The Moodscope Blog

25

July

Too attached

Saturday July 25, 2020


I had a friend extremely attached to a soft blanket and even when she was 10 that was then a small piece of faded material, she still took it with her everywhere.

On the radio there was a program about the things young children get attached to. One personsaid her 20-month-old absolutely loved a whisk taking it everywhere and would cry if it was not with him.

Many children have a favourite toy bunny a teddy bear etc. They take soft toy with them everywhere and get terribly upset if they do not have it anymore so many parents end up getting another one and telling them it is the same the same toy to avoid lots of tantrums.

When a child is attached to a toy or another object we think it is so cute so everyone tries to nurture the attachment.

If an adult is attached to an object or a toy, we I think we think they are very immature or maybe people may think they are a bit weird. There are sportsmen and women who have favourite socks or underwear and actors who must have their luck charm when on a film set.

We recognise the importance of attachment in a child's emotional development but not in an adults.

I am wondering, do you have a story about your attachment or someone else attachment to a toy or object as a child?

Do you as an adult have a bag, a piece of clothing, a piece of jewellery etc that you are extremely attached to and would be upset if it were no longer in your life?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


24

July


This definition sums up my life right now. I am feeling the loneliness.
 
As an introvert I like my own company. In my normal life I am happy to spend time alone and recharge my social batteries by choice and on my own terms.  However, I am single and I live alone in a flat and therefore since the nationwide lockdown began I have been living a pretty solitary life and after so much time the novelty has well and truly worn off. I have been for some socially distanced walks with a friend or occasionally with my sister but that has been the limit of my social contact save for the increasingly rare video calls. 
 
In the last 7 days I have had face-to-face contact once for not more than 5 minutes and 3 video calls. The rest of those long hours have been spent completely alone. I have come through a few episodes of depression over the years and am finding that so much time spent in isolation is taking a real toll on my mental health. I find myself increasingly sensitive to the smallest things. A text message read the wrong way sending me in to a spiral of negative thinking. I spend so much of my time in my own head mulling things over, talking myself in to but more often out of ideas.
 
I walk an hour each day and try to do some yoga practice. I try to read or practice hobbies but mostly I spend a lot of time watching Netflix. Sometimes it inspires me and I have new ideas for the future but all too soon the thinking comes back and I talk myself out of it. I am trying to occupy my mind day after day with progressively less motivation. I try not to look at social media at all the pictures of families together in their lovely gardens enjoying the sunshine. I know deep down that the lives people depict on social media are not accurate, only showing the best bits, but sitting in my flat alone its difficult to remember.
 
I try to remind myself that I do have family and friends but this is difficult when I don’t see or hear from them. I could reach out to them but I talk myself out of it. They have their own families and own lives and I don’t want to impose. The result is I spend even more time alone thinking and end up convincing myself that this is my life now, I am on my own.
 
Time stretches on seemingly endless. Each day merges in to the next one and I’m losing track of time. Most days I don’t achieve very much sometimes the hours drag by but somehow at the same time seem to speed along.
 
I don’t know anyone else in the same situation as me and I guess I’m sharing this for anyone else out there who can relate. So they know they are not alone. Everyone’s experiences of this situation will be different but none any less challenging than others. I may not have young children to occupy but motivating myself when I am alone every day is difficult. It’s difficult not to feel lonely.

Victoria
A Moodscope member.

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


23

July

I can laugh about it now

Thursday July 23, 2020


There are few pleasures in getting older, but giving sage advice to the young feels good. The perfect opportunity arose chatting to a young couple moved into a rented house. Due to Covid, viewing was hasty. On moving in, problems came to light, and they were aggrieved. A big gripe was the greasy oven.

This is where experience came in useful. I recounted the time when, heavily pregnant, I moved with my ex into a tiny flat, 2-rooms with a curtained-off recess housing the “kitchen”. I set to, scrubbing like a maniac. The rush of energy should have warned me. Light was fading as I tackled the cooker. The previous tenant obviously left in a hurry,  preparing dinner. I opened the oven, to find a heaving mass of fat maggots on a half-cooked leg of pork. Screaming, I went to put coins in the electric meter, and my hand touched something cold, furry - a huge dead rat.

“It was really horrible, my waters broke the next day, 2 weeks early, I am sure that caused it” I chuckled. “I can laugh about it now”. They did not say much, but I like to think it helped them get a perspective.

There are plenty of things that make me laugh now, which seemed wretched at the time.

When my son was nine, I left his father and moved into an ancient hovel in the Cotswolds. The rent was low, there were cash-in hand jobs a bus-ride away. The problem was the agents stipulated no children, no pets. Apart from my son I had 2 dogs, and a hamster. The villagers were inbred, the landlord  local, in the next village. I  worried sick someone would tell him and we would get evicted. I had 3 different jobs, rent paid on time.

