The Moodscope Blog

3

October

Bee in your bonnet

Saturday October 3, 2020


Do you ever get a bee in your bonnet?

The bee will be buzzing about but it’s usually something really minor?

I’m learning,through the help of Moodscope,to try and let these minor things go.

But like a buzzing bee, they won’t go away very easily.

They may be disturbing you, and invading your personal space.

I’m thinking, I must rise above the bee.

I might be annoyed, angry, agitated.....

The bee eventually flies away though.

As for the bonnet, it’s seen better days.

Molly xx
A Moodscope member.

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


2

October

My tears

Friday October 2, 2020

My tears are because I seem stuck in past and unable to move on.
My tears are for the pain others suffer.
My tears are because I feel no one understands me.
I cry because I need hugs now but there are none.
I cry because words are not enough.
I cry as I feel so alone.
I cry since little things or words upset me.
I cry as I feel I live someone else's life.
I cry as I see my hope slipping away.
I cry as I feel nothing will ever be the same.
I cry as I feel too much or feel nothing.
My tears are because people say control the things you can, but I cannot control them.
My tears are for me.
My tears are for everyone.
My tears are for no reason. 
 
I wrote this prose back in April as it is a snapshot of my life. 
It is not a poem, it is repetitive sentences as to how I was feeling nearly 7 months ago. 

I do not cry all the time and I do not cry about all those things at once, but I find it helpful when I feel overwhelmed.

Would you be able to complete the following.
Write, I cry…, or my tears...,  telling me of why you cry.

Maybe you do not cry and would like to, if so, what would like to you cry about?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


1

October


When dealing with self-esteem, we all have an enemy who is not on our side, who is a devastating adversary.

Who? Ourselves. Yourself.

If you're really honest with yourself, how many of you recognise that you search for evidence that you are nobody, that you don't deserve to be loved, that you're not living up to your highest potential on an almost daily basis?

Be careful! Your mind can be a very convincing liar! I know because mine does it to me all the time & like the vulnerable fool I can be, I fall for it. Again. And again.

"Don't believe everything you think," says Allan Lokos. And that's true. This is the amygdala, part of our brain, which is firing off all over the place, it’s character and task to be on constant red alert looking out for danger even where there isn't any danger to be found. I suspect that what it doesn’t find it just makes up because it really does have a NEED to do its job of being our protector. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing that it wouldn't do that. Flag up real dangers so that I can protect myself, yes, but please don’t just go and make stuff up! That’s like the thing I used to laughingly say when younger: “I don’t need any enemies. I can do perfectly well by myself”. 

You have to try and remember, as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, "Until you stop breathing, there's more right with you than wrong with you."

If you could - if we ALL could - focus on progress rather than on perfection and on how far you've come rather than on how far you have left to go - after all, as a growing, developing, changing human being we are a continual work in progress - you would find yourself looking with completely different glasses. 

Working towards your goals and being willing to put yourself 'out there' are major accomplishments in themselves, regardless of how many times you fall over. What's important is how many times you get up, dust yourself off and try again.

And if you can do that without cynicism or self-criticism, then you are already winning. 

"We can't hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love," says Lori Deschene and how right she is!

My current active affirmation is: "You are enough just as you are." As someone who has always believed I had to 'earn' any positive response or feeling, this is a revolutionary thought!

So, go! Be revolutionary today! AND tomorrow. And the next lot of tomorrows until … finally … you believe!

Helen
A Moodscope member.

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


30

September

This is How Lovely You Are

Wednesday September 30, 2020


Whenever I conduct a Style Consultation, I always start with one easy question: “How do you want the world to see you?”

The question may be simple, but the answers are hard.

Rarely, very rarely, I get an immediate response: “I want to be seen as dynamic and powerful. I don’t suffer fools and I want everyone to know that!”
Well – okay then…

One delightful gentleman grinned at me. “I’m a maverick,” he said. “But that’s why they hired me.”

These instant answers are, however, rare.

More usually, there is a hesitant, “Well, I don’t want to be…” and I cut them off; kindly but firmly. “I don’t want to know what you don’t want to be,” I say. Tell me who you are. Tell me the good things about you. Tell me what you’d like people to see. And be honest.”

And so, it begins.

“I like to think I’m kind. I hope I’m approachable. I’ll help anyone in need.”

