The Moodscope Blog

19

June


Last week I wrote to say I had plummeted. It felt that a huge foot had appeared over my head and proceeded to slowly press down until I was squashed. That is if I was in a comic strip!  It’s far from funny but it is how I’ve been viewing my current and thoroughly unexpected episode of depression. I haven’t had this type of feeling for a long while, years in fact. You sent such encouraging notes on the blogspot. I really do thank you. I had no spare energy to reply and I have no spare energy to be able to be much of a support to anybody else right now (outwith parenting), but I hope it won’t be long before I can return the favour. I read and wept and sent out thanks into the ether. 
 
So here is the good, the bad and the warty. 
 
The Good – after avoiding it for 2.5 years, Covid caught me. (Firstly, thank you vaccines!)  Why is this good? Because it has made me feel terrible. Really yucky. And I think this is good because, whilst it is not fun, I have a theory that as my body wages war on this virus it will also wage war on my depression. I am feeling a little better today as I write (but exhausted from not even a quarter of the effort I would usually exert) and I will wait to see. 
 
The Bad – the greyness. You will know it. The feeling of being inside a bubble and seeing everything going on outside but being unable to hear it, touch it, taste it, smell it or even see it in the way you would normally. 
 
The Warty – I discovered I have a verruca on the sole of my foot. I’m ok with this. I’m reminded that these are caused by a virus lying dormant and then raising its head. So it is another physical reminder that something is awry and can be fixed. I needed the validation. 
 
Oh for a reset button. How magical would that be? For now, I hope you are all ok, keep plodding and I send out my best to you. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member. 

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


18

June

Acceptance

Saturday June 18, 2022


Several months ago (9 October 2021 to be precise) I wrote a Post about contentment. At it’s conclusion I wrote my own equation:  Gratitude + Acceptance = Contentment.
 
Today I want to expand on the meaning of “Acceptance” in the MH sense.
 
When you have a “bad” mood there are several ways you may react to it:
 
1.  Dismiss it. Try to ignore.
 2. Resist it. Battle against.
 3. Argue with it. Try to replace with better thoughts.
 4. Submit to it. Let it overwhelm.
 5. Accept it. Acknowledge and manage.
 
Which one do you normally adopt?
 
I suggest you could try the ‘Accept’ option. You are probably thinking. “Even if I acknowledge how do I manage?” The simple answer is by using management techniques! There is positive research to support this approach.
 
The psychologist Stephen Hayes wrote that acceptance is “taking a stance of non judgemental awareness and actively embracing the experience of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as they occur.”
 
How do you cultivate more self awareness? Mindfulness can help particularly using meditation. Through awareness and practice you have opportunity to use acceptance and reap the benefits.
 
During my research I found an article written by Vincent Price a psychotherapist. “Why is acceptance good for our mental health”. It is published on the ‘my mind’ website. If you are interested in learning more this may be a good starting point.
 
The acceptance concept might not be for you right now. However if you have tried the other four approaches I have listed it may be worth a try.
 
I have recently adapted this philosophy and I am beginning to think it may help.
 
I hope you find this Post acceptable! 

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


17

June

We don’t talk about Bruno

Friday June 17, 2022


We don't talk about Bruno is a phrase from the movie iEncanto that I mentioned last week because my granddaughter likes the movie.

I think everyone has a Bruno in their family they don't talk about. Maybe it is a person, a place, an event or an experience that can be controversial in the family, or brought so much shame or brought fear or full of sadness and grief that their name is never mentioned again .

My family had so many Bruno's that we didn't talk about, that it seemed there was very little to talk about besides the weather and our health because every topic had the potential of reaction and of upsetting someone - or entering a huge argument, so we just avoided all these arguments by never talking about our Bruno.

Are there any ‘We don’t talk about Bruno’ moments in your life?

Do you avoid the topics or do you talk about them openly?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


16

June

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Thursday June 16, 2022


My daughter turned 18 years old this May. It doesn’t seem like 18 years ago that I gave birth to her. It feels like eight years maybe? Or perhaps 80?! So long ago and yet so recent. 

