The Moodscope Blog



Merry Moodmas. Monday December 25, 2017

"And so this is Christmas. And what have we done. Another year over. And a new one just begun." (John Lennon)

Those words always prove to me that my internal pipework is working beautifully. My astonishing creation of a body can read the words, convert them to emotion which turns cogs and wheels, and produce tears. It's quite an amazing feat and I am fascinated.

And so I read the words. I puddle the tears. Some spill. And there must be a lesson in there.

I like to see this time of year as the middle of the year. I find it too hard to deal with the weight of it being both 'the end' and 'the start'. It's too much. I make a strong effort to remind myself daily that it's just another week in the middle.

What I would like to remind you of is that you are here and you are reading this. I bet you have had a wonderful Christmas somewhere in your history and I bet you have had an awful one too. I know I have. And maybe this year it will lean more towards one than the other. But what you must remember, and really give yourself credit for, is that between all the days from then to now you have held yourself up, got yourself through and never given up. Those who have not suffered with poor mental health cannot possibly understand how immense that achievement is.

The paper and the boxes and the endless plastic packaging which require pliers, patience and swearing (is it just me?) can all take a back seat. The best present is to ourselves and it is the gift of recognition. To recognise that we have, once again, clung on, made it through and that we are still doing it. We have done it before, we can do it again. And I am so very proud of you all. People I have never met, but sometimes hear comments from, I share in your disappointments and your achievements as well as those of you I have never heard from but who I know read, digest and silently keep on.

I consider you all good friends with big hearts. I like being a part of us, steadying each other over stepping stones, and I wish you all to treat your absolute 'needs' first and then have a very Merry Moodmas. So glad to walk with you.

Much love from

The room above the garage with the little lights.
A Moodscope member.

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

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Are you a party person? Sunday December 24, 2017

Depending on your personality, you have been longing for or dreading this time of year: office parties, Christmas with the family and the silliness of New Year's Eve. The recent blog, on the joy of snow, had as the thought for the day 'Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun'.

The snow reminded me that it wrecked our 55th wedding anniversary. Our 63rd was on the 19th December – I thought 'pointless celebration, my husband still knows I am his wife, but blames me for "getting rid of him" into a care home. But there they are all 'party people', birthdays celebrated with a gather round, cake and a sing-song. Mr G not keen on latter, but I'm half the marriage, so made a big variety of little cakes popular over many decades, staff were pleased.

I think our 48th anniversary was in Madras (Chennai). Decorated chairs with gold bows, red roses for me and a disgusting cake. The Taj group keep records, and realised we had a golden wedding coming up. They suggested we fly a load of friends and family out, with the inducement that the hotel was always set up for Bollywood movies, and our party could be part of one! As it happened, a daughter said 'Party is on us (in UK) but I needed to take 50 year history of photos of business, travel and family. A tall order – resulted in displays which pleased everybody and an album of 'composites'. The cake, made by me, was totally OTT.

When we left our second house, we thought that if you had a house warming party why not a house cooling? So we told the kids and the au pair to invite their friends. Coming downstairs, I greeted 'guests' and asked whose friends they were. Nobody, they'd just heard there was a good party! There were 28 for breakfast the next morning, the removal men arrived, took one look and started the other end of the house (it had 17 rooms, we could not afford to live in it). My oldest friend, very acerbic, phoned for news. 'We've just had a super party' (14th July, I think). 'Oh, you two, you'd have a party if you cut your fingernails'.

When the son who is 60 next week was 6 he wanted a party – for 30 littles boys. Riot wasn't in it – we used the village hall, not going to wreck the house. They fought, they went up one side of the stage and down the other, they illustrated the meaning of a 'bun fight', Then, being polite little boys they left, panting, saying 'We've never had so much fun in our lives'. (Back to thought for the day).

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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Blog through the fog. Saturday December 23, 2017

The fog being my brain.

Why do we develop these mental states that haunt us and tie us down?

I observed that my nerve left me some time in my early 50's. After a very active career, filled with travel, new people, hard work and daily changes of routine, I had become reluctant to even drive to the garden centre! Driving now being the cause of several heart pounding moments on the M25, among others. The fear of the open road, of all the obstacles, dangers and aggressions of some fellow drivers. It is enough to make me a recluse, except that our lives have to move on.

