The Moodscope Blog

14

December

Perfect Enough Day

Monday December 14, 2020


I came across an exercise that may be of some comfort to some of us. The exercise is to think about what would make a Perfect Enough Day – an OK day. It resonated with me because a kind friend asked if I could help her record Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” – rewritten to as a surprise to celebrate someone a lot of people think well of. We all gathered in a church we’d ‘borrowed’ for the day – on a spectacularly wet Saturday a week ago December. Whilst the weather was anything but ‘Perfect’ – the experience was a joyous one.

One thing I have learned through this is the simplicity of Lou Reed’s original “Perfect Day”. Nothing is dramatic. Feeding animals in the zoo (yes, a luxury at the moment but normally possible – I went to Marwell Zoo last week and it was magical.) Later, a movie too... Netflix would do for me. I might choose a coffee in the park rather than Lou’s Sangria – yet the principle is the same. His key theme, though, is, “I’m glad I spent it with you.”

We’re going to pull it back even from these lofty ideals and get a clear idea of the list of things that would have to be true to answer this one question: “It would be a good enough day if…” The purpose of this is to get clear on what is ‘enough’ for us, and to have ‘enough’ a lot more frequently!

Run it from the beginning.

And, if you’ll find it useful for me to lead with my list, read on!

Good coffee (Taylors of Harrogate, Rich Italian)
Good shower – Lady Penelope’s is the best I know of
Good music – to set the energy for the next hour or so
Sourdough bread toast with Marmite and Organic Peanut Butter
Go for a walk of 5000 steps – ideally near trees

…nothing hard, is there? All are choices I can currently make.

At the moment I feel a need to have an output to the day – which for me is a finished piece of video editing, or a podcast, or a blog or other piece of writing.

And I need at least one sparkly human interaction (usually available for free at my local Tesco Express!)

I finish the day, at the moment, with the utterly charming Moomintroll books… and to my delight, writing this, I’ve literally just discovered I know only three of the nine! Christmas is coming!

The exciting “Aha!” for me is that ALL of the above is replicable each day… and that’s enough for me. Contentment.

Let’s finish with three refinements. Firstly, what would help your ‘Good Enough Day’ if you were able to stop doing it. I missed my Zoom networking meeting last week, and I felt enormously free. I’d like to stop networking.

Secondly, what would help your ‘Good Enough Day’ if you continued doing it? It’s the 5000 steps for me because that’s the first to be dropped!

Thirdly, what would help your ‘Good Enough Day’ if you started adding it? That’d be human interaction because I’m ready to go into my cave, alone. I have to think, “Of whom could I say, “I’m glad I spent time with you”?”

Your turn!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


13

December

The princess and the piper

Sunday December 13, 2020


A princess came to visit our school. A real one. A kind one. A smiley one. And my son was honoured to play pipes to welcome her in, and then to say farewell. 

Having been seven long months since he’d last worn his full dress kilt, there was such a lot of laughter as my son and I made sure everything still fitted! He knelt on the floor and the kilt just skiffed the ground - perfect. The ghillie brogues were polished to dazzle-scale eleven. The shirt was checked for fit. It’s the one with a ‘P’ written on the label - this is so we keep it separate, renew it regularly, and it is the only one worn for pipes events. The jacket and waistcoat were checked for stray fluff, and buttons tested for security. Long woollen socks came out a brand-new packet. The flashes were pressed underneath a cloth so they would be flat and not shine. It brings me a pedant’s frown to see a glengarry with crumpled ribbons, so I pressed, reapplied a little clear nail varnish to the ends to prevent fraying, and laid them inside the hat to keep them pristine. 
 
Life is harsh for all this year. I have wept hot tears at times. The princess’s visit brought me great joy in my role of preparations, great pride for my son and a rainbow of emotion to many. I will treasure these little nuggets of order and solidity which remind me that good times happened and will again. 
 
Believe. It will come. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


12

December

Full circle

Saturday December 12, 2020


My teachers said I had a gift for languages. Learning French, and German felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was also passionate about English, studying it through the romantic prism of a Jane Austen novel and the drama of a Shakespeare play.