I became friendly with a woman in a similar situation living nearby. Like me, she had no income other than her earnings. Her landlord also forbade kids and animals, so we decided to help each other when inspections arose. I got the short straw, as well as a hyper-active son, she had dogs, cats and 2 goats. She  transported them in shifts to my place in her battered van, and I struggled to keep order for a few hours. Looking back, both landlords must have known what was going on. Apart from anything, the smell of goat is hard to disguise. This lasted  3 years, and I was exhausted and scared for much of that time. But guess what - I laugh about it now.

Move on a couple of years,  I am in a different area, with a man in my life. I should be happy, he is good-looking, seemingly besotted with me. Only trouble is, he is a pathological liar who cannot keep his pants zipped up. Home late, with the usual excuse about work, he went to shower while I dished-up supper. I opened the door to relay a message, and was horrified to see deep fingernail scratches on his shoulder blades and neck. He insisted that he had got stuck in a loft (he was a builder) but his discarded jumper was intact.

A full and frank discussion ensued, ending with him making a run for his car, me in hot pursuit. I leapt in the road, wanting my door-keys back, but he just kept driving towards me. I fell into brambles,  an undignified heap, while neighbours came  to gawp.

I was distraught, mortified, wanted to crawl away and die. Oddly though, I find it hilarious  looking back. I relate this to young women whose relationships are shaky. They look very doubtful when I say they will look back and laugh. “When he tries to run you over, it’s time to call it a day”. I tell them.

I know all of us here have stuff that will never be funny, no matter how many years elapse. There will be something though, so please share it, I promise I’ll laugh.

Val
A Moodscope member.

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


22

July

Failure, Success and Pride.

Wednesday July 22, 2020


When you do your Moodscope score every day (and I know many of us have a love/hate relationship with that game), how well do you do on the red Pride card?

Before I started my medication, this card was one of the most volatile in the deck. It was zero or it was three, depending on where I was in my bipolar cycle.

With medication, that score became a stable two. These days, there’s always something that makes me feel proud. Maybe I cooked a nice meal, or did the ironing, or made a client happy. Maybe it is something as simple as keeping my temper when my teenage daughter seems intent on making me lose it. There’s always something.

It’s never more than two. The flip side of the medication is that none of the red cards ever score more than two. Still, I’ll take that emotional stability over the rollercoaster of highs and lows I rode before.

The last ten days, however, have seen me do something of which I’m really proud.

I’m reopening my studio for business on Friday and, because of Covid19, I have a long list of restrictions and procedures I must follow in order to keep my clients safe.

When I looked around my studio, I realised that it was full of things inviting my clients to touch – clothes; jewellery; accessories. Furthermore, it looked cluttered and tired. I decided to take everything out and redecorate completely.

How much time should I allow?

“Oh, three days!” was my immediate thought – and then I thought again.
I always underestimate the time it will take me to do things. I work in what used to be an old cart-barn. It’s 250 years old; ten meters long and three meters wide, with a lofty vaulted roof. Three days? I laughed.

I decided to give myself ten days and I’m so glad I did. Even with ten days, I haven’t quite managed it – but then, I didn’t take into account that life goes on, and that the family still needed to be fed. I hadn’t factored in that I am in my fifties and cannot keep going until midnight as I could when I was in my thirties. I had not considered emails that need answering and friends who want to talk.

But – it’s nearly there. The ceiling and walls and woodwork are all painted. Some of the furniture is back in place.

Not everything is going back. Covid-aware working means the space must be easily cleaned. It must be streamlined and minimal but still inviting and welcoming.

When it’s finished, I will be proud.

Where I’m most pleased with myself, however, is adjusting my timescale to be realistic. I didn’t set myself up for failure but for success.

I’ve learned my lesson there, and this is the proof. Well done Mary – give yourself a pat on the back!

That Pride card, however, will still only score a two.

Mary
A Moodscope member

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


21

July

Keep showing up…

Tuesday July 21, 2020


No, I haven’t learnt a new instrument or mastered a foreign language.
No, I haven’t written that novel, short story or play.
No, I haven’t made sour dough bread or any bloomin’ bread for that matter.
No, I haven’t followed any recipes or knitting or sewing patterns. 
No, I haven’t become an expert home-schooling mother.
No, I haven’t de-cluttered or organised my work space.
No, I haven’t sorted out the volumes of photographs into albums.
No, I haven’t resisted eating far too many snacks and treats. 
No, I haven’t …

Yes, I have managed to keep the kids and myself fed and watered. 
Yes, I have managed to do one yoga practice a day.
Yes, I have managed to take the dog for one or two walks a day.
Yes, I have managed to have a dip in the sea on those lovely warm days.
Yes, I have shopped once a week despite my high anxiety levels.
Yes, I have hoovered, cleaned and done vast amounts of clothes washing.
Yes, I have watched too many netflix shows.
Yes, I have managed to read a few books.
Yes, I have managed to do the work that had to be done. 
Yes, I have insisted we eat dinner together every evening.
Yes, I have (strangely?) been sleeping better and longer (mostly). 
Yes, I have had intense mood swings from week to week.
Yes, I have…

My favourite mantras are ‘take it one day at a time’ and ‘this too shall pass’.
Never are they as important to me as they are right now.