She was my first baby. And the birth, while mind-blowingly awesome, was also searingly traumatic. Trauma is an overused word I know but childbirth, by its very nature, is traumatic for the body. Twenty-four hours of labour and she was presenting with her neck which meant that, although I (eventually!) delivered naturally, I was constantly at risk of an emergency C-section. They say women do not remember the pain but I beg to differ! I recall the pain and the pushing and the sheer power it took to deliver my eight pound six ounce bundle of gorgeousness. I remember the exhaustion and the stinging and the leaking and the breastfeeding and even more exhaustion. But looking down at her adorable face as she latched onto me, with her teeny hand pummelling my breast, is a deep joy I recall as vividly as if it was last week. 

Sometimes I tease my teenagers about how I used to feed them and change their nappies, a little nudging reminder that once they were tiny vulnerable people completely reliant on me. Of course they say ‘yuck, that’s gross, mum’ and make gagging sounds but I even enjoy those reactions!

Today as I write, my teenage son is physically taller than me. And my daughter is now technically an adult. And this makes me feel a little small and a tad old. I hear myself asking the question all parents ask when their eldest graduates from school: ‘Where has the time gone?’  And I find myself asking this one too: ’Was I a good mother?’. Perhaps we solo parents question ourselves even more? Perhaps it’s my personality? Too much questioning, too much soul-searching, too much pondering? 

So, I look at the evidence - I have nursed, nurtured, taught, loved and guided them to this point. And that is something to be proud of. It’s hardly unique - there are mothers all over this planet. Mothering is the most natural thing in the world and yet I am proud of these two young people, of who they have become: Rounded, interesting, clever, funny, confident, talented humans.

For her school graduation, my daughter asked for a baby photo - one baby pic!  Of course I had to look through at least 200 before I settled on a shortlist of ten. And I was right back there. Back in nostalgia-land and I cried over some photos as memories came flooding back. HappySad tears - because it’s always a mixture, isn’t it? The love, the loss, the hopes, the dreams. Would I do things differently? Yes, I bloomin’ well would! But, mostly, I have accepted that I was not the best mother but also not the worst. 

I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have been, and hope to continue being, a good-enough mother. And that. my fellow Moodscopers, will have to do!

Happy 18th birthday, baby girl :-)

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

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


15

June

Ask Alice

Wednesday June 15, 2022


One pill makes you larger,

And one pill makes you small;

And the ones your doctor* gives you

Don’t do anything at all.

Go, ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.
                                               

Jefferson Airplane 1967 * Doctor changed from mother for this blog.
 
Welcome to my world, where there is no need to take pills, or eat or drink anything to feel like Alice.

At 1.45pm last Wednesday, while attending my company’s annual conference in London, it happened. I had helped myself to a plate of food from the buffet and was descending the short flight of steps to the dining area when those steps lurched suddenly to one side and, when I put out a hand to the rail, it shimmered and swayed out of reach. Off balance, I trod over the undulating floor, my head floating somewhere near the ceiling and my arms six feet long.

“Dammit,” I thought with resignation. “Here we go again.”

I stuck it out for the rest of the conference, and I don’t think anyone noticed. I was so grateful to be traveling by train because, when I’m like this, I’m not safe to drive.

I wrote about these symptoms in Ten Things I Hate About You, published October 13th, 2021, so I won’t go into more detail here. We all know – or at least I hope we do – that it’s our brain chemicals distorting reality. Whether it is our thoughts or our perception of the physical world, it’s all chemical. It seems real, but it’s not. I still feel like Alice, though.

One of the things I love about Alice in Wonderland is her acceptance of everything that happens to her. She accepts and makes plans to cope.

“Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye feet!” (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). “Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’m sure I shan’t be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can – but I must be kind to them.” thought Alice, “or perhaps they won’t walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I’ll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.”

