The Moodscope Blog

4

September


I like finding out more about Moodscopers and am interested in what people reveal about themselves in comments. I have done a few thoughtful blogs, so I thought it was time for a more light-hearted. One that will still bring out different parts of our diverse personalities. I also think a topic like this helps those who  have not replied before but maybe have been thinking about it.

I sometimes am doing something, and I think why they do not invent this or adapt that. I do not have the skill to follow these ideas, but I often wonder why.

Sticky tape/Sellotape/ adhesive tape (I hope to have covered the word in different countries) has troubled me. It is so hard to find the end of the roll unless it is on a dispenser. I wonder why they don’t  invent something to indicate when the roll starts. Maybe it could be something that turns it a dark colour when cut off. Not an amazing thought but would make life easier.
 
So put on your thinking caps, or maybe you have a few ideas of things that you wish were invented. I was thinking of everyday objects but really could be anything.

When my children were small, I wished their clothes could be stain resistant to every stain in the world. If there was a stain my children would find it!!

It can be a concept. I wished that there was a bell I would hear before I took on too much and became exhausted and often sick. If I had a warning bell letting me know not to take on anymore it would help me.

So, what would you like to invent, have someone invent, adapt, or have an idea that would make life easier?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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


3

September

My new job

Thursday September 3, 2020


Every morning when I wake up and I still feel pinned down by the weight of it all, it immediately feels like another day of failure. If I were a better person, I wouldn’t find it so hard to get out of bed, to face the day, to see the point in making it through to another night.
 
But what if that feeling doesn't automatically signal failure? What if it isn’t the end? What if it’s not even back to the beginning, but instead it just… is.

After two and a half hard long years of therapy, what if I can get on board with the idea that compassion is my new job?

In this new job, I will have to wake up every morning and make a new commitment on that new day that I will be compassionate to myself. It might look or feel a bit different to the day before, but the fact remains the same. Every day I will wake up feeling like it’s not worth it, like I’m not worth it, and I will make the concerted, proactive decision to be compassionate to that part of me and to commit to caring for it. 

I will have to prepare myself for the reality that it will be repetitive, mundane, tedious at times. But perhaps that’s part of what care is. What love is. 

And when I wake up every day and I feel crushed because here I am, starting the process again completely from scratch, I will have to dig deep and try to remember that those days before – although passed – haven’t disappeared. This day will build on the previous day, and will be the foundation for the next day. And so on, and so on. Maybe one day I’ll look around and realise I have built a whole compassion house. Or even just a wall, a house is probably quite ambitious for now. 

Compassion is the acknowledgement of suffering and – perhaps most crucially – the commitment to take action to alleviate it. So as part of my induction, I’ve set a reminder on my phone every morning that says “Be compassionate today”.  

I don’t know where this leaves me. I know how easy it feels to say these words and to read them, but I know how hard this will be to do.
Perhaps I’m not anywhere different at all. But perhaps if I can be here, without feeling devastated, disappointed, hopeless, helpless, worthless, pointless - that is the important thing for now.  

Compassion is my new job, and I’m going to try to commit to it every day. 

Thanks,

Lucy 
A Moodscope member.

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


2

September

All Change

Wednesday September 2, 2020


“All change. All Change here. Please remember to take all your belongings with you.”

This September sees a big change for us as a family: our elder daughter leaves for university.

I hadn’t realised quite how much I’ve been in denial. Even while we were buying her bedding and the cooking utensils she will need, I was still treating it as a theoretical adventure. Last night she got her accommodation offer and it all suddenly came home: in less than two weeks, she will be living 335 miles away – a six-hour journey – and she won’t be coming home until Christmas. The gap she will leave in our lives will be immense.

After six months at home, my younger daughter will start school again. The house will feel lonely.

My husband goes back to work and, as it’s his year end, he will almost live in the office; I will hardly see him for the whole month.

After a relaxed spring and summer, I must start serious work on my business: it won’t regenerate by itself.

In many ways, September is more of a new year for many of us than January. For those involved in Education, this really is a new year: new classes, new schools, new teachers/colleagues. Although we might yet be blessed with an Indian summer, this cold and wet August bank holiday has already given us a taste of autumn. My family lit a fire on Saturday afternoon, and we all huddled around it, trying to get warm.

It’s a change in attitude to everything. We have lived through lockdown and, although we are now being encouraged to “Return to normal”, how can this be normal when we all wear masks and are nervous of entering crowded spaces? We glance at strangers with an unease we did not experience last September. We are reluctant to make travel plans because, at any moment, the city or country we want to visit may go into lockdown or be put on the quarantine list. There is uncertainty for many about what will happen at the end of the furlough scheme; there is more uncertainty and worry for people now unemployed.