So have I now become trapped in my fearful mind. Imagining the worst outcome of every journey and searching for non-motorway routes for every trip? People say to me that they too dislike driving, but they will still take on a drive to Manchester or Marseilles, disliking but doing.

I however would do anything to get out of such mileage, for fear of the loss of control or collapse at the wheel. Life limiting.

So why do we change? Life experience should make us stronger not weaker? Fear creeps up on us and slaps us on the back. Pinning you down and slowing your step. It infects your world, grabbing at your insecurities, expanding your imagination of the imminent disasters you could befall. Pull yourself together. Get a grip. It's all in your mind. It's not real.

Oh but it is. To me.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Christmas approaches... Friday December 22, 2017

For years I have written a Christmas 'Round Robin' letter updating friends with news of my life. These have been happy, sad, distressing, heartbroken, glad and joyous synopses and keep me in touch with those I love and admire.

I wrote to Moodscope once and the replies I received were so welcome and I apologise that I never responded to any of the kind people who wrote and helped me at a very difficult time. I thought I was ok but regressed and went back to a dark place in my mind and life.

Recently I have had good news regarding a cancer op and am clear for the next year and now my son and his wife have given me a gorgeous grandson. My feelings however have been put into turmoil as I expected none of the extreme negative feelings I now have again towards my ex husband who left me after 32 years of marriage and married a younger 'friend of a friend of his'!

All your thoughts and expectations are paramount when married of the time to come when grandchildren arrive and then to enjoy them with your partner/husband. This for me is especially so at Christmas time which is so wonderful when children make it very special.

It is my circumstance of being alone that makes what used to be a lovely time for me in the family home now so different... My son and daughter in law have kindly asked me to stay over with them on Christmas Eve and we will then go to her parents to stay over on Christmas day evening. They have always been wonderful and generous to me with their care and consideration. Then on Boxing Day my son, wife and my grandson will be with my ex-husband and his wife... and this is where the pain intensifies and continues for me... I truly resent they will all be together and I accept I am deeply angry. My son still loves his father and they have to accept his wife and be with them also at Christmas.

This is not how I thought my life and retirement would be and I am finding it much harder to cope with now I am a grandmother. I so wanted to have lots of time being around with my grandson but now I am 72 and thoughts of that time being so limited scares me and fills me with sadness. I can just try to accept what I can't change and cheer myself up with the fact that the option to not growing old is certainly unwanted!

It is so hard to be alone and the family time of Christmas accentuates this. I keep going through in my mind all the good things I have in my life and try not to be negative and know that I will pull through when the 'Season of Good Cheer' is over!!! I will make the most of my future time with my grandson, son and daughter in law and try to lose my bitterness. I know it is not good for me but its hard to shift and to find a peaceful and rested mind.

I wish all Moodscopers a very Good Christmas and I hope peace and joy will prevail for you.


Lyn x
A Moodscope member.

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

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For times of need. Thursday December 21, 2017

Clearly more of an earth warrior than I credit myself for, I am recycling a blog. Yikes! Cheating! No? Yes.

In this season I have one time when I can listen to Christmas music. It's at the very start when my children pull out the CDs and for a while we take therapy in belting out each and every last Christmas song from Wham to Sinatra.

From that point, on all of the other days, sometimes just on repeated repeat, I play this. Over and over and over and over. I carry it from house to car, from car to house. I have it on my phone, I have it on CD, I am seeking out vinyl. Sometimes I just concentrate on their faces.

It gets me through absolutely everything. I share it again with you. May it help:

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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Christmas and Candles. Wednesday December 20, 2017

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

"Are you ready for Christmas?" asked a poem read out on Sunday.

It was our carol service; the church was packed.

We have a pretty church, parts of it dating back to the 600s; part of it built only ten years ago. It sits on the banks of the river Ouse, set on a rise, so the floods of winter never reach it, although they come right up to the gate.

From the church door, you look across the water meadows. In summer they are lush, grazed by fat cattle, their tails flicking in the sunshine; swallows darting between the willows. In December, they are a scene in monochrome: grey pencilled lines of grass and charcoal etched branches against a Payne's Grey wash of sky. And between the church and that view, the river.

There have been times when the river has called to me, in my darkness. After rain or snow it runs deep and fast. Branches and other flotsam caught in it, end up at Denver Sluice, fifty miles away. They are used to retrieval operations there.

