The Moodscope Blog

27

February

Turn up the tactile 

Sunday February 27, 2022


Comfort seems much needed. Even living physically far away from the harsh truth the world screeches at us, we all need to soften the blows. Here is a small list of stuff to help find the physical feeling of ok. It is limitless and I hope you will add to it, so we can all share in enveloping ourselves into a better day. 
 
1. A hot water bottle. As a child it was just in the dead of winter and times of ill, I now find any time of day, any season, comfort will be had from the gentle embrace of a weighty hot water bottle. 
 
2. A sunny spot, however short, even through a window. Close your eyes, get it onto your face and soak it in. 
 
3. A soft jumper. Put on a warm under layer and cocoon with your softest jumper on top. 
 
4. A hat in the house? Yes, it is acceptable. A head hug. Why ever not! 
 
5. A blanket. Any size. Any shape. Any age. They are all good. 

6. Food. There are times to be sensible. There are times to throw out the rule book. 
 
7. That song. That one. The one that helps your shoulders come down from your ears. Sometimes for me it is The Clash, I Fought The Law.  Sometimes Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5. 

8. Add in more here… 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


26

February

How Should we React to the News?

Saturday February 26, 2022


When you awoke on Wednesday to the news that Russian troops had crossed the border into Ukraine, how did you feel? I felt angry, sad, anxious and overwhelmingly impotent. I wanted to both scream and to cry. At the same time, I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, so I could blot it all out.

For the past 48 hours there has been no escape from it. My friends are posting on Facebook, my children are talking about it at school and want to talk about it at home; it even affects my husband’s job.

I realised last night that it’s seriously affecting my emotional and mental health. I cannot do anything about the situation, but I can take responsibility for my own well-being. If you are feeling the same as I, perhaps you can join me in some positive action.

The first thing we must be clear about is that this level of self-care is not necessary for everyone. We may even come in for some criticism for taking this course. I liken it, however, to the advice I gave to my sensitive younger daughter when she had nightmares after watching horror films. The solution was simple: don’t watch horror films. She thought her friends would laugh at her but, when she explained, they were all understanding. We too may need to explain to some people. I hope they also will be supportive.

The first thing I did was isolate myself from the news. My husband and I awaken every morning, just before 6am, to Radio 4. We listen to Tweet of the Day (a 90-second piece on birds) then the news. This morning my husband turned the radio off at the end of the Tweet.

Yesterday I became involved in several discussions online. Today, I made the conscious choice to scroll by anything to do with current affairs.

I visited a friend, and we took her dog for a walk across the Fen. Today is a beautiful day. There was nothing but the flat land, water, vast blue sky and the constant wind. Oh, and a happy dog. My friend and I agreed not to talk about the “situation” and our fears; we talked of other things. With a good friend, you never run out of conversation.

I am still conscious of the anxiety at the back of my mind, so another thing I will do is listen to upbeat music. I love to read, and a practical self-help book will be better than escapist fiction as there won’t be that jolt back into reality at the end. I will watch a comedy or a feel-good series/documentary on TV. I will meditate.

We can all hope and pray; we can all send sympathetic thoughts to those caught up in it, but we owe it to ourselves, our families, and indeed the world, to guard our mental and emotional health. We cannot help those who suffer by suffering ourselves.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


25

February

Knitting as therapy

Friday February 25, 2022


When I had written this blog, I then found that I had written a blog ‘What therapy suits you?’ back in March 2020. I don’t think I am repeating myself too much as that blog was more general and life has changed for us all in last two
years.

When any would ask me why I was knitting in the last two years I would say it is therapy. So I was surprised that there is such a thing as knitting as therapy, but it seems very complicated and way over my head. I can cast on knit plain and cast off. That is the total of my skill set.

I do like collecting colourful wool, real sheep’s wool if possible, not acrylic. Charity shops are a great resource for odd balls of wool.
 
For me the therapy comes because while I knit I don’t think of other thoughts as I’m too busy trying not to drop stitches and get the yarn tangled in a ball of knots. Also, I find the rhythm on the yarn and the sound of the needles tapping is quite soothing. Sometimes I will knit for a few inches or centimetres and then undo it as it is not the product but the movement of the knitting.

These last two years, as everyone knows, has been hard in different ways for all of us. My mum was a talented knitter and crocheter which is why I didn’t do much knitting while she was alive. She had a room full of wool and knitting needles and patterns etc. When I knit my plain awkwardly shaped knitting with uneven stitches and tension, I feel close to my mum.

I know there will be very skilled knitters reading this, but I am interested in Moodscopers who have found something that is soothing that has helped them cope with the changes in last few years.

It maybe a craft, a hobby, physical activity, anything really.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


24

February

Confidence Trick

Thursday February 24, 2022


I struggle with confidence. There are times when I appear to have it but that is a façade. Beneath the suave (ish) exterior, I am terrified.
 
