The Moodscope Blog

3

July

Battling on a Daily Basis

Friday July 3, 2020


Earlier today we were walking across the fields in the pouring rain.

My OH wanted to turn back and cut our usual walk short. We were getting soaked.

But I wanted to battle on and fight against the weather. I didn’t want the weather to beat me.

On Sunday I decided to go for a run in the gale force wind. I got very angry with the wind as it almost brought me to a standstill but I battled on. When the wind came in strong bursts, I decided to run even faster to get the better of it. I was exhausted.

I was thinking today that this is what I’m like with my low moods, depression and insomnia.

Every day I battle with them, try not to give in to a low mood. I soldier on despite feeling tired and fed up. I’m probably not easy company and not nice to live with 24/7 but it’s almost a feeling of I will win, you won’t.

I know we can’t control the weather; in some ways we can control low moods. We can take anti depressants and have therapy for example. However I’ve tried all those and feel now I can’t control my low moods and insomnia either but I can carry on and not give in to it.

I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing always fighting. I don’t really accept any of it, so it’s not acceptance, but I look at it as the enemy, an enemy not to be defeated (as I don’t think I can defeat the weather or my moods), but not to give in. To run and walk into it each day and not give up.

Jul
A Moodscope member.

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


2

July


I wake up most days and wish I could sleep forever. I wouldn’t say I’m suicidal - just very low. It’s more a feeling of not wanting to carry on anymore. I find life so hard. I was born a worrier. Anxiety is my middle name. Added to that is a gnawing loneliness that lies deep inside and a crippling fear of a bleak future of more of the same. Each worry, anxiety or fear is simply replaced by another…

It’s almost a year since my husband died. I’ve just marked the first wedding anniversary without him. It would have been 23 years. I feel tearful, sad and so very alone. Just when I was starting to make some tentative connections with people again – the coronavirus pandemic struck and lockdown was imposed on us all. Now I feel truly isolated and all options seem firmly closed.

I’m ashamed to say I feel jealous every time I listen to the news. All the talk about ‘families’ and ‘households’. The vulnerable and over seventies must take extra care. I can’t help wondering where I fit in. I’m a 60 year old grieving widow, living alone and have Bipolar Disorder. The latter is well controlled with medication. Some days when I am so weepy or depressed with no energy, I tell myself it is back and I’m so scared.

I feel forgotten and I’m angry that this pandemic has steam-rolled my grief aside. Sometimes I want to yell out that I lost someone too!

Actually, I feel like I’m drowning in a tsunami of grief. I lost my mum in March 2017, my brother-in-law in December 2017, my brother in July 2018 and then my husband in June 2019. Oh yes and my cat was run over and killed 6 days after my mum died. Throughout all these deaths I was caring for my husband. He had a rare neurological disorder affecting speech, balance, breathing, swallowing etc. It was 24 hour care 7 days a week. As a carer I was invisible and as a widow I still feel invisible.

There wasn’t time to grieve any of these people because I was busy caring for my husband and I’m so angry that I missed that time. Now it feels too late. I don’t blame my husband. I was happy to care for him just as he’d cared for me throughout years of rapid cycling mania and depression.

The problem is this. I realise I don’t know how to take care of myself. This is the first time I’ve lived alone. I find it so hard to keep myself motivated. To keep going - day in day out. I can’t stick to anything and I don’t know what I want in my life. I have no role. It’s easy to get paranoid when there’s no-one to bounce off against. I can’t imagine living like this for the rest of my life and feel guilty for feeling this way when so many people are worse off.

Viviane
A Moodscope member.


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


1

July

Nothing is Ever Wasted

Wednesday July 1, 2020


In my third year at university everything took a dive. I realise now I was suffering one of the depressive periods in my bipolar pattern but, at the time, I didn’t know I had bipolar disorder and, quite frankly, it wouldn’t have helped much if I had known.

So – I tanked my finals: they were kind enough to give me a 2:2 anyway. I also made my career choice that year. With a degree in English, there was – teaching. I knew I didn’t want to teach so what could I do? I had a maths A level and so I plumped for accountancy. Why accountancy? It begins with A and was the first career in the book. Yes, it was literally that simple.

So began fifteen long miserable years of doing a job to which I was almost totally unsuited.

The thing is, that, very often, you don’t realise how miserable you are until the burden is lifted and you are released from the thing that is causing the misery. You don’t know you are in a cage; you just know you cannot fly, and you wonder why. You do everything you can think of to be free – other than unlock the door and fly away. The cage is safe, even if you are trapped. You work harder and harder and it just gets worse.