But my medication is keeping the darkness away. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of it and know it's out there, still lurking. It would love to draw me down – deep down. But it can't, at least, not right now.

So, I stood with quiet joy in my heart as the choir sang the first verse of Once in Royal David's City; unaccompanied and in candlelight.

The first reading was from Isaiah. I sat back and prepared for one of my favourite passages, "The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light." But it wasn't Isaiah 9, but Isaiah 42: "A bruised reed he will not break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out."

I imagine, if you are reading this, that – like me – you have often felt like a bruised reed; battered and trodden down in the mud. You have felt it impossible ever to rise again. You have felt as if your flame is the tiniest flicker, just one step away from the grey ash that signals the end of light. Maybe you're there right now. I know there have been many Christmases when I have been there.

This is not a religious post; I wouldn't do that to you – but in answer to the question, "Are you ready for Christmas?" No – I haven't got all my presents. Nothing is wrapped. My cards are unwritten. I haven't got a Christmas menu sorted, let alone bought the food.

But – I am ready for the real message of Christmas. I'm ready for that message of hope, born in darkness. I am ready to hear that my broken reed will be lifted, supported and nursed back to strength. I'm ready to hear that my flickering candle flame will be gently breathed on so it gives light again.

That message of hope applies throughout the year and not just in December.

I'm certainly ready for that.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Are you a weed? Tuesday December 19, 2017

I have noticed that when a living thing is used in a story or to point our psychological strengths and weaknesses it is usually an animal like an elephant, a wolf, a tiger, an owl, a dolphin or some animal like that.

Rarely does anyone use a plant to illustrate a human characteristic let alone a weed. A weed is a plant considered unwanted in a particular situation, that is a weed is a plant in the wrong place.

I have often felt like a weed in my life. I used to think there was something wrong with me but often it was because I was in the wrong place. Maybe with the people who did not understand me, maybe I was in an unsuitable job, maybe I was living in the wrong town, but I usually came to the conclusion there was something not right with me.

The thing is maybe I was a weed and I just need to find the right place for me.

Have you ever felt you were in the wrong place, or you were surrounded by people who did not understand you?

If you moved to another place and found people accepted you did that help?

Or are you still looking for that special environment where you can be appreciated and nurtured?

Have you ever felt like a weed?

A Moodscope member

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

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It's The Most Vulnerable Time of the Year. Monday December 18, 2017

It's back, why does it come back? And why now? It's Christmas and I love Christmas. I love the winter, I love the chilled air and the assault on my senses when I leave the house. I love the list making and the excuse to treat myself and those whom I love. I love the food and wine and chocolate in every room of the house. I love the lit coal fire and the hot water bottles. I love Christmas carols and christmas songs. I love the lights and the smell of the tree. Ok, so I don't love all the socialising, I find the magnitude of social engagements to negotiate terrifying. Oh why has it found me out now?

I've been well really; bobbing along to a merry little rhythm and it's all been fine. I've taken on a couple more hours teaching, joined a social running group, helped on the PTA. The odd down day and I've bounced back up. I'm generally a positive person despite the depression, I'm a teacher, a parent, an empathetic and supportive friend and I live a full life. But it's come back again.

I won't deny looking over my shoulder when I'm whizzing forwards, checking it's not closing in on me. I definitely look ahead and anticipate if it could be looming around the next corner, but I wasn't expecting it to pounce on me with quite so much force. Is it out of the blue?

I want to have a tantrum, stamp my feet and shout in it's face that 'It's not fair!', 'Leave me alone!', 'Go away!'. It has taken over my being again and I'm angry because it's robbed me of the beautiful winter and Christmas with my children. I'm still here, I know, but I'm not me, it's making sure of that.

I know for lots of people Christmas is a time to hibernate or protect themself, last year I was prepared, I had a list ready of 'How to look after myself at Christmas'. It feels too late for that now. What do I do Moodscopers?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Tis the season (part iii). Sunday December 17, 2017

Week 3 together. Something soothing...

Take a piece of paper, real paper, you will be keeping it. And a pencil because if you listen closely you might find the music from its spine as you scribe is on its own worth a ticket fee.

