The Moodscope Blog

17

December

What gives you comfort?

Friday December 17, 2021


For me it is food and soft toys, not together, but eating and holding a teddy bear seems like a great idea.

So many things comfort me:

The sound of rain
A Baby laughing
Woollen rugs, hand made
Sun on my clothes
And the list goes on…
 
I am about to do a Julie Andrews and sing these are a few of my favourite things!!

I wonder are our favourite things always a comfort and vice versa.

Please tell me about your list or one thing that really comforts you and why?

Of course, if one is down maybe things will not work but it is nice to see what different things comforts us.
 
Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


16

December


My past Christmas's have been very eventful, but I’ve always loved it. My only daughter was born on the 9th December so I remember her first Christmas vividly!! Why? Well, we lived in Cornwall, in a country cottage just off the main road. My parents-in-law came down and stayed in our house. It never snows much in Cornwall, however we got snowed in and our milkman had to bring us supplies on his tractor, I was feeding a newborn baby and got an infection, medication also came via tractor and the milkman!

Fast forward and my marriage finally broke down over Boxing day and my ex left on New years Day! You would think those memories would knock the Christmas spirit out of me, but despite a few sad ones, I bounced back and again enjoyed Christmas. I moved away from Cornwall and opened a Hairdressing salon in Tunstall, it was a little Christmas grotto, we wore fancy dress on Christmas eve, mince pies and sherry for the clients!!

My first accident to my legs meant I had to attend a dog show at BUBA in a wheel chair with purple casts on my legs! John by now had become my other half, I had the casts off in time for our first family Christmas together - this was 20 years ago.

John shared my love of Christmas. He had many decorations stored away and had only put a few out when he was alone, so now both of us let rip on the lights in the garden, we had three Xmas trees! We had many lovely times while both of us were fit, we enjoyed our 19 Christmas's together.

So it comes down to this one. Over the last 6 years every Christmas became special, I made each one as wonderful as possible because when John had spinal surgery it sort of brought home to me how the age difference was going to mean we had limited ones ahead. As each one passed I thought I’d make it the best in case it was our last one.

Last Year I was very restricted with my walking so it was low key, but I put the tree from my mum and dad up and bought John a little real one in a pot next to his chair. Unfortunately I lost John in May, but my tree has been up ever since, bringing great conversational pieces, from my Dr's Nurses and carers, as it has gone from Valentines, Easter, Summer and Halloween!

So to this Christmas. I am sure that John would be very happy to see Christmas come to this house - and it’s going to! From the decorating of the tree in December to my family joining me for an early Christmas, I will be celebrating with maybe a little tinge of sadness, but I know John wouldn’t have wanted that.

So for all the love we had over the years, yes, I'm putting the lights up in the Garden, the house doesn't look the same inside so new memories rather than sad ones are to be made. I’m going to have a real log fire burning and four bulldogs sharing the hearth. My friends are welcome and I will be sending Christmas cards to our close friends. Basically I'm trying to say it will be Christmas here despite the empty chair xx

Regards

Vicky
A Moodscope member.

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


15

December

Gifts

Wednesday December 15, 2021


Whatever you resist, persists.

This idea was presented to me 30 years ago in a Personal Development Course. We were talking about problems with weight, relationships and work. If you hold onto an idea of “how things should be,” when they are not that way, then nothing changes, and you stay miserable.

I have seen this with my parents-in-law as they struggle to become used to the care home. They have lost their independence but have yet to accept it’s gone forever. They are suffering and I feel for them. Only when they accept their dependency, however, will they start to enjoy all the amenities and activities the care home provides.

I realised that I have been resisting too.

I was diagnosed with bipolar over fifteen years ago, although I have lived with it since I was seven. In many ways, it has defined my life.

I’ve always held onto the idea that, if life throws you lemons, make lemonade, so I’ve tried to use this condition for good. I am open about it and attempt to educate people; I write for Moodscope here; I serve on my GP Patient Participation Group as a mental health representative, and I go into the GP Surgery to talk to trainee medics about Bipolar.

But I have resented it. I’ve received those lemons with bitterness. I’ve counted the things my bipolar has cost me: relationships; exam and business success; lost opportunities. I’ve said, “If I’d known before, I wouldn’t have married; I wouldn’t have had children: I would never have inflicted my condition on others.”