In the end, it was my courageous Director of Finance who took me aside and gently explained to me that I was totally unskilled at being an accountant and that I just didn’t have the talent for it. It was hard to hear, but she gave me a valuable gift and I will forever be grateful.

I look back at that time and it would be easy to see it as almost completely wasted and to be bitter about my choices.

Yet, nothing is ever wasted. Every experience is positive if you view it in the right light.

I think of all the friends I made in that time, the listening skills I learned when managing a culturally diverse team, the different places I lived.

Most importantly, if not for that time, I would not be here now. I met two of my best friends in my last but one job. It was one of those friends who introduced me to my husband. Moving to take a new job gave me the opportunity to sing with a wonderful choir. I was introduced to the concept of personal development. It was through taking one of those courses I stumbled across my new career which I love.

Life really is a journey. There are rocks and desert and thorny places. I think the point is that every step gives us an opportunity to either add to or hone our life-skills. Everything in life does end and there is a new doorway to walk through. Then there is a choice; do we take bitterness or good memories? I don’t think we can take both.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


30

June

Who is in your support network?

Tuesday June 30, 2020


I have four major support networks:

My psychologist and my psychiatrist. My immediate family. My trusted friends.


For me, the Covid‐19 shutdown started on March 13. For the past 14 weeks, I asked my psychologist and psychiatrist to be the pillars of my support network.

I asked each of them to contact me once a week, so I could lean on them to regain my balance and to navigate through the new reality we are all facing.

Most importantly, my psychiatrist fine‐tuned my medication so my sleep is back on track... ESSENTIAL for my wellbeing.

Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises have grounded me and bring me back to the present moment. I learned that while I cannot control what happens around me, I certainly can control my anxiety.

The best advice they gave me is this: unplug. Turn off the TV, stop listening to the constant, daily stream of “breaking news …

Instead, in the evening I bring out the puzzles, the magic markers and coloring book... and for a few hours I focus on a reassuring, simple and creative activity that brings me joy. And in the background, I chose a YouTube video with the sound of ocean waves... bringing me tranquility amidst the storm.

Who are your pillars?

Christine
A Moodscope member.

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


29

June

Reparenting

Monday June 29, 2020

[To view a video version of this blog please follow this link - we recommend it, it's a very touching video: https://vimeo.com/433327372]
 
I wonder how many of us would benefit from a bit of Reparenting? 
 
All of us, I suspect.
 
We may have had loving parents and a loving home, but for many of us that wasn’t the case. A roof over our head and food on the table meets only the most basic of human needs. We all need to FEEL loved.
 
I’m still suffering, and Moodscope is a community for those of us who could be described as “a work in progress”! May this blog help at least some of us.
 
Mum’s death last year has opened access to a lot of unexamined, repressed feelings. She was deeply damaged by her own childhood traumas and was not easily able to express love to most people. Animals? Now that was another matter! She poured out love on animals.
 
As I have worked through some of my deep issues with an excellent therapist, we’ve got down to the possible root of why I have loathed myself for so long: I never felt loved. Never.
 
Mum told me many times that she loved me, but it seemed incongruent with her lack of affection, and very at odds with the attention she gave to the animals in her life. A dog had a better chance of being ‘loved’ in any of the embracing ways I’d have liked. I’d have gladly swapped places with a dog.
 
Dad was absent much of my childhood – for many reasons. It is not surprising that I felt abandoned, unwanted, unloved, and not the right person. On this last point, Mum wanted a girl and I was thus ‘wrong’ from birth. My sister and Dad also have often ‘joked’ about bringing the wrong baby home from the hospital. Unsurprisingly, I never found that funny.
 
My life-long quest for love (in all the wrong places and ways) has caused chaos, so I am needing to go back to basics: self-acceptance.
 
Each night, when I have trouble sleeping, I cuddle into a pillow and wrap my arms around it as if embracing my younger self. This is my reparenting mantra: “Neil (my first name), I love you unconditionally. And I forgive you.”  We’ll leave the forgiveness for another blog. The point is I systematically go through my life and parent myself. I start in the womb, “Neil-in-the-womb, I want you to know that you are wanted and are loved unconditionally.” Then I say the same to the Neil-at-birth, followed by every age up to where I am now. It’s as if the Lex of today goes back to every point on the timeline to reassure and rebuild the Neils of yesterday.
 