Can you write out a small list of things which make Christmas work? Did you notice that I did not say what makes Christmas 'Christmas' or what makes Christmas 'special' but what makes Christmas work for us. Once its written, all we need to do is to let time take care of it. I'll start you with mine. And it would be interesting, and maybe helpful for others, to hear yours. My list reads:

To be with a small group of people and to tolerate their differences.
To eat together regardless of what is on the plate.
To sip something special but to value and limit it, water is special to many.
To surprise children with something they had not expected.
To toast those who are no longer at our table but waiting in the next room.

There. Maybe it's not that hard to make Christmas soothing and manageable. The 'right' napkins are not important. We have our lists. Stick yours up and let us all worry less about what does not matter.

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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Waking up to a positive, energetic day. Saturday December 16, 2017

It's summer in Cape Town and a December south-easter wind rattles roofs and jangles nerves. I am working hard, harder than last month and I'm loving it. This morning I woke to a calming meditation and as I listened the words, "I can do it," came to mind. I went downstairs and made a coffee. I can hear the sound of the ocean and the wind has miraculously calmed down.

As I wait for the water to boil, I think about all the people in the world with no running water, a roof over their heads and a comfortable bed to sleep in. As I pour fresh ground coffee, I feel grateful for the many comforts I enjoy.

Today, I refuse to listen to all the bad news, over and over. It only makes me worried and upset. By letting go of all this noise, I can free my mind to be present to the moment breath by breath.

You see, getting to this place is not easy. As an older woman (now 60), I have fought the world, always wanting to make a difference (whatever that means). I see how futile is this struggle, this angst. Now, it's about quality of life and making time to be in the flow, in the zone.

Quite simply, I take control of my mind chatter with mindful breathing and a strong commitment to practice loving kindness and to apply the balm of patience to angry and reactive thoughts. They only cloud my judgement and my loving heart is obscured, like clouds in the clear blue sky.

Julia G
A Moodscope member.

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

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Rip it up and start again. Friday December 15, 2017

When I was little I loved to draw stuff even though I am no artist but if I made a mistake on my nice new clean sheet of paper I could not tolerate it and I would screw the paper up and start again. If only real life was so easy.

We all make mistakes as we grow up and become adults. Others may make mistakes in how they treat and relate to us. Sometimes life goes through phases when everything feels like one big mistake. I know. I experienced a lengthy period of depression twenty years ago when my own life felt just like that and which felt like it would never end. But the important thing I think is to realise that life does indeed go through phases. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are short. Some can be very long. Sometimes we get stuck in them and they feel very painful and out of our control or alternatively we can become so familiar with them that we accept them even if they make us feel very uncomfortable.

But do we have to ?... or do we have the power to rip things up and start again?

Do we even want to start again or are we resigned to what we have created or had thrust upon us or even secretly a little proud of our stuff or just don't think we have it within us to draw anything better? The art analogy is taking over !!!

Ironically my husband came to talk to me in the middle of writing this piece and when I went back to it I thought to myself... maybe this is not very good... maybe nobody will be interested in my ramblings... maybe I'd better scrap it and start again! But after giving it a little more thought I decided not to. Stuff doesn't have to be perfect. Life doesn't have to be perfect and I don't have to be perfect or even try to be perfect any more.

So you can admire the handiwork of your life, paint over it, erase bits of it, embellish it, frame it for everyone to see, be proud of what you have created, hide it somewhere or rip it up and start again. The options are many, you are the artist and the choice is yours.

In keeping with the art analogy, I myself am choosing a clean sheet today but keeping all my previous efforts, both good and bad, in a treasured portfolio... my mind.

So what will you choose to do today with the masterpiece that is your life ? I can't wait to find out!

Much love to all you moodscopers out there

Romy B
A Moodscope member.

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Let your happiness start now. Thursday December 14, 2017

Only a few weeks to Christmas and the race has started already.

"I'm busy, sorry I'll call you later, see you later, I have to go lots of things to do, catch up another time..." the same words over and over again. It's mad busy out there, may be good busy but it's still busy with the endless run to shops, buying gifts, sending cards, arranging dinners, meeting friends, going out and do not forget the "New Year resolution list".

The so exciting and apprehensive new year list with all the "I must and I will do this and that... to be happy in 2018."

Not surprisingly, with all these things to do and race to run, the Christmas holidays are the height of the flu season.

What about the real meaning of this magical season? Would not the real Christmas miracle be if we slowed down long enough to remember the reason for this festivity so that our celebrations became authentic and meaningful?