I am proud about my daily yoga practice. Even on the days I am feeling anxious and / or headachy, I do it. On those heavy days, I may not do it first thing in the morning but, before the day is out, I do my yoga. 

And even if I have to drag myself to the mat, I always, always feel better about myself, about my body, about my life, about the world in general, afterwards. 

As my online yoga teacher says ‘well done, you got yourself onto the mat, that’s the trick… keep going… keep showing up…’  

Keep showing up…

Salt Water Mum x
A Moodscope member.

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


20

July


…maybe

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: https://bit.ly/2ZG1gOR and to view the video, please click here: https://bit.ly/2CPv5DP]

We, as a household, are cat-fans… and cats know it. We attract them.

I have often been struck, however, by how my cute little purring feline friends won’t think twice about killing an ‘innocent’ baby bird… and then leave it! Pussums doesn’t even eat its prey!

I’m told this is because it is in the cat’s nature. Thank God I’m not 3” tall.

There are only two ways for the cat to escape its nature: choice or change.

If the leopard cannot change its spots, it’s unlikely that a cat will change, but I have seen cats make outstanding choices. There are videos and pictures of cats who have made friends with ducklings and mice, and even… dare I say it… with dogs!

If a cat can choose to live in peace, so can I.

A good friend passed on to me this week something she’d heard, “Hurt people, hurt people.” I thought this was deeply profound. I’ve found this enormously helpful when someone has said something unkind or used an unedifying tone. I now say to myself, “They are hurting.”

She then went on to say, “Free people, free people.”

As a creative, I knew my mind would work on this concept. I now prefer, “Freed people, free people.” And this has led to some other ideas…

Loved people, love people… eventually.

Peaceful people, promote peace. They bring peace out of their innermost being.
Joyful people spread joy. They bring joy out of their inner character.

Fearful people, propagate fear.
On this point, I often wonder if bullies are often really frightened people - like a frightened cat that becomes frightening with all that hissing and spitting and puffing itself up.

And, most profoundly for me, healed people, heal people. Isn’t it fascinating how many healed people go on to become healers? I was thinking of Milton Erickson, a pioneer in therapeutic hypnosis. Whilst he was never quite healed from the ravages of childhood polio, he nevertheless healed himself to a large degree. He then took what he learned, expanded upon it, and, as a freed person, dedicated his life to setting others free.

Milton brings me back to my point: choice or change. He was an example of both. Where the physicians had assured his parents that he would die, he did what it took to live and regain much of his mobility. He changed. But he wasn’t fully transformed. Instead, he then let choice take him further.

From a position of partial healing, he chose to heal others to the best of his ability.

This means that the work does not have to be complete for us to begin to pass on the good stuff. If I have a measure of joy or peace, I can choose to pass that on, even if I still have a measure of pain and sorrow.

The leopard cannot change its spots but it can reimagine them as constellations and tell its friends new stories using the patterns in its pelt. Old patterns, new meanings, inspired choices, and perhaps eventual change await us all.

Lex
A Moodscope member.


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


19

July

My Mood Weather Forecast

Sunday July 19, 2020

A period of high pressure has descended on me
in Lampeter. Last week was turbulent,
working up to a storm but
this has passed over the moribund town.
I am gradually establishing a rhythm
having come to a happy resolution
To the blustery, gale force winds that
Descended on the area.

In Mid-July the heat wave will change,
receding. It was brewing up for a storm,
Distinctly squally, turbulent.
The climate appears intemperate
Unpredictable, uncertain, unsettling.

Gradually the fog
Will begin to clear.
There is a thin mizzle,
That is very satisfactory
As it is during the evening
When we are snuggled
safe at home.

Uncertain whether there is an
impending cyclone possible
high winds will reach West Wales,
some which is land locked.

In the early part of the month
The humidity factor was
clearly visible on the map.
Its suddenly switched.

Precipitation will be welcome
To moisten the arid ground
Which is drying and withering
In the heat wave that has existed.