What’s the result? It’s early days. I’ve recognised the potential source of so much self-destructive behaviour and started to reconstruct my psyche. Most importantly, it’s an amazing way to get to sleep! Way better than counting sheep.
 
Is it time for the current you to go back to the younger you and let them know how much you love them?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


28

June

Music to My Ears

Sunday June 28, 2020


I was in the car with my 13 year old daughter the other day, coming back from the vets with a poorly cat and she’d put her music on in the car stereo. An old Crowded House song came on and I commented that music is the most evocative thing for memories from past moments for me. Not just a time but actual moments, I can feel how I did at that particular time instantly.

She doesn’t have as many years to look back on as me and felt smell was more of a memory aid for her.

We started talking about music that brought back different memories, many of hers were happy, times with friends at parties or singing in school.

I’ve now got many different playlists that I use for different moods. I’ve got my happy songs to sing along to in the kitchen, car or when I’m cleaning. But I’ve also got my sad playlists, I’ve got my songs that make me tearful, not because the words meant anything to me at the time but because of the memories that they evoke.

I’ve got a playlist of my black dog songs, the ones that I feel really express how depression makes me feel and it’s a comfort to know that I’m not alone when I listen to them if I’m in that familiar place. I’ve also got my chilled out tracks that make me feel serene.

I hardly listen to the radio now and fear that my music taste will stagnate although with three children into their own stuff I’ll perhaps keep finding new bands.

These are some of my favourites from my ‘Down in the Dumps’ Playlist:

You’re Not Alone - Embrace

Three Little Birds - Bob Marley

River - Joni Mitchell
Landslide - Fleetwood Mac

What More Can I Do? - Jack Savoretti I could go on and on...!

How does music help you and your mood or memories?

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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


27

June

What fruit is not your friend?

Saturday June 27, 2020


I like finding out more about Moodscopers and that is why I find the comments on the blog fascinating.

Sometimes I like to be a bit light hearted and ask a question just for fun.

What fruit do you find ridiculously hard to eat for various reasons, so you avoid it?

I heard a woman from the passionfruit association complaining that only one in 3 people like to eat passion fruit so her task was to entice people with new ways to eat passionfruit.

I cannot think of a fruit I do not like except for custard apple but I do not consider it a fruit. If you do like every fruit maybe mention a vegetable, you avoid.

Also, I find it it interesting to find out how you may have disliked a fruit or vegetable as a child but now like it. I could not eat beetroot, maybe as I thought it came in a tin till, I was 20!! I found it stained everything.

Did you have a bad experience the fist time you ate a persimmon like I did and ended up with a furry tongue!?

Is it the texture, the look, the flavour, the seeds, the smell that puts you off? Do you think the way we approach a new fruit reveals thing about a personality? As I said a bit of fun, but I find food preferences interesting.

I eat fruit when I am feeling ok but only fruits like mangoes, mandarins, watermelon, and then grapes when I feel down. I particularly like mangoes when in season and grapes that can cheer me up.
 
What fruit do you try to avoid or makes you feel queasy? What fruit or vegetable did you not like as a child but do now and vice versa? Are there certain fruits that affect your mood, or you choose when in a certain mood?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


26

June

The first step…

Friday June 26, 2020


I have had bi-polar for many years, officially diagnosed in 2003. I have been on various tablets, none have really worked other than to lead to weight gain which has caused another stress but that’s a different story. I have been refused counselling twice, however I am lucky enough to have a brilliant wife without whom, well who knows, but my life is far better with her.

The problem with bi-polar is that you can talk to experts, friends, fellow ‘sufferers’ but at the end of the day you have to come to terms with it yourself and find the right coping mechanisms yourself.

I teach for a living. I train people with their own horses and thoroughly enjoy my job. I am reasonably successful which means I can be busy.

So how can someone, who has been in some very dark places be busy and successful with work. Its two fold: The love of my wife, my best friend, who I would do anything for. She gives me a reason. The second I have found is that the more I teach it almost makes the brain tired and the effects of the bi-polar diminish. When I have driven say 1 hour each way and taught for 6 hours straight my mind, more often than not is more at peace.

On the dark days, when it would be easier to hide, I know I have a reason and a mechanism. I cannot just tell myself it’s going to be ok, just like you cannot tell your mind to relax – you have to think of something that is relaxing. So in the case of bi-polar, you will have depression, mania and some degree of normal time. In that quiet time find a reason, find a mechanism and then on the dark days take that first step...

Simon
A Moodscope member.