This process of finding out takes an hour and sometimes more. I ask them what kind of friend they are; do they give sympathy or straight talking? Are they the one people turn to for ideas? Do they organise everything and always turn up on time? When someone they care about hurts, do they hurt too? Are they fun-loving? Are they a deep thinker?

At the end, I have a flipchart page full of words that describe this person - and they are all positive words.

These are the words of a recent client:

Wholehearted
Generous
Funny
Loving
Happy
Warm
Caring
Relaxed (but not too much)
Nurturing
Tactile
Down-to-earth
A peacemaker
Open
Positive
Realistic
Loyal

After I had finished writing all these on the chart, I put my pen down and waited.

She looked at the words for a moment and then her eyes welled with tears. “I never realised before how lovely I am,” she said. “Maybe I like myself after all.”

I think we all give ourselves a hard time for not being all the things we think we should be and fail to acknowledge all that is wonderful about us. We use negatives instead of positives and think that to dwell on our better attributes is somehow egotistical.

I can say, “I am a loyal friend,” and all my friends will agree – especially those who count that friendship in decades. I can acknowledge that I am creative and hardworking, tenacious and focussed.

Yes, I could choose to dwell on the “disorganised” and “forgetful” aspects of who I am, but what is the point? Does it help my mental health?

My challenge to you is to come up with your own list of words to describe yourself. Don’t be shy and, please, post your answers in the comments.

You will, almost certainly, like the person you describe.

And while you may not be dynamic and powerful, I am often a fool, and should infinitely prefer that you suffer me gladly.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


29

September

Choosing your family

Tuesday September 29, 2020


I’m heading to 48 years old. A fairly grown up age. In some senses, I’ve always been grown up. I was often described as mature in childhood, well before I truly understood its meaning. In other ways, I can’t voice the grown-up version and so my childlike view has to do. I can reason that to a positive - children have a clear and simple understanding of the world and that ethos renders even the wisest spellbound. Long live childhood clarity.
 
I spent too long believing my mother to be my guide. I feel so guilty even typing those words. (Not to mention if ever this blog became known...)
 
Two women have unknowingly stepped into the abyss. Women I have known all my life. Literally all of my life. They have been there since before I was born, and they are there now. They’ve always been creative, loving, beautiful, strong women but I was often led to see them as drains, ineffectual and surplus. Now that I see, I can really see.
 
In lockdown, I found a freedom. I could legitimately check on these women and I would not be queried nor questioned. My blood would not wonder why I was having more contact than just a perfunctory hello. I could connect with them for my own benefit and for theirs. And, because the world has been disjointed, nothing could be read into it. No need to be jealous because there was no evidence it happened.
 
One lost her mum during tight lockdown. She lives alone. I was able to support her from afar. Even on the day of the funeral, when I could only attend online, I still could deliver a fresh lunch to her doorstep so there would be something to come back to. It made me happy. It made her cry and she said she’d never forget it. My mother said she was sure it would be appreciated. I felt the clipped tone even from her typed word.
 
The other, well, I’ve discovered she is a much stronger and gentler soul than I had ever expected. Solid in support, she has offered me strength when she has sensed from the smallest comment that I could use a little. I see her in a brand new light from the picture I had been shown.
 
What is my point? My point is that I’m related to neither of these great women through a blood connection and yet they are my family. I choose them. I don’t un-choose my mother, but I need their love, I need their belief, I need their strength and I have something to offer them too. It’s a two-way street and I choose that to be in my family.
 
It is brand new ground and I am stepping stones carefully.  But I won’t go back.
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


28

September

What To Do When Hungry

Monday September 28, 2020


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/what-to-do-when-hungry-motivational-podcast-for-moodscope and to watch a video, please click here: https://youtu.be/axd_qagumwI]

Autumn is upon us in England. The Season of mellow fruitfulness is predicated upon what was sown and nurtured in the Spring. I love the Natural Truth of seed-time and harvest.

I’m hungry, are you?

Hunger comes for many matters. The spiritual may hunger and thirst for ‘righteousness’ – whatever that may mean. Others hunger for justice. Some may hunger for companionship. I hunger for a hug. A long hug. No patting.

There’s talk of the 5 Languages of Love. Hey, I even found a quiz for us all to try (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/) I’m a tactile person – the kind of guy who used to go out of his way to use Wareham Post Office before the refit. Before the ‘improvement’ the old wooden counter was sculpted by countless transactions – scooped out by the exchanges of currencies. I loved feeling the stories in the wood.