Every other subject at school left me cold, apart from Physical Education, but this was probably less to do with the class itself, and more to do with the sports teacher, Mr. Keogh, who was my first schoolgirl crush.

From the age of about 12 to 16, I despised school, so perhaps, unsurprisingly, I flunked half my O’Levels, but my disappointment was tempered by the fact that I had joined a professional theatre troupe and was getting ready to launch myself into a full-time acting career.

However, mum persuaded me to reconsider my decision and re-sit my failed exams, after which I went on to do A’Levels, and a French degree.

When the dot com bubble burst in the early noughties, I was made redundant from my dream job as an editor on a digital TV platform, (a forerunner to BBC iPlayer and Netflix).

Fed up with the competitive world of media and worried about the increasing threat of terrorist attacks post 9/11, I accepted a job offer overseas where I spent a decade working as a bilingual secretary in an international school.

A year ago, today, I joined a French trade magazine, as a journalist, which ties in neatly with my childhood love of languages.

Professionally, I appear to have come full circle.

On Bonfire Night 1975, I was just another 8-year-old enjoying the fireworks’ display outside my bedroom window, when my uncle appeared behind me in the dark.

In an abusive act of power and domination, he stripped away my innocence.

Today, as I approach my mid-fifties, I wonder if childhood trauma has impacted my ability to form healthy relationships with men.

In February, I had a brief affair with an Italian nurse-cum-pizzaiola - the latest in a long series of failed romances. We shared a mutual love of languages, and, amongst other things, cooking, I should have known he would turn out to be a Casanova.

Prior to the Italian, I was involved with an emotionally unavailable, Franco-Spanish chef for many years, and before that I wasted an equal amount of time trying to convert an on/off liaison with a commitment-phobic, out-of-work actor, into something more substantial.

My penchant for unsuitable, trophy-hunting types may have sabotaged my chances of finding “the one”.

In forgoing marriage and childbirth, I feel have come full circle back to my earliest beginnings.

As I go to sleep alone at night, I am safe in the arms of Morpheus, and I reclaim the innocence of my lost childhood.

Love

Cappuccino
A Moodscope member.

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


11

December


Anniversaries can remind us of happy times like birthdays, weddings, milestones like graduation, years in business, the age of an organisation, a country, a building etc.

Anniversaries can remind us of sad times, tragedies, disasters, deaths, wars, divorce, loss, and many other things.

I suppose with a happy anniversary it is easy to remember all the good times and to be happy and share the day with others.

With sad anniversaries do we remember only the sad times, or do we also reflect on the good times we had before the sad times. I know with some instances all the memories will be sad so even the thought of acknowledging an anniversary is too much.

There are people who remember every birthday and every anniversary of the death of a loved one, whereas other people choose to only remember their loved one’s life and celebrate that.
 
As I write this blog today is the 15th year since I opened my shop. I do feel sad that it is no longer, but I also am trying to feel grateful for all the years I had, all the pleasure my shop gave me and others and to remember the wonderful times. So today I will look at photos of my wonderful cluttered and quirky shop and smile because I was lucky to have it.
 
Of course, being positive about the anniversary of the passing of a loved one would be so difficult and different. Every anniversary is different and we all cope with sad and happy anniversaries in our own way.
 
I wonder if you could share with me how you share sad anniversaries and anniversaries that are happy and sad?

Do you think that happy anniversaries get more attention than sad ones?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


10

December

Do you have routine in your life?

Thursday December 10, 2020


I like a routine, I need a routine. Without it, I make all sorts of errors and mistakes. Certain things happen on certain days – o.k., sometimes that routine can get disrupted for a variety of reasons. Appointments, meeting up with friends or visitors coming, anything really, but if at all possible, I try and stick to a routine.

Each day I try and plan what I would like to do, or what needs doing. The only day that I try and stick to my routine is on Sunday. I call it my Admin and Finance day. I sort out my finances and any correspondence that needs attention. I also have a look at what needs doing or I would like to do during the following week.