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


25

June

Morning is broken

Thursday June 25, 2020

The sun is shining. The blackbird is singing, gloriously. Here comes my little black and white cat, paying her morning visit to greet me in bed, which often involves her creeping under the duvet and lying across my legs. But she goes and I have no more excuses. I have to get up. But I lie there inertly like a dish of cold custard, perhaps with Radio 4 on quietly, willing myself to get out of bed, summon up some enthusiasm and get going. It’s my worst time of day.

Why am I like this? Think biological – psychological – social, as mental health workers do when they try to work out why something happened. It’s not difficult to reach the conclusion that, biologically, I’m an owl not a lark. I’ve always enjoyed evenings, not got tired, got things done which some other people would leave until the next morning – edit a report for my husband, read that article, finish the last bit of ironing, fold all the clothes to put away when husband (a morning person) is not asleep.

The other biological aspect is that feeling dreadful in the morning is a symptom of (bipolar) depression. This is diurnal variation, which means the day starts dire and gradually lightens up. I’ve had this on and off for my whole adult life. I used to find around 3pm was my watershed when things were bad. It often goes with early morning waking. However, I can remember being decidedly unenthusiastic about getting up as a girl, prior to depressive illnesses. Going back to school was always difficult and I can attach a fair bit of psychology to that, thanks to my parents.

For social factors look no further than lockdown, where life seems to have been put on hold and so many former activities are curtailed. In fact, I can tolerate lockdown reasonably well. As a long retired person with a comfortable home and lovely garden I’m used to being here all the time and I’m not gregarious. But I’m beginning to feel aimless and useless.

Despite everything, I have never actually ‘given in’ (as it seems to me) and stayed in bed. First of all, I have a routine. I think that’s helpful, although sometimes it seems having to go through all those steps adds to the effort required to get out of bed. There are all the self maintenance things: bath (my husband has gone to work and left me the bath water) application of unguents and jewellery, deciding what to wear and dressing. Then make bed and tidy bedroom. Next, mindfulness meditation if there are no distractions, and then breakfast, during which I read the paper and linger over it for ages until after 10am and I force myself to act.

The other ingredient is willpower. I’ve practised exerting this for many decades and it serves me well. ‘Do it – NOW!’ cuts out a lot of introspection and rumination. It helps to be organised and know what the priorities are. Of course, it’s much more difficult to use in depression.

Yes, mornings are worse than usual for me at the moment, but that’s lockdown for you. Isn’t it?

Rosemary
A Moodscope member.

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


24

June

Exhaustion

Wednesday June 24, 2020


Unless you live in a house or flat just big enough (or possibly too small), most of you have “that room.” “That room” is where everything that doesn’t have a home finds a “temporary” resting place until it is put on Gumtree or taken to the charity shop or put up into the loft – never to see the light of day again.

In our house it’s the dining room. The last time it was even semi-cleared was at the end of March when my daughter’s eighteenth birthday celebrations were abruptly circumscribed to our nuclear family circle and we held a formal black-tie dinner in her honour.

On Saturday I decided to spring-clean. I had ignored the increasing grubbiness for too long. The spiders were building skyscrapers while campaigning for more space and the dust-bunnies were breeding like – well – rabbits!

Armed with vacuum-cleaner, cobweb brush, mop, dusting cloths, furniture polish and kitchen sink – well – washing up bowl of soapy water – I began. I evicted 22 spiders and sucked up more. I brushed down enough cobwebs to make a parachute for a spy. I operated a recovery mission under the sideboard where a colony of woodlice had established a graveyard; lying thick as if their goal were to become limestone in a million years, once the polar icecaps melt and East Anglia is again under the sea. I dusted the bookcases. I polished the table and chairs. I extracted all the homeless objects from the corners and piled them up for later permanent rehoming. I vacuumed and mopped and dusted, and at the end of it all I felt accomplished but physically exhausted.

Yesterday I had the horrible but morally unavoidable task of telling someone the person she considers a friend is a sociopathic child sex offender: today I am emotionally exhausted.

Alison texted this morning to say she has been doing a lot of self-examination in connection with a personal development course. She is spiritually exhausted.

We will both recover. Sunday was a day of rest for me. I lay in the hammock and read. A friend visited for a socially distanced cup of tea in the garden and I went to bed only tired, not drained.

Today I will be kind to myself. Writing everything down expresses my emotions externally, so they leave my body. I shall do a little gentle crafting without demanding from myself a paper-engineered masterpiece. This will nourish me.