This past year has been particularly rough. I’ve had three severe depressive episodes in quick succession, and other health problems too. For the first time in seven years, I had to accept help from friends in writing this blog.

From this, however, has come a revelation: this bipolar is a gift; I am now grateful for it. Furthermore, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My failures in life have been a gift: they have given me humility – an often-unappreciated virtue – vital for happiness. Accepting help from others has been both their gift to me and my gift to them. My husband and children have grown in compassion, empathy and understanding from going through the bad times with me; that is a gift for them. Experiencing kindness from strangers and people who do not know me well (many of you here) has been a gift. My life is richer and more complete for being given the gift of bipolar disorder, and I am grateful.

We are rarely given life’s lemons in a presentation basket tied up with a bow; most often they are thrown at us and hurt when they hit. But making lemonade is not merely making the best of a bad job: it is turning bitterness into joy; it is turning accepted wisdom on its head, which is the greater wisdom.

And don’t stop at lemonade: think lemon chicken, think lemon drizzle cake and delicious lemon meringue pie.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


14

December

Controlling rage

Tuesday December 14, 2021


Nearly 4 years ago, January 2018, I wrote a blog entitled ‘Judgemental, moi?’ Consensus was yes, but most people agreed my opinions were justified. They were three ‘case histories’ of rude, manipulative women, who put peoples’ backs up. My ‘judgement’ came to fruition, help. The lady who overate and disrupted their lives by illness and sleeplessness is now very ill indeed, all through over-eating and never taking doctor’s advice. The one who embarrassed her partner in public (and was generally rude, and proud of it, about most people) is almost silent and sits alone when you meet her. Covid had reduced her audience, but FaceBook provided an alternative outlet – mutual acquaintances said she wrote awful things. I know there was a suggestion she should have some sort of therapy, presume she has done so. Number three is no fool, she realised she was upsetting people, her much older partner nagged the life out of her and she is a social being. You still have a raging headache after two hours with her but she has stopped the slanging of other people (at least in public). I promise I had no hand in these outcomes and my words went nowhere else but here.

I am trying, again, not to get ‘het up’. But Covid is responsible for a lot, not just fear, loss of life and chaos, but people who can’t have a nice, normal discussion round the dinner table or over a pint are liable to mull things over all alone and blow them out of proportion. People say ‘Don’t watch the news and depress yourself’, but with family spread round the globe, and stuck in my near silent town, I try to ‘keep up’ without getting ‘wound up’. Find that impossible.

The vaccination question is making me furious, and unexpectedly rather scared. Old friend in my shop this morning, I regarded her as even-minded. I presumed she was vaccinated, she’s 83. No way. Years ago she had a flu ‘jab’, insisted she caught ‘flu, and that, ergo, she is allergic to vaccinations. But it is common knowledge that quite a lot of people will experience symptoms of ‘flu, but only short-term. Now with the new variant, and cases of Covid 19 increasing, do I really want un-vaccinated people in close contact? All public places demand a vaccination certificate – I can’t do this to a friend, deny her access to my shop. Another is worse – she says Covid does not exist, just another type of ‘flu, and exaggerated by governments for political purposes.

During Covid friends who were quite racist are now totally bigoted, out with all foreigners. I am doing yet another Future Learn course on the History of Slavery. Lovely ceremony in Paris, Josephine Baker was ‘Pantheonised’. But when very famous, she went back to New York in the 1960’s she was not allowed in a restaurant, although her friend Grace Kelly was inside!

Are these strange circumstances changing/hardening your stance on topics?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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


13

December

The Hero Inside You

Monday December 13, 2021


I’m pretty sure most of us don’t look in the mirror and think, “My Hero!” But you are. Whether as a friend, a family member, an eco-campaigner, or a volunteer helping others, you are a hero… in the making.

In 2022, we will need more heroes – heroes just like you. But even heroes need help. First up, you’ll need a wise guide – someone you can trust. Moodscope is one of those guides – and you’ll have more – your therapist, your buddies. You may find your guide waiting for you behind the comments since we are uniquely positioned to help one another – we attract some excellent community leaders who are facing similar challenges. If they are even one step ahead of you on their own Hero’s Quest, they can share valuable insights to help you. You’ll also need a map to show the route to follow for your quest. The ‘Scope’ is an excellent map to follow your progress or your diversion from the path to mental wellbeing.

