The Moodscope Blog

8

May


I think I have written about this before but it’s a subject which occupies my mind a lot.

I wonder if our personalities which are in part hereditary and part as a result of upbringing in the early years, dictate whether we will suffer from mental health problems later in life.

I think and this is my opinion, that we grow up actually fairly happy (if we are lucky) with our family, school etc and it’s only when we reach a certain age, are we aware that our face doesn’t fit or we feel uneasy in a group, work or social setting.

Only then do we begin to question ourselves and our abilities to feel normal.

Anxiety plays a huge part in my health issues and that started when I was young but my real problems begun when I started work after having had children. I found I was unable to conform to what was expected of me even though I worked very hard.

My personality was wrong. I didn’t crack the same office jokes as everyone else and couldn’t laugh when I was expected to. I wasn’t vocal in meetings and was shy basically and not self confident. Even though I produced the work and everyone went to me if they needed something, I wasn’t appreciated or liked. I begun to feel very bad about myself. The seeds of disquiet were sown.

Eventually I developed mental health issues, not severe ones at all but basically I was angry with myself and felt I’d failed. I didn’t fit in and felt awkward in the after work social settings unless I drank copious amounts of alcohol. It wasn’t good.

But now I look back I can see that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I did try but I didn’t succeed. I was probably in the wrong job but who has the luxury of choosing a job which suits their personality?

What I am saying is this. Perhaps we are not depressed but just being ourselves and trying to fit into society and what we think, or are told we should be like. It’s a struggle for so many of us.

Mental health is a very complex issue.

Jul
A Moodscope member.

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


7

May

Acceptance

Friday May 7, 2021


I used to associate acceptance with saying yes to an invitation to a party.

In the past few years, and especially in the last year many people including mental health professionals and friends and family have told me that I need to accept what has happened to me and move on.

Now we are all advised that to be mentally healthy we need to accept we have an illness, accept the way things are, accept pain and accept what we have lost and experienced.

Often acceptance may change over time and be appropriate to the current life-stage of the person concerned. It may mean not being in denial but accepting yourself and not hating yourself so you become more open to doing the things that will help. This can be hard to achieve. I denied I had bipolar for 16 years. I do not think I have ever 100% accepted my label but I do not hate myself and never did.


After more episodes or maybe a traumatic episode some people acknowledge and are prepared to accept that they have mental illness. This is often a period of intense loss of one’s identity and one's previous life. There are other times that we are encouraged to have acceptance, when we have death of loved one, physical illness and or disability, employment struggles, relationship breakdown and other issues or any other traumatic experience.


I think acceptance can happen haphazardly and not in a straight line It is a process that may not work for everyone. I know the hardest part has been accepting that I would not have the life I had again. I think acknowledging the loss and recognising the struggle I was having and ignoring those who said I had to move on helped me. I think how one defines acceptance in relation to one’s mental health is important.

I am interested in what acceptance means to you. I don’t mean the definition used psychologically but how you use/understand the word.

Do you the find the concept of acceptance, helpful or unhelpful to you or is it something you tr,y but struggle with at times?

Leah
A Moodscope Member.

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


6

May


The lifting of lockdown in the UK, the arrival of spring and so much good weather has appeared to bring a sunniness to the nation’s mood.

But I am on my guard....enjoying life’s pleasures but always with one eye out for that lolloping black dog. He who brings bad thoughts, paranoia and a distorted sense of reality.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, with a variety of emotions flying around. I returned home to my refurbished house. At last home after eight months in temporary accommodation. The delight of being home dropped as the sheer physical exhaustion of moving house kicked in. It was not helped by sharp criticism by my mother for the house ‘being messy’. This comment stung as two or three critical pieces of furniture had not arrived due to complications at the port post Brexit and I was surrounded by boxes.

Being sensitive to criticism (who isn’t?), tired, and emotionally processing the trauma of what happened and moving home, I did not respond well. Fortunately I spared my sharp tongue but was really unwell for a couple of weeks, hearing negativity and criticism everywhere.

Today in my garden as I turn the soil, finally tackling the weeds and break into the compost heap, I am looking to the future. To the crop of red and black currants currently flowering. To the prospect of a daughter finishing dreaded exams and having a summer of freedom. To a big birthday and being able to celebrate with friends (not family!). To being me, aware of the dreaded black dog, but not letting it stop me dream nor believe in a better future.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member

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


5

May

Great Expectations

Wednesday May 5, 2021


It’s my birthday today. Well, not today as I’m writing this, but tomorrow while you’re reading.