Alison will spend some time in meditation and go on a nature walk. Her soul will be refreshed.

When we expend all our energy, we need to rest, to recover and to replenish. It is easy to expect too much of ourselves, to go day after day draining ourselves of everything and not giving ourselves what we need to recharge. I am guilty of this – but I’m learning. Slowly.

My challenge to you today is to think about what you need to recharge. And then to spend some time doing it.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


23

June

Who am I?

Tuesday June 23, 2020


Well, I’m just a regular person, full of the ‘usual’ insecurities. Am I too fat, too ugly, too loud, too annoying, too quiet, too anything? I am all of them, I am bi-polar after-all and able to shift between states at an alarming rate of knots.

Do I like that I am bi-polar? Not sure.

Did it interrupt my life just as it was getting interesting? Yes.

Would I be happier if I wasn’t ‘afflicted’? Yes.

Did I have problems answering that last question? Yes.

Why? I hate the rawness and pain of being ill, however at the same time I appreciate the absolute awareness it affords you when well.

I overthink - a lot. When there is not much to take your mind off things, that is a dangerous habit to have. When I work, I think about how nice it would be to kick back and relax and not do anything; whilst when I have those sought-after days off I am consumed with thoughts about what is outstanding at work. Like an unwanted guest, work always creeps into the foreground of my thoughts. I worry if I have too much work on and get agitated if I have too little to do.

I did have a ‘break’ from office based work for a while – a bad relationship and stresses at work caused me to relapse and bolt home to live with my parents, to heal and build myself back up to something resembling human. Because that’s what bi-polar does to you, it makes you feel in-human, in-capable of functioning around others, questioning yourself, as well as others. It hollows you out and makes you ready for the next chapter of your life, in whatever form you wish to personify. Talk about re-invention. You always catch yourself thinking - maybe next time it will be different, maybe I’ll be able to stay well. Or, maybe like the other times, stress will accumulate, catch you unawares and you’ll crash [again].

After finding a home for myself and my dog, which I managed to live in for nigh on seven years - I find myself back living with my parents again. I moved in soon after the coronavirus pandemic took hold under the insistence of my brother. I don’t know who he thought needed supporting - myself due to previous bouts of illness, or my parents because they are getting on a bit now and I cook for them every evening. To summarise, we are co-dependant.

I know for certain, that if I were left to my own devices I would not last. I have gone from one extreme to another, living in flat shares with people, to living alone, and now living back with the ‘folks’. In my heart of hearts I know that I am lucky since I am safe and I am loved. Am I content? I guess. Am I well? Yes, thankfully. Do I wish I had another life? Sometimes but then who doesn’t daydream?

Stay Well, Stay Safe. 

Sarah
A Moodscope member.

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


22

June

Return to sender

Monday June 22, 2020


[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please follow this link: https://bit.ly/2AMPqsQ, and to view a video, please follow this link: https://bit.ly/312QX8H]

I’ve just heard a phrase in a video from The School of Life that may be one of the most profound truths I’ve ever encountered… if it really is true.

“An inner voice always used to be an outer voice.”

The sentence comes from a video entitled, “Overcoming Bad Inner Voices,” a theme we often address here on Moodscope.

https://youtu.be/gGuZVuUBeiQ

Why am I so excited by this?

The lady voicing the video offers The School of Life as an alternative voice - something I believe Moodscope is for its members. This voice is a gentle friend who has experienced some of the worst events life can throw at us, and yet has chosen not to become bitter. It is the voice our mothers should have had, but let’s not go there, eh? May we each, increasingly, become a voice to one another that is positively convincing, confident, and constructive… and so consistent that we all learn to internalise the kind voice that is ‘Moodscope’ - our uncritical friend.

It’s a voice that is uninterested in the external signals of success: being good at stuff. Rather, it loves us for just being. Loved as a Human Being, not a Human Doing. I’ve been getting to grips with Unconditional Love over the years, but I can now sense a new route to such a blissful experience. The route is to be the voice, that alternative voice, that pours our positive affirmation of the ‘other’ in such a way that our outside voice may eventually become internalised as their own internal voice. Our mission is to speak words of life and hope and love ‘into’ them.

If our heads really do contain the voices of all the people who have ever poured their thoughts into our consciousness, it’s pruning time! Out with the secateurs of love, and let’s get busy.

When I’ve cut off the heads of some of those very many negative and even ‘conditional’ voices, I’m going to box them up, seal them tightly, and mark on the box, “Return to Sender.”