This coming week, the weather looks as though it will be good – bright but chilly, so I will aim to get out for a long walk on at least three of those days. My walk takes me off the beaten track and I then have time to think but also look at the countryside around me. I am quite lucky that I live in a fairly rural location and part of my walk takes me past some watercress beds. I like to get out early if I can – few people around other than dog walkers, runners and cyclists plus a few regular walkers like me. We stop and have a chat, and more often than not, say how lucky we are to live in such a pleasant location.

Another thing I build in to my routine, is closing the curtains. Might seem strange, but for me, I find, at present, with the lock down etc. the sooner I have closed the curtains, I can feel safe. I can't see out and watch others breaking the rules and by closing the curtains, I am snug and warm and can, for a time forget/ignore those who annoy or bother me.

With lock down, for me, a routine is a necessity. It helps guide me through my day and keep a little bit calmer. Do you have a routine that you follow or can you just go with the 'flow'? I would be interested to know how you cope.

Take care Moodscopers.

Viv
A Moodscope member.

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


9

December

I’m Just So Sorry

Wednesday December 9, 2020


I cannot tell you how much I HATE this!

Look, I’m sorry, I really am.

I honestly do everything I can to stop this happening – to help myself – and to help you, because I love you, and I don’t want you to have to go through this – again.

Yes, I am taking my medication, morning and night. No, I didn’t work too hard. Yes, I did try to sleep; I absolutely ate right; I did take exercise and I tried hard to meditate (okay – so I failed on that one) and I thought positive every day.

I did all those things and still, here I am. Thank you, black pit of despair. I’m obliged, huge hairy dark dog depression. You’re welcome, great grey leviathan of the vast belly that swallows me whole and digests even the bones of my humanity. Yes, thank you very much.

Oh, I would be so angry! But you rob me of even that – you b**tard! You rob me of all real emotion.

You leave me with the mere concept of feeling. I can say “Thank you,” to friends who send me messages of support. I can reach ghostly arms in an ephemeral hug to those who really understand; I can shed tears while reaching across the wide chasm of dark to my precious loved ones: but none of this can touch me. The plus side? Even the desire for suicide is tissue-thin.

I would say, “Thank goodness for small mercies,” but, in the long term, I guess this is a seriously big mercy.

I guess…

The worst of it is that I could see it coming.

I knew I was on a high; a modified high to be sure – praise science for medication – but I knew where I was. I knew when I was coming out of that high into the low: jitteriness (spiders under my skin), the upset stomach, the super-sensitivity – and this morning, at 11.15am (give or take a few minutes), I felt the crash into the down; the grey; the depression.

And I’m just so sorry.

I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry I can’t be there for you in your need. I’m sorry I’ve retreated into that dark place where you cannot follow.

If I confide in you, then I’m sorry for that burden. I’m sorry I cannot respond to your jokes. I’m sorry you cannot reach me.

If you do manage to touch me then I’m sorry I snap at you; I’m sorry for the vicious words and the tears.

This is not what I want and it’s not me. Please – this isn’t me!

The person who is “me” has been kidnapped (again) by this illness. I will escape – again – and return to you, I promise.

Just, please, don’t give up on me; don’t lose faith; don’t walk away.

I’ve been here before and I’ve come through before.

Please be patient and wait for me to return.

And (again) I’m just so sorry.

I’m sorry.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


8

December

Insecurities

Tuesday December 8, 2020


I occasionally comment on blogs and have written a couple and am interested in my reactions after having done so. How lovely it is to get positive comments or someone picking up a thread and expanding on it or just a ‘Me too’. But the opposite is also true; when it gets lost in the general commentary or goes unremarked, I notice a part of myself thinking that I must have said something irrelevant or stupid or narcissistic. Which sets off self recriminations or disconnection or withdrawal. I am generally more confident than I used to be, but observe how easily I can be triggered into old thought patterns and reactions that originate in childhood and family dysfunction.

There were a lot of critical comments and a culture of ganging up and humiliation growing up. I remember singing aloud aged 6 or 7 and my mother and older sister falling about laughing at me and I have never felt comfortable singing alone (except on my own) since. Even singing with others, although I enjoy it, brings up a pervading sadness and a near to tears feeling. That is only one of many instances which cumulatively have a potentially devastating effect on the sense of self. I am quite sure this is true for many others too.