The normality train stopped in March. We all had to get off. We had to sit in the waiting room for months and now a new train has pulled in to take us on. It is an unfamiliar train; an uncomfortable train and we fear it will not take all of us. It may not be going to the destination we had planned; it may be a stopping train instead of the express for which we had a ticket. There might be an unreliable replacement bus service.

But, like it or not, we cannot stay in the waiting room for ever; we need to move on.

They say that change is the only constant in life. Few of us like change, but it happens to us anyway.

I wish you well with your journey, wherever it takes you.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


1

September


I rarely do the Test. I do not think I have done the Test even once in 2020. But without fail, I read the Blog. And sometimes, I am so moved by what I have read, I save it and keep it as a Word Doc to re-read – and I do, often.

The blogs which appeal to me are all very different; but the ones I save have something in common, they spark a response from me.

Even the ones which I find irritating – some make me swear in fury with the “happy clappy smiley” attitude struck by the writer – even they, if, having sparked a response in me, get saved.

I continue, in my own life, to be totally furious with absolutely EVERYTHING!

The Pandemic! Well if that isn’t cause for fury – what is? The responses to the Pandemic by our Leaders. Fury. The wrecking of our environment, of our planet for “profit” – indescribable fury. The killing of black people - in the USA, and in the UK and anywhere else – incandescent fury. Well. It is a good thing that I live in isolation, still in lockdown, with my civil partner for company. Because if I was let out into the wilds of streets and in company of others… my goodness; I could not be held responsible for my actions. And I speak as a disabled woman, felled by surgery to remove a “benign brain tumour” over a decade ago… leaving me depressed and bitter.

The lockdown has given rise to more “upbeat” reports and bits of writing than almost anything else I can remember. I am so tired of seeing happy smiley people dancing in their homes; of families laughing and smiling together as they make “rainbows for carers”.

What is so wrong in just saying I feel bad tempered. I feel angry. I feel DEPRESSED. I feel scared and I feel like everything is just getting worse?

There feels to me to be a huge burden on us to respond in a positive way – all the time.

In the “good old days” pre-covid-19, we who are depressed also felt a huge and mighty pressure on us to respond positively, to “cheer-up” and get over it… it could be worse they would say. But now it has got worse – almost 9 million people infected world-wide and almost 500,000 dead at the time of writing – and the pressure builds on us all to respond positively. Smile! Show how care-free you are!

Well. I am not. And I give you permission to follow suit, should you feel so inclined. In a few days, often the anger, the blackness, lifts and yes, there may be a feeling of some calm on some future day… but being relentlessly pleasant, and upbeat is adding an extra and unwanted burden to our lives.

And if anyone else dares to call me “lucky” or fortunate” or any other positive thing, I may just spit in their eye.

Christine
A Moodscope member.

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


31

August

With Your Permission

Monday August 31, 2020


[To watch a video of this blog please click here: https://youtu.be/nfkeZzXBlOc and for an audio version please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/with-your-permission-the-monday-mindset-podcast]
 
Yesterday, would have been my 38th wedding anniversary. The day passed without drama… or regret. We were married for 11 years, with many happy moments. Nevertheless, I could never escape from a creeping sense of disapproval. I was never good enough.
 
Whilst my former spouse rarely made this explicit, her father showed no such self-control! Between them, they made me feel unworthy, living life under a cloud of criticism. Except they didn’t make me feel unworthy. They couldn’t. They didn’t have it in them.
 
The issue was in me.
 
In technical support circles, we use the initialism: PICNIC. It stands for, “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.” For today’s blog, I’d like to adapt that to: “Problem In Consciousness, Not In Circumstances.” (Or, for this specific scenario, “Problem In Consciousness, Not In Criticism.”)
 
This is a life-changing switch of thinking.
 
This paradigm shift is summarised eloquently in a saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
 
The neurological truth is far more likely to be that no one can ‘make’ you feel anything. Like a conversation, or a dance, it takes more than one party! But if you give your consent, there are plenty of people who can feed an ever-increasing sense of inferiority. After all, the brain looks and listens for evidence to confirm the current belief system your mental software is running.
 
The fact was I had a very poor opinion of myself that my former father-in-law was in complete agreement with, and which my former-wife grew to agree with! PICNIC!
 
Here’s the really scary (or exciting) part – if I don’t change my opinion of myself, I am destined to play out the same sad game in other relationships. It does not end well!
 
Let’s play a new game.
 