It may seem unfair that our perceptions of reality become distorted without the help of anything labelled “Drink me!” or “Eat me!” but accepting it and making plans to deal with it – perhaps a little more practically than does Alice – is a better way forward than wasting time complaining that it’s happening at all.

Our depression is our reality, whatever our personal symptoms. It’s not really real but it is real for us, so let’s make plans to cope.

Although, by Christmas, I hope I will have returned to my proper size.

Oh, and for any of you who now have the earworm, here’s the link to the song: https://bit.ly/3O8cmCE

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


14

June

Wim Hoff

Tuesday June 14, 2022


Here in the uk there has been a programme on TV on Tuesday evenings. It’s called Freeze The Fear. It is on the BBC iPlayer. 

It is Wim Hoff and 6 celebrity guests doing challenges they thought they were not capable of. I personally do not have a lot of time for so called celebrities, but I must admit all his guests have dark secrets from the past some very sad. 

This is the part I think is worth trying at home. Cold showers, please don’t hang up now. 

Wim reckons this helps with depression as the cold increases the blood flow to parts of the brain that would not normally be reached. He holds many records for cold challenges that experts did not think possible. 

I have been having a shower as normal every morning nice and warm then gradually decrease the temperature. At first ten seconds then gradually build up the time. I normally do around 2 -4 minutes. 

I have been doing this for many months and I am convinced it is  a helping lift my mood. 

This is a not a quick fix but definitely worth trying it’s completely free and no drugs involved. 

It would be nice to find out if others get good results after a few days. 

Please try it. 

Paul 
A Moodscope member.

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


13

June

To Whom?

Monday June 13, 2022


There’s a lot of hocus pocus when it comes to having the wrong focus. No reasonable person would let themselves be defined by a stranger who didn’t really know them, would they? No sensible soul would accept someone strange and unknown to them judge whether they were successful or not, would they?

This is why the marketing and political industries need to catch us by surprise. They tell us stories about people who seem enough like us for us to relate to. Then they lead that person ‘just like us’ into experiences that they want us to have. Whether it’s something we buy or some belief we buy in to, all too soon we can be hooked and hoodwinked. Here’s the sting in the tail. When our external circumstances don’t match those of the person who is ‘just like us’ – dissatisfaction arises. Dissatisfaction is great leverage for those with a marketing and political agenda.

Outside-in is the wrong focus.

The locus of focus needs to be internal, not external. Our definitions of everything in life need to come from within, not be imposed from outside. This means that you, and only you, should be defining what ‘happiness’ means for you and to you. This means that you, and only you, should be defining ‘success’ in your own terms. You, and only you, should be setting your expectations. (I except that certain moral issues are excluded from this argument!)

“According to whom?” is one of my favourite challenging questions. When the world says I should have an electric car to be ethically successful, it sounds utterly credible. But when I ask, “According to whom?” the answers can get more interesting. (For the record, I’d love an electric car – but for the right reasons that I’ve thought through and not because some manufacturer tells me it’s the right thing to do.)

There will always be haters in the world. There are trolls out there. There are bitter people that cannot stand to see other people break through to the kind of happier lives that the haters can only dream of. They may criticise you. They may say that you’re a failure, that you’re a dreamer, that you’re a waste of space… but you can guess what I’m suggesting you ask yourself… “According to whom?” Who are they to tell you what success should look like or be like for you?

I wrote this blog for one specific circumstance in your future. Sometime soon in your future, someone’s going to judge you and put you down. As soon as you sense that happening, I’m hoping you’re going to remember this question: “According to whom?” And then I hope the hero inside you will rise up and declare (even if silently) “I will define what success is for me,” or any other focus or label that is being drawn attention to. You define ‘you’, not anyone or anything outside of yourself. Let’s make the locus of focus internal – not external.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


12

June

Let it flow

Sunday June 12, 2022


From nowhere, two weeks ago, I plummeted. A mental health nose dive of large proportion. There was a Saturday I desperately needed a hand to hold, and I came here to the blog comments and asked who was around. I mean it when I send my heartfelt thanks to those who let me know they were there. It got me through the shock of finding myself somewhere I had no warning or expectation to be.