I want to be free of those old reservoirs of negative emotion, so I try to be compassionate to the bruised parts of myself that I carry, (often in disguise so they are not obvious to the casual observer), and to encourage and look after them and allow them an occasional outing, without fear of scorn or unkindness. I want to understand and accept the need I have and we probably all have, for affirmation, to feel heard and seen and validated. Even better, to do the affirmations for myself, so that any 'Me too’ responses, are a bonus rather than a necessity. And that when overt positive comments are not present, it doesn’t automatically mean disapproval or censure. Ultimately it would be splendid, even in the face of actual negative feedback, not to be decimated, but to know that it doesn’t matter; it is difference not wrongness and we are all allowed to have differing views and ideas, without it being an absolute judgement on any of us. Nothing is to everyone’s taste.

I have been writing all my life but seldom finished things until recently and never tried for publication or entered writing competitions and now I want to change that and have courage. To be secure in trying and not doomed to inactivity or lack of participation, by being moored to insecurities and fear of failure. The pleasure is in the act of writing and though acclaim would be very pleasurable, acclaim, like criticism, is not the main point. And I think it may be the same with the act of living; to trust ourselves to take risks and be robust and self-nurturing so that we are ok, whatever the outcome.

Lupin
A Moodscope member.

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


7

December

It's the up and down that kills.

Monday December 7, 2020


Bend a credit card and it won't break. Bend it back the other way and it still won't break. But keep on bending backwards and forwards and it will break and snap.

Our minds are like that.

Psychologists have used this phenomenon to effect in hostage situations. By continually raising the prospects of acceding to hostage demands (flex), then dashing them (flex), security forces have learnt how to erode the resolve of those holding hostages. At one time in the seventies and eighties aircraft hijacking was all the rage, and this technique was developed and refined as an effective tool to defeat this phenomenon. It was adapted by the UK Government in the nineteen-eighties to defeat the striking miners, raising the prospects of a deal (flex) then breaking off negotiations (flex). There are probably other examples I don’t have to hand.

We all understand how it works in our daily lives. We apply for a job (flex), we get the rejection letter (flex), or we get the interview (haircut, dress-up, flex) and then we get the rejection (flex). It’s the same with dates, you ask for the date (flex) s/he says no (flex), or you get the date (flex) and s/he doesn’t turn up (flex) or turns up (flex) and then doesn’t want to see you again (flex). You start a job (flex) you get made redundant (flex), you start a relationship (flex), you end a relationship (flex). The boss likes your work (flex), then you get a reprimand (flex). You leave home early and eager for work (flex) but the bus makes you late anyway (flex).

If we try and meet these life situations with the rigidity of a credit card, then we will snap both metaphorically by losing our temper, and literally by our minds giving up the struggle. If we go with the flow, and behave more like a spring, or a sapling in the wind, we may survive. Easier said than done of course, and I’m my own worst enemy for refusing to accept things I can’t change.

My credit card? I cut it up and threw it away: more trouble than it is worth..
.
Norman
A Moodscope member.

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


6

December

Backstage concerts

Sunday December 6, 2020


I love live music.  Since I was very young it has been my pull to be at as many gigs and concerts as I can manage.  In younger days, I’d sometimes break rules to find a way, and I just felt heart full and happy to feel music, not just hear it. There are far fewer opportunities nowadays since I had children, and then moved into solo parenting.  But I have managed still to always be near music.

I’ve found the Covid-19 closing of venue doors to bring me sorrow.  Even if (pre-pandemic) I couldn’t attend with my timetable, I knew they were there, and thriving.  I feel real sorrow that they are quiet.  I miss orchestras, I miss rock, I miss small folk bands, I miss huge pipe bands, I miss quiet solo acoustics and I miss big arena gatherings.  I miss being myself and I miss feeling I belong, with like-minded souls. But it will be ok. Where there is a want, a way can be found.

Once again the online world brings great creativity. I’ve watched three concerts recently, live, in my PJs and in the front row. It’s been strikingly poignant watching rows of empty seats as singers cast out themselves into the silent world.  They sing, they play, and silence is their audience. But it feels fittingly beautiful to know that that poignancy holds no sorrow – it is instead a strong beacon. It says we’re together. We’re here. We are limited but we’re here. 