If I trust someone, and am not tense, the best way to communicate is wordless. Touch speaks louder than words for me. A warm handshake, the cheek to cheek of a professional kiss, the full embrace of deep friendship… all are worth more than gold to me.

Then along came COVID. Whoever is truly responsible has much to answer for. They’ve hurt our future – and that of our children in education. But the future is yet to come. I have something to say about this present hunger. I have hug hunger. And I am fully aware that this sounds like a callous first world problem!

However, the psychobiology of the mind-body connection is irrefutable. Happy nerve-endings, happy soul. I’m hungry for hugs because my mind-body-system needs them!

Wearing your mask, I cannot read your face… and I never was that much of a mind-reader. Wearing my mask, I literally cannot breathe at times.

What can we do?

We can call this the New Spring. We can intentionally sow that which we want to reap in the New Autumn.

This means I need to give the gift of tactile kindness to those I’m allowed to do this to. That cramps my options but doesn’t occlude them. For example, Lady Penelope (she under whose roof I shelter) isn’t tactile… but she is in pain. Years of being on her feet at ASDA are taking their toll. Cuddly she ain’t but give her a foot massage and I can hear the relief. Thus, foot massages it will be.

Thus, if you are hungry – feed someone else.
If you are thirsty – give someone else a drink (btw Majestic Wine deliver!)
If you are discouraged – encourage someone else.
You get the picture.

Oh, and you could get a prize too, if you’re in the UK. I’ve found a Scratch-Off Poster with 100 Random Acts of Kindness. Let’s work out a competition where the prize-winner will be sent one of these as a random act of kindness from me!

What we do to others, we do to ourselves (or so they say!)

Right, I’m off to be a Sow-and-Sow!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Ps. I did the test and my primary love language is “Physical Touch” – so what’s yours?

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


27

September

Stigma

Sunday September 27, 2020


We feel the sting
when suffering from a bout
of mental Ill health.

It is toxic and spreads
Throughout our life.
Spoils everything we see
tainting everything we taste
impinging on everything we hear
it is palpable.

We feel the sting
Most acutely
When we self-stigmatize.
There appears to be
nowhere to escape and hide.
It follows us into our refuge
hounding us at every move.

How can we restore
the balance of our emotions
regain our equilibrium?
We can engage in open dialogue
with those with whom
we come into contact.

Perhaps we can broach the topic
of the negative effects of stigma
on our sense of wellbeing.
How their derision
or their apparent avoidance
due to embarrassment
makes us feel
as of no consequence.

We become invisible to many
we fade from our world.
This can be the negative impact
Of stigma on us
from family, friends
and acquaintances.

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

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


26

September

A bit of pavement changed my life

Saturday September 26, 2020


A year ago today I collapsed on the pavement. 

I was on my usual 5km run when out of nowhere I fainted. Paramedics called; ambulance to A&E; tests, scans and more tests. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me so I was stitched up and discharged.  But the concussion lasted far longer than it should have done.  And with that came the fear that I’d never be able to run again.  

I never ran far or fast. I ran to release my anxieties and demons, and the risk of losing that was terrifying.

To begin with I couldn't sit upright for long. In time I could sit and stand but a walk of even 20 metres left me exhausted. Day by day I gradually improved and just over three long months after my collapse I went on my first - and very cautious - short run.  

Coming back to running, when I felt that I had so nearly lost it, lit a fire in my belly. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I’ve always dreamed of running a marathon. Now I was back on my feet, I simply had to achieve that ambition before the opportunity was taken away from me again. So on 1st January this year I signed up for my first marathon and started training.  

Then covid hit. Another spanner in the works. Another potential road blockage. But I still had that fire in my belly and I wasn’t going to let the dream slip away. So, despite only completing half of my training plan I went out and ran a marathon on my own, two days before lockdown came into force. I did it. 

Why am I telling you all this? Two things:

1)  Never give up on your dreams. It’s a cliche, but I mean it. Life will throw curveballs at you and knock you off balance. That’s what happens. But if you really want to do something then, whenever you can, take baby steps towards whatever it is. Then one day you may find it’s in reach.

2) Be stubborn in pursuit of your dreams. When people comment that running a solo first marathon is impressive I reply that I’m stubborn. I had set my heart on doing this thing and nothing was going to stop me. I feel the same about my mental illness. It has tried to drag me down before, and nearly managed it, but I’ve put my foot down and I will keep fighting it. It will not win.