Here’s what Moodscope’s voice might say:

Because of Moodscope’s inner voice, I am becoming…
More attentive - able to pay close attention
More interested in life and others, and thus more interesting
More active, feeling more energy
More determined, becoming increasingly resolute and resilient
Stronger - feeling able to cope with difficulties that, previously, would have beaten me
Increasingly inspired, feeling more of a desire to do something
Proud of what I am achieving
More alert - I really am becoming quick to notice and act appropriately
Really rather eager - enthusiastic, even!
So much so, I’m actually quite excited, looking forward to things!!

Lex
A Moodscope member.


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


21

June

The Value of Self-Care

Sunday June 21, 2020


Rising and stretching
I perform my daily rituals,
I really do not want
to face today
life hangs heavily
around my shoulders.

I drag myself downstairs,
resisting the strong
desire to return to bed
to read my book
to attempt oblivion
in a novel.

A few days earlier I discovered
that someone very special
to me, a support
for the past fourteen
or more years
had been rushed to hospital
with kidney failure.

The following day I had
a phone call to inform me
that this person’s husband
had died of a cardiac arrest,
all attempts at resuscitation
having failed.

No wonder I was feeling
rubbish, that I did not want
to face another day.
a sense of great, deep loss
was engulfing me.

I rationalised my situation
told myself not to be so wet.
By skulking about I was not going
to change the situation
an iota. I was being
rather harsh with myself.

While downstairs I re-examined
my self-care commitments
being gentle to myself
Was one of them. I am prone
to practising self-flagellation.

The heavy cloud
began to lift away.

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

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


20

June

Note to self

Saturday June 20, 2020


Diet, exercise and meditation. Get creative, to put your mind on track. Examine your thoughts, are they facts, or judgments. Ask yourself, what is up to me, and what is not up to me. Find the loveliness in the simple things around you. Don't be afraid to be an idiot, in the best sense of being an idiot. You can live a good life, never a perfect one. Bad things happen, they are sent to try you.

I watched a video talking about the long night of the soul. It got a bit heavy, but one phrase struck me - darkness is preparation for light. I have sometimes thought that I could continue to get better, so I would never suffer again. But I cannot see the future, and suffering is part of life. I might more hopefully try to eliminate some unnecessary suffering. 

I swing between some darkness and then into the light. When I'm in the light I can talk about the darkness. When I'm in the darkness, it would be better if I slept, as it had been a nightmare.

I do appreciate learning, I like science, which satisfies my curiosity. But even more I like the feelings brought on from creativity, love of nature, care and appreciation of others, laughing, and a wanting to find love, but okay if it is not to be. I could not have said that when in my lower mood. When the darkness closed in, I could not even see the faintest glimmer. But I was not to remember that light follows darkness, as day follows night.

I do find that, unlike the 24-hour cycle, the light of a sustained and reasonable content and steady mood does depend on what is thought about, and what is done in life. So I write to myself as above.

What is your advice to yourself?

Huw
A Moodscope member.

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


19

June

What lesson did I learn?

Friday June 19, 2020

People often ask me what I have learnt from my loss in the Australian bushfires, having lost my home and my business and I find it hard to answer.

One thing I would say is, if there is something you have meaning to do with photos, sorting through family archives, please do not put it off.

I had a couple scrapbooks from my grandparents shop where my grandfather had saved every advertisement put into a paper and pasted into a scrapbook. One day, I used to think I will scan all those advertisements and keep the family history.

One day never came.

I had my mums war album full of photos, writing, and artwork and I was going to scan that too.

I can not list all the things I wish I put on memory sticks. We all think we have time but if a disaster happens you do not, and I wish I had been more prepared. I cannot do anything about my loss, but I can advise you think about all those little tasks of organising letters, photos, family history and start them today.

What I have learnt is one day never comes but today is here. Is there one small task you can start today?

I hope none of you lose your possessions, but knowing you are prepared can help.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


18

June


I’m going to be totally honest here for my own growth and in the hope that it helps someone reading this. I’m finally realising that synchronicity works, so, if you are reading this and it helps you in some way, then, voila, synchronicity at work.

I’ve read many self-help books over the years and have dipped in and out of putting them into practice, to only fall again into a hole of despair and pity. However, something unpleasant happened to me two weeks ago that has ironically given me the motivation to put some of these practices into use.