We are still very separated but there is spirit and connection available, it’s just going to take a little more bravery and effort to find. 

Keep writing your own headlines. 

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


5

December


It's been about two years now that I have been seeing my therapist. And she is incredible, believe me. But why on earth has it been two years and why isn't it over already?

Well, I guess that's because therapy is a long - and sometimes difficult - process rather than some magical ritual that frees you from your mental health struggles. 

So, what can we learn from this? Don't expect too much! Be aware that some things can take quite some time! Never give up! 

As I have said before, my therapist is incredible and we've made lots of progress in the past. Therefore, I encourage everyone who needs help - especially in times like these - to give therapy a chance. It's not magic but it finally will work out the way you expect it to. Just be patient and try to be completely open to your therapist. This is something that can save you a lot of pain and stress regarding your mental health.

Stay safe.

Manuel
A Moodscope member.

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


4

December

Muddle- headed wombat

Friday December 4, 2020


There is a well-known children’s book in Australia called The Muddle-headed Wombat by the much-loved author Ruth Park.

It is a story about a wombat who gets into all sorts of adventures and is muddle headed. This means he is lovable and much liked but gets confused easily.

I have always related to the muddle-headed wombat. When people ask me how I am going I often say I am muddling along. I have in the past and am muddling at present and will in the future and I guess I will keep muddling on until I cannot muddle any more.

It sums up this year for me as I have been trying to keep going to make sense of all the changes to me and to society in general. I am not cruising, I am not always struggling though I do at times, I am not moving on, I am not recovering, I am muddling or even plodding. This is who I am - muddle-headed Leah though a muddle-headed wombat sounds so much more endearing.

I am wondering, do you have words you use to describe your mood or how you are going?

Can you relate to muddling along?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


3

December

Tell-tale signs

Thursday December 3, 2020


It’s started. The great, inflated, indefatigable me is back. From nowhere. The I-can-do-anything-I-want, and quickly at that! Money? Hey, just use it... Spend, spend, spend. Dozens of ideas. Tripping over themselves. Must do/send/clear/write/buy... I half-finish a grand clear-out... clothes strewn everywhere... mañana! It sooo doesn’t matter.

BUT... the indications are there... bipolar is raising its ugly head again, the tell-tale signs of erratic sleep, and erratic everything else. Dangerous driving, well... potentially dangerous, because my mind is so alive! Focused on doing, achieving, giving away and... lots more. The power of it!

So, why are these not altogether good signs? Because I know, in my heart of hearts, that my behaviour is giving me false readings. I think others are being small-minded, stupid, too cautious, have lost their sense of humour, but actually it’s ME who is out of step. I am TOO alive, too loud… and will ultimately slip into dangerous, murky, depressive waters as this high cannot be sustained. It’s exhausting! And my emotions are all over the place.

So what to do about it? That’s what I was asking myself this morning, as a sort of mania gripped me. How do I apply the brakes, and stop this brain from derailing?

Have you experienced this yourself, and how do you deal with yourself, when you know you’re on too much of a rollercoaster - more of a runaway train!?

Sally
A Moodscope member.

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


2

December


You must have met them: maybe on Facebook; maybe on a bus; possibly you have one of them in your family. You know the people I mean - they always think there is some conspiracy going on, and they always have their pet theories.

The favourite one at present seems to be around Covid. “It’s all nonsense,” they say. “It’s all a big plot by the Government to control us. The vaccine will pump us full of nanobots that will spread into our brains so that we will become sheep.”

If we challenge these ideas, we are the “Sheeple.”

These Covid deniers ask, “Well, do you know anyone who has actually had it?”

Well, yes. I know half a dozen people who have had it. They have all been very ill.

This, however, rolls off them like water from a tinfoil hat because they are not interested in evidence; they want to keep their theories. There is a psychological payoff for them; a feeling of satisfaction that only they are seeing the world clearly; a feeling of superiority. If they were forced to confront the evidence, those comfortable feelings would dissipate, leaving them as uncertain as the rest of us.