So dream, and be stubborn about it.

With love

Shizzle xx

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


25

September

Life without moodscope

Friday September 25, 2020


I was thinking of what to write after losing two blog posts, I wondered what my life would be without Moodscope.

Here I have been provided with an opportunity to write blog posts and comments and give and receive support. Also, it is a privilege to be able to read the thoughts and the variety of ideas by other Moodscopers.

I, like many others have the opportunity to write and have others read our words. I find the discussion on the blog as interesting as the blog posts. There are people here who have been using Moodscope for many years, some for a few years and some may have just joined. People come here for the for the Moodscope test and many more people read the blog posts than ever comment.

For me Moodscope filled something that was missing in my life and for others Moodscope may have been something they did not realised they needed until they did.

I wonder what your life would be like without Moodscope and how has Moodscope added to your life?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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


24

September


I thought a brief reminder of some of the things we know about being resilient might be helpful.

Ironically, we don’t increase our resilience by feeling good but by getting better at feeling bad. The idea is to try and change your negative feelings into more helpful ones. Resilience is the ability to create positive adaptations to negative events. It’s the ability to take experiences like feeling anger or hurt and make them helpful and productive for you.

one method for doing this is ‘care about something other than oneself. For example, it’s natural to feel hurt when someone is being nasty to you. But thinking of them you might say “That’s unlike you, you must be feeling very upset to say something like that. Anything I can do to help?”.

Can you think of examples you use to try and change how you are feeling by caring more about something other than yourself? Or other hints that help you be more resilient?

Best

Adrian x
The Moodscope Team

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


23

September

One in Seven

Wednesday September 23, 2020


How good are you at doing nothing?

Okay, I’ll rephrase that. How good are you at resting?

I’m not good at it at all. Oh, the idea of lying in a hammock with a glass of chilled white wine to hand, reading a frivolous romance, appeals. In fact, I dream of it. Today, is the last day of summer; tomorrow it will rain. The hammock is right outside my window. It sags, forlorn, over a scatter of crisp brown leaves, already fallen from the horse chestnut tree above. I’d love to go out to it: to rest, just for half an hour – but I probably won’t.

Growing up on the farm, under the autocratic rule of my grandfather, Sundays were sacrosanct. No farm work was done on a Sunday; even at harvest time when every fine hour counts because the weather could turn to rain at any time. We had dairy and beef cattle which had to be milked and fed but Sunday mornings were for church, and Sunday afternoons for rest.

It was difficult for us as young children to sit quietly for the whole Sunday afternoon, although there were some slight compensations. Television was allowed on a Sunday afternoon and there was often an exciting Western on, with waggon trains and horses and whooping actors dressed as Native Americans. That film might alleviate the tedium for a couple of hours, but the rest of the afternoon dragged. We were not allowed to go out to play; we had to sit in the stuffy front room, seen and not heard, until teatime.

Later, when we were older, any time other than Sunday was filled with homework and the unending round of chores associated with a big rambling house full of too much history and too few modern conveniences. There seemed no time for rest, and if I were discovered hiding in a quiet corner with my nose in a book, I was hauled out to do something productive.

Perhaps it is that combination of boredom and guilt that makes it difficult for me to rest. Add too, the guilt I feel when my bouts of depression force me to sit, shaking, on the sofa for weeks, doing nothing.

Depression is like any other illness – it demands rest. The body has healing powers and those powers work best when we rest.

Depression attacks our minds and so, even if our body can be active (this is not always the case), we need to rest our minds.

Meditation forces us to rest; reading a book which sweeps us away into the story without the need for critical analysis, gentle TV; crafting where the product is secondary to the process; all these can help us rest.

Without rest, we burn out; we stumble into exhaustion; we become prey to depression, again.

Maybe my grandfather was right, all those years ago. Once a week at least, we need some rest.

Perhaps I shall lie in the hammock this afternoon.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


22

September

Lockdown = Stability?

Tuesday September 22, 2020


Whilst being in lockdown I’ve found a stability free from external ups and downs. Every day I do my yoga, I go for a walk or run, I eat healthy food, I don’t drink, I’m not going into work, seeing fewer friends, and keeping social media limited... so everything should be peachy. And generally, global pandemic aside and missing relatives it has been.