So let's slow down and look at our lists again so we can choose to let only what we love best about the holiday remain. Now we can finally relax and be delighted by the sounds of bells and joyful music, savor the aroma of the roast turkey and gingerbread, sipping hot chocolate and re-creating cherished customs that care for our souls and the souls of our loved ones.

Let you happiness start NOW!

Have a peaceful and joyful Christmas

A Moodscope member.

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

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Mens Sana in Corpore Sano - Parte Quinque Wednesday December 13, 2017

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


I write this with a sense of failure.

It is now a month since I started this series and, yes, there is a reason why I left this topic to last. I am lousy at meditation.

Oh, I had such good intentions. I always do. A month, I thought; a month was surely enough to get into good habits.

I sought advice from anyone I could think of who was good at this. I downloaded apps and guided meditations. I subscribed to a couple of daily "Thoughts". But nope, after a month I think I have done exactly two meditations and read maybe four of the thoughts.

So, this morning, I made myself do another meditation. This one from Head Space, which comes highly recommended from a fellow Moodscope user.

Honesty time? Yup – I felt really good after doing it. I felt light and floaty – as if I'd had an hour's whole-body massage in a darkened room with soft panpipe music and jasmine scented air.

But doing it was sheer torture.

So, I identified a few things.

1. I cannot bear to do "nothing". I can't even watch TV without doing the ironing at the same time.
2. I'm really rebellious. When the guide asks me to breathe in a certain way, my reaction is to do exactly the opposite.
3. My inner child feels as if she's being punished; being asked to sit quietly on her hands for those minutes, when she really wants to play.

On the other hand, I do other things which are very nearly meditation.

I have written many times about swimming. There is something about the rhythmical movement of one's limbs through the water, the discipline of breathing, that is conducive to letting one's thoughts wander where they will. I usually use my swimming time to play with ideas for writing and in intercessory prayer – which is different from meditative prayer. Guess what? I'm not much good at meditative prayer either.

Another thing I do is make greetings cards. Apparently, studies have shown that the brainwaves of someone who is deeply involved in a craft process are identical to the brainwaves of someone meditating. So – when I'm cutting paper to millimetre accuracy, when I'm placing that stamp image with pinpoint precision, when I'm gluing embellishments exactly where they need to be: that's as good as meditation. Isn't it?

Well, maybe. I think both are good for mental health. But both are meditation lite. They're not a substitute for the real thing. I rarely rise from a cardmaking session with the feeling of having spent an afternoon in a spa, with that physical feeling which is at once a feeling of heaviness and lightness – a feeling of being effortlessly stretched like Alice after she drank of that bottle so invitingly labelled "Drink Me!"

It's a good feeling. A feeling of being calm, loose, relaxed, centred, resilient. A feeling I'd like to feel again.

Almost worth meditating for.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Do You Wanna Build A Snowman..? Tuesday December 12, 2017

Yay, it's snowing! Outside my garden looks like a Christmas card. I'm impatiently waiting for my daughter and her friends to wake up, after a late birthday sleepover, so we can pull out the sled, build a snowman and generally have fun. Snow happens here in the East Midlands so rarely that, when it does, I make a conscience effort to go outside and have fun and not listen to my 'louder' voice telling me to stay under the covers with hot drinks!! Time for hot chocolate later when we are back in doors with red noses, rosy cheeks and a feeling a contentment and pleasure.

Is snow fun for you? Do you wanna build a snowman?

Jane SG
A Moodscope member.

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

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How can I help? Monday December 11, 2017

Today's poem was inspired by a very genuine friend who was proud of how she gave love letters to homeless people. She assured me that these were received well, and that she never gave them money.

I realised, to my shame, that I was horrified by this. She sincerely believed she was doing them good because nobody told them how beautiful they were and how loved.

However, I also realise that I have turned away from friend and neighbour when it was in my power to make a relevant difference.

Instead, I have shared empty words.

So I wrote this poem to myself, and for whomsoever it resonates with.

True to life, when my turn came to need help, many friends said, "If I can help in any way... just let me know." When the right type of help was blisteringly obvious. Appropriate help did not come.

Christmas is not a happy season for all, but it is a grand opportunity to make a significant difference to someone's life.

Thus here is the poem.

"How can I help?" I helpfully said!
They gasped, "I am thirsty."
So I gave them some bread.


Then I saw a friend stranded - they had a flat tyre.
So I stopped and I hugged them,
And shared a word to inspire!