I love birthdays! No, I’m not going to tell you how old I am. Oscar Wilde wrote, “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.”

I love birthdays because I love cards and gifts and well-wishes – even those casual greetings from Facebook connections prompted only by the algorithm popping up in their notifications. I bask in all the attention.

I am also unashamed in my requests for gifts. Not from all and sundry, of course: I don’t corner random strangers on the street with demands for birthday presents, but from the family members and close friends I know want to give me something. I reason that most people would rather give a gift they know will be well received, than chance an offering that will be met with a strained smile, a dutiful thank you note, and which will then be quietly passed on at the first opportunity.

Today I got a text from a dear friend. “BTW can you send me again that link? I thought I had bookmarked it but apparently not. Sorry I have delayed so long with it. Chalk up the usual lame excuses.”

I laughed and was unsurprised. Nor was I disappointed. In a true friendship, one accepts people as they are, and does not build false expectations. I shall be delighted and touched to receive a gift in due course. After all, it just makes the birthday last longer!

Many years ago, I attended a personal development seminar where we were introduced to the idea of analysing our upsets. When we are upset or distressed by anything, the leader said, it is from only three possible causes: an intention which was thwarted, an undelivered communication or a disappointed expectation.

Take a moment to think about the last time you were upset over something. You will most likely find its cause was one or more of these – perhaps all three.

At my last company conference, we had to complete the following: “To work with me, you should know…” My answer was, “I have a black hole of admin; if you keep track and remind me of what I should be doing, I will be SO grateful. Be straight with me: I appreciate it. If you recognise my contribution I will cry with gratitude. I will ALWAYS give you everything I can – but I may forget what I have promised to do.”

My friends and family know I am forgetful; they know I never mind being reminded. They also know I do my best NOT to forget.

Sometimes, of course, there are traits in those we love that we cannot accept; we must be continually disappointed and upset.

It’s always worth considering, however, if our expectations are reasonable. Maybe we should lower them to avoid disappointment.

I shall be delighted then, with just one birthday card.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


4

May

Girls versus boys

Tuesday May 4, 2021


I am expecting some flak if this blog  gets past Caroline’s scrutiny, so I would like to make it plain  that I accept  a woman’s choice of clothing is hers to decide. No man should use seductive appearance as an excuse for sexual harassment or worse.
 
I am also aware that my viewpoint is that of a woman who grew up to expect and indeed tolerate the kind of behaviour from men that would be unacceptable today. Just one example, I worked for a time in a snooty bookshop. One of the men in the packing department had a favourite joke he played on new girls. You would be deep in conversation with a customer, and he would stroll past and throw a very tarty pair of red knickers on the counter “You left these on the back seat of my car last night love”. Hilarious, right?
 
No one complained, some of us, including yours truly, got our own back in inventive ways, but it would have been unthinkable to get him sacked. I would still take that attitude today.
 
I went to a girl’s school with very strict rules, in particular about clothing and hair. Any attempts to customise the horrible pudding basin hats, sturdy shoes and neckties were punished. Rulers were employed for spot checks on skirt lengths. If fingernails had a trace of  pink varnish, the lab assistant got to work with the acetone. No jewellery, hair tied back.
 
It was mortifying to bump into some young man  you fancied, when in your uniform, I had been known to dodge behind cars.
 
It is another story now. Seeing girls from the local secondary school walking home is like watching a beauty pageant. Apart from the mascara, flowing locks, and  multi-toned hair extensions, the biggest change is skirt length. They are allowed to wear trousers, but rarely take this option. Black opaque tights and micro minis are the order of the day. Some prefer hold-up stockings, a flash of firm young thigh. Walking behind some of the boys, you hear them comparing photos girls have sent them, presumably showing even more flesh. This is a school with a good reputation, a firmly middle-class town.
 
During the recent holidays a few  girls were in their civvies outside the local shop. It was early afternoon, but all were dressed for clubbing. One in particular was showing a lot of flesh. She wore fishnet stockings, suspenders on show, a tiny flared skirt. As I walked past with Spock she made a great show of bending over to lift her bag. If she was wearing underwear it must have malfunctioned, because we saw the lot. Poor old Spock didn’t know where to look, or rather he did just about recall where to look, but he was perplexed, what was going on?
 
I loved minis back in the day, but flashing just a glimpse of your knickers was considered deeply gauche and embarrassing, not sexy or cool at all.
 