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

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


18

July


(Slightly messy blog from me today, sorry.)  I now realise my mum raised me in potent and powerful negativity. That stunted me as a person. It had an enormous impact on how I grew (I didn’t) and how my mental health formed arms, legs and gap years in all manners of plural. It was not a love I could register. It’s taken me my whole adult life so far to discover what happened and to begin formulating a plan to get somewhere near the track.
 
There. That’s me said it. I’ve been trying to say it for an extremely long time and each time I tried, it typed out as just a monumental trail of mushy words, black on white, dull, lengthy and utterly useless. Now, it has been said. Now, we move on. (Except it will probably fuel a thousand blogs.)
 
I haven’t the patience anymore to waste time. So much has been wasted and it’s simply irretrievable. What I must do is be respectful (be respectful again, as always, as she is unaware of any of this) and, at the same time, be rigorous in investing in me. And I will. It has been happening in small ways for a year or so and it’s growing. Each quarter step feels scary and tenuous but also fabulous. Each quarter step feels like the satisfaction you feel when, on a late summer evening, as dusk is falling and warmth is receding, you pull on a soft jumper when you are outside, and your heart swells knowing you have a little of the days delights left… that feeling.
 
I know I’m going to be ok and that is pretty huge. I might allow myself a tear.
 
Have you realised yet that you are going to be ok? I’ll walk with you.
 
Love from

The slightly more grown up room above the garage
A Moodscope member.
 
PS. She had her reasons, and I’m currently working out how to stop becoming very angry and instead forgive and/or move on whilst glossing over it.

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


17

July

First impressions

Friday July 17, 2020


When I meet someone for the first time I either instantly like them or dislike them. Sometimes I realise I got it wrong and change my mind.

Recently I met this woman and within then minutes we exchanged phone numbers and I was planning to help her with her business venture. However a week later, I found after talking to her, she was very different and I have not contacted her again.

Years ago, I met a woman at playgroup, and we argued and did not like each other. Months later we chatted then formed a book club together and nearly 40 years later are still friends.

First impressions can be right but can be wrong. If I am depressed I tend to dislike people, or they annoy me for no reason. When I was high everyone was my best friend and I would agree to be involved in their lives.

So, do you find you can rely on your first impressions or do you find like me first impressions can be wrong?

Do you feel that your moods affect your first impressions?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


16

July

Life

Thursday July 16, 2020


Please try a little harder, to be kind to yourself because we are all equal, we came into this world and go out the same way, in between we collect, both physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy which we cannot take it with us.

There are so many negative people who will try their best to pull us down - we must stay resolute and if our opinion works don't be put off by those so negative!

We all meet someone who is enthusiastic about an issue or a problem that they have resolved. We have a choice, we can listen to their ideas and either chose to accept or reject them.

If we've tried and failed, we've only lost time, but at least we tried. But if we take on board their suggestion, it may add to our self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

We may be introverted and focus upon 'self' rather than allow anyone to change the 'groove' in our record of life so far, but why? Are we too scared to change perhaps?

I was a failure at school, no GCE's, nothing to show, no success whatsoever in my school days.

Humbly said, so how is it that I have made such a success of life?

Einstein says this quote: “it’s not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

That is my reason for success.

Simply 'listening' to the youngest child to the oldest person who has a story to tell opened up a new life for me.

Anyone so enthusiastic about his/her success - to any problem they encountered, I learnt. They are responsible for such a positive effect upon my success in life...and still are at 75 years old.

Now I'm not advocating Eleanor Roosevelt's statement…

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Time is the most precious commodity available to us; used wisely and efficiently we'll get the most out of this mortal life. My father always said there is no such word as can't, but the word won't is used too often in our diction.

Resolving all our trials and tribulations…

Please do not allow them to become self-inflicted!

With that new confidence, we start to embrace order in all we do - relationships, health, finances, time. All it takes is an inch of movement which brings us closer to our goals, than a mile of good intention!

Dave xx
A Moodscope member.

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


15

July

To Fear, or not to Fear.

Wednesday July 15, 2020


They’ve taken away the one-way system around Tesco and suddenly I don’t feel safe anymore.

I was trying to analyse this feeling as I swept around with my trolley. The removal of the arrows means I can go down the eggs and bakery aisle the way I prefer; I can miss out the aisle with the chilled cream cakes and the aisle of beer. Next week, cream cakes and beer might be on the list – but this time I can walk on by.

Shopping is faster without the one-way system. I go at a time when the shop is less crowded, so the 2m rule is no more compromised then previously. So why do I feel so anxious?

Last Tuesday I attended a training session, learning to fit colourful and quirky spectacle frames, like the ones I wear. There were three of us on the training and, owing to the nature of the measuring, maintaining a 2m distance was impossible; we needed to be up close and personal.

After a serious conversation between the three of us and the trainer, we decided not to wear masks – and I felt perfectly comfortable with this. After the session, we all trooped across to the café on the other side of the road. It was crowded, the tables close together, the waiting staff hurried and harried. I did not feel comfortable or safe.