Two weeks ago, I found out that my boyfriend was cheating on me. I was devastated. I’ve never experienced this before. I’d had my suspicions for a while and had asked him if he was seeing someone else, which he denied. I knew he was lying and it made me feel awful. Anxious. Worried. Paranoid. A knot in my stomach. But I also knew I was right and I just couldn’t shake this feeling off. The detail of how I caught him isn’t important but what was important was that I needed to see it for myself as I knew either I had to leave or put up with my suspicions because he wasn’t going to tell me the truth.

When I saw for myself that he was cheating I was angry. Hurt. Devastated. I wanted revenge. I wanted everyone to know what he had done to me. But something in me told me to PAUSE. Take a moment. Not to react straight away. Days before this discovery I had started Louise Hay’s Mirror Work book to begin to learn self-love and self-healing. Perhaps it was this or perhaps I had an inner strength that had never been fully ignited or perhaps it was the years of reading self-help books that all accumulated to this one powerful thought: I am not going to make this about me. I am not going to blame myself for not being pretty enough, or thin enough or good enough. No. This was his mistake. Whatever his reasons were for cheating, they were his and not mine.

So, for the first time, I treated myself with the same kindness that I treat others. I cried but not because I was weak but to release the pain. I also visualised forgiving him. Not because I condoned his behaviour but because it was another way to release the pain, the anger, the blame and the resentment.

I am learning to no longer play the victim and fall into a hole of despair. I won’t lie. I’m still hurt. I still have a knot of anxiety when I think about him but I’m letting it go. I’m growing. I’m seeing it as a lesson that will propel me forward.

Anuszka
A Moodscope member.

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


17

June

You are Different

Wednesday June 17, 2020


It was 1995; I was 32 years old, with friends, discussing wine.

I was waxing lyrical over a wine I had recently tasted when my hostess interrupted me. “Mary,” she asked, “Do you by any chance see music in colour?”

I looked at her blankly for a moment and then said, “Well, yes – doesn’t everyone?”

“No,” she replied. You have synaesthesia; it’s very rare.”

Until that moment I had assumed that everyone had their senses all working together: that they heard sound in shapes and colours, tasted in sound and shape, smelled in colour and texture. Turns out – nope – they don’t.

Until my daughter was eleven, she assumed that words moved around on the page for everyone; she concluded she was just stupid, because everyone else in the class could read easily and she struggled. It was a chance remark to a friend that revealed she has Irlen’s syndrome. Irlen’s syndrome has elements in common with dyslexia and ADHD but is not often spotted by the educational system.

Until last week, my friend Richard was under the impression that everyone in the world struggles with thoughts of suicide from time to time; he thought that they else just hide it better. After all, until recently, the subject of mental health has been little discussed: he had no way of knowing. He was astounded to find that, no: most people do not experience the massive emotional ups and downs that, for him, is normality. Suddenly, a lot of things that had confused him made much more sense.

We all have our own normality which we do not query until it is challenged. That challenge can be a chance remark or question, or a traumatic event which reveals that we are “different”.

Then we are torn. On the one hand, while we want to be recognised as individuals, on the other hand, we don’t want to be different. “Different” in our tribal minds, means being ostracised; being taunted; being hunted down.

Thankfully, in the twenty-first century and in the Western World, our differences are usually accepted and, for those differences which create a challenge, help is sometimes available.

I’ve been lucky with my synaesthesia – it is not as overwhelming for me as it is to some, who find the over-stimulation a disability. And it comes in handy for the writing!

We have been lucky with my daughter. Although there is no “cure” for Irlens’ syndrome, a local specialist has helped her enormously and she can now read to a competent standard; although the other connected symptoms mean she does not learn as easily or quickly as others.

And Richard now knows he cannot expect automatic understanding from everyone around him: he needs to seek support from people who do understand.

Our “normality”, our struggles, may not be the normality of the world. We may have a handicap we know nothing about. Once we know, we can get help, or at least support.

Thank goodness for Moodscope: a great support indeed!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


16

June

Being close

Tuesday June 16, 2020


I wonder how you interpret being close to someone. We are asked, especially when someone dies “Were you close?” There are several ways of looking at it really. Sometimes I think I'm not close to anybody at all!

But if a distant friend has died, or a friend is grieving or in trouble, it can have such a huge impact on me, does that mean we were/are close?

I have always struggled with love. I loved (and will always love) my dogs, each and every one of them that I have looked after over the years. There are five in total. Losing the last two has hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I have two half-brothers, one from each of my parents. Being twelve years old when they were born, literally two months apart, I had (and still have) a very special bond with one of them. Like a second mummy, I nurtured him and adored him for six years.

