat. There is no reason for these feelings of discouragement and near desolation – they are part of still being a bit poorly.

It’s nearly lunchtime and there’s a pot of creamy soup in the fridge. After lunch there’s a comfortable chair and the cosy crime book I downloaded last night. Dinner is an easy curry with leftover chicken and a sauce from a jar. I’m taking it easy and being nice to myself.

I think many of us find it difficult to rest. I always think about all the productive things I could be doing instead of just sitting there; maybe you do too. Perhaps it is just not possible for you to rest because others depend on you, and that is hard. It may be possible however, to give yourself little treats; be nice to yourself.

We do all need to rest sometimes. And we definitely need to be nice to ourselves.

What do you do to rest, relax and be nice to you?

A Moodscope member.

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



Sleep and low mood Connection

Tuesday January 26, 2021

Ever since I was a young boy I have been plagued with nightmares, many reoccurring, even now at 64 very often my wife wakes me up as I am thrashing about and screaming. I am usually being chased or attacked or someone’s trying to kill me.

I can cope if it’s not too often but sometimes I have many nights of awful sleep, keep waking and can’t get back to sleep, which causes awful low moods. My dilemma is; is it the bad sleep that cause the low moods or is it the low moods that cause the bad sleep. And low mood, I mean really low, not wanting to be on this planet. Some days I don’t feel safe driving as I have been so disturbed by my awful experience of the previous night, even though it’s only a dream it’s as though I have gone ten rounds in a boxing ring.

I am a logical person and try to see if there is a connection to any current events, there is no pattern.

I was referred to a sleep clinic wired up over night in hospital to be told I slept ok for a few hours but then awake, was given tablets to produce melatonin. They did not help at all so was told nothing else could be prescribed as I have a rare heart condition (Brugada), sudden death syndrome, or as I call it, mostly alive Syndrome. I have an ICD implant so this does not cause me any anxiety as I am lucky to have one.

Just to lighten it up, I will list the the things I have tried:
Mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, reflexology, many natural herbs, eating a light snack, going for a walk before bed. Blackout blinds, warm room, cold room, heavy quilt, light quilt.

I have bought many pillows - current one has a speaker built in to listen to relaxing stuff. I have lavender oil and all sorts of potions near my bed. We have had many mattresses, I even purchased a water bed many years ago, this was a big mistake although my wife loved it. When I was thrashing about the waves I caused nearly launched her off the bed. She loved it when I got out as they are cool in summer and warm in winter. We got rid when it developed a leak, oh dear a plumber with a leaking water bed you couldn’t make it up. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom or any electronic devices.

I usually go to bed around 10-10:30. I can sleep soundly until 2am then it can be dreadful, sometimes up at 3am or 4am. I try to stay in bed till 6am, but not very often.
I hear of people that when low stay in bed, for me I can’t stay in bed.
So just to recap, does the black dog cause bad sleep, or does the bad sleep cause the black dog to jump in the bed?

Have you found the secret recipe for a good night sleep?

A Moodscope member.

Ps. I once put my mobile under the pillow and it the morning it had disappeared. I think the Bluetooth fairy took it!

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



I Believe

Monday January 25, 2021

Isn’t everyone else weird? My neighbour keeps her bins out on the public footpath. I look at her behaviour and think, “I’d never do that,” or, even better, “Clearly, she wasn’t brought up very well.” She’s weird.

The fact is that nobody thinks like I think… and even I change the way I think day-in, day-out… and this is a good thing. Difference is a form of enrichment. Variety, I’m told, is the spice of life!

But (yes, a deliberate use of ‘but’), I need some things to be unchanging and certain. Moodscope needs to be, for me, a haven, a safe and secure place where I can give and get support.

When Dr Martin Luther King Jnr delivered his famous, “I Have A Dream,” speech, he laid out clearly what he believed the future could be like. He was calling out to those who thought like he thought and wanted the same things. He was looking for a tribe with shared expectations.

Given that I do not run Moodscope but rather am a member, I thought I’d let you, the members, see Moodscope through my eyes – the way I would like it to be. That way, I can learn from your comments whether I’m just weird or whether I’ve got tribal think-mates who are on the same page. It will also give a great opportunity for as many as want to - to share their own dream or beliefs about what Moodscope could be. A map drawn together will be far richer than my mono-sketch on the back of an envelope!

In my map of Moodscope, the four key locations are clear: The Scope, The Buddies, The Blog, The Comments. What is unlikely to be clear to all of us is the meaning we individually attach to these four pillars of the community.

For me then…

The Moodscope ‘Scope’ is to keep track of my moods – giving me patterns to watch for.

The Moodscope Buddies are to catch me when I fall, and to keep me anchored to the earth when I’m in danger of being swept away.

The Moodscope Blog is to give me energy, insight, encouragement, and to deliver support.

The Moodscope Comments are to amplify and augment that energy that flows from the blog, to add deeper and richer insights from the bigger group-mind, to stack encouragement upon encouragement, and to strengthen the support we give one another… to express solidarity on a daily basis.

Healthy debate adds strength and energy – the variety that adds spice and vitality.

So… am I weird, or do you share similar expectations?

A Moodscope member.

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

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