On the way home, I stopped at the motorway services for a comfort break. Every other washbasin was taped across; every other hand-dryer was disconnected; there were signs all over exhorting everyone to keep their distance. The coffee shop had a screen between the servers and customers; the tables were far apart; there was a clearly marked line to stand behind while waiting for your order.

I felt comfortable and I felt safe.

On reflection, I think I like to feel cared for; I like to feel that my safety is a priority for any shop or business with which I interact.

I know some people are dismissive of Covid 19 and think too much is being made of it. They dislike the idea of compulsory mask-wearing; they feel the 2m rule is both unworkable and economic suicide.

But perhaps those people do not have friends who have become seriously ill or died of this virus. Perhaps they do not have anyone close who is in the vulnerable group.

I am reopening my studio next week for personal consultations. Before I really thought about this, I sighed as I read through the long list of recommended precautions I must put in place. I did the Beauty Guild Covid Awareness training merely to get the required certificate to hang on my wall. Now, however, I realise my clients will want to feel comfortable; they will need to know I take their safety seriously.

And I do.

So, thank you, Tesco, for removing your arrows.

Can you put them back again now - please?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


14

July

70 Shielded and Bipolar

Tuesday July 14, 2020


Shielded from Covid 19 is like wearing a mental anorak that leaks when the rain is heavy. You gradually get wet mentally.

It started well. Lots of letters saying I was shielded. A kind lady delivered a food parcel. 3 small tins of tropical fruits. I hate the sweetness of tinned fruit. It is a poor substitute for fresh fruit eaten in the tropics. Another lady rings and offers milk and bread. A list is written of all the tasks to be completed. The major project is to paint the large kitchen. I have all the materials to complete the task. I move a large table out and commence rubbing down. But my nasty neighbour sloth arrives. No further action has been taken after 10 weeks. Sloth enters slowly.

The first few weeks he is hardly noticed. The family bring food parcels twice a week. There is chat when the parcel arrives. The wife complains about the husband and vice a versa. I nod and keep silent. But I have no other direct human contact. Video conferencing is not the same.

For the last 1542 days I have rigorously measured my mood on Moodscope. 20 questions give a scale from 0 to 100. Zero is suicidal and a 100 jumping off the ceiling. My average score is 54% slightly above normal. But now my score is well below 50% every day. I have watched Game of Thrones and Vikings. The routine of the day is lost. The TV becomes my social contact. Tears of loneliness appear. I start video conferencing. But what I am missing is the social contact. Seeing whites of their eyes. I try to write a poem about it:

I struggle with myself.

My thoughts. My self-love. My competitive nature.

It’s OK not to be OK

I was made to be the best version of myself.

Not my best version of someone else. Yet, we all try to be someone else.

I need to embrace myself. Not anyone else.

Love myself. Be strong the way I was made to be. Grow the way I know I can.

I won't be you. Or her. Or him.

But I can be me. And that's way better.

Love yourself. Because if you can't love yourself, how the hell will you love someone else?

My 70th birthday passes. Video conference affair - tears. But my son brings a hamper of exotic food. It helps my growing girth with wholesome things. The oven ready chips are dropped. But it starts the light shining in me.

Things have changed. Mental rain no longer passes thru’ the anorak. The change in shielding restrictions allows me to visit my allotment. Direct social contact with the Bolsheviks who put the world to rights over a thermos of tea.

I am resigned to being shielded until a vaccine is found. I have lived thru’ the storm and learnt from the experience.

Vintagecool
A Moodscope member.

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


13

July


Watching Adrian Hosford, Moodscope’s Chairman, being interviewed by Kim Searle (my therapist), had a delightful surprise: that Moodscopers as a general rule are proving resilient in spite of these challenging times. (The interview is here: https://youtu.be/c7-XKRX1CB8)
 
Always one to buck the trend, I haven’t been manifesting much resilience! Last week, it got so troubling that I decided to take a ‘Free Day’. Yes, right in the middle of the week when I ‘should’ be working, I bunked off down to Lyme Regis and Colmer’s Hill near Bridport. I thank Moodscopers for this given the wonderful encouragement from last Monday’s blog to, “Go West!”
 
Here’s the really radical thing: I switched off my phone too!
 
As someone whose mental noise never seems to shut up, I need free days when I unplug. Given the success of Lex McKee’s Day Off, I may well take some more! And, of course, I’m recommending you do too. You may not be able to leap in the car and go West, but we can all have a ‘different’ day, an unplugged day, a quiet day, where the deeper parts of us can get a thought in edgeways and be heard.
 