Reading of the alleged sexual harassment of girls in mixed schools, I can’t help but wonder why anyone is surprised. Girls have the right to dress how they please, but can they really be so naïve as to not  know exactly the message they are sending out? To me no one has the automatic right to respect, on the grounds of age, position or sex, respect has to be earned. The papers reported one school where the girls complained they were forced to hold books over their bums when on the stairs, to stop boys up-skirting. Really?
 
Like it or not, we do form judgments based on appearances. Tattoos have long since lost their criminal, sleazy associations.That said, a person who is covered in them, head to toe including the face and neck, can be alarming to others, and they must presumably seek to  convey that threat. If you have the right to look and dress as you please, then you must accept that stereotypes exist for a reason. You cannot forbid others to form an opinion about you. 
 
A combination of peer pressure and raging hormones will make it very hard for a teenage boy to know just what is expected of him. He is expected - not to say forced - to look, but don’t dare touch or make a saucy comment, otherwise he’s labelled a misogynist, or worse a sex pest. We might have looked very demure in our gym slips and  knitted hosiery at my school, but believe me, we were no little innocents.

Teenage girls are generally fully aware of the affect they can have, and need to abide by some fair rules.

Val
A Moodscope member.

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


3

May

Novelty

Monday May 3, 2021


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8443144 and to watch a video version, please click here: https://youtu.be/ubZUme_JwkM]

“Novelty,” is a wonderful word with an even more wonderful gift in store for us. It’s based on the Old French, “novelete,” meaning, “innovation,” and, “newness,” and, “new fashion.”

It also means something unusual or new… and it means good news for mental wellbeing. Why? Because our prefrontal cortex in the brain craves novelty.

I’m a bit torn with this blog in that there are way more serious problems going on in the world at the moment, way more serious problems than… boredom. But boredom is an enemy of good mental health. Whilst it may seem like a First World Problem, it’s a worldwide Human problem. Our psychological wellbeing is a bit fussy. It demands stability AND novelty! Too much novelty and we quickly feel overwhelmed. Too much boredom and our motivation dissipates, and our energy disappears.

The issue for me is that I haven’t felt ‘excited’ for way over a year! I’ve been creative, I’ve been interested, some really nice things have happened… but there’s been no excitement. Excitement is energy for me. Is it the same for you?

Thinking about this, I wondered what stimulates ‘excitement’ for most of us. Novelty is high on what triggers excitement. Then, the other night, we had an experience that made everything a lot clearer. We’ve got a wildlife camera that captures some of the adventures our local hedgehogs get up to in the dark. This is interesting.

The other evening, I put the camera out late and disturbed one of the hedgehogs who was already eating. Popping the camera down, I withdrew enough for the hedgehog to relax and continue with its activities. Watching the hedgehog ‘live’ was exciting! Watching the hedgehogs on camera is only interesting. You had to be there!

I realise that excitement is ‘now’ – in the present. It’s a ‘live’ experience. It’s not past and it’s not often future. And excitement requires ‘being there’ – ideally in an engaged state participating in the events. I say it is not often future, but there is an exception – anticipation. Anticipation is an important aspect of excitement. The journey to the holiday can be exciting too. The quiet before the curtains open on a show or concert can be exciting.

You know all this. Why am I mentioning it?

I believe pursuing some excitement will do you and me the power of good over the coming weeks. I was curious about what you get excited about and was keen to stir us all up to actively pursuing what we find exciting soon.

So, spill the beans! What counts as ‘exciting’ in your life? When are you next expecting to enjoy that excitement? For me, it needs to be a novelty. New food. New locations. New friends. New customers. New clothes (though not the Emperor’s!).

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


2

May

Nature or nurture? 

Sunday May 2, 2021


Over the months (years) I have been slowly picking through learned behaviour. Behaviours of mine which have been ingrained from the early years up. It can be unpleasant at times and it can be easy at others. Sometimes it’s been like emptying an overfull bin! 
 
Today I watched my mum, yet again, take centre stage and dominate conversation by being deprecating and self-deprecating. Not a funny piece, a little uncomfortable. It was minor compared to some other times and they are never intended to be malicious. And yet they can be. She covers her own discomfort this way, and it is something she probably learned as a coping method in her childhood. 
 
I have some learned behaviours. And I have been peeling them away. I realised, it was not ME.  Was this part of the reason I struggled so badly with my mental balance, and for so long? 
 
Nowadays, I am overly protective of myself. I keep away from situations and people because I find it draining and because I learned that sharing my inner self, often was not a good thing. One day I will be ready to re-join, but on my own terms and once I am fully secure. 
 