I’ve been feeling quite rough since. I haven’t felt any nausea but the only way I can describe in words how I’ve been feeling, is to say it’s been like being on a mostly seaworthy boat, on open waters, with seasickness and just not knowing what is coming next.  

Can I write? Should I write? Is it helpful or indulgent? I decide to write because if my children one day feel awful, maybe they’ll read my blogs and learn that ebb and flow is not just normal but is not to be resisted. Just let it happen, it’s awful, but I think these times can be fastest dealt with to allow it space to walk in then walk away, than it is to start a fight.  

I’m not fighting. But I am doing a very hard stare. Ebb and flow. Ebb and flow. Breathe.  

Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


11

June

A beautiful place

Saturday June 11, 2022


A few weeks ago I expounded on “It’s all too beautiful”. Today I am continuing the beauty theme.
 
I have recently made a rediscovery of a beautiful place. And it is not far away.

Why do I consider it to be beautiful?
 
Firstly it fills me with peace and serenity. Secondly it brings me joy whether I am alone or with others. It is an oasis of tranquillity. It is open to the elements and on sunny days the manicured grass gleams a wonderful green. The whole area is bordered by a number of different trees and on one side by the old church tower with its chiming clock.
 
Where am I? Yes, I am at my local village bowling club. It is late May and the new bowling season is underway. I have visited a few times, enjoyed meeting old friends and also the relaxation of practising alone.
 
What I want to do this morning is to transport you to your beautiful place. There will be little effort involved and no cost! Please follow these few simple steps:
 
 *  Lean back in your chair, get comfortable and relax.
 
*   Close your eyes.
 
*   Think of somewhere lovely you have been; a beautiful place. It could be a place on a holiday, a local beauty spot, a building, garden or even a beach.
 
There are no limitations.
 
*  Spend a few minutes thinking more about it. What made it beautiful? 
 
*  Has your mood changed? Do you feel any different compared with how you felt before? 
 
Beauty comes in many forms, for example:
 
Breathtaking views
Melodious music
Tasty food
Scented flowers
Silky fabrics
 
It really is anything that gives pleasure to our senses. Even simply talking about it makes us feel better by lifting our mood.
 
A lot has been written about human beauty and after some research I found this quote from Elizabeth Kubler Ross:
 
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
 
Or if you want something more romantic:
 
“Real men don’t love the most beautiful girl in the world. They love the girl who can make their world the most beautiful.”
 
Cue:  Pass the virtual tissues!

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


10

June

Characters you relate to

Friday June 10, 2022


Recently a four-year-old told me about her favourite character in the Disney Encanto movie was Louisa. She is a very capable strong woman who has great powers of strength. The four-year-old told me she is strong like Louisa. I thought how wonderful it was that she had a choice to choose from apart from beautiful princesses. 

I wonder whether fictional characters whether animated or human, or object throughout your life have had an impact or an emotional reaction on us.  Sometimes if we feel isolated or if we may feel we don’t fit in, we may then find a character who is like us, so we don’t feel so alone.
 
I related as an adult to Oscar the grouch on Sesame Street who even though he appeared to enjoy being grumpy deep down he was kind. I like his personality and the fact he didn’t fit in but was accepted by the other characters. I also wrote about how I relate to Winnie the pooh characters as they feel timeless to me. Sometimes I am Winnie and sometimes Piglet and sometimes Eeyore. 
 
I would like to know of a fictional character, and it can be living or an object or  from cartoons, tv, movies, books etc. It may be a character you loved as a child or as adult or a few characters that you have related to. You may have a character who helped you through rough times or who makes you smile.
 
Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


9

June

There’s always something...