What of the homeless man exposed to the rain?
Well, I gave him my own ticket
For a cheap flight to Spain!


And when it was my turn...


I said, "Send reinforcements; we're going to die."
You heard, "Lend me fourpence; we're going to fly."
So you said you'd no change, and instead gave a grin,
Not knowing that I was about to give in.


Helping a friend doesn't take the science of a rocket
If your neighbour's in need, put your hand in your pocket.


It doesn't cost much to show that you care;
You may well be the answer
To someone's last prayer.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Tis the season (part ii). Sunday December 10, 2017

It’s our second week. If I could create a warm room for us all with soft stuff and candles in the style of the Danish concept Hygge then I would. (Of course, in this virtual world someone else would cook and clean for us, we’d all get along and our differences would dovetail, never to collide.)

How can I bring you something soothing this week? My thought is a reverse advent. For you. We are all time pressured, life pressured and health pressured so I’m conscious that none of us needs anything more to squeeze into our already brimming full inbox. But I think I can find 1 or 2 minutes each day to put something inwards and count the days of advent… for me. Can you? A little deposit into the Bank of Mental Health throughout the silly season? You can go back to ignoring yourself after the 25th if you wish.


1. I can lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling (2 minutes is a long time for this treat!)
2. On waking early I can look out at the dark streets and rooftops and soak in that peace
3. I might look in the mirror and say “You are doing ok Room, better than you think”
4. I can drink a full cup of tea by the window and do nothing else

The list of ideas is endless but the rough rule is that it shouldn’t involve you in much, shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes, and it should feel a little indulgent.

Maybe you will think it’s weird. Absurd. And maybe you’ll like it. Are you willing to try? Be soothed. A few minutes. A reverse advent.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please post a comment below.

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Alert and Ashamed. Saturday December 9, 2017

Alert: Being quick to notice and react
Ashamed: Feeling shame for doing something wrong or foolish

I have plagiarised the series of excellent blogs by Lex, offered to our Moodscope community quite a while ago (September to November 2013) looking at the Moodscope cards and their meaning. Today I'd like to take another look at the Alert and Ashamed cards.


Lex gives us the vivid examples of pets, seemingly sleeping but with senses still working, easily able to score a 3 on this card because they are ever quick to notice and then leap into activity... especially if there is food or attention available.

There is a difference between being aware and being alert. Being aware relies heavily upon our innate senses, senses that are often the key to our own survival. Being alert takes us that extra mile, we are now FULLY aware, wide-awake and keen. Imagine hearing sounds all around you, being aware of those sounds. Now you hear a gunshot ring through the ambient noise – you change gear and become alert.

I think most of us are better at awareness than being alert. We become alert most often because we have become fearful. Practice being alert and you will appreciate your surroundings so much more.


So we have done something wrong or foolish? Show me someone who hasn't! This card is making the way that we feel about our mistakes very strong. Are we sure that we are really ashamed or is it that we are embarrassed about something we said or did?

Being embarrassed is usually fairly easy to handle, often we have caused other people to laugh at us but it's usually quickly forgotten. The magic words "I'm sorry!" will often be all that are needed. I get ashamed only when I keep doing the same wrong or foolish thing time after time, especially if what I keep repeating hurts others around me.

Lex postulated that taking a break even for a few minutes to go to the loo is often a good coping tactic.

Shame is an emotion that makes you feel horrible. It's not the same as the feeling of guilt because you did something wrong. Shame makes you feel inside that you're unworthy and inadequate.

Understand that most people feel a bit ashamed, so don't be too hard on yourself when marking yourself on this card. Best of all if you have someone close who you feel able to share your insecurity with, try not staying completely in emotional hiding. I'm a typical guy and find this very hard but when I do manage to do it even a little bit... fantastic.

Please share with other Moodscope members your tips, insights ideas or advice on these two cards.

A Moodscope member

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

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They can't take that away from me. Friday December 8, 2017

Pre digital cameras, when you got your prints from the chemist the packet (and much publicity) had the phrase 'because someone took a picture'. Without this record, it would be difficult to remember that we built most of that house ourselves, the five children had a super time, always larks, impromptu parties and loads of visitors. The children are in their 50's, the house and garden are under the M25, but the memories live on.