But a week ago or so I began to feel really irritable, hostile, argumentative and just unhappy with myself. I recognised this of course, and when I thought back to the Moodscope cards which I use religiously when I’m low, I remembered some of these were part of the test.

The feelings made me uneasy and I lashed out a bit, I could feel that my mind was overactive and if I engaged in conversation with anyone then I would irritate myself and I was irritating my family. I was annoyed that I became so unbalanced when I seem to be keeping it all together so well.

It was a good lesson too, a lesson that I’m not in total control of my brain but that I can manage, and use all those tools that I’ve been working so hard on such as breathing, feeling in the moment observing my emotions then letting them pass.

One of the things that bothered me though, and I don’t know how many of you out there find this; was that I started to suspect that my mental health has been misdiagnosed, maybe I have bipolar and that’s why my mind goes into the racing phases, maybe I have OCD and that’s why these intrusive thoughts come in and won’t let go, maybe I have PTSD from childhood trauma... so I read about them and find all the evidence I can to support my theories, because you can always find what you want on the internet.

Now that I’ve come out of the other side of this, I’m pleased with the way I responded, I had the time at the moment and I used it. I have a major depressive disorder and my mind isn’t always going to stay steady bobbing on the waves, there will be times when it becomes engulfed in storms.

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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


21

September

Playing with Fire

Monday September 21, 2020


Dreams are real.

I was a sceptic. I doubted that Mental Rehearsal really counted when it comes to developing new patterns of behaviour. The experts on Neuroplasticity (the brain’s capability to redesign and even rebuild itself) say that Mental Rehearsal is a ‘real’ as direct external physical experience. For example, the basketball player who mentally visualises shooting hoops can improve her or his ‘real-time’ performance.

Last night I was immersed in one of those weird dreams. Mum burst in on me (in the dream – she’s dead), wearing a patch over one eye, nearly catching me in a compromising position! It was pure fiction (after all, I never compromise!) Nevertheless, I jumped in bed, and my heart pounded as if it ‘really’ happened. Yes, my dream was just a thought, but my body and emotions didn’t know the difference.

I remember as a child being bitten by a dog in a dream only to discover my teddy bear was at the same position as where the dog bit me. We never had the same kind of relationship again!

So what? I’m now a believer! What we think about affects the biochemistry and electrochemistry of the brain. This, in turn, fires off the hormone-system… and we know what those little beauties can do. Can we build muscle-mass too? I’m not sure I’m going that far with my new belief, but I have a new respect for ‘thinking-as-if’.

I called this “Playing with Fire” because I do know that, “Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together.” Previously, I’d used this is the context of providing a sensory-rich experience for learners experiencing my seminars. If they could smell, hear, see, touch, and even taste positive aspects of the training, each one of these sensory doors could open the way to remembering what they learned and experienced. This is because the sensory neural patterns that ‘fired’ at the same time as the teaching would get ‘wired’ into the experience.

Today, I am thinking, “How can I use this for Mental Well-being?” and, “Could simply imagining happy experiences have the same positive impact as having them in the outside world?” These effects could be amplified by Virtual Reality experiences too! For example, I use special microphones that replicate how the ears hear. The field is called, “Psycho-Acoustics.” The wonderful output is the experience of ‘reality’ you have when you listen back to the recording through headphones. It’s like being there.

It’s early days yet but I’m making a commitment to “Think Myself Happy.”

Flipping that thought, I know that I know that I know that I am a Master of Thinking when it comes to Mental Rehearsal of the worst-case scenarios. I know that I can think myself sick! Why then couldn’t it also be true that you and I could think ourselves well?

Let’s give more attention to the way we think… it’s playing with fire!

Depression is always chemical. Depression is always electrical. Whilst there are chemical imbalances that can literally ‘make’ us feel a certain way, thinking still has a role to play in tipping the balance – the chemical balance – in our favour.

What are your experiences of thinking yourself into a state (happy or otherwise)?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


20

September

Parakeets and Pigeons

Sunday September 20, 2020

You hear them before you see them, the screech. Mixed in with our dull, grey urban pigeons are vivid green parakeets. I disturb them and they take to the skies, still screeching. By the river I see the last few swifts, collecting insects to energise them for their long journey home. How I wish I was going with them, the thought of winter terrifies me.