If you’re a heroic parent, you’ll have realised by now that the role didn’t come with a manual! Whatever role you need the manual for, it probably doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, finding guides is easy when you dig deep into YouTube or ask the the members! Then you can write the manual together.

My own network is huge and powerful and ready to help all those I am connected with – I can guarantee I can find the right person for those who ask, with a map that will help you find your treasure and unlock more of your heroic potential. I love being a bridge connecting people.

Every hero needs a villain to bring out the best in them. Covid will be with us for a while longer, and it is pure evil. Global warming. Loneliness. The Black Dog of Depression. Pick your villain, don your armour and pursue your noble quest.

Of course, since every hero is different (think Marvel Avengers), their quests are also very different – as are their strengths and their backstory. Hero-in-the-making, what do you really desire? Hero, what’s stopping you from obtaining what you wish for? What will life be like when you achieve your heart’s desire?

We are all rooting for you! Hear the call to action: “Time to shine!” And it’s time to ask for help or guidance or direction or a map. Overcoming obstacles begins with seeking support.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


12

December

Oh Tannenbaum

Sunday December 12, 2021


When we are low, or when we are navigating choppy waters, it can help to look at things from a different place. For me, that is helpful in not allowing roots to grow in the place I find myself. 

I’m often late to Christmas decorating, trying to bring house order first. This year, I decided to go early, swap the priority. Our tree always goes in the hall. It looked great there in a spot made for it - but then a piano arrived a couple of Christmases in and, for more than ten years, every December, they have been like two lead singers when somebody has to be the lead guitarist!

So last week we put the Christmas tree up in the kitchen. It’s a generous room and there is a great spot for it. I’m sitting here now smiling as I wonder why it took so long to adapt and change. (Ditto the garden table blog in summertime!)

I find that lesson comforting. We can change things at any point we like. And we can change things when we are ready, not when we feel we should be ready.

Hello tree, in the kitchen with me.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


11

December

Oh yes you are…!

Saturday December 11, 2021


Oh yes you are, Oh no I’m not!

This may be the start of a pantomime (more later) but is actually a serious comment about you.

I believe you are special. I know that without ever meeting you. You might not agree. But you are unique, there is nobody else the same as you.

The reason you may not agree is probably down to low self esteem (SE). This is important because SE influences people’s choices and decisions. Thus it has a direct bearing on our overall well being. But what is SE and how can it be improved?

Basically SE is how you think about yourself. Are you confident that you make the right decisions about yourself? Do you have self compassion? It seems it is often easier to show more compassion to someone else than yourself.

How do we increase our SE? Well, Moodscope really does help. I think that when Moodscopers communicate there is often a mutual desire to help each other. Consequently SE’s are improved. For example if a member writes a blog post, a fellow member may comment “I enjoyed your post and I can relate the subject matter to my own life. Thanks” This makes the writer feel they have done something worthwhile that is appreciated by others. A deserved boost to SE.

Much research has been done on SE including how to improve it. I have reviewed some of this and I have listed below 7 of the most common ideas for improvement ( in no particular order):

- Prepare a self esteem inventory. List 5 of your main strengths and weaknesses.

- Set realistic expectations. Use small realistic goals.

- Explore yourself. Be at peace with who you are.

- Say “stop” to inner critic.

- Take 2 minute self appreciation breaks.

- Be kinder towards other people.

- Be your own best friend.

In relation to the above I came across these 2 quotes:

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it” (M Scott Peck).

“You have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens” (Louise L Hay).

At the end of the day there is low self esteem or high self esteem. Which teem do you want to play for?

Teg
A Moodscope member.

PS I nearly forgot to tell you what happened after the pantomime had finished. The panto horse went to the bar for a drink. The barman said “Would you like a pint?” The horse replied “No, two halves!” Cue: Laughter, grin, smile, grimace, groan.

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


10

December

Why Do People Do This? 