In the new game, you and I will have a much more positive opinion of ourselves. Let’s drop mental concepts like ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ – and even ‘good’ and ‘bad’. I know from seemingly endless examination of my heart that my intentions, 99% of the time, are kind. That’s my preferred state of being: kind, compassionate, generous. Whilst there is a stack of evidence to suggest I have capabilities to be unkind, uncaring, and stingy, these never feel natural. I am reminded of the (probably apocryphal) claim that Edison tried and failed to create the lightbulb 1000 times. My research suggests Edison and his team explored over 3000 different theories of how to create incandescent light, and we know that Edison tried over 6000 tests of various materials to act as the filament!
 
Kindness, compassion, and generosity are my electric lightbulb. On the journey to the light, I have failed thousands of times, sometimes in a single day! But the goal, the intention remains. I now no longer give anyone permission to ‘make’ me feel inferior. I know that they can’t ‘make’ me do anything. I am grateful for all those who clearly intend to ‘make’ me feel loved or appreciated, but I know that the final signing of the permissive agreement lies within me… 
 
…the monsters under your bed, are far more likely to be in your head. Change what’s in your head, and the monsters will vanish!
 
What permissions have you given to others that you’d like to revoke this week? What permissions would you like to grant to others – asking for what you really want?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


30

August

Being

Sunday August 30, 2020

I am hoping to move house soon and have been sorting through stuff to try and whittle down all the gubbins I have accumulated over the years.

I found a poem that I wrote some years ago, but it still rings true at times.

Being

Sitting in dappled shade
A strong breeze moves the trees
Casting a million patterns of light
on the grass before me.

I would like to read
I would like to write
and yet you bring me to sleep.

Is this why I am seldom still?
For when I am, you bring me to sleep.

My mind is filled with words and
yet I find it so hard to speak or write.

The sky above me is blue as blue.
Of what am I afraid?
How can I rest in who I am?
Help me to find the happy child in me.

I’m still inclined to fall asleep if I sit still for too long, but I allow myself that rest, in the knowledge that what I have achieved that day will suffice.

However, it means that I get behind with following all the wonderful comments that come with the daily blog.  I just run out of time.

The sky above me is still blue as blue today and it is becoming easier to find the happy child in me.

I hope all the dear Moodscopers will be able to spend time with their ‘happy child within’

Waves and smiles to all.  Love,

Another Sally xx
A Moodscope member.

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


29

August

Staying silent or speaking out?

Saturday August 29, 2020


I wonder is anyone like me who dislikes speaking out in case it starts a conflict that I would rather stay quiet and make myself upset and frustrated.

Why do we put up with being uncomfortable - for me it is having peace at all costs.  It works but at a personal price.

A teacher I knew admitted to never once disagreeing with her husband in 20 years until his controlling behaviour was too much. She reflects now on what may have been if she had had the courage to speak up.

A friend had trouble saying anything to his mother in law and was always worried if he did his wife would be angry with him. He kept quiet for a few years, but one day  told his wife how he felt. His main concern was how his mother in law treated his wife.

Rather than  being a shouting match as sometimes happens when people finally speak up, they all sat down over lunch. Her behaviours did not change much but mother in law admired his courage and honesty.

I read once “You can say anything when you say it with love in your heart.”
Sometimes it is easier to just nod and agree than causing a disturbance.
 
 “If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war with yourself.” Is a quote that I can understand.
 
I still find it hard to speak up and mainly want to avoid conflict. I am interested what others think?

People say when you stumble, it is worth it to express your needs. I am not sure about that as I usually feel guilty.

How many times have you abruptly changed the subject because the person was getting too close to a vulnerable topic? If we try to avoid conflict, do we suffer needlessly? Some people feel conflict can be constructive, what do you think?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


28

August

Flooded with emotion

Friday August 28, 2020


My world was rudely interrupted on Sunday morning at 5.55am when a phone call from my neighbour woke me. Looking out of my window I found myself literally surrounded in water and within ten minutes my downstairs was flooded. ‘Turn off your electrics’, instructed the local Fire Brigade...

Since then I have been in shock, denial and anger as I realise my lovely little house I moved in six years ago has been quite literally ripped apart. By Monday lunchtime contractors had ripped out my flooring and skirting. By Tuesday lunchtime my beautiful oak furniture I had selected carefully and with thought had been thrown out. By Wednesday my fridge freezer and washing machine had gone to the tip too.

I am lucky. My Mum is local and has accepted me with open arms despite my messy ways and mad dog!! My kids were at their Dad’s for a week and so weren’t with me when submerged with water.

In shock I posted on Facebook and got so many messages of support. My boss who I was a bit scared of was so kind I almost cried. I have found a house for six months while repairs are carried out.

How is my mental health? I am very stressed. I have so much to do and I have a demanding job to hold down... It’s been so hot I have sweated buckets and each day I return to my house full of heaters and dehumidifiers and sweat some more.