Lyme Regis was like I’d never seen before. The tide was so far out that there was almost no water in the harbour. Magnificent boats, fit for purpose, with all the technology they needed to navigate through deep and troubled waters, were stranded. There was nothing they could do but wait for the tide to turn. I thought this was a great metaphor for the current situation. We can maintain our boats, we can have a Spring or Summer clean, but we are not going to leave harbour for a while, and it’s outside our control. It's time to be still.
 
Secondly, I took a Free Day because I’ve been ‘thrashing’ – desperately looking for some positive way forward. Looking at the sea, I realised I’d been drowning and needed someone else to rescue me. When you’re being rescued from drowning, the worst thing you can do is thrash! You need to stop thrashing and let yourself be rescued. So, for at least a day, I stopped thrashing and pushed ‘pause’.
 
I did a video from the top of my next location: Colmer’s Hill. It’s not specifically for our community but it covers the same topics if you’d like to see how wild it was on the top of the world!  (https://youtu.be/puAKRNt76tM) - and from the top of the world I may not have been able to see ‘forever’ but I could see a lot further into the future than I could when distracted by my busyness and ‘noise’ of an otherwise troubled mind.
 
If you, too, have had enough, take a Free Day and see what your heart says to you.

Lex
A Moodscope Member.

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


12

July

The Natural Health Service

Sunday July 12, 2020


I’ve just finished The Natural Health Service by Isabel Hardman, a book about how the great outdoors can do for your mind.

I’m so interested in this, having made my own version of a routine that involves observing nature and the change of the season as this has affected my mood in the past.

Firstly, Isabel can write. You may know her as the political correspondent for the Spectator magazine-and indeed this may inhibit you from reading – which frankly, would be a mistake. Isabel is upfront and unashamed about her Surrey upbringing – think ponies, flute playing, learning ballet – you get the picture. If you can forgive her that, she talks frankly about her wrestling with her own mental illness – PTSD and indeed refers to herself at times as quite mad which I relate to.

But, perhaps more importantly, I’ve been following Isabel’s exploits in the digital and journalistic world for a while. She set up #WildflowerHour on twitter which is a delight of mine on a Sunday night. She gardens, wild swims AND she studies the ups and downs of Westminster – an aspiration I once held. So, she’s someone I want to follow; want to find out about and so forgive her some of her home counties ways.

So, her book talks about her own mental illness but also each chapter addresses a different antidote – gardening, mindfulness in nature, the therapeutic benefits of pets, running, cold water swimming – all of which have worked to help her – not all the time and not a ‘cure’ but a means of managing her illness.

So, what do I think as someone whose been sectioned five times and am not yet 45? I was impressed, inspired and for the first time, felt empowered to ask my psychiatrist and GP (who btw I haven’t heard from throughout the entirety of lockdown) why these activities weren’t socially prescribed to me.

I can’t wait for my new activities to start. I will be heading to the Munros and Corbetts, the lochs and all that is beautiful about Scotland. I have the means; a car, wetsuit and a bobble hat which I will wear in honour of Isabel on my first ice cold dip of the season.

The last two nights, I have made the effort to leave the house after work and visit a small plot of land in the middle of the city I live in. it’s wild and as a result, buzzing with wildlife. I’ve filmed bees, taken photos and effectively, documented my time, learning about some of the flowers and fauna I’m not au fait with. It’s been wonderful.

I also intend to get an assistance dog.

In all, this book has the ability to change lives – and for the better. There seems to me to be no better way to ease out of lockdown than to consider my habits and patterns previously and assess. This book has certainly assisted me in finding a new roadmap – a code – and one that I hope will keep me well, stable and perhaps most importantly, happy.

Isabel, I salute you. From one mad woman to another, bravo.


Cara
A Moodscope member.

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


11

July

How much do you share?

Saturday July 11, 2020


Like it or not people assess you based on what information you give them. So, how do you judge how much of your past to share with people?
 
When I was diagnosed with bipolar, not only did I struggle to come to terms with it but my family did too. They couldn’t quite comprehend the illness, or the implications. 
 
First time round … My mistake was naively sharing my diagnosis with a partner at a firm that I worked at [some years later]. The following month I was asked to leave said employment. At that point I realised that there is a time to share and there is a time to keep your trap shut. 
 
Having been ousted from a company you begin to doubt your capabilities… I left the shared house I lived in and moved back to the folks to re-group.
 
Second time round … Fast forward several months and I started again, joining a graduate scheme for the second time. Lower pay this time round - so less stress I presumed [wrongly].
 
I disclosed bipolar on my application form, which the company would then manage to lose [god knows where it ended up]. After my last experience, I chose not to disclose my bipolar to line management. All well and good, until I ended up in a toxic relationship, which combined with stresses at work, triggered the onset of another episode. 
 