Friday December 10, 2021


Someone you trust may not be able to accept that you are changing, so they continue to remind you of your past. People sometimes are critical of you in the areas they feel insecure about. You cannot stop people from bringing up your past mistakes. However it is possible for you to control your feelings about your mistakes. 

Do you feel guilty about your past decisions? Have you tried to forgive yourself?

If you can see your past, with the poor choices, as who you are and not use them to belittle yourself, then others will not be able to judge you.

I read that if you feel no shame, other efforts to upset you with your past has little power over you. Alas that does not work for me. If certain topics to do with my parenting are mentioned my whole body reacts and I am instantly on the defensive.

It is no secret that we all make errors, but it is how we learn and gain insights into our behaviour that helps us.

As a grownup we may feel we have changed but, someone may choose to keep reminding us of the things we did when we were mentally or physically unwell or under pressure. How do you cope when someone close to you keeps bringing up some past behaviour that may be 40 years ago?

If it is a loved one who brings up the past and you mostly have a good relationship with them, is it possible for their words to have no effect.

If you don’t have people bringing up your past, do you know why they don’t.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


9

December

Parenthood

Thursday December 9, 2021


Comparing our problems with others' plus societal pressures may lead us to underplay the stressors in our lives. But at times it's useful to take stock and reflect on resilience. Thank you to Moodscope for providing this chance.

My wife and I feel we are relatively fortunate. Growing up, we both benefited from fairly good parenting and relatively stable homes. In married life, we've been lucky not to have had financial problems, but unlucky in genetics and events. Over 35 years it's left us with stuff that can still bubble up painfully. Sometimes things happen that then remind us we've still not got a lot of coping capacity in hand.

Any pre-disposition to mental health issues in us and our children likely began with the illness and death of our young son. Disastrously gone at just 4, he was the youngest of four. It's likely we then weren't the greatest parents for a number of years. Puberty for the other children brought more than the normal angst and strife. Outside the home, a couple of them had setbacks. I think psychologists consider all such events to be potential mental health 'triggers'.

Our kids- they're now all 40-ish. Two are mostly doing OK, though just 1 of the 3 has learned the importance of seeking help. Since the mid-'90s, there have been seven suicide attempts among them, the most recent 2 years ago.

But, we go on, unconditionally loving our adult children as any parents would. Our young lost child and their little brother is never forgotten of course. We've all just (about) learned to live with it.

Time aids acceptance. Over this long time, I've come to see how to better manage life, reducing the risk my mental health will decay into anxiety & depression. Not always successfully- it's an unstable equilibrium. On my side, a line of such problems can be traced back 3 generations. My wife doesn't know her genetic history. She was adopted. To me, she manages her mental health quite well, even while battling lupus- the chronic stress likely having tipped her immune system into revolt over the years.

Walter
A Moodscope member.

PS. all the best to everyone in the Moodscope community.

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


8

December

Enough is Good

Wednesday December 8, 2021


“Enough is as good as a feast,” my grandmother used to say. I was never quite sure what she meant, as whenever we went round for dinner, there was always enough and more for that feast.

Perhaps my more refined aunt on the other side of the family put it better. When asked if she would like a second helping of anything, she would smile and say, “I’ve had an elegant sufficiency, thank you.” She was saying she had eaten enough.

How many of us in the UK remember the advert, “A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat?” In the 1970s, when chocolate treats were rare, it was indeed enough!

Enough is a wonderful word. Say it out loud (if you are alone, or with people who will not look at your strangely if you do). Listen to the completeness of the word. It is a word that finishes with a strong and final sound.

Enough

Enough – what a splendid word:

So round, so complete.

Not full, not empty, just satisfied

And replete.

No hunger, nor gluttony;

Enough for you, enough for me,

Enough to be whole

Enough to renew.

Nothing wasted, nothing squandered,

Everything returned and used.

Enough for now and for tomorrow.

Enough – everything I will ever need;

Enough for me, enough for you.

Enough for our Lord,

Enough to renew.


A poem by Rachel Soble.

Sometimes it seems that we never have enough. We don’t have enough money; we don’t have enough time; we don’t have enough love in our lives.

But who defines what is enough?