Thursday June 9, 2022


It’s been a while since I posted on here. It’s been going quite well for me and I am definitely in a better place than I was a while back. I probably contribute this exercising quite intensively, 3 times a week, having a better mindset, thinking more positively that I can do most things without having fear getting in the way. I have a new job with a salary that I never thought I could achieve. I’m not saying that everyday I’m bursting with energy, but I seem to be handling my life better.. but.. there is always something that disrupts that balance!

My family has been split up and I’m caught in the middle trying to be the peacemaker. My slightly older brother had a huge fight with my mother on my dad’s birthday and I wasn’t even there to witness it! From what I hear, my mom said many things that weren’t exactly true and my brother lost his temper and said many things that he shouldn’t have.

So I’m in the middle, I was told by my brother that I’m now responsible for taking care of my parents and he wants nothing to do with them. I think they are both very selfish and it’s hurting my mom, dad, I’m sure my brother (even though he says he doesn’t care) and of course me.

How do I navigate this? No idea. All I know is I don’t think it will end well. So this is the storm, to no fault of my own, that’s come my way. Am I stronger? Yes, but I also can’t and won’t get dragged down because it’s taken me so much energy to get up again from last time. Am I being selfish? Maybe but I’ve been put in a position just because my brother can’t be bothered anymore.

I wonder if any of you have been in a similar situation and how did you navigate it successfully?

Hugo
A Moodscope member.

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


8

June

I’ve included in this blog, a screenshot of my Affectogram for the month of May.



Those of you who use Moodscope Plus may recognise it. If you don’t use Moodscope Plus, I would recommend you consider it, as I find this graph incredibly useful.

The Affectogram provides a record and visual information about how our scores are made up. We can see instantly which cards are consistent and which go up and down. Whereas our daily score is just one number, the Affectogram gives us more data behind that number.

After more than ten years of using Moodscope, I know my perfect score and how it is made up. If I score consistently 2 on all the Red cards, and 0 on all the Blue cards, it comes out at 73%. Your “perfect” score may be different and be made up differently. After all, with twenty cards, all with four possible scores, there are 1,099,511,627,776 possible combinations.

A note before I go on: for me a “perfect” score is when I am feeling positive with normal levels of energy. It is a place of serenity and even flow: feeling good, but not too good; neither in mania nor depression.

I’m a visual person, so the graph is helpful. If the bottom half of the graph is all pale yellow, and the top half pale orange I’m golden (pun intended); that is, things are nicely normal.

So, what happens when the colours look different?

A score by itself is a bit of a blunt instrument. My score of 73% might be the “perfect” score, or it might include dangerous levels of determination and inspiration, offset by hostility and irritability. If I see this pattern, I might be entering mania and need help in managing myself.

A low score can be made up in many ways too. It might just mean I am feeling tired, so don’t feel very strong, active or alert. Right now, with all that is going on with my father-in-law and the house sale, the nervous and distressed cards are getting far higher scores than they normally would. If all the cards, red and blue, start scoring zero, then it’s depression – and I need support and help. This month has been unusual, and my scores have been much less stable than usual. While I can let my buddies know what’s going on, hard data is always useful. Sending them this screenshot lets them know not to worry – or if they should worry, of course.

Information is only ever as good as the data behind it. As you can see, there were three days when I forgot to do the test. What was going on then? Was my score a smooth transition between the two on either side? Was there a peak or a trough? And, why?

And we need a system of scoring. It doesn’t matter what your system is, so long as it’s consistent. I wrote about this in Scoring the Cards, published 3rd March 2021.

If this seems a lot of work, then, yes, it is. On the other hand, is anything more important than our health? If we are to be responsible about managing our mental health, then I believe it is worth investing our time, energy and just a little bit of money in it.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


7

June

The (second?) hardest thing

Tuesday June 7, 2022


So, I’m catching up on capturing thoughts – and this blog post goes all the way back to Mary’s thoughts about the difficulty of asking for help (10 November 2021) when struggling with depressive (bipolar) episodes.
 