Meantime, I am sad my mum cannot find an awareness of self. And I am comfortable to now hold space between us to keep myself balanced. 
 
In your own progress, I hope you have time and space to look and see whether your behaviours and choices are truly you, or if you have learned something which may not now be serving you. 
 
Love from
The room above the garage 

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


1

May

O what a tangled web…

Saturday May 1, 2021


O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.
Sir Walter Scott

I am a hopeless liar. As a child, after some misdemeanour, I remember working out water-tight alibis. They were obviously so implausible, that my parents ended up laughing, and did not get round to the punishment. This subject has arisen out of the varied Future Learn courses I have done and the by-roads they have led me down.

Current: History of the Detective story (start) Forensic Psychology (finish). Forensics in Anthropology and Archaeology and many allied subjects. I am sure everybody here has seen Poirot, Miss Marple, Midsomer murders, Morse, Frost, The Spiral, Inspector Montalbano. At some time, forensics will turn up, white suits, blue/white police tape etc. We think of the murder weapon, DNA, how it was done, whodunit. But the forensic part of the courses has now got me hooked on quite serious scientific programmes.

The course on Anthropology and Archaeology was way over my head, but the science! They could, with a fair degree of accuracy, determine age and sex of the victim: modern murder, Neolithic man, identify people from recent natural disasters, or from mass graves after genocide. On French TV, another programme was trying to find out what diseases Marat and Robespierre (from the Terror in the French Revolution) were suffering from, from scraps of tissue put under the microscope. A famous case is the madness of King George, who was, in fact, suffering from a then unknown physical malady. All this is underlined by having been shown intricate maps from my geologist son, who drilled up to 2 kms through the earth (or under the sea) then analysed the results with powerful computers.

When my husband had macular degeneration in his second eye, they had an expensive injection which could seal the haemorrhage. He would have a regular check up, and the marvellous surgeon would show me the results – the eye ball scan, massively enlarged – the bleeding showed up like a marsh on a local walking map. After the injection, the healed scar looked like a string of pearls. I felt really honoured to have these specialists (geologist and eye surgeon) explaining, in simple (for them) language.

The Forensic psychology turns on new ways of interviewing witnesses. The problem which Oli mentions, facial blindness, is fairly rare, but makes it impossible for some people to recognise close friends, even less be witness at an accident/crime scene. We were given an exercise to describe a well know face. Nearly everybody made a mess of it. People I know I’d describe male or female, hair colour/cut, scars, if they wore ear-rings – but shape of face, nose, ears – no way. Every time there is an election I think of cartoonists – and what bit of their ‘victim’ they will exaggerate (think of Spitting Images, seriously cruel).

Anyway, that is my ‘tangled web’, tangents everywhere – Covid has certainly driven me into odd pursuits. Have you gone for the esoteric/bizarre subjects? Are you a good liar/witness?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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


30

April

Microwave moment

Friday April 30, 2021


Microwave moment is how I describe when I am ok one minute and the next feeling so low. In the moment feel I cannot go lower, cannot stop crying, feel worthless and of no value.

It is an awful feeling; it is not depression because it is usually gone in 10 to 30 mins at most. While it lasts it is so painful and scary, there is no reason and 100 reasons.

It is dark and cold and alone. I sometimes try to explain this feeling, and people say are you depressed, and I say no as I have hope and knowledge from the past it will improve, so it is nothing like depression. I can have one as frequently as a few a month to maybe one or two every six months.

I am  wondering if I am the only one or if anyone can relate in anyway.

I am not worried, simply curious and have had them for years. It is much more than just being upset. The amount of emotion I pour out is totally out of kilter with the comment or behaviour that made me cry. I have tried trying to see a pattern, am I tired hungry etc. when it happens. I have tried seeing if I have been triggered but I have not. I can go from things are ok to wanting to lie on the floor and scream or sit quietly alone hidden from others.
 
I am not sure if anyone has these moments so I am hoping you can share some moment, some behaviour which may or may not seem part of your mental health.
 
Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


29

April

Parry Pink Pants

Thursday April 29, 2021


One thing I’m certain about is that we all can remember at least one teacher from our school days. It may be that this teacher was inspirational, or commanded respect or perhaps even instilled fear in pupils. And what about the nicknames we gave them! We had a Physics teacher known as Ducky (he’d been out for a duck in a staff cricket match),a Biology teacher called Dai Buzz (he was the school’s beekeeper) and a History teacher we named Wally (as in walrus). I’d like to tell you about one of my Primary School teachers, Parry Pink Pants (so called as she would bring her washed pink bloomers to dry on the classroom radiators). Her nickname is forever lodged in my brain and she did inspire me but maybe not in the way you might expect.