Each morning I get up and drive to the estate. I take the dog and I then walk to the park. I have grown to love and see the dog walking friends who listen to me. Yesterday it was cooler and the dog loved the freshness and freedom off the lead, as I tried to take some deep breaths. My Mum lives in a beautiful part of Brum. When eating dinner I see the green parakeets who inhabit the local park. It’s a novelty for me... an everyday occurrence for others.

Leah blogged about losing her home and business to the bush fires. I only have to worry about my home.

I am writing this in the middle of the night. I hear my Mum creeping about. We have both woken up at the same time. I consider whom from all the offers of help actually means it. This sounds harsh but some have come good. The jogger whom I vaguely knew who stopped to ask how she could help and came back 20 mins later with three flasks of tea and croissants for me and my neighbours. The friend who told me the boxes I asked her to get to help move were full of her husband’s stuff and couldn’t be used.

My two amigos who cycled on Wednesday evening through a tremendous thunderstorm to see me, arriving sodden to the skin, and were welcomed with towels and a beer.

I apologise if this is self-indulgent. How have you coped with major trauma? How has it impacted your mental health?

I end with these roses. Planted last year behind a bin store I turned up yesterday to them. They told me that I would return to my lovely little house. I had loved them and they loved me back.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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


27

August

Corona burnout

Thursday August 27, 2020


I am so tired of the virus that has changed the world. Tired of talking about it and hearing about it and worried about it. I was raised in a religious home where the topic of "the end of the world," came up frequently and now my aged Mennonite parents are saying:"this is it." 

When you hear something over and over one of two things happens, according to my experiences. A) you become desensitized to the topic and it no longer has the affect it once had. B) You become hyper sensitive and react more and more because of the emotions that are escalating. Lucky me, I have cycled between both.

The end has been near all my life and I am pushing 45. It has grown old and if it is true that the world is rapidly wrapping up all I have to stipulate is:"make it quick." That is also my only wish for my own demise when the time comes..."make it quick." I don't do suffering well although I am working on treating every life experience as exactly that. An experience. 

The dreadful virus that is so contagious does not present a quick experience however. It has been said to be a physically painful, slow and breath-depriving way to die. No thank you. 

Mennonites also believe strongly that when your own pre-determined time is up there is no amount of prevention that will withstand that certain, inevitable timing. Even to the point of suicide, you won't succeed unless it is "your time." That is the belief. To each his own. 

There is a corona burnout happening to people it seems. Since we can no longer simply do what we would have done without extra steps and precautions or just a plain prohibit, one grows weary. Activities are more tiring than usual. 

Social distancing seems an excuse for rudeness. I have no issue with staying 60 feet back where a recent ex is concerned, but what I meant was where a granny ahead in line shoots a leather clad lady biker a dirty look and says:"can we distance here?" That looked alot more to me like passing judgment and I am plenty fatigued of that too. 

So to deal with this pandemic I pray alot more than I ever did. Some wise person once said:"pray to God but row to shore." (Please insert your own idea of who or what you pray to here). 

Plato said it even better:"Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Especially now. 


Bailey
A Moodscope member.

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


26

August

Finding Hope Again

Wednesday August 26, 2020


“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.” Samuel Johnson.

I am finding it hard to find much hope right now.

As I write, the second big storm in two weeks is raging. Storm Francis is battering the country.

For all the talk of a vaccine, Covid cases are rising. A friend in Germany was talking of coming over for a visit, but the cases there are rising faster there. At any time, Germany could be added to the quarantine risk. I am desperately disappointed.

All over the world, our political leaders are focussed on economic recovery. The green agenda is going out of the window in favour of short-term gains. Global warming and climate change will accelerate.

I cannot think but that the emphasis is on the immediate comfort of humanity, at the expense of its future.

So, no – I am despondent, and I cannot see much hope.

Then, being of an analytical nature, I begin to look at just why these feelings are so strong.

Is it that I have paying too much attention to the news? I knew that, for the sake of my mental health, I cannot pay too much attention to the news: it is only bad news that is ever reported (Sir Tom being the exception).

Is it that I know I will miss my daughter when she goes off to university? It’s only a couple of weeks away now, and the wrench will be hard for both her and for her father and me.

Is it the realisation that this weekend I would have been meeting up in the Peak District with a group of friends from all over the world? That reunion has been cancelled too; or at least postponed indefinitely

Is it that my business has not yet recovered from the lock-down and the bank account looks very lean?

Perhaps it is only because I came home from a visit to Scotland with a stomach bug and my system is still not right. It’s hard to feel hope when your tummy is wobbly.

All these things are personal, and I have some control over them.

I can switch off the news. I am happier without all that negativity.

I can concentrate on the fun university life will bring to my gregarious, hard-working, fun-loving daughter and how her younger sister will blossom in the additional attention she will receive.