I tried to broach the subject with my line manager, to mitigate the risk of falling ill. Instead he ended up confiding in me, telling me his wife was an alcoholic... at which point I felt unable to ask for the support that I needed at work. I felt out of my depth and worried I would relapse - which I did a few weeks later.
 
I ended up being signed off work and taking several years out.
 
Third time round… I not only mentioned bipolar on my application form but I also plucked up the courage to tell my immediate line manager a few months into my employment.
 
Turns out that it was the best thing I could have done. He is patient, listens and is genuinely interested in my wellbeing at work. I could not ask for a more understanding person to be my manager. I know that regardless of what happens he has my back and is on hand to support me.
 
So, what is the moral of the story?
 
1)   Follow your gut
2)   Be discrete
3)   Only confide in characters that you trust
 
In summary - lived experiences are valuable things - be sure that you share them with the right people at the right time.
 
It’s taken a lifetime [20 years to be exact] to get to a stage in my life where I am secure enough in myself to open up to those I trust.
 
What about you - are you there yet?

Stay Well, Stay Safe. 

Sarah
A Moodscope member.

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


10

July

Smell my depression

Friday July 10, 2020


My friend used to say she could smell when a depression was coming. It was not because she had not showered for a while, it was a certain smell that she found hard to describe and a sour taste in her mouth.

I once met a woman whose husband suffered from depression. She explained she knew he was in a depressive mood prior to it happening because she could smell it and she recognised when it was over because the smell was no longer around.
 
I have not experienced this, but I have read about others who could smell their depression.
 
Dogs I have heard can smell depression in their owners.

Many people believe their dogs can sense depression and may try to cheer up their owner. Dogs use their well know powerful sense of smell to take in their surroundings.
Dogs can smell when we sweat more and respond accordingly. The dog may put their paw on you to comfort you. Some dogs may even cuddle their owner more and lean into you to show they support you.
I was thinking are they smelling depression or noticing you may not be as active?
 
I was wondering what the Moodscope community felt about smelling depression by humans and dogs.

I am really interested in your thoughts and examples with yourself, your friends, and your dogs.
 
So, can you or your dog or another pet smell depression? What does it smell like?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


9

July

It’s a win from me

Thursday July 9, 2020


Have you heard the phrase If you win the morning, you win the day”?
 
I have varying feelings about mornings.  If they are unrushed then I welcome the new day feeling, waking naturally and using sound as my first exploration of what might come. If they are rushed then its dive in, shake off the chill, get it done, but most times with the added lure of a mid to late morning breakfast which is a precious gift to self.
 
Either way, I try to live by the phrase ‘win the morning and you win the day’.  Since I heard it, it has helped me a lot. 
 
Procrastination takes the back seat whilst I achieve something. Some days it’s great, I do things that help in a big way (exercise early/raise the mood from the outset,  cook dinner early/remove pressure from the entire day and evening) and other days it’s celebrating bed-making as a much larger achievement than it is at other times, but I’m happy to take every little thing as quality achievements.
 
I now look forward to banking something early on which seems to set the day off on a good spin. Later, if I’m low in mood or energy I don’t add guilt to my burden because the morning has been won.
 
Would it help you if you won the morning? Do you already do this? Feel free to share for us all to benefit from the inspiration!
 
Love from

The room above the garage, standing on the full laundry basket acting as Olympic platform
A Moodscope member.

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


8

July

Requiem for a Guinea-pig

Wednesday July 8, 2020


It was my daughter’s tenth birthday – six years ago now.

What she really, really wanted for her birthday was a guinea-pig.

She had been asking for the last eighteen months; she had presented to her father a six-page document on why she should have one – with detailed research on breeds, housing, costs, husbandry routines etc. This was not a passing whim; our animal-mad daughter really, REALLY, wanted a guinea-pig.

And yes, for all you who know about guinea-pigs, you know she had asked for two, not just one: guinea-pigs are herd animals – they need companionship.

So, there we were, almost six years ago, peering into a sawdust-filled cage at four baby guinea-pigs. Three of them were brown and white and one of them, smaller than the others, slower than the others, was a ball of soft golden fur.

Oh, we tried to get her to choose the matched pair of harlequin patched boys, but no - her heart was set on the little gold one.

So, we took Nugget home, And Patchy – because you must never keep just one guinea-pig.

It soon became clear that Nugget was a “special” guinea-pig. One eye bulged more than the other and he was obviously blind in that eye. One ear was limp and floppy, and he couldn’t hear on that side. He grew slowly and had poor muscle tone: he was a learning-disabled guinea-pig. We took him to the vet, who smiled with sympathy. “He was probably starved of oxygen when he was born,” she said.

“So – what should we expect?” we asked anxiously.