Miss Parry was very strict, rarely smiled or gave praise and seemed really old to a child of seven. As well as teaching us the three Rs, as they were known in the 1960s, she also did Art with us one afternoon a fortnight, alternating with Crafts.

One of the first things we learned was how to knit garter stitch. Her method was to get us to chant “in- yarn over- under the needle -off” after she had demonstrated on large needles in front of the class. She then left us to our own devices and, as we were too scared to ask her for help, she was able to get on with her own knitting.

As any of you who are knitters know, it is easy to knit twice into the same stitch which is exactly what I did. Before long my ten stitches had become twenty. So I decided to drop a few stitches which then gave my already misshapen piece of knitting some holes. Ever eagle -eyed, Parry Pink Pants called me up to the front of the classroom, and made me hold my knitting up to show my classmates.They laughed and I cried.

But it got even worse. She sent me, along with a classmate who’d produced a beautiful square piece of knitting, to show another teacher, young Miss Parry. Although she had pupils in her class, she did not make me show my knitting to them but kindly said I needed some more practice.

As soon as I got home, I asked my mum to show me how to knit properly as I was determined never to be ridiculed again.Consequently I was able to knit myself a jumper by the age of 10 and am now an accomplished knitter, with family and friends asking me to knit for them.

So I thank Parry Pink Pants for making me the knitter I am today!

Welshgirl
A Moodscope member.

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


28

April

What Would Your Younger Self Think?

Wednesday April 28, 2021


What did you want to be when you grew up?

At primary school, the boys seemed confident that they would be engine drivers, or firemen. Some of the girls already knew they wanted to be hairdressers. But then, what child of five sees their future in accountancy, or insurance, or advertising? I just knew I loved to read, and I loved to write stories; that I loved to paint and draw and was always disappointed when the teacher didn’t like what I produced.

But I had no idea what I would do after I left the big, big school; no idea at all. At least, I had no realistic idea – only daydreams.

I was asked an interesting question the other day. What would your younger self think of you now?

Well, I never became a flying princess with a dozen horses, spying for her country; I haven’t written a string of best-selling romantic novels; I didn’t marry a tall and handsome man and live in a beautiful Tudor manor we restored together.

I have done other things, of course. I’ve worked as an auditor, which is almost like spying. I’ve written two and a half (unpublished) romantic novels. I’ve married a good and kind man and raised two apparently well-adjusted daughters. I own my own business and write this blog. And I have done all this while living with bipolar disorder.

Because the one thing none of us thought about when we were dreaming of our future was that we would be coping with mental health issues.

Our world now is different from the world we grew up in. Many of the jobs and activities we do now were not invented thirty years ago. We have met different people from different backgrounds and cultures and dealt with different challenges; of which we had no concept when we were children. All these changes and meetings and challenges have formed us into the people we are now.

If you are reading this, then probably one of the biggest challenges you have faced is depression or bipolar disorder. I suspect this has brought out depths of courage, endurance and resilience you did not know you had.

We need courage to face our illness, endurance to go through the bad times, which come again and again and seem to go on forever, and resilience to somehow carry on with life and to take up the reins again in those periods where the darkness retreats for a while.

We rarely give ourselves credit for these qualities. It is easy to see ourselves as weak, maybe victims of our illness; but, especially in the bleak times, just reaching the end of each day needs valour, and is a victory in itself.

So, what would your younger self think? Would he or she be disappointed that you didn’t become an engine driver, or a flying princess? Or do you think your younger self would be proud of you?

I hope so.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


27

April

I have serious Heart problems…

Tuesday April 27, 2021


Angina, Atrial Flutter, Aortic Heart Valve partially blocked, three blocked Arteries. Tests at two hospitals, confirmed serious urgent Triple Bypass diagnosis.

They wanted me in for Surgery last month.

Much to the reactions of both hospital Surgeons, I have rejected the Heart Bypass, for two reasons:

1 They want to put in a Mechanical Valve, and a Pacemaker, both of which need replacing in 10 years... They say they can cure all my heart issues.

2 But there is a risk, no matter how small, of Heart Failure. Or worse, paralysed by stroke upper or lower body or both. That is a risk I'm not prepared to take at this stage!