Most of the houses have not woken yet, blinds drawn, curtains closed. I ponder on the state of the occupants. Us Northerners are big on booze, certainly in my local streets. I remember the sensation, the thick head, the taste in the mouth, the dread of facing what I have said. Nowadays any brief euphoria that may have been on offer, is quickly replaced by the reality that I have woken early, feeling like death and there are at least another 12 hours to crawl through until bed time. Yes I can honestly say I prefer the company of the parakeets and pigeons to the thrill of the Sauvignon Blanc and Netflix.

I am not out of the woods yet and I’ll probably revisit them at some point. Depression and alcohol have been my companions for many a long year.

The leaves are turning, winter beckons. I don’t want to take the wrong path.

Marigold
A Moodscope member.

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


19

September

The Waiting Room

Saturday September 19, 2020


So... I am waiting again. This is not what I signed up for, my family dispersed, beloved grandchildren thousands of miles away in other countries. No this is not what I hoped for. How do I get used to heartbreak? How do I find a purpose for my life?

Now one family are in the UK. I have been alone since February. I just want to see and be seen, hold and be held, but I have to wait, first quarantine, then visits to other important people. Still I wait to find out when it is my turn, will it come, will they suddenly find they have to go. The suspense is suffocating.

Then today a large trailer is deposited on my driveway, well I suppose that means someone will come and take it. Yes, that means they will come. For a brief moment I can be Nan to my eight-month grandson, his weight against my body like I can still feel from the one hour I had with him in January. Now new memories will have to last for who knows how long. One slightly rusty trailer giving much needed reassurance.

No, it’s not what I thought would happen, a family apart. Things will change, perhaps I will get to Spain and Portugal to see them in a year or so. Now to get on with my life, start doing rather than waiting. I have a painting in my head, and a piece of stained glass to create, a jumper to knit , weight to loose, a body to get fit, friends to see and help . Oh… here a hint of purpose, there a smidgen of hope, a glimmer of self-care shines out. That’ll do… it could be so much worse.

What are you waiting for? What will surprise you to help you move on?

Best wishes

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


18

September

Self- doubt will it ever end?

Friday September 18, 2020

I hoped that at this age I would be confident and not keep doubting myself. I was full of self-doubt through my childhood through studies through marriage through child rearing. I think having children made my self-doubt go through the roof until I realised that sometimes whatever I did was seen or judged by someone to be wrong.
 
A few years ago, I told my son that a cousin was engaged. When he told me that he had not heard the news I immediately blurted I must have it wrong and I was not sure. He told me recently he could not believe I would change my mind simply because he had told me he had not heard that news. I also doubt my answer when people tell me I have a fact wrong, like date or a capital city. That can be checked but I will always say that my answer is maybe wrong until it can be checked.
 
I know the last 2 are quite simple examples but it explains how I doubt myself.

What is self-doubt?

For me it may involve low self-esteem, not having the courage to follow my feelings, being unmotivated and procrastinating, being emotionally all over the place, having no confidence in the smallest of decisions. When trying to overcome self-doubt, I try to focus on the present moment rather than my past attempts, It can also be helpful to try to find people who are supportive and know your strengths.

People tell me to believe in myself, but I find that hard when others correct or doubt me. When I was on a high, I would be so impulsive and so full of confidence that I made many mistakes. Maybe as I get older, I tend to question and doubt everything, so I do not make the mistakes I made when I was impulsive.

That is my thoughts. I want to find out what self- doubt means to you?

What causes it? How can you avoid it? How can you try to overcome it? How has self- doubt affected your life or Why hasn’t self-doubt affected your life?
Is there a positive side to self- doubt in the sense it makes one cautious?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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


17

September

Sacred rituals

Thursday September 17, 2020


I hesitated with this blog. Should I expose my crazy, in all it’s embarrassing detail? Will I lose what little authority I have to speak on any subject ever again? Then I remind myself of others here who are also quite batty – you know who you are.

It started over a conversation with a friend who has bad OCD. Her main problems involve imagined illnesses, so Covid fear has it her badly. She also has a lot of important rituals, and I wondered if she recalled the first triggers.

One involves checking her tedding is sitting upright on a cabinet, and saying “Be a good boy” to him whenever she leaves the house. This started years ago. She bathed teddy, all fluffy and nice. She sat him to try on the cabinet, said “Be a good boy” and went out. Next day, the urge came to repeat this, and it continued.