But then I had to leave home for my own sanity at 18.

If only I could have taken him with me!

Mother and step father then left the country with him for six years. I missed out on his childhood but he used to record tapes and send them to me. We have kept that close relationship, me and my brilliant little brother. He lives away now (in this country but the place they ended up in before they moved again). He had no roots in this area but he made some friends in one place and decided to stay there.

So, I don¹t see him as often as I would like, yet that bond we have, will never go. If I wanted to save one person in the world, it would be him.

I ponder on this question of closeness when it comes to my parents. They are my parents after all. I moan about them and there is a lack of contact, real love and common sense, but I will miss them when they are gone. They divorced when I was eight and unfortunately this brought many barriers along the way. There was no need and there still isn’t, but that is the way it is.

Am I close to my husband? I guess I must be, I don’t think I could be without him!

What is your perception of being close?

Molly xx
A Moodscope member.

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


15

June

Essentially uplifting

Monday June 15, 2020


I love your nose-brain!

It almost sounds rude, doesn’t it? But it’s true, we have a part of our brain called the Nose-Brain!

Essentially, it seems, we’re all nosey!

OK, a couple of caveats. Firstly, I’m not a neuroscientist. Secondly, I’m not an aromatherapist.

Caveats aside, I can read, and I’m massively curious when it comes to ANYTHING that might make life better for all of us.

So, here’s what’s happened. My eldest son, Samuel, now works for ScentAir. This company specialises in influencing behaviour through scent. I’m really interested in Sensory Marketing or Neuro-Marketing as we might call it (if we want to sell books and courses!)

One of the earliest parts of the brain to develop, the Rhinencephalon (literally ‘Nose-Brain’) is associated both with the conscious awareness of scent, and more unconsciously with the emotional associations we make with those scents.

If you smell rotten eggs, your brain emotionally feels repulsed… so that you might live longer!
If you smell a fragrantly splendid rose, your heart may feel uplifted, making associations with health and beauty and spring and hope!

Life stinks… so let’s come up smelling of roses!

These 5 Scents have been recommended to me:

Lavender
Cedarwood
Frankincense
Chamomile
Grapefruit

Sounds like a bunch of rabbits in a Beatrix Potter story…

You’ll make your own mind up about what is good for you, but know that what you like may upset your pets or your partner (who could be the same!)

Here’s what these scents are supposed to be associated with.

Lavender = calm, easing anxiety. Lavender at bedtime is reckoned to help some of us sleep better and feel more energised the day after.
Cedarwood = stress relieving. It may even boost performance and productivity.
Frankincense = peace and comfort.
Chamomile = anti-inflammatory - and thus a rebalancing. May positively affect digestion.
Grapefruit = an energiser!

I conclude with an exciting invitation to explore scent.

We know for certain that scent influences emotion and thus behaviour.

We have Keyneston Mill near us, the home of Parterre Fragrances, and I have to say visiting there is exciting in many sensory ways.

Seems to me to ‘make sense’ to investigate how scent may help our emotional mastery, and I have a sense that many Moodscopers can comment from their own experience on this vital topic!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


14

June


Lately we have been encouraged to take on a hobby or creative pursuit that will challenge us.

I have no artistic bone in my body and my creativity is limited to words or arranging mandarins in a bowl.

So, I bought two visual diaries and one sketch book, coloured pencils, texts and water colours and pencils.

I bought a practical box to store them in and that is where they have stayed for two months.

What stops me from opening the  box?

Is it fear of failure, is it fear of the unknown, Is it all the voices from my childhood tell me I can’t colour in, I draw like a 5 year old, I have no talent, stick to words.

I thought I could try collage, so I saved up catalogues, and pretty paper, but even collage scares me.

People say there is no wrong with being creative, have a go, but all these people have skills and talent.

A friend and her niece had a drawing challenge and each night posted their amazing drawings. My crude stick figure art and animals look like a 5-year-old drawing compared to theirs. Do not compare I hear you say, but the reality is we do compare.

Art is personal, do you own thing, but I do not want ridicule. Sure, I can do words but why is it so hard to try a new creative outlet.

I wonder do we do things we are skilled at or are we skilled at the things we do?

In my experience people who enjoy art are talented at it, rarely someone like me with no talent attempts any type of art. If we feel it is difficult and do not enjoy being creative, then we often do not try.
 
I wonder did anyone try  a new craft or creative outlet in last few months. How did it go?

Did anyone like me buy the tools needed then for whatever reason never started. Why?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


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