But the hospitals have been advised that If I have serious heart pain, then I will 'Blue Light' to hospital for this Triple Bypass!

As an alternative course of action, I spoke with a Dr Caldwell B Esselstyne of The Cleveland Ohio Clinic, a retired heart surgeon of 30 years, whose book 'Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease' suggests an alternative method (diet) to Invasive Surgery, which I bought. I emailed him the full seriousness of these tests from both hospitals.

This Doctor Esselstyn gets rejects from American Hospitals, where they say they cannot do anything more for the patients. He gets them well, recovered and living a healthy lifestyle once more. 

My wife and I have been on his recommended Diet for 3 months, (since these tests).

I know I am taking a calculated risk... but my decision is safeguarded in two ways....

If I live long enough, then I hope to emerge healthy.

Both Surgeon's want me to see them in FOUR months, I said "I'll be there, if I'm still alive!"

To date, after heart and left arm pain for 13 years, 3 stents, 2 strokes, a TIA, and a blocked carotid artery surgery in 2018, I have absolutely no pain at all!

I just can't believe how well I am feeling....

But, forever the optimist, we'll see which way the coin lands…

The reason I am writing about this here is that this diet has also been known to cure Diabetes, Ovarian, Prostrate, and bowel cancers, Dementia and other associated physical and Mental issues including depression.

Dave xx
A Moodscope member.

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


26

April

Heroic Imperfect

Monday April 26, 2021


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8394884 and if you’d like to watch the video please click here: https://youtu.be/AxkUFX9Q7V4]

I’d like to invent the Heroic Imperfect Tense! This is the active state where you and I become progressively more vivacious and satisfying versions of ourselves without needing to be perfect at any point along the journey. As a plaque I have puts it so well: “Flawesome!”

It would be a tense used that conveys we are perfectly OK with not being perfectly OK!

I watched the silly film, “Shazam!” last night… and loved it! Spoiler alert! It’s a 14-year-old boy who gets gifted with Superhero powers which manifest themselves in the form of an adult body. Yes, a 14-year-old’s mind, values, and experience suddenly given super-powers and looking like an adult. What would you do?

You don’t need to imagine the chaos that follows… watch the film – it’s a real ‘feel-good’ treat.

The key joy in this film for me was Billy/or/Shazam’s lack of perfection. The character is a Flawesome work-in-progress, and all the more interesting for this. He’s a troubled soul that finds a way to do something he’s proud of. In the process, he discovers himself and what he truly values.

I don’t want to be a superhero, but I do want to have a life I’m progressively more satisfied with. “Heroic,” is probably too much too but I’d like to do well! Caroline is brilliant at finding the right quote for the blog each day at Moodscope, so I thought I’d learn from her and share three gems that resonated with me.

Benjamin Disraeli said, “Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” (Lex said, “Start with watching ‘Shazam!’”)

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Frankly, I think we are uncomfortable around those who are too perfect. They do not compare favourably with most people’s self-image. Let me close then with what I thought was an insightful quote from Edward Everett Hale:

“I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

May you have an inspiring day where you find the motivation and means and opportunity to do something imperfectly heroic!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


25

April

The humming chorus 

Sunday April 25, 2021

The kitchen has a hum. A big fridge which may be beginning to show its age. The hum annoyed me, I like peace (and loud concerts strangely), but now I like the hum. It has become a friend in its own right. 

It’s been a day. The rough bits have been like two grazed knees from hot summer-dry tarmac.  And the good bits have been like somebody applying pepper-pot glitter shakes.

So there we have life in essence. It can go from grazed knees to glitter hints in a breath. 

We never quite know what we’ll get. But by that very statement, we can live more solidly. It is where I’ve found the most freedom from the switchblades of depression. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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


24

April


All our daily blog posts are written by our members because we believe you are the best people to give advice and help by sharing your experiences with other members. All those who have submitted blog posts previously have said how lovely it is getting feedback from other members.

If you have a story to tell, some advice to give or an experience to share, let us know. Please send your blog post to support@moodscope.com. We don't have many rules, but we do ask that your blog is 500 words or less and we prefer to steer clear of politics and religion!

If you have an idea and are not sure whether it's suitable, just ask us to take a look and we'll let you know. All contributions will be reviewed and may be edited if necessary before publishing.

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

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft
The Moodscope Team.

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


23

April

Feelings - express or hide?