Another ritual (she strongly denies it is a kinky fetish) is that her knickers must match the colour of her lower clothing. On a hike years ago, she ripped the back seam of her trousers, and spent the rest of the day with her contrasting coloured bum exposed baboon-like to ridicule. She has a huge collection of pants. Even wearing something loose, the underneath must match.

Tonight is Friday, I will prepare a light supper, with a large mug of Assam. I never have a hot drink with my evening meal other nights. Getting into pyjamas, we watch the box, with a big dish of ice cream. This began years ago as ‘the weekend starts here’ release from a healthy diet on weekdays. Back in the mists of time it was cream cakes, then a box of chocolates for a few years, until we settled on this.

Tomorrow morning Spock will call out “Morning” passing my room, he only does this on Saturdays, family weigh-in day. I visit the bathroom, then put on a tattered old nightshirt, worn for weigh-in for 25 years. It is never washed, that could change the weight of the fabric. Then I fetch Tiny who lives in m jewellery box. He is a little Pokemon who says “I wuv you” when you press his tummy. He is the reason my weight has stayed stable for many years. I arrange the sales on the exact spot each week. Tiny also joins me when eating out. His presence changes the laws of physics, calories disappear.

We keep spare batteries for the scales. One Saturday they ran out, I refused to wait until later, obviously I would be several kilos fatter by then, so Spock dragged to the shops before breakfast, cursing.

Clutching Tiny, I hop on the scales, don’t look at the dial. Spock silently writes the figure in a book, which is kept hidden. I keep my nightie on, he has not seen me unclothed for years. He removes his bath robe, I discreetly avert my gaze. Knowing his weight does not frighten him (seriously strange bloke) so I announce it.

The dogs have their Saturday weigh-in routine as well. The blind girl runs to hide, wagging her tail furiously as we pretend we can’t find her. She is first on the scales, the biggest. After being weighed, they all sniff and lick each other’s faces, relieved to have it over with, as indeed am I.

Driving to the shops, we have boiled sweets from a round tin. This happens on specific journeys, varying the flavours. We have 15 tins in the cupboard.

There is clearly a food and weight theme behind some of my magical thinking, but others are hard to analyse. I buy the Daily Mail Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Guardian on Fridays, and the Times on Saturday. We used to buy the heavy Sundays, but felt guilty at how much went unread.

It is said these habits are a way of placating the gods, stopping them from smiting us, so the link with anxiety fits me. However, my partner has many rituals, and his is not cursed with anxiety. Unless they severely slight our lives, do they matter?

Are rituals part of your life too?

Val
A Moodscope member.

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


16

September

Acceptance, Blame and Reaching Out

Wednesday September 16, 2020


“I know I should get out and exercise.”

“I can’t just sit here. I ought to do something productive.”

“Look at the place: it’s a mess – and I just can’t seem to care…”

So often, people suffering with depression sit on the sofa and beat themselves up for having depression.

Oh, we know we are depressed, but we think, if only we could motivate ourselves to exercise, to achieve something, to tidy and clean our surroundings, then we would feel much better.

The temptation of this thinking is strong. We know that, when we go on a brisk walk in the fresh air, we feel invigorated. When we achieve something productive, we feel a glow of satisfaction. We feel more at peace when our surroundings are clean and ordered.

Even the “Experts” say, “Exercise has been proven to be as effective as medication in many cases of mild to moderate depression.”

Feeling unable to do these things makes us feel even worse.

Some of the symptoms of depression, however, are that very lack of motivation; a lack of focus; an inability to feel any sense of vigour, satisfaction; peace; or anything much. People with depression often feel dead and grey inside.

It is not only futile, but self-defeating to blame ourselves for exhibiting the symptoms of depression.

This lock down period has been hard on many who live with mental health issues. I think it has been particularly hard on those who normally manage their depression through organised activities with others. Exercise classes have been suspended; clubs have stopped meeting. Even if your group meets online, it is not easy to eat a meal, craft together, or to play scrabble without the physical presence of others.

It may be that your symptoms of depression have worsened over the past six months.

Don’t blame yourself for it; view it instead as one more side effect of the Covid pandemic. Accept it for what it is – a worsening of your symptoms through no fault of your own.

Acceptance does not mean wallowing in self-pity; it just means removing that weight of guilt from your shoulders. Beating yourself up will only prolong your illness.

But you can do something positive – you can reach out.