The title is a Gershwin song from the 1930's, sung by all the most famous singers in their time. I've written about memories, their importance for me, loaded on a computer with a large screen, and appearing at random. A doctor who specialises in dementia says it is a brilliant way of communicating with sufferers, who cannot cope with albums.

The whole subject of photographs came up last week - visit of eldest son, complete with USB and CD of latest family occasions, grand-daughter wedding and brother-in-law 90th birthday, plus shire horses and a breed of sheep, of which the ram could be champion of the crumpled horn. We were then glued to the screen. Friendly battles ensued on pictures which could not be dated. I did it on dresses or hair styles; son had a fool-proof method, any number plate he could put a date to.

This blog has a serious warning and a plea. My brother in law is in a bad way – he's 91, still stubbornly living at home, rapidly losing sight, hearing and mobility. I've tried over the decades to persuade him to let me see his photographs – he has been a visiting professor in many countries, and took many pictures. They are all in boxes. He has a mentally ill son, a daughter and grand-daughter. If they do not insist on getting him to name the photos where he can, his whole life will be lost, no record except, I expect, an obituary in the 'Times'.

The saying 'every picture tells a story' is very true. Our record of the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989 is a glorious example. We wanted to watch the fireworks - we took a champagne picnic. Could get no nearer than the 5th bridge, already about 10,000 people on it. We were pictured on the central reservation. A police car tried to cross, we all stood up and did the Mexican Wave. Afterwards, on that warm July night, it was one giant street party.

I've kept a diary for 30 years, invaluable. Records now go on Facebook. This Christmas, as well as texting and watching soaps, dig in the family photos, and play the game 'Who was that, where was that', it's fun.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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Fancy writing a blog for Moodscope? Thursday December 7, 2017

We are currently looking for members who would like to write a blog for the Moodscope web site.

If you have a story to tell, some advice to give or an experience to share, please start writing! Send your contribution to

We don't have many rules, but we do ask that your blog is 500 words or less and we prefer to steer clear of political or religious blogs.

If you have an idea and are not sure whether it's suitable for the web site, just ask us to take a look and we'll let you know.

All contributions will be reviewed and may be edited if necessary before publishing.

We'll let you know when we're sending your blog out so that you can reply to member's comments if you wish.

Time to start writing...

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft
The Moodscope Team

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

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Mens Sana in Corpore Sano - Pars Quattuor. Wednesday December 6, 2017


"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care. The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath. Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast."

Yup – That's Shakespeare. It so very often is. That's from the Scottish Play. What is often forgotten in this quotation is that it comes immediately after the line, "Macbeth does murder sleep."

When I was in my mania periods, back in the bad old days before medication, I was rather proud of the way I could do without sleep. I could function for weeks on three and a half hours a night. I would cheerfully murder sleep.

Of course, the moment I came out of the high and slid down that garderobe slope into the dungeon of depression, I could sleep for seventeen hours a day; and frequently did.

Even recently I was still spending hours awake during the night. At three in the morning I would text friends all around the world. "I am concerned for your health," replied Raz, it being either 9am or 9pm for him. "You should be in the sweet embrace of Morpheus, not conversing with me."

I was unconcerned. So long as I could still function, did it matter that I did not or could not sleep?

But then I read of recent research which suggests that a lack of sleep could seriously shorten your life and certainly adversely affect your health. Turns out, old Will knew what he was talking about.

So, I started to develop a more disciplined sleep routine. I know this does not work for everyone, and I know that there are some (many?) of you who feel you have tried everything to get a good night's sleep and yet still you lie awake, tormented by your thoughts. I do not wish to patronise you with these ideas.

Our day as a family starts at 5.45am, when I stumble out of bed to wake the girls who are blissfully sleeping through their alarms. (How can they do that, if their alarms wake me at the other end of the house through two closed doors?) Working back from that, I try to be in bed by 10pm with lights out at 10.30pm. To facilitate this, the phone and computer get switched off at 9.30pm and I have a snack of slow release carbohydrates to stop me waking hungry in the night. A gentle wind down, warm shower and cosy pyjamas are all part of this process.

And no – it doesn't work all the time. It doesn't take into account evenings spent out. It doesn't account for that really good book I can't put down until my Kindle falls forward and bats me on the nose. It doesn't account for waking up at 1.30am for no good reason.

But it has worked enough for me to feel the benefits, and to recommend the regime to others.

What sleep routine would you recommend?

A Moodscope member.

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

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