The vet kept a straight face. “I don’t think you should expect him to learn his ABC,” she said, “And higher mathematics will probably be beyond him.”

It took us a moment, and then we got it: Nugget was a guinea-pig – it didn’t matter that he was “special”; he could just be a guinea-pig and we would love him all the same.

And we did; for nearly six years.

Last Thursday we had to say goodbye to our special boy. He had a stroke in the night and the vet said there was nothing she could do. The only thing was to let him go in peace and with love. Guinea-pigs live for between five and eight years; he had done well – especially for one with his condition.

We buried him in a corner of the garden with honour and with tears. He may have been “just” a guinea-pig, but we loved him.

And, life goes on. Patchy, his hutch-mate, misses him. As I said above, guinea-pigs are herd animals and so we need to find a companion for Patchy. Of course, the new guinea-pig will not be a “replacement” for Nugget, but we will find a new place in our hearts for him or her.

I think this is the message Nugget has for us: life goes on. Patchy needs another hutch-mate. We need another guinea-pig to love.

We go on.

And we love.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


7

July

Topsy Turvy

Tuesday July 7, 2020


My feelings are all topsy turvy at the moment. I’m trying really hard to live in the moment but it’s so hard with all the concerns and unknowns. What do we look forward to when we don’t know what we’re going to be allowed to do and when we can do things? How do I deal with these feelings when I can’t do my usual rituals?

I would be looking forward to having a hot chocolate and teacake in the cafe in Waterstones, on my own, people watching and occasionally dipping into my book or the paper, or jotting down ideas for my novel. But this is hard to look forward to now... will we be able to go to the cafe? Will I feel guilty picking up books that the staff will then have to clean? Will I even feel comfortable going back onto a shop?

So really, it is better to try and stay in the moment. I’m trying really hard to observe my feelings, sit with them, acknowledge that they are feelings that will pass and they are not me, try not to get sucked into the familiar place of self criticism. I am trying but there’s no release. The world seems so crazy at the moment. I’m questioning my own thoughts and motives. I always try to be good and do the right thing, I’m told that the best way to deal with this virus and the unclear rules is to use your common sense, you’ll do the best with the knowledge you have. But when you are used to questioning yourself so much and assuming you’ve done or said the wrong thing, this isn’t the easiest motive to follow.

I’ll keep trying, using the tools that work to calm me... my yoga, walking, reading, listening to music, mindful breathing, writing, sleeping, talking and allowing a slow and steady meet up for walks with friends again.

Lizzie
A Moodscope member

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


6

July

Location and Vocation x 3

Monday July 6, 2020


[To view a video of this blog post please click here: https://youtu.be/5QXYHBty2fs or to listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://bit.ly/3izEQ9h]

“Location, location, location,” is a mantra bleated on and on about by Estate Agents and Marketing experts. Whilst I am a fan of neither, there is deep emotional wisdom in “Location, location, location.”

Yesterday, I filmed Emotional Mastery author and coach, Kim Searle. We went on location to West Bay and Bridport in Dorset. My heart, seat of emotion, danced for joy as I drove the long way to Bridport along the Jurassic Coast road from Abbotsbury down to Bridport. The views are breathtakingly spectacular.

Filming on the beach at West Bay with soaring cliffs behind us and roaring waves and winds in front, I felt more alive than I have felt for the last long three months of lockdown. I know we are not all the same, but there has to be ‘Sea’ in the location-equation for me to have a happier future. What are the locations, which, for you, hold a special magic?

Relocation, relocation, relocation…

Environment makes a world of difference to our emotional health and wellbeing. Choosing to shift or relocate our environment always has costs and consequences, but maybe they are well worth it - especially after this extended opportunity we have had to re-examine what is important to us. “There’s a feeling I get when I look to the West, and my spirit is calling for leaving…”

Whilst I have the motive to move West, there is no visible means or opportunity at the moment… but that doesn’t stop you or me visiting these magical locations. A change of scenery is one of the most positive, intentional ways to enjoy or even provoke change.

Vocation, vocation, vocation…

I spend a lot of time with businesspeople and some fascinating insights are emerging from lockdown. Resentment and envy seem to have slipped in between members of some companies where a portion of the team have been furloughed (= enjoying a paid holiday) and where others have had to continue the hard work. Even more interesting is the fact that many furloughed staff are feeling left ‘out of it’. This season of change will have an emotional impact, but once again we can be intentional in what we choose next. Is it time to re-evaluate our values and our vocation? If I’m called to the West, I’m also called to write, to create podcasts and other voice audio, to compose, and to produce video. Any step East or away from these heart-driven-desires brings sorrow and frankly doesn’t work. So what are you feeling ‘called’ to?

Let’s have a frank discussion about what our hearts beat for.

Perhaps if we put first-things-first, life will find a way.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


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