I was going to add a “Me too” comment at the time, then thought - being up - I had so much to say that I added “Write a blog” to my endless, never finished to do list.
 
So here I am, over six months later, contemplating Mary’s point that “Those of us who live with bipolar disorder know the cycle of ups and downs will repeat” – except, I struggle in every phase of up and down with acknowledging I have a repeating, on-going problem, let alone asking for help.
 
When I am down, its much clearer that things are not right as I struggle to get out of bed, let alone engage with life at home or in work. But each time I come out of a slump, I think “That will be the last time”.
 
So I go from down to up - or ‘over well’ - with little normal time between the two states. And what’s wrong with being over well, very productive , charming and talkative - to quote Bipolar UK’s mood scale on hypomania. (https://bit.ly/38JDQzw)
 
Well, if you talk to my partner, they will tell you exactly what is wrong with doing too much. It means having high (unrealistic?) ambitions, a sense of being able to do everything, not asking for help or sharing the load, and probably fuelling the next crash.
 
It’s hard to know what help would look like when I am up – but before I get to Mary’s issue of asking for help, I have to publicly acknowledge I have a problem.
 
So how much do you share or hide your problems, and what gets in the way of you asking for help with them?
 
Best

Guy
A Moodscope member.

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


6

June

A Kingdom United

Monday June 6, 2022

Imagine tables set for 600 guests, surrounded by celebratory events to cater for the tastes of thousands of visitors and residents. Such was Swanage – a seaside town in Dorset, UK – on the 3rd June. It was the biggest Street Party I’d ever seen, and whilst I wasn’t a table guest (there was a waiting list of over 200 people showing how popular it was), I was able to share in the excitement.

Here was a throng of people united in celebration. Covid was largely forgotten for a few hours, as were the many troubles of our world. We took time out to celebrate 70 years of Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to the Commonwealth. I don’t think I’m naïve – I know that many people had come merely to share the mood rather than to celebrate the Monarch – but the mood was a good one to share.

Reading the blogs sharing so much wisdom over so long a period, we have much to celebrate too. We are as much Moodscapers as Moodscopers. A bit like a Gardeners’ World for landscaping and cultivating and nurturing the mind. We are a Kingdom United in the desire and determination to build good mental health, and the support structure needed to catch us when we fall back from our dream. Every blog day is a street party for those who share this mutual understanding.

Coincidently, the celebrations this week have overlapped with Purbeck Art Weeks, where local artists open their studios to share not only their art but also their heart. I have had seven conversations with artists so far, and it is clear that many have found creating art a wonderful way to nurture good mental health. This is no surprise to us here at Moodscope, for we’ve mentioned this in many a blog.

Let us then take the opportunity to celebrate and to say, “Thank you,” for our ‘kingdom’ united in a common cause, “Thank you,” for the wisdom and support, and, “Thank you,” for the years that Caroline and Adrian and Jon have provided a forum and structure for us to share. Perhaps you would provide a toast to Moodscope?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please leave a message below.


5

June


My son had some bad news last week. He is, like many men, a little quieter with his thoughts and feelings than, say, many women are.  
 
He tried to hold it in and deal with the weight alone. And then he trusted me. He had to, he burst. And for the first time in a long time, I held tight onto his shoulders, let his head curl in and just held on to him as he wept. When my daughters have cried, I’ve allowed some tears and then I’ve soothed with words “Let it out”, “Its good to cry”, “Cry it away”.  But for my son, I had to read between the lines. He had held onto his bad news and tried to make sense of it himself. Only when he couldn’t hold it had he shared it.  A much more private response. So I said absolutely nothing.  I just held on to him. Stroked his hair. Let it be. Let it happen. 
 
Later I thanked him for trusting me and I did share from my own pot of memories. I don’t know why men and women approach things slightly differently and I do wish that, in general, people would not expect that sharing comes easily. It doesn’t. It’s complex. I’m learning.   
 