Yes, if we don’t have the money to pay the rent and to put food on the table, then there is not enough. There are many in the world, even in our own country, who do not have enough – our Food Banks are overstretched. Perhaps we have more demands on our time than there is time available. And we know that depression steals love from us, leaving an emptiness where love should be.

Perhaps, though, we do have enough. Perhaps it’s just that we want more than enough, and are told by the advertisers that we should want more and more and more… This Christmas I have been watching the TV adverts for Jewellery and Perfume and almost obscene amounts of food. Don’t most of us already have enough? Perhaps we have enough time but are always trying to fit too much in. I am so guilty of this: my mother always says I try to fit a quart into a pint pot. Perhaps we do have enough love: we just need to see it.

There is a saying, the secret of happiness is not to have what you want, but to want what you have.

I don’t want to make light of need, or to dismiss the misery of others but I think most of us have enough of everything we need. And that enough is all we need.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


7

December

Both of My Voices

Tuesday December 7, 2021


I experience my inner life verbally, not experiencing images as much as voices. I don't mean that I literally hear voices, but that my conscious self has a voice that constantly battles against my default inner voice. I experience a stream of thoughts that have been with me as long as I can remember. I suspect it's formed by my childhood experiences. It's a highly critical voice, and sometimes it sounds exactly like my parents: "Clean up the kitchen! Don't be lazy! Take out the trash!" It's taken me many years to understand that I don't need to listen to that voice in order to be worthy.

Something I've worked on in recent years is cultivating my own voice. It requires pushing back against that default voice in my mind and replacing it with a narrative and drive of my own choosing. Sometimes I achieve victory over it, and can say "Enough." Sometimes I let it get the best of me, and I do and say things beyond my capacity for fear of being unloved or unappreciated.

It's a real challenge, being of two minds. Both voices are a part of me, but I also believe I can slowly change the narrative through strategic rejection of falsehoods or negativity in that inner dialog. There's tremendous value in recognizing that even though the voice is always there, it isn't always correct and I don't always need to believe what it says.

I believe we all have our own voices that need to be cultivated. I have a clear sense in my mind now of the sort of person I want to be: caring, kind, energetic, outgoing. I need to balance myself as I try to win the emotional tug-of-war and make progress moving forward. I'm a big believer in the power of self-knowledge. I need to know my limitations and where I have room to grow. As I've gotten a bit older, I've gotten more comfortable with the fact that I'm a work in progress and will always be so. But as I've toiled with self-analysis and careful work, I can look back and see that I've come a long way. I feel like my positive voice is getting stronger, and the old voice has fewer critical things to say. That's progress. And though it's not perfect, for now that's enough for me.

John C.
A Moodscope Member.

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


6

December

Discounts Don’t Count

Monday December 6, 2021


“Thank you,” I said, “You’ve been a great help.”

“I didn’t do much,” she said.

“You did exactly what I needed, when I needed it,” I said, smiling, “And I’m grateful.”

How often do we have conversations like this? My friend really did deliver the help I needed when I needed it. She was right, she didn’t do much, but it was nevertheless all I needed, all I asked for – it was perfect.

When we weaken a compliment or a statement of gratitude by dismissing it as ‘nothing’ or ‘only a little thing’, some psychologists call this a ‘discount’. It reduces the value both of the gift of the compliment and the energy of the interaction. This is very British but I suspect the habit has spread worldwide.

You know me, I’m not going to write a blog to put you or me down for rejecting compliments! No, instead, let’s be curious and notice if we do it too, then have some fun. If we catch ourselves beginning to moderate a compliment, let’s go the other way – thanking them for the compliment and then adding something else!

Here’s an example. I’ve got a Fuchsia Fedora at the moment. It matches the fuchsia in my beard (fuchsia, deep royal blue, and silvery in its current incarnation.) The hat gets compliments – so does the beard. Next time I get a, “Love the hat!” cheerful greeting, I’ll say, “Thank you! I chose it to match the beard!” I don’t think that’s bragging and I bet it will start a fun conversation.

Have fun… now I’m off to think about how I can add a festive touch to my new look!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


5

December


This week I had an impromptu concert in my home. A little unexpected and, simply, skiving fun.  