Friday April 23, 2021


When my mum died after ten years of suffering with dementia, I felt I had cried all my tears for, grieved for her during that time so I had no more feelings left to express. At the funeral I did not cry or show emotion and some family members thought I was cold. At the time I did not realise I was hiding my feelings, I suppose I felt so emotionally drained I had nothing left to express.

About 6 months later in the frozen aisle of a supermarket I started crying and could not stop. I had no idea why at that moment my body chose to express the tears I had buried.
 
Dealing with strong emotions can be hard when we are experiencing chaotic, sad, experiences in our lives. Sometimes it feels like we have only two options for coping with our feelings, so they do not consume us. We may show our feelings, or we may keep our emotions hidden deep inside. Or like me, I did not feel I was making a choice at all.

Many make the second choice, surpressing feelings to deny them. Acknowledging your feelings is one way help to better understand them and help you recover naturally from change, stress, and grief. Sometimes one feels so much pain that denying ones feeling seems the only plan and you feel you have no choice because acknowledging would be too much pain to handle. Even just accepting and speaking feelings out loud to yourself can sometimes be healing. Burying uncomfortable feelings can numb the pain, but it may dull the chance express other feelings.
 
Has there been a time in your life you have denied your feelings? Did It help in anyway? Did you find later that expressing your feelings may have helped.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


22

April


As you may know, for a while I’ve struggled and even more so during lockdown. I was hoping once I’d moved in to my new apartment and start a new job, a new outlook would emerge but this has not happened. I’m struggling and I don’t even know who to reach out to anymore. Every small task seems like a mammoth one. I tell my mom and dad how I feel but it doesn’t make me telling them doesn’t make me feel any better... I know it’s not their fault how I feel and it’s not anyone’s fault, however I do blame myself a lot for not being strong enough or able to cope. When does the fight, which I do daily, end?

I really can’t take much more of being a burden to people in general. And when I try to open up either I’m not listened to or just acknowledged then moved on, then comes the barrage of “Have you tried exercise?” Have you tried this and that... yes I have! Don’t you get it, I’ve tried and continue to try many things but it just doesn’t get me out of it! I’m so exhausted.

Hugo
A Moodscope member.

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


21

April

Speaking and Listening

Wednesday April 21, 2021


Last week I started my blog with a story – a traditional fairy-tale.

Some people found the story charming, as I did myself, but not everyone. In fact, some people found it offensive.

I was distressed by this and discussed it with friends. One of my friends, an experienced therapist, pointed out that communication is not what is said, but what is heard, and suddenly it all made sense.

If you’re interested, you might like to go back a week and remind yourself of the tale. I’ve looked at it again and found several points that could be deemed offensive or are, at least, contrary to our modern thinking:

1. The story is about a prince – why a prince? Wealth and privilege are touchy subjects.
2. He is male. Why should men always get the best adventures?
3. The Evil Enchanter is a trope, giving all witches and workers in magic a bad name.
4. The question, “What do women really want?” and the reply, is sexist.
5. The heroine is referred to as an “Old Hag,” a deeply offensive term.
6. The story is ageist and puts undue value on youth and physical beauty.
7. Marriage (to a prince) is seen as the highest goal for women.

Looking at that list, it is easy to see how those elements could totally obscure its universal message about freedom and choice.

So, I apologise for using that story without at least a disclaimer or framing it as a story of its time – early 1400s, I think.

I was a victim of my own unconscious biases; I was speaking from my own love of fairy-tales.

We all do this. We speak and act from our own loves and life-experiences and are then hurt or angered when we are misunderstood. It’s not easy, however, to avoid doing so. After all, we have only our own loves and experience to speak from.

In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey lists Habit 5 as “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It’s a good habit, albeit an aspirational one.

If we are honest, we all want to be understood (although I’m not at all sure I want to be totally understood). You’re reading this because, I assume, you are living with depression, bipolar disorder or other mental health condition you find this site helps you with. I think we would all like depression and mental health issues to be better and more widely understood.

But how do we go about seeking first to understand? Our unconscious biases are exactly that: unconscious and invisible to us.

I suppose the first step is to listen to feedback and to seek it from those outside our comfortable and familiar circle; we need to be up for challenge and to be prepared to change our thinking. That’s never comfortable.

So, to those who challenge me in the comments, thank you. You always make me think, and I’m grateful.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


20

April

Random acts of nastiness

Tuesday April 20, 2021


I used to volunteer at an animal sanctuary that had some beautiful historic bridle paths nearby, popular with walkers and  horse riders alike.To reach it, one had to cross a very busy  fast road.I was returning one day from a dog walk, when to my horror I saw in the distance 2 large black dogs racing through the traffic. One bounced into the air as it hit a windscreen, traffic was swerving. I was running along calling the police. When I got closer and saw that it was not  dogs, but 2 huge tyres bouncing all over the place. Some cars were damaged, but luckily no one was hurt.
 