At the end of last week, a friend reached out for help. “The black Newfoundland is sitting on my chest again,” she said. “He’s telling me I am worthless; that I am unloved and unloveable. I know it’s not true, but I can’t make those feelings go away.”

She was immediately swamped with words of love and affirmation from her friends. If it were not for lockdown, she would have been hugged by as many of us who could get to her. Not only is she dearly valued and loved but many of us are ourselves familiar with the black hound of depression. My friend is not alone. I have those voices too. Many of us do.

Depression fills our head with negative conspiracy theories. It tells us we are failures, that we are despicable and not fit to live in the world with decent people. When we point to the diploma on the wall or remember the times we have been acknowledged for our contribution, Depression just sneers.

“That was just a fluke. Those people were just being kind; they didn’t mean it. If they knew what I know you’d never work again. Your partner doesn’t love you; you are the worst parent in the world. I don’t know how you can live with yourself. You are worthless.”

I don’t know a way to defeat conspiracy theorists either in real life or in my head. I can walk away from the man on the bus or listen politely to that family member and let it wash over me; I can choose not to engage on Facebook. It is less easy to ignore the voices in my head.

They won’t go away, but I can gather more and more evidence. The voices won’t listen to the evidence, but I can.

I have worth. I am loved. And I choose to believe I am loveable.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


1

December

Keep hope

Tuesday December 1, 2020


Good morning

I wrote a blog long ago and was so thrilled to get comments back and apologise now for not at the time responding to anyone!!! I was very, very down and hadn’t the heart to reply. My situation is much the same but now I’m much older and I hope a little wiser.

My husband unexpectedly upped and left me when I was 65 and, since my previous blog, has married the much younger woman and life is still difficult for me. I’m now 75 and do regret being so damaged by the loss of my 32 year marriage that I didn’t attempt to meet another partner. This pandemic hasn’t been that much of a shock to me as I retreated quite a lot from living then, but am sorry now. This is our one shot at life and each wasted day will never return. I chatted to a man yesterday whose fiancé had died 5 years ago and he said he wasn’t complete as a single person. My answer surprised me - that he was fine and didn’t need to be a ‘couple’. I realised I have come a long way and I am actually ok now. I would of course prefer had things not changed but know I can’t change that and I’m now coping. My dear neighbour and friend died two years ago and I always promised I would take care of her dog.

So… for one who only liked big dogs, I now own a little ShihTzu and what a joy and total pleasure he is. So my view has changed too and I am accepting what good things like health and family and friends l have. I’ve recovered from breast cancer but now have a condition for which I need to take daily chemo tablets for ever but they are keeping things in check so again... I’m grateful. I’m sorry I didn’t complete more of my ‘bucket list’ but those dreams are just in hold until I can.

I’m so glad I’m the age I am as I have travelled extensively and seen such wonderful things and my dearest wish is that this awful pandemic time passes and my grandson and all children can grow up in a safe world and enjoy all the amazing experiences and places that I have been privileged to have had and seen. Keep safe and try to be as happy as you can... life is tough but so are we all deep down, we just need to keep hope.

Love

Lyn x
A Moodscope member.

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


30

November

The Joy of Ownership

Monday November 30, 2020


I remember owning my first car. I felt liberated and rich! The world was mine and I had freedom of movement.

Whilst I’ve never owned a house, I can put myself in the shoes of those who have and can imagine just how secure and strong and safe it must feel. There is joy in ownership.

Not all ownership is equal!

On workshops I’d often set myself up to be at fault about something innocuous, just to make a point. When the trap had been laid, I’d ask the participants, “Who is to blame?”

“It’s YOU, Lex!” they’d say, laughing. I would agree with them and then I would invite them to point at the person who was to blame and say it again! As they were pointing at me, I’d ask them to hold their hands in the index-finger-pointing position.

The ‘reveal’ was to ask them to count the number of fingers pointing back at them from their own hand. This usually caused a joyous response around the room as the participants realised they’d been set up for an “Aha!” moment.

I love owning stuff – most of the time – but rarely enjoy ‘owning’ problems. When we point the finger at others – something I’m really good at – we fail to own our own opportunity to be a part of the solution. The simple exercise of noticing that three fingers on our own hand point back at us when we point our index finger at others may be enough to bring about a shift in our thinking.