The group of friends who would have been meeting this weekend have been holding regular zoom meetings. It is not the same, but we have had fun together and maybe grown even closer than we would have done in one weekend.

I can plan a strategy for the business and work hard to implement it.

Tomorrow, my stomach will be better.

I believe I will find my hope again: I just need to clear away the obstacles that obscure it. Hopefully, hope will come home to me.

Mary
A Moodscope member.


25

August

Chewbacca

Tuesday August 25, 2020


“Who is your favourite character in the initial Star Wars trilogy?” I ask my 11-year-old high end autistic grandson over the phone who is a film buff.

“Chewbacca. Who do you like, Grandad?”

It is several years since I watched the Trilogy. Thinks… I can’t say Princess Leia that’s outside the boundary. “I like Jabba the Hut. Why do you like Chewbacca?”

“He is a good furry guy and always helps. He is based on George Lucas’s dog sitting in the front seat. He is 7’3” tall. Jabba the Hutt is terrible. He eats little animals.”

“He is a good example of corruption and how it doesn’t pay. Princess Leia killed him.” Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

“You are right, Granddad”

Last summer, we did the Romans with his 9-year-old sister. Made cardboard armour and paper Mache helmets. Mum insisted swords and daggers were made of collapsible cardboard. The visit to Hadrian’s wall was a success. They played the Romans on the wall. Mum and I played attacking Picts. The Picts surrendered. The picnic was eaten by both Picts and Romans.

The intention was to do the Vikings this year but Covid intervened. The girl has friends from primary school to talk to on the net. It is the boy’s first year in secondary school. ‘Nea mates’ as they say in Scotland. But Granddad was a new mate who rang 2 or 3 times a week. We have picked fruit from the film tree. Captain Marcel is not tasty to me as cartoon but to an 11-year-old it is pure heaven. The magnificent graphics.

It improved my mood to have a half hour chat about something totally unrelated to my life.

Mark
A Moodscope member.

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


24

August

It Is Well

Monday August 24, 2020


[To view a video of this blog, please click here: https://youtu.be/e5bdz_RycRQ or if you'd like to listen to an audio version, please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/it-is-well]

When I stroke the velvety-soft fur of the cat, and hear her purr – it is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
When I smell the scent of grass freshly mown – it is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
When the rain kisses the newly tilled earth, and the scent wafts up like an offering - it is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
When the early morning dew on the grass washes and caresses my feet – it is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
When the crescent moon winks at me at dusk – it is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
And what to say of the delicate scent of the Alpine Sunset rose, its petals dusted with dew drops?  What of the texture of polished olive wood?  The new wine of a child’s laughter?  Or the explosion of flavour when Salmon Caviar bursts upon my tongue?  It is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
I woke up this morning with the tune and chorus of an old hymn we used to sing at school,  “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”  Like so many of those childhood tunes, it’s easy to hum along to, and a great comfort.  It’s even lovely to say quietly to myself as an acknowledgement of the gratitude I’m feeling.
 
One of the wonders of neurology is the fact that “neurons that fire together, wire together.”  In practical terms, this means that all the senses that were stimulated simultaneously during an experience of well-being can act as triggers to recall that feeling of well-being.  Every time I stroke the cat and hear her purr, all the other times my nervous system has ‘recorded’ that experience are cross-referenced in my magnificent mind and an emotional label attached! 
 
This is effortless but also unconscious. How much better, therefore, to, “Sense Ourselves Up for Success!”?  How much better to deliberately and intentionally set out to stimulate sights, sounds, and scents that we know will remind us of a state of well-being?  Mix in tastes and textures, and we have a recipe for shifting state whenever we feel like it. In fact, I jokingly said to some friends who are also into positive psychology, “I’ve realised I’m a Shift Worker!”  By this, they understood that I work with clients to ‘Shift’ their state of being.
 
Making your brain your best friend is a question of understanding that it amplifies and augments the signals you send it.  By intentionally selecting sensory signals that have great feelings associated with them we create a great way to tap into a winning experience of past-proven wellbeing.
 
Curiosity has me in her embrace: what sensory stimuli do you so strongly associate with ‘wellbeing’ that you could legitimately say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul!”?
 
Kindly share the sights, the sounds, the scents, and the tastes and the textures. We’d relish an opportunity to dip into your delights – your own wellspring of well-being.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


23

August

How to get what you want (maybe)

Sunday August 23, 2020


My mother was partial to lily-of-the valley. She had a flower bed full of them below the dining room window, which was north facing. Nevertheless, every spring, new green leaves poked through the mossy remains of the previous year’s growth and in due course the gloriously scented rows of tiny white bells appeared, only to fall into decay by the year’s end.