The only suggestion I have here is that when you are 5 foot 5 and your son is 6 foot something, its best to hug them on the couch so you can support them properly. I hope his grey sky soon turns back to blue, and in the meantime, it was lovely to be leant on again. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


4

June

In an earlier post I recommended James Withey’s book “How to Tell Depression to P*ss Off” and passed on a couple of his hints. Here are another couple:
 
“Do the opposite” (chapter 3). I sometimes picture depression as an ugly gargoyle I call “Mr D”, and in low moods ask myself what Mr D would advise me to do – then don’t do it, or do the complete opposite. Example: I’m working away from home, I’ve had a tough day at work, and staying in a dingy hotel. Mr D tells me to slob out, drink a bottle of wine and stuff myself with comfort food. So I don’t. I google local restaurants and find a healthy vegetarian restaurant which doesn’t serve booze, and is a good 20 mins walk away (it’s a nice evening, the exercise will do me good). I come back feeling better, then ask the hotel manager if she could do me a cup of hot milk to help me sleep. The hotel is dingy, but she’s very nice, and serves me my hot milk with a smile (and no charge).
 
“Cut down on the booze” (chapter 26) – this is a terrific short chapter, and sound advice. Those of you who’ve seen Michael Yapko’s videos may recall him taking a much stronger line, i.e. don’t drink alcohol at all, but for many of us in Britain, where drinking is often such an ingrained part of social life, that’s a tall order. I’m sure many of you will share my experiences of being at social events where only a few drinks make it bearable; work events where “having fun” is mandatory are an obvious example. For a bit more inspiration on cutting down, I recommend David Nutt’s videos on YouTube,
 
Does this help anyone?

Garry
A Moodscope member.

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


3

June

It is no big deal

Friday June 3, 2022


Those five words annoy me when I have told someone something that concerns me, and they brush it off as nothing. They imply what I feel, what I am worried about is really of no consequence.

They say “Why do you always make a mountain out of a mole hill?”

Why do they dismiss or belittle our experiences? Our feelings are valid.

Is it asking too much for another to see that it is a big deal for me and respect my feelings?

I once told a friend that I don’t like people talking behind my back. If she has a problem with me, tell me to my face. She looked at me sighed and said “It is not a big thing, you worry too much and you should relax more.”

I not only felt she did not listen, I felt I was being patronised.

Someone told me that it must be part of my condition to worry about things that do not matter.

Of course, sometimes it is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things but to me it is. I suppose if someone listens, I can often realise it is not worth letting it upset me.

I am wondering if anyone else feels like this or has had others say the same thing?

Do the words ‘It is no big deal’ annoy you or do you just let it go?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


2

June

A blog for all Moodscopers

Thursday June 2, 2022


There must be many many people who read the blog every day but who never comment or haven’t so far.

This really doesn’t matter at all. If you are one of those who have never commented, I am sure you benefit from just reading the daily blogs.

I can imagine many reasons why you don’t comment.

But today if you would like to, can I suggest you just say “Hi”. I mean say exactly what you like but “Hi” is enough!

You need never comment again although we would love to hear from you again that’s for sure.

And also I look froward to hearing from regular friends. I can count quite a few who I regard as friends and who are an enormous support on a daily basis. I would miss you if ever you dropped off the radar.

For those who want to comment more (my friends but also those who might want to say more than “Hi”) I am interested in what you think started your depression or mental health issues. Or perhaps you don’t know. Perhaps it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly. Perhaps you have always been prone to low moods and anxiety or shyness.

As for me I think I’ve always had this shy personality but in latter years I’ve had days when I feel high. This high feeling is something I think has been caused by stress (although I love the “world is my oyster” feeling).

All my life I’ve tried to overcome my natural personality and be one of them, be the face that fits. I’m actually in quite a muddle as to why I’m like I am today but I do have some theories. I just wish I knew for sure.

So.. Hi to lots of you who are out there reading this. We send you support and encouragement to get through the day and life’s troubles.