That litter on the pavement is an issue I can point to and say, “Tut! Tut! People should know better!” It can also become an opportunity where I pick it up even if I do agree that, “People should know better!”

When I remember this illustration, it encourages me to repeat a phrase I learned in training, “I OWN the problem.” When I do this, I discover that there is usually some small step I can take to improve the situation. Yesterday, I was listening to a world expert on the topic of motivation. He was ranting and raving about poor customer service, and I found myself not only agreeing with him but also thinking, “I bet I sound like that!” It wasn’t a very beautiful sound! He was right but the moaning and complaining pulled my energy down. I would like to moan less and own more – in the sense of taking more responsibility for making a difference.

“I own the problem,” is a powerful mantra, and ‘mantra’ comes from Sanskrit, literally meaning the thought behind speech or action.

When we cease to blame others, and focus on what part we can play, it’s like owning that first car. There’s a sense of liberation and wealth, of potency and potential. Let’s, just for today, put the key in the ignition of decision and drive our minds to somewhere better where we own the problem AND the opportunity.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


29

November

The back bench 

Sunday November 29, 2020


The days are whipping by so quickly.  I’m dashing between volunteering with befriending phone calls, setting up IT support where possible, helping my parents navigate this new world, parenting teenagers, supporting my brother through his not-spoken-of mental health and helping him fight for his business survival. I’m very tired. Not suffering. Not ill myself, thankfully, but tired and keeping aware of the growing struggle to get up before dawn each day. This is the season when my body screams for hibernation. Tonight, I served up a very easy, hearty autumnal tea of sausages, potatoes, carrots and buttery, salty cabbage. It tasted like heaven. As I washed up, I saw the back hedge shimmering in the end of today’s sunshine. “Don’t miss that” I heard my body call.

So here I am. In the back, on the bench, winter puffy coat on for comfort. The birds are tweeting like mad, I hear parents on the back path chattering in Italian to their child on a bike, and the sky is gifting me its embers. I hear a runner. Two. A car door. Silence and then I hear two birds, wings glide through the air not far above my head.

I realise I am fully rested in this wee moment and, finding it like a gripping drama, don’t want to leave! I’ll wait. Soak it all in.

I hope you can find soak moments because they’re extremely restorative. Keeping aiming at it.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


28

November

The power of being read to

Saturday November 28, 2020


It has taken me around 3 years of receiving and appreciating the Moodscope blog posts before I have found the courage to send one of my own.

I have had depression, with the ups and downs that come with it, for around 25 years now. Throughout this time I have tried many, many different coping mechanisms. From the safe and reliable medication and counselling, to the not so safe self medicating with alcohol and cake! Hypnotherapy is what did it for me in the end. It somehow changed my thought processes and now I have been in a calm and steady place for a good few years. This does not, however, mean that I don't have bad days. 

On these days the temptation is to go back to the wine and let it lull me to sleep, but, as we all know, this has lasting consequences and is not the quick fix I would like it to be! Instead I reach for Audible and allow Stephen Fry to read Harry Potter and lull me to sleep. I don't know whether it is the calm and soporific sound of his voice, or the repetition of a story I have read many times but it does work. Last night it took a few hours but the thoughts that wanted to keep coming stayed away as I made myself focus on what I was listening to.

Today I am tired, but I am not irritable, anxious or angry with myself, which I would be had I used my old crutch. This is a crutch that will hopefully keep working for years to come.

Lucy
A Moodscope member.

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


27

November

Are you the favourite?

Friday November 27, 2020


I was watching the series the Crown recently and there was a scene where prince Philip asks the Queen who her favourite child is. She denies having a favourite but Prince Philips says he knows hers and his favourite.
 
It is not something people talk about, but I remember when growing up, friends saying they were the favourite. A radio announcer said he was not the favourite, and he was an only child. A friend of mine at her mother’s funeral when all five children were in their 60s and 70s found out that they all felt they were the favourite. What a loving mother to make them all feel special.
 
Why must we have favourite, why must we choose a favourite child, a favourite food, a favourite colour, a favourite movie, favourite book etc?