An engineer came to do some work. The problem was far easier to sort than either of us had expected and, as a result, we both found ourselves with time we had allocated for the job unspent. He finished his coffee and before he left, he asked could I tell him the story behind a drum sitting in my hall. As we chatted about it, he also noticed my daughters’ piano. A self-taught pianist, he was delighted when I said he could help himself and play.



He played for at least a quarter hour, all manner of tunes. I found myself secretly weeping a small tear at both hearing the sound (I love hearing my daughter play as I cook and she is still far away at university) and at the fun of the situation. I do believe that sometimes angels arrive in unusual ways and forms, and I suspect he was one of them. It is great, and helpfully distracting, fun searching for angels amongst the everyday people.



I’ve popped it into the bank of good stuff. There to be opened when time says it’s due. Tools of depression come in many forms and this week he provided such a welcome new one. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


4

December

Sh*t happens!

Saturday December 4, 2021


Sometimes life gives you a lemon. As a depressive I have to see if I am seeing things through a negative lens or whether things are really rubbish.

Today was really awful.  A colleague out of the blue committed suicide last Friday, my work involved supporting someone who had been physically abused by her husband and I listened to sad stories all day.Understandably the organisation I work for is shocked to the core…and I am not a counsellor.

What shall I do? I came home after a ten hour day and walked the dog, crying silently and looking at the first Christmas decorations to arrive on the estate I live on. 

I made dinner and rung friends. I ate a healthy supper. I am watching insignificant stuff on TV. The dog is at my feet and I will go to bed early-ish.

I cannot control the awful stuff that has happened but I can do some stuff to lessen the load. 

How do you cope when bad news overwhelms the good?

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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


3

December

What is your earliest memory?

Friday December 3, 2021


Most people have memories from the age about three, with some having a memory from the age of 2 years and a few under 18 months.

For me I find it hard to distinguish between a real memory or a memory from a photograph I have viewed many times or a story I have heard a thousand times. I suppose, does it matter how we got the memory?

People recall different events, some happy, some disturbing, sometimes routine like going to school, playing, or eating. Memories can be visual or include one or more of the senses. I can recall the smell of my grandma cooking biscuits and it was such a welcoming smell. I wonder what do our first memories tell us about ourselves or about our childhood?
 
Some people have a clear first or early memory, or you may be like me and have a few very quick videos in your mind. One of mine is when I am about three and am wearing a cotton dress with a bright red cherry print, and the dress is very tight as I was a cubby child and being the only girl, my mum insisted on putting me in dresses.

I would like to read your first, and early or any memory from your childhood that you remember clearly. It may be visual or involve noise, smells, touch, or taste. Please add the photo album of childhood memories.

Leah   
A Moodscope member.

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


2

December

The Sound of Silence

Thursday December 2, 2021


Being a child of the 1960’s, I remember Simon and Garfunkel’s original song ‘The Sound of Silence’ well. It was a bit controlled for me but I loved the idea. I also heard the recent Distressed version which, whilst out of character for that band, has at its core an extraordinary (to me) vocal. The original was based on story telling but the recent one based on anger. I can hear this anger throughout.

The title of the song is one I have a great empathy for. I love silence and at times can’t get enough of it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy music in all its glory but silence is at times so desperate a need. Not the clinical silence of an anechoic chamber but the natural silence of just … nothing.

Like most, I rely on my batphone for so much these days. Diary, photographs, email, news, messaging, entertainment, even banking. It’s almost refreshing to use it for a telephone call. Certainly unusual.

But all this, comes at a price. I can’t get away. The omniscience of the telephone is something that I don’t dislike but I do get worried by. There are times that I want or need to be alone, within my own head and without anyone disturbing me.

There aren’t many places that you can find that now. Cars have radios and telephone link ups, outside walks are so busy. I have to look far and wide for this.

I have two precious spots that I need where I can lose myself. One is when I’m riding my motorcycle. I have found that I can’t ride angry, the bike needs too much work. I get almost clinical in my riding but in that I find some form of peace. I come back refreshed and happier.

The other place I go, less frequently, is to sea. I enjoy big boat sailing. I find the sensations extraordinary and the peace so welcoming.