My mother died two years ago. She lived not far from me, in a house built for my family fifty years ago. I had lived there myself from the age of 16 and nobody else had occupied it. I had had my eyes on some of those lilies-of-the-valley since she died, but it didn’t seem right to pillage them when new people were moving in.

However, it transpired that extensive development of the property was planned, for which planning permission was granted earlier this year. The front porch, beside the lily bed, would be demolished. The flower bed would be destroyed.

I procrastinated for weeks. Then I recalled an event which occurred when I was aged 12. It was a Sunday morning and I was in church as usual. There was a guest preacher, an American chaplain from one of the air bases in the region. In his children’s address, he held up a large, shiny, silver dollar and said he would give it to anyone who took it. How I wanted that dollar! One of my hobbies was collecting coins, but I had nothing like this. But I was too self conscious to walk out into the limelight to take something that wasn’t mine. My life was full of shoulds and oughts. And so a younger boy went up and I had to pretend to myself that I didn’t really want it, possessions were vulgar and so on. (I hold my mother responsible for these attitudes!).

So last week I drove past my family home, and, having seen that building works had not started, parked the car down the lane a bit, rang the bell, explained myself to the pleasant woman who answered, and was told I could take as many plants as I liked and if there was anything else in the garden that I fancied, to take it as well. Simple!

I have never forgotten that childhood incident. It has taken me a long time to translate it into action, but I have learned: if you want something, ask for it. They can only say no. And with any luck, it shall be given.

Rose
A Moodscope member.

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


22

August

‘Le Planning’

Saturday August 22, 2020


The French like anglicising words, ‘le shopping’, ‘le week-end’. I wrote many articles on my faithful Olivetti, sitting at a restaurant table waiting for the ferry. This had to be written in my head at lunch-time. Everybody was masked except those eating. Very little in our lives at the moment does not apply in some ways to the virus. But planning my future, and just looking out of the window, generated an awareness of other problems. This restaurant has a lucrative contract to feed all the police from the Mont Saint Michel. They came in groups of six, as they left they donned their bullet-proof vests. I thought ‘Oops’, we are still a major potential target for terrorism, two million tourists in a normal year, people herded together, religious pilgrimage site.

Then a sad, cross thought. The house opposite my window had been occupied by a Second World War hero. He had been with the resistance, helping airmen to escape through Spain and Portugal, back to UK to continue the fight. He was betrayed. After his release, and marriage, his wife had six years coping with his awful nightmares, no help for PTSD then. He and my youngest daughter were great pals. He was due at one of our 14th July parties; he came in earlier, in tears, to say he could not come; his only son had attempted suicide. He doffed his hat to my daughter and me, and then we saw his scalp, horribly scarred from Gestapo torture. There is nothing in this town to remember him by.

My neighbours are leaving; I shall be virtually alone in the street. Any security system would be impractical and very expensive. I’m not scared, but winter will be lonely. I could, with my pensions, just give up, go into a care home and leave the agency to let or sell the house, not on. The really ‘big’ issue is garden planning. We have had 2 minor lots of rain since the beginning of May, with high temperatures and strong winds. Garden maintenance is vital as it is such a necessary part of my existence – varied exercise, somewhere pleasant to sit, and giving pleasure to others. If I let it ‘rip’ for Spring, I will have a sea of blue, forget-me-nots, borage, knapweed. But come mid-May, and summer planting, I will have an impoverished desert. Can I justify the amount of water I am currently using for a garden enjoyed by one person?

We are being endlessly harassed by calls wanting us to insulate our houses for one euro. I know I am not eligible, but cannot stop the calls. The French government is obsessed with energy saving. Now it is special heating systems. I have TWO separate heating systems, one of which does the hot water. Combining them, in theory, is not feasible, but worth an enquiry, will get the engineers to look at it. Life does not stand still, what I really need is a ‘think tank’, a good old fashioned ‘Quango’. Anybody else faced with major decisions?

Bon chance.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.


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


21

August

Mistakes

Friday August 21, 2020


In the last few days, I have made two silly mistakes. I think my brain is losing its power.

I rarely get a bus home after shopping as it is not a long walk, but it was cold and windy.
 
I checked two timetables then waited and at the right time caught a bus.
 
After a few minutes I saw it was going the wrong way. The driver told me I should have checked the number of the bus, but it was cold, and I checked the timetable that indicated only one bus was coming at that time. I had to wait 30 mins before it got back to town then became the bus I wanted.
 
I felt so incompetent and wanted to cry, I feel I may be losing my ability to do things I normally do!!
 
About 30 minutes ago I had written a blog and went to copy it and send it. Not sure what I did but I did not copy or save it. Not a big deal but so frustrating and I didn’t have the energy to write it out again. I feel I lack the basic skills that I used to have.
 