I get so nervous before such as interviews that I am now seriously considering sticking with the current job until retirement. I just can’t cope with the stress of the application, seeing if you get through the paper sift, the sleepless nights before the interview. Then comes the personal debrief and the worry about whether I can do the job. That’s a long worry that lasts for years, even with constant reassurance from colleagues.
 
This is a recent thing. I used to do amateur acting and managed stage fright well. I have a couple of thoughts about why this worry has reappeared more recently. Indeed, it might never have gone away, just been suppressed for a time.
 
When at school (a time I hated), confidence was not high. It was an aggressive all boys school and run around the sports teams. I am not sporty so was low on the pecking order. I couldn’t fight and so was lower in the pecking order than the toughs as well.
 
My father, a child of the 30s, didn’t help much. When I said I had some ideas about computers, he deflated me immediately by comparing me unfavorably to Bill Gates.
 
So, confidence didn’t come from home or school.  I suspect that it needs to so we get in the habit of it but that didn’t happen to me.
 
I have largely gone through life unconfident, hiding nerves, and responding to awkward moments with aggression or bravado. My abilities are, to me, modest. I seek constant reassurance that I am doing OK and trying not to be too English about minimising compliments.
 
I am sure there is a trick about confidence. I never knew what it was and it’s probably too late to learn.
 
Do you know what it is? I’d love to know.
 
Alex
A Moodscope member.

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


23

February

Don’t Say Can’t, Say Don’t

Wednesday February 23, 2022


I wrote last week about the importance of saying No and gave some ideas on how you can decide when to say No.

One of the things I have discovered is that others respect you more when you say No. They are less likely to take you for granted and more likely to recognise your principles and priorities. We are, after all, not saying No to be selfish, but to ensure that our own needs are met first, so we can be ultimately more generous with our time and resources, not less.

Once we know when to say No, we need to find ways of saying No that are respectful and do not harm our relationships. If our No is rude and abrupt, then it’s counterproductive; everyone concerned will feel bad.

People are less likely to feel rejected by your No if they understand that your decision is not personal, so one way of saying No is to refer to a principle you have. In my business I am sometimes asked if I will offer a discount on a service. I used to get flustered by this, feel obliged to make a reduction in the price and then feel resentful. I now just smile and say, “I have a rule that I don’t offer discounts.” The subject is closed, and I haven’t even had to use the word No.

Another way is to refer to other commitments. “I don’t have time right now, as I have a lot of things on today,” or “I’ve promised to take my children out this weekend, so I’m going to pass on this one, thanks.” Again, you have said no, without saying no.

If you would like to help the person who is asking you, then consider a counteroffer. Maybe you don’t have the time or skills to do what the person is asking but you could offer to ask your co-worker John, who does have those skills. You don’t have the energy to take your friend to see their mother in the care home today, but you could do it on Friday.

You may have noticed in all the above examples I have been careful not to use the word ‘don’t’ instead of ‘can’t.’ When we say ‘can’t’ we present ourselves as a victim of circumstances. We leave the door open for persuasion or manipulative negotiation. We are not standing firm on our principles or owning our commitments.

The most difficult person to say no to is often yourself. How often have we started a diet or exercise regime and ended up saying yes to that chocolate cake or another hour under the duvet?

The word Don’t has been so useful to me as I committed to being sober. When I went through the bad times and cravings, I would repeat to myself, like a mantra, the phrase, “I don’t drink anymore.”

The word Don’t has power.

Have you any areas in your life where you could use that power?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


22

February

So many reasons not to post

Tuesday February 22, 2022


There are so many reasons not to post to the Moodscope blog. Several times in the past I have felt inclined to do so but convinced myself that I have nothing worthwhile to say; that I am not a good enough writer; that I might cause upset or offence; that I can’t really help anyone in any case.

Recently I received one of Caroline’s periodic emails asking for submissions and the process of negative self-doubt began again. However, here I am: walking the dog through the woods on a cold, bright winter morning, dictating this as I go. Whether I send it or not remains to be seen…

We all come from different backgrounds, live in different countries and have had different experiences. One thing we have in common is that we all have, or have had, issues with mental health. My experiences will be different from yours but we can (and do) still show empathy and compassion for each other.

I am a “glass half empty” thinker by nature. I almost always think of reasons that something can’t or shouldn’t be done. Sometimes I am right but more often I am wrong. My wife and I have started joking about this: when packing for holiday I am convinced that we are taking too much stuff. Now my wife will pre-empt me by saying, “We’ll never fit it all in!”

In a strange way this reframes the issue for me: it becomes a challenge, a puzzle. How can I pack so as to get everything in? And even if I was correct and things have to be taken out and left behind, so what? It’s not life threatening!