There were 2 passing spaces along the bridleways to allow the farmers and delivery men to use it. All the years I was there, these were used by fly-tippers, mostly tradesemen so it seemed. The tyres had fallen away and rolled downhill from a huge pyramid that many of us had reported numerous times to the council. I tried to count them one day, and it was well over 100.
 
The local tips were charging tradesmen £25 to drop off a typical load, and  it was this that was given as the reason why these pests dumped stuff. It was not just tradesmen.The area had some charming lanes, regularly strewn with burger cartons and plastic cups. I was once admiring a stunning vintage Bentley that drove past, the window opened and out came a pile of food packaging. I came out with some choice language, and got the finger in return.
 
Is it overthinking to surmise, as I do, that this is not just a symptom of lazy slobishness, but something deeply nasty within some individuals? Littering, fly-tipping, vandalism often involves  more effort from the perpetrators than simply behaving well would require. Why do people drive miles to sit on a beautiful beach or in a forest, only to leave rubbish behind to pollute the view and the environment? They could go and have their BBQ in the car park of an abandoned factory, but they want to sit somewhere nice.
 
To me these people take active pleasure in showing contempt for others. They are narcissists, who are fully aware of the unpleasantness and expense they cause.
 
This  blog/rant was triggered by a silly little thing. We have steps leading up to our house, and every year Spock paints them with non-slip red paint on a Sunday. He then puts a largish cardboard “Wet Paint” sign out. This morning, going to remove it, he found someone had torn it into tiny strips and pushed them through our letterbox. Why? It’s not clever or even funny. Years ago someone collected loads of garden gnomes overnight in our town. They were found, a long queue of them outside the public gent’s loo. Everyone found that amusing, and no damage was done.
 
I think I better stop now, before I start on the truly twisted people who “clean up” after their dog, then drape the plastic bags on fences and trees.It’s time for my medication.

Val
A Moodscope member. 

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


19

April

The Man with Two Brains

Monday April 19, 2021


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8354445 and to watch a video please click here: https://youtu.be/RKOcuZtfCto]

“The Man with Two Brains,” is a comedy movie starring Steve Martin and the voice of Kathleen Turner, released in 1983. It’s silly but fun.

Last week, I finally got down to reading a book a friend had loaned me a long time ago. It’s called, “Turbo Success,” and was published in 1993. To be honest, I didn’t read it until last week because I’m tired of Self-Help ‘Success’ books. Why? Because, I may be a special case, but they don’t seem to work for me!

This one had something different and reminded me of us having two brains (at least!) Ron Holland, the author, focuses very much on the Verbal Brain and the Visual Brain. His assertion is that our positive intentions – our dreams and ambitions – have to enlist the help of both brains. If we have positive affirmations, that takes care of the Verbal Brain. But if what we are seeing with the mind’s eye doesn’t match what we are saying, he says the mental pictures will take precedence.

This could be nonsense! However, it did highlight that I wasn’t investing time in imagining the better future I often talk about. In fact, my images of the future have been pretty grim! It’s been great to begin to change what I’d unwittingly been visualising.

Bluntly, when one is feeling low, having ‘positive’ people round can be… irritating! I’d like to be upbeat today without being overwhelmingly or unrealistically positive. Let’s think in terms of ‘possibilities’ instead.

One of the possible changes I’d like in the future is to have a home of my own that I own – debt free. The affirmation just rolls off my tongue now, but there was no visualisation. That was easy to change. A couple of years ago, we stayed in my dream house – Pengwyn near Tintagel. I took some photos! It’s been a simple matter to go back and revisit those images. The key, Ron says, is to see yourself in the visualisation. Just looking at the pictures is too passive – we need to be acting in our own visualisations. In response, I’ve been imagining opening the gate, walking down the steps, entering the front door, sitting at the kitchen table… you get the picture! If it never works, it’s been lovely to imagine and to remember.

Does it work? Time will tell, but it does make sense for all of us to think that we have two brains, and that when they work together, we get better results faster than when they are at odds with one another. If you’d like a happier future – what does that look like? I’ll close with a great quote I saw in a Garden Centre: “If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need,” Marcus Tullius Cicero. Guess what else I’ve been visualising!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


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