And if you are in the mood for a comment, please let me know where you think your issues stemmed from or when they started. If you can!!

Jul
A Moodscope member

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


1

June

Pareidolia

Wednesday June 1, 2022


Do you have pareidolia? I know I do and I suspect quite a few of you reading this blog have it too! Pareidolia (pronounced pari-DOH-lee-a) is a psychological phenomenon that causes us to see patterns in a random stimulus, for example seeing a face in objects where there isn’t one. I have always seen a face on the front or back of a car.  Once you start thinking of the headlights or brake lights as the eyes, maybe it will become easier to see what I mean .
 
As an aside, having this ability has led to a few problems when trying to buy a new family car in the past. My husband would do all the research beforehand and know the size of the engine, the fuel consumption and all the safety features before we went to look at cars. I however would look at the front and back of each car and, if I could see an angry or unhappy face, would declare the car as totally unacceptable!
 
As the human brain is wired to recognise faces, it will often interpret even a slight suggestion of facial features as a face. Research done over the years monitoring brain activity with MRI scans has added evidence to the theory that facial pareidolia emerged from an evolutionary need to recognise friends or foes from their faces. Sending text messages and e-mails have their uses but they cannot ever replace a face-to-face meeting in my opinion.
 
The English language is rich with expressions using the word “face”; we can describe people as “two faced”, we “face up” to our responsibilities or to the future, we put a” brave face on” in times of trouble and we can talk to someone until we’re “blue in the face” and get nowhere. I have lost count of the number of times I have had “egg on my face” and have tried to “save face” in many an embarrassing situation! Whenever I go out, I am aware I “put a face on” and show the world a version of myself. Perhaps we all need different faces for different places?
 
So, what about you? Are you showing your face today?

Welsh Girl
A Moodscope member.

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


31

May

Your Energy Account

Tuesday May 31, 2022


I originally started open water swimming: `OWS’ in December 2020! I had wanted to do it for years as I kept reading about the benefits and I did actually feel energised after each swim. I swam from December, to April last year, but then because we were moving, I never kept it up.

My energy account is topped up at the moment, partly because the weather has improved, but I’ve found a community of OWS’s, and by a chance comment, I found a swimbud in my village. We have swum eleven or twelve times since 1st May this year. I realise that many of us have been OWS as children, at beaches etc., but it’s come to more prominence recently for the mental and physical health benefits.

The temperatures in the rivers and lakes we swim in, have climbed from 9C on 1st May to a ‘heady’ 19C in the rivers and 21C in the lake yesterday, whoop, whoop! There are triathletes, swimblers, plodders - many do it for their mental health. Some swimmers wear wetsuits and they marvel at us swimbling along in our cozzies, neoprene gloves and socks (we’ve ditched the woolly hats now it’s warmer - so brave, so fearless!)

The river swims take us passed beautiful gardens or country walks where people encourage or laugh with/at us as they stride along, often with a dog in tow…the dogs looking longingly at us! The scenery at the lakes is stunning and we both feel privileged to share these places - often with a moorhen, a duck, families of geese and goslings and the odd carp (oh yes!)

There are Facebook communities where swimmers offer advice on where to swim; warn of danger and help so much. There’s nearly always somewhere within a short distance where you can paddle, dip, dunk or swim!

During Mental Health Week, many people wrote how the friendships within the swimming community, provided stimulus and help with loneliness, as well as other mental and physical health benefits and I have to tell you lovely Moodscopers, it’s great when meeting fellow swimmers - we greet each other, have a chat or sometimes just give a knowing nod! There’s a great kindred spirit of a can-do attitude!! The feelings and thrills (endorphins not and-dolphins!) last for a couple of days, right up to the excitement of the next swimble!

I’m looking forward to swimbling in the sea soon and also hoping my swimbud and I can keep this going all year round.

What’s going to help you top up your energy account or fill up your tank - do share!

Love and Bear hugs x x x

Bearofliddlebrain
A Moodscope member.


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