Why do I do this? Why would I prefer not to do something rather than try it and see? I think it is a fear of failure. If I am not very sure that I can succeed, I would prefer not to play the game.

The fallacy in my thinking is that without failure we do not learn. We miss out on opportunities. We restrict our lives and make them smaller than they could be. We do not allow ourselves to be fully ourselves.

I wish I could say or do something in this post to make you (us) all better but I can’t. I have to accept that. However, if, like me, it helps even a little bit at least to know that there is a community of ‘Moodscopers’ out there who “get it” then that’s worthwhile.

Now - shall I press the send key?

Best wishes,

Adam
A Moodscope member.

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


21

February

Give And It Will Be Given

Monday February 21, 2022


[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://bit.ly/3H3VGZ2]

Dad’s 92nd birthday brought with it much opportunity for reflection and gratitude. He is in relatively good health – I’d say amazing health for one so advanced in years – and he’s intellectually sparky.

But he’s lonely. He’s had two years of isolation for health reasons. For him to, at last, be able to spend time with us again was a wonderful few hours. We even went ‘out’ for lunch! What was once ‘normal’ is now a major treat!

My brain won’t shut up. I am grateful to finally understand that this may be Adult ADHD and, if so, cut myself some slack, but that won’t change the endless reflection. I’ve been observing people’s behaviour much more – and noticing how rare it is for anyone to listen without the need to plan their response. The number of interruptions are worse than an irresponsible driver weaving in and out of traffic. To me, this is massively disrespectful.

It does, however, bring home two points: we all need to be listened to, and we aren’t going to get listened to if we talk over others.

My first business was delivering customer care training back in the 1980s. Then, there was a need for it. Now, there is even more of a need. The new fashionable term is ‘CX’ which stands for ‘Customer Experience’. Thus, there am I, on my Dad’s 92nd birthday, thinking, “How can I give these people a great Customer Experience?” Yes, that’s how weird my thinking patterns are. I thought, “How can I give to them FIRST before asking or even expecting to receive?” Or, more traditionally, “How can I DO to them FIRST what I’d so love someone to do for me?”

With mental health issues, the primacy of self-care is without dispute. We must look after ourselves if we want to care for others. Burnout is an ever-present danger. But I think there is space for a shift of attention away from ourselves and a time and place for focus on others first – in short bursts. It’s the, “Give (first), and it will be given to you.” Is this the truth? It’s certainly an interesting process order to try.

What pleased me was how easy it is with people I know. Lady P really loves to be listened to without interruption. To ‘give’ to her means to listen – genuinely listen. Dad loves his music and, I think, a good chat, and to have the company of his children. My eldest loves to share his passions… so I ask him about them and then I get out of the way.

Here’s the really weird bit. The, “…and it will be given to you,” second part often comes through someone else! I have one friend, Dawn, who is the best listener I’ve ever met. She listens to me, and that’s enough. I hope that I, too, listen to her.

The order of the Universe may well be: give (first) and then (maybe) it will be given to you. What does your experience teach you? Is this true for you?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


20

February

An oldie but a goodie 

Sunday February 20, 2022


I found an old file from years ago and it held some of my earliest blogs. Some I’ve never submitted, thank goodness. This one didn’t say if I had or if I hadn’t submitted it, so my apologies if you’ve read it before.  The list was very good for me to read. I sound so much younger and much more fun than I feel now!  (I’d forgotten all about the benefits of headstands and I think I'll start again for just 5 or 10 seconds and build up slowly, any upside-down position will do.)  Thought I’d share... 
 
1 Take the time you need. Apply liberally to all areas of your life. 
2 Have a plan for your day. Every day before you rise. Any plan. Your plan. 
3 Have a basic, and rough meal guide for the week. 
4 Look at your photographs. We always photograph the good bits. 
5 Find one easily achievable thing that makes your day good. Now do it every day.  
 
(The above can be anything at all. I do a headstand for up to 5 minutes, every day.  The blood flow for your brain is remarkable and I might write about this. Opening a window, sticking your head outside and breathing in and out for a bit is also very achievable and can change your perspective.) 
 
6 Sleep in the day if you need it, but not after 2pm. 
7 If you can’t eat healthily, limit the trash to before 5pm. 
8 Ask yourself “what does this do for me?”.  This is not as harsh as it sounds. We often give more than we should. 
9 An oldie and a goodie - if you can’t be good, be careful. 
10 Forgive. Start with yourself. 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


19

February

Self Help

Saturday February 19, 2022


Good morning; I hope you don’t need this post today but you may.

I feel fairly safe writing it because if you don’t like it I cannot accept full responsibility. I jest, as I was requested by Mary W. following her Post on 26 January (