German philosopher poet Rainer Maria Rilke says it so well. “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”

I return from visits to the sea calmer, more focused and more comfortable in my own skin. Unfortunately it doesn’t last – the noise gets to me again, I pick up my phone and am lost to society.

I sometimes wish I had been born in a quieter time, although some of the wonders of modern life such as good dentistry I would want to retain.

I know I can’t have this quieter time but I still yearn for silence. Just once in a while.
 
 
Alex
A Moodscope member.

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


1

December

Good Enough – Part Two

Wednesday December 1, 2021


Back in the 1960s, my aunt was dating the son of the local Squire. His mother took her to one side and told her she must not be thinking of marriage as she was not suitable. He had lands and a (minor) title; she, as the daughter of a yeoman farmer, was not good enough for him.

Today my family tell this tale with rueful amusement, but I can imagine the indignation and hurt those words must have caused. Nobody wants to be told they are not good enough.

It must be acknowledged, however, that for mothers, no woman is ever good enough for her son. I have a sneaky feeling my own mother-in-law, even after twenty-two years, still looks me askance; I am still not good enough for her little boy.

It’s not just relationships; we can be told we’re not good enough in other areas. As some of you know, I spent fifteen years as an accountant. I don’t know how I ever thought accountancy was for me: I cannot add up a column of figures and get the same answer twice, but I managed to qualify as a chartered accountant and to work my way up to assistant finance director of a multi-million-pound organisation.

I really wasn’t “good enough” to do that job effectively and eventually I was asked to resign. My finance director did it so beautifully I left feeling empowered and hopeful. I will always be grateful to her and will always remember her words.

“Mary,” she said. “You’re a lovely person. You work so hard. You have lots of skills and talents. They’re not, however, the skills and talents you need to do this job. You don’t just need to leave this role; you need to find another career in which you can excel.”

After fifteen years of struggling with accountancy, wondering why I just wasn’t good enough, no matter how hard I tried, I was given this revelation: accountancy and I just did not fit together: round peg; square hole.

The American Statute of Independence starts with these words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Equal, but not the same. Each of us has different abilities, different talents, different strengths and different weaknesses.

With the shortage of workers in this country right now: it seems everyone is recruiting; I have been wondering if I should help the economy and get a part-time job. My business as an Image Consultant and Personal Stylist does not need to take up all my time and the extra money would be welcome. My buddy group have stamped firmly on this idea, pointing out that my health situation does not allow me to work more than I do now. They point out that my writing here and the transformation process I offer to my clients is contribution enough.

We are always good enough; we just need to find where we fit and are appreciated.

(And, more on “Enough” next week.)

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


30

November


I suffered from bouts of depression from my early teens to my early thirties.

Usually they were triggered by some problem which seemed serious at the time – being dumped by a girlfriend, a string of rejections for jobs I applied for, a bout of bad health - but sometimes they were just a product of disappointment, especially in my “career” (series of jobs would be more accurate) and personal relationships. It wasn’t just my inability to have a steady relationship with a girlfriend, but also that I lacked friends who shared my interests and outlook…

My bad depressions, however, rarely lasted all that long –  a few weeks to a couple of months max - and even during these periods, I usually enjoyed some things, like sport and reading. But I never sought any treatment, unless you include drinking far too much alcohol. I periodically got some useless advice from friends and family; “You just need to change job”, “Find a wife and have kids” or “Chuck it all in and travel round the world” being prime examples.
 
My thirties and early forties were much happier times. I mostly did pretty well at work, found a new group of friends with whom I shared many interests and values, had a few steady girlfriends and eventually lived with one of them. My diary was full; I had a nice house and car, went on great holidays and felt positive about the future. I though my days of depression were behind me. I was wrong.
 
Suddenly, everything changed for the worse. I’d had difficult problems for a while –a very sick elderly mother, a high-stress house move and a high-stress job in a failing company – but I was just about coping until one day the “straw that broke the camel’s back” hit me. It may seem trivial: one of my staff gave in his notice. He was the star of my otherwise unimpressive team, he made it clear that he was jumping a sinking ship. I went crashing downhill and stayed there. I was prescribed a lot of antidepressants over the next few years, and did 10 weeks or so of psychotherapy. The former helped a bit, the latter made me worse. I read a few self-help books but found little to help me.  
 