I don’t have enough room to list all the silly things I do from asking where my glasses are when I am wearing them, to buying the wrong product at the supermarket.
 
I am wondering if others can relate to this? I do not want to examine why I do things. Maybe stress, possibly many reasons, but I want to find a kinder way of coping with being human and making mistakes other than crying or calling myself names.
 
I know many people make mistakes, but I get annoyed with myself when I do. Sometimes I can laugh at myself but many times I feel I am making too many mistakes.
 
When you make a mistake what do you say or do so keep things in perspective?
 
Do you have any helpful ideas, so I do not go into self-loathing mode?
 
This time I managed to turn my mistake into a blog.
 
Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


20

August

Move like you love yourself…

Thursday August 20, 2020


I have always enjoyed yoga. Over the years, I have done many a downward dog. But there has never been a regularity to my practice. The odd class here or there when one of the kids’ activities gets cancelled, that’s about it. During the summers, I do more classes than in the winter, so it is somewhat seasonal. My osteopath strongly recommended I do the cat and cow stretches every day. So, I have been doing those for a good few years. But then… lockdown. 

Yoga has now become a daily morning routine. The odd day I skip it - due to work deadlines or I get distracted by the kids and then the day is suddenly gone. Nighttime arrives and I feel there’s something missing. So I’ve begun a mini yoga night time practice if I miss the morning one. 

My online yoga teacher is young and beautiful but not annoying in the slightest! I like her pace, her sense of humour, her gentleness. She has a phrase:

‘Move like you love yourself’

The first time I heard it, I froze on my yoga mat. We (I say ‘we’ although it is just me in my sitting room but that’s the power of the online class - it feels like a ‘we’) were moving from a standing pose to a sitting one and she said ‘move like you love yourself’ and I felt immediately emotional. What does it feel like to love yourself? What way do I move? How differently would it feel to move if I really did love myself? 

I realised I was becoming proficient with my yoga poses but my transitions from one pose to another were awkward. There was no calm, no smoothness, certainly no love. So, I slowed down. I began to move from one pose to another in a gentler way. A kinder way. Dare I say it even a slightly sensual way. It felt good. It still feels good.

I caught sight of myself in a mirror the other day and I looked a little hunched and middle-aged (probably because I am!) but I didn’t tell myself harshly to ‘sit up straight’  like my mother used to. I told myself to ‘move like you love yourself’ and I took a deep breath and gently moved my shoulders up, around and back. I looked at the reflection again and yes, yer woman in the mirror has put on weight and needs a haircut and perhaps she’s a little sad looking around the eyes but… she’s learning about self care.

She’s learning to move like she loves herself…

Salt water mum
A Moodscope member.

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


19

August

On a Good Day…

Wednesday August 19, 2020


Today I am not bringing you my own words but the words a friend of mine wrote last week. I have her permission to share them here.

"Like so many of my generation, I was raised to be a good girl; to feel that I should able to do anything and everything if only I put my mind to it. The feeling still remains and rubs me raw when I don’t succeed.

On a good day I am incredibly effective and get so much done. I can handle everything; can do everything. The next day I won’t even get out of bed.

On a good day I can focus and have fruitful conversations. I can update myself on the outside world; take part in everyday life. On a bad day I retreat into reading: 5 books a week, and cry about the chaos in my head as I try and fail to get my thoughts in order.

On a good day I can enjoy family, talk to friends, enjoy a cup of coffee, A bad day is grey, and nothing engages, or tastes or matters.

On a good day I can handle the fact that I can’t work with the only thing I really wanted to work with. On a bad day it overwhelms me.

On a good day, I think that even recurring depression can be dealt with and that I can cope with a relapse. On a bad day I do not think I can live.

So, what kind of day is today? I don’t know. I’m trying to squeeze my whole life into the good days.

The important thing is that I’m still here to have those good days."

I think my friend’s words will resonate with many.

We sometimes feel we are so alone, yet there are others feeling that too. We are isolated, yet together in our isolation.

We might take some small comfort in that.

On a good day, at least.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


18

August

Life can be hard

Tuesday August 18, 2020


Just when you face up to your challenges things often get worse. Unfortunately I am faced with a major operation to look forward to later this year that carries a high risk that I might not come out out unscathed. Then I find out that I need another operation which fortunately is far more minor in comparison. Then, when, at a time that family should pull together our eldest daughter has decided not to talk to us and push us away, which probably means that we won't get too see our two year old grandson who incidentally needs all the help he can get as he is showing early signs of learning difficulties.

So I've decided to accept things as they are and to trust the doctors will sort me out. I remind myself to only focus on the things that I can influence but that's easier said than done. Yes it's going to be a difficult year but hopefully I'll come out the other side. It's a great shame our daughter has decided to withdraw from this situation that affects the whole family. Perhaps taking the charitable view she is so wrapped up with her own challenges that she can't see much further or perhaps it's denial?

Looking to the future I hope that in 6 months' time I will look at my health issue as a bad dream and that we will be talking again to our daughter. It's at times like this that you realise that life is short and things can change very quickly to turn your happiness into gloom and doom. The sad thing is that it often takes a glitch in the road to make you realise what good things that you have in your life and how much you take for granted.

We can't do much about health, take me for example, I don't smoke, eat healthily apart from the odd biscuit, I have given up coffee and alcohol and until recently was a fitness fanatic then bam! and your life is turned upside down. Why is it then some people go into a self-destruct mind set? Is there some other issue going on? In our case with our loving and intelligent daughter who has changed. I can only think there is a reason that would explain this but she can't see that and takes it out on her parents. I guess in times to come she will be able to seek help, look back on her past and hopefully recognise all the issues. What is sad is that I feel sorry for our grandson who is innocently caught up in this mess. As they say a pebble dropped into the pool creates a lot of ripples.

If mental health was more widely recognised and more socially accepted, people may more readily recognise their condition and be more inclined to seek professional help. It's always harder to see things from your own perspective.

Why does life have to be hard or perhaps that's the way that we choose to see it?

Warren18
A Moodscope member.

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


17

August

Putting People First

Monday August 17, 2020


[If you’d like to listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/putting-people-first and if you’d like to watch a video please click here: https://youtu.be/I4ycjOq-_ZI]
 
A young shop-assistant at Dixons in Uxbridge had no idea how much the course of his life would be changed by a company training programme…
 
Yes, it was me. Dixons sent me off on a two-day programme where I had my first encounter with Corporate Training… and probably my best encounter too. Two charismatic entertrainers, from Time Manager International, introduced me to Neuro Linguistic Programming and Transactional Analysis all in the service of putting people FIRST.
 
Filled with enthusiasm, I couldn’t wait to get back to the branch and put the customer first.
 
I had a shock. The manager told me, in no uncertain terms, that he was only interested in one thing – money in the till! But there is nothing more dangerous than an idea whose time has come – and I was transformed.
 
Funny how we forget, isn’t it? Years later, and after months of misery, I finally had a good few days where I didn’t think I’d be better off dead. They weren’t days of material wealth – far from it – rather, they were days of Putting People First. People… with stories.
 
All of their stories reminded me of the power of a person with a perceived purpose!
 
Monday was Jolly Jodie who genuinely gets excited about insurance. Why? Because she can often improve people’s appropriate cover for less money. She makes a difference.
 
Tuesday was Sparky Sandi whose early career was on the buses in London – and who had achieved this after a childhood marred by double-curvature of the spine - meaning that she had to wear the horrific Milwaukee Brace 23 hours out of every 24. Having transformed her suffering into purpose, she now pursues the mental wellbeing mission within organisations.
 
Wednesday was Elegant Eliot, an IFA with his own story of breakthroughs against frightening odds. And here’s the point – behind his obvious material success, a man who looks like he’s got everything going for him, there’s a story of struggle… the mess behind the masterpiece.
 
(Of course, lunch by the sea with Generous Jacqui and Elegant Eliot also helped make the day rather special!)
 
Thursday was my own turn to be interviewed - by the Lovely Linda. Linda’s a writer too – with a podcast for writers, so it was an effortless and enthusiastic stream of consciousness shared between wordsmiths.
 
Friday… back to what I have come to expect as ‘normal’! But like the “Putting People First” programme, it was too late. I realised people (one-to-one – not in crowds) give me energy when we get behind the published version of themselves to the stories behind.
 
Those who know me, know my intense preference for introversion. This doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t like people.  Genuinely authentic encounters with people are like books come to life.  Stories are enchanting, uplifting, inspiring.
 
Who could you take time out with this week to listen to their stories?  Moodscope is an excellent example of Putting People First. Tell us YOUR story…

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


16

August

Many Kinds of Silences

Sunday August 16, 2020


Although I repeatedly tried
to contact her, only
faced with a
huge wall of silence.
I found it very disconcerting.
This is the worst kind
of silence. A barrier
to communication.

There are more gentle
soft silences, like raindrops
pattering in an arid garden.
or the companionable silence
of good friends.

The silence within a
therapy session is
like a gentle balm
a pause for thought.
they are difficult
to maintain but they
enable the other
to be.

The two-minute silence
on Armistice Day or any
solemn occasion
is sometimes not easy
to keep without fidgeting
as is silent prayer.

I've begun to realise that you can listen to silence and learn from it...
“Sometimes you have to stay silent because no words can explain what is going on in your heart and mind.”

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

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


What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive

Disclaimer

Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.