Text a friend.

A friend might not completely understand, but they might be willing to call round, to encourage you to leave the sofa and go for a (socially distanced) walk together. While we can still meet in groups of six, a small group of friends might keep you company, if only to watch a little TV together.

The first step is reaching out. Even if you feel you have no one to reach out to, you will be surprised at how kind and accepting even casual acquaintances can be.

You are not to blame; it’s not your fault, but you can take the first, teeny tiny step. If you’re reading this, that’s a first step in itself.

Reach out.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


15

September


On the top shelf of my mental wardrobe, there are a line of shoe boxes. Each labelled in black marker pen – Bipolar, bankruptcy homelessness, hospitalization etc. All of which I can open and talk about.

It is easy to talk about Bipolar. It is a disease and can be understood. But talking about homelessness is not. You pass through an invisible door which changes how people see you or too many don’t see you. The response to a man sitting on 3 layers of corrugated cardboard varies from an avoiding glance to kicking by a drunk on Saturday night – Saturday’s are good for takings. Money flows easily from the drunk.

The last box has the name Witchy Pooh on it. A woman who hurt me when I was in depression. It is taped up so that it does not come open; It contains a nest of vipers who would cause pain when they bit. Especially on the face. The venom would cause little surface damage but wreak havoc in my emotions.

It has taken me 2 years to come to the decision I should take action about the box and not let the box rule me. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with a coating of mindfulness is planned to kill the vipers forever. But I doubt I will ever be able to talk about the contents of box.

There may be other boxes on the shelf I have not found. But one thing at a time.

Mark
A Moodscope member.


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


14

September

Rescue, Revelation, Revolution

Monday September 14, 2020


[To watch a video version of this blog post, please click here: https://youtu.be/fSbpZKA91OU]

Enter the Almost Hero to our story: Neil as a child. All I wanted was ‘peace’ and pond life. Of course, there’s no peace in a pond if you’re the size of a Stickleback – only if you are a Giant with a net! I was a Giant with a net!
 
My broad windowsills were filled with fish tanks, brimming with pond life. I wanted to be a botanist, like David Bellamy, or a naturalist, like Gerald Durrell. Newts, Sticklebacks, and Great Diving Beetles filled my days. Happy pursuits!
 
All emerging heroes (and I wanted to save the World, so surely that’s heroic?) must have a villain to fight in order to become the best that they can be. Some of the many villains in my story included a group of older boys who spat on me and kicked me in the plums-of-potential every day on the way back from school. My life was hell. I needed an Obi-Wan Kenobi to guide me.
 
Instead, I got Mother. And rather than being the Guide with a Plan to help me overcome my oppressors, she rescued me. She ‘nobly’ took them on herself, dealt with the bullies AND their parents, and I was left in peace… but not strengthened nor was I transformed.
 
[This is one reason why I changed to my middle name ‘Lex’ (Alexander) to try and leave my impotent past behind.]
 
To become the hero we can be, we must overcome the enemy, slay the dragon, beat the odds. Instead, I’ve lived a life of fear and in fear. Mr Miyagi didn’t jump over the fence and teach me Karate. That would have been so cool.
 
The good news is that I wasn’t without a map. I learned Mind Mapping, and it has become my ever-changing dashboard to my desired destinations ever since. Out of the chaos of my creativity comes the order of organisation… occasionally!
 
Revelation. I’ve found my voice – here on Moodscope as well as elsewhere – and am well on track to becoming Bellamy! OK, that was an exaggeration. I’m on course for becoming what I call a Thecologist. A Thecologist is a theologically-inspired ecologist. Once again, I want to save the World, though not on my own. The United Nations have a magnificent set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Whatever you think of the UN, these goals are well thought out and make a great frame for change. I am committed.
 
Even more important to me is “Buy-one;Give-One” – a wonderful organisation that makes ‘impacts’ around the Globe in alignment with the UN’s goals. This means I have a channel to do what they call, “Business for Good.” I can have a heroic impact – every day… a peaceful revolution.
 
However, there is a long way to go. Somewhere, along the timeline, I believe I have to stand up to the ‘spirit of the bully’ – that manifests itself in so many ways in so many people and organisations. Only then will I become the hero I can be and overcome the fear. The fear will pass; only I, the hero, will remain.
 
[Hope this helps as a model of how you could share one of your stories on Moodscope – the audience awaits!]

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


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