After more than two dark years, during which I became ever more reliant on alcohol and “sugar rush” foods, things at work improved (entirely by chance), the house move problems receded into the past  and I started enjoying life again, and had about 7 good years -  until another deadly combination serious work problems and the final illnesses of two of my family sent me crashing down again. This time, I had some CBT, and found a way forward. But, if you are prone to depression, I don’t think you’re ever really “cured” of it. I’ve still had depressive bouts over the last decade, but I’ve learned to manage and mitigate depression far better.

Oldie but Goldie
A Moodscope member.

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


29

November

Touching

Monday November 29, 2021


‘Touching’ is a wonderful term that is equally at home describing our emotional state (as in, “I found that touching,”) or being used to describe the physical act of touching something. I hope that for you, as is the case for me, the two seem to be inextricably connected. Often, touch is transformational.

I was enthusiastically ‘mugged’ by a Golden Labrador today and was utterly uplifted by the experience. Yes, I was ‘touched’ emotionally by physical contact with this magnificent being. Anima in the animal.

Touch is important to me. How important Is it to you?

You may be about to have some of your gift list requirements fulfilled. Recently, I purchased a “Fidget Cube” for a friend who seems to be frequently in a highly stressed state. When one is agitated, it’s comforting to have something to do with one’s fingers!

She loved the Fidget Cube. It has five different ‘fidget’ options:
· A two-way switch
· Five dots that can be pressed
· A joystick disc that seems to have four positions
· A rotating dial with a raised portion to give leverage
· A fascinating metal bauble with three rotating cogs above it

The sixth side is static – immovable – calm – like a pause in the chaos.

This thing is amazingly tactile. If you have a high sensory preference for kinaesthetic (touch) stimulation, I think it’s a ‘must have’ gift. I was not sure where I had put the one I went on to buy for myself, so I was feeling a bit stressed, and surprised that this was the case! You may well imagine my relief when I found it! It’s become a comfort.

What textures and physical touch experiences bring you comfort?

As an example to get you sharing, a recent new development in ongoing digestive issues I’ve had since birth has brought me to a fresh appreciation of the efficacy of a well-placed hot-water bottle. Warmth strategically applied!

Let’s finish with a thought about imagination + touch.

This ‘Fidget Cube’ has potential beyond the maker’s intended purpose. I think it’s a mindfulness cube!

I’m now using it like this:

· The two-way switch becomes a reminder to ‘break-state’ – to switch from one focus to another and to escape from an unresourceful state
· The five dots that can be pressed become the triggers to focus on one sense after another to be fully immersed in an experience – to see the brightness of the snow, to hear the way snow dulls all sonic signals, to feel the crunch and the cold, to taste the purity of a snowflake on the tongue, and to enjoy the smell of the rarefied air…

There’s more for me but I sincerely believe that it is far better for you to create your own meanings for such a tool.

Could the MoodCube become a new hit for Moodscope?

Whatever you take from this blog, I hope you will choose a positive tactile-emotive experience today, and I also hope you’ll share your own magic moments when it comes to touch.

Lex
A Moodscope member.


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


28

November

I hear hurricanes a-blowin 

Sunday November 28, 2021


Storm Arwen is battering my home and garden tonight, as I write. And I should say the entire UK, not just me!  It’s feeling a little arctic out there too. 

Anxiety can take over my bones at these times. It goes back to being 8 months pregnant, alone, my car stopped driving as I was caught in a snowstorm, found myself stranded, and walked home. For some reason it has left me a little on alert every time there is even a whisper of a winter storm. (The thing is it wasn’t that bad, and it was my own fault - I was hugely ill prepared, always been a slow learner…)

Back to tonight. My eldest child is away at Uni and I have comfort that she is largely able to care for herself, has good people in her life and would ask for help if she needs. My other two children are at home. The boiler has just been repaired. We have a couple of candles. The fridge is full.  Devices are fully charged. And, for a change, I feel I can, to some extent, surrender to the storm. Weather it. Feel it, watch it, and meet it.  
 
Settle down, back into your chair anxiety. You are not needed. 
 
May your day have wind only from lunch. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


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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.

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