What is the need we have to place people and things we love and like in order. Is it possible to like everyone and most things without it being a popularity contest?

When I am asked what my favourite book is, song, film etc. my mind goes blank and I start mumbling and rambling. I suppose I could just remember an answer. I always say blue is my favourite colour when in theory I do not have one.

I suppose with colours, food, and movies there is not much damage done, but when there is talk about a favourite child, I think that can cause long-term problems.
 
My son felt he was his grandpas’ favourite when my dad was insistent, he had no favourites he loved them all. My son just smiled and knew he was the favourite.

Maybe having someone make us feel that we are special is the key without singling out one person but having everyone feel the favourite - feel they are appreciated.
 
Do you think it is good to have a favourite, food, book, film son or something else? Do you think having a favourite in a family is a good idea? Is it fairer to make everyone feel appreciated and valued? Did you feel you were the favourite?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


26

November


A while back I wrote a post about how I felt that my diagnosis was wrong. Quite a few people responded saying they felt the same.

I had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder but I just didn’t feel that it was enough. I was sure there was something else ‘lurking’ within me making me feel constantly unsettled. I’d been through four different antidepressants prescribed by the GP and all had made me feel worse, much worse. I’ve written a lot about my lows and coming out of them or falling into them but never about the highs when even though I thought I was stable I was actually hypomanic and then of course there are the stable periods too where I would still be on a high alert waiting for the next ‘state’.

So the day after my 47th birthday I had an online appointment with a different psychiatrist and he asked me about the highs as well as the lows, he asked what I like doing (so many things, he ran out of room), do I have friends? (too many to name) and about my relationships with food and alcohol and at the end I could have hugged him, lucky for him there was a screen between us.

My reaction was shock but not surprise, relief but also reticence. I’m on a new medication, a mood stabiliser. I don’t know if I will ever feel better. But, it has a name for this thing I have felt inside me, that also makes me creative, imaginative, sociable, positive... It’s going to take a bit of working out I think and I will try to take it day by day, hour by hour or minute by minute, whatever the day requires.

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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


25

November


This is a familiar saying to many of us.

There are several songs I found with this title. One is a traditional bluegrass piece, featuring a man who comes home late from a drinking session with the boys, and finds his wife waiting at the door with a frying pan. He complains that, because he’s made his wife unhappy, the result is the dog won’t eat and the children won’t behave, and therefore advises the listener to do nothing to upset his own wife. Tracy Byrd’s song tells of a man who realises his wife is unhappy, so gets in a babysitter, and takes his wife out for a candlelit dinner because he wants to “See that sparkle back in her eyes.”

There is another saying, “A mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child.” Today I had an opportunity to experience the truth of this: my daughter called home from university in tears. Her father and I both feel her unhappiness as if it were our own, because we love her. There is nothing we can do; we cannot even give her a hug because she is 300 miles away.

It’s true that, if a loved one is unhappy, then we feel it too – especially if we are at all empathic.

And what about the saying, “Misery loves company?” Some people take out their unhappiness on others. It may be the wife in the first song spread her fury around, so it splashed like hot fat over the whole household. Sometimes people can be so hurt and upset they snap at anyone offering comfort; so, there are two people hurt instead of just one.

Personal development coaches will tell us we are all responsible for our own happiness; we should not expect other people to make us happy, and we should not allow the unhappiness of others to rub off on us. But, of course, it’s not that simple, is it?

In the early days of our marriage, when we had two professional incomes and fewer outgoings, I occasionally used to treat myself to a facial. My therapist (and therapist is exactly the right word for her) would massage my face and my scalp while I gently sank into a state of bliss. At the end of the massage she would vigorously shake her hands. “When I massage the stress out of you,” she explained, “It has to go somewhere, so it goes into me. I’m shaking it out, so it doesn’t stay there.”

And maybe that’s what we need to do. We will always absorb unhappiness around us, but it is healthier if we can “shake it out.”

It is not disloyal to be happy if someone we love is unhappy. Would you want your own unhappiness to spread? Of course not!

We need to find our own “shaking” process. I don’t yet have one – do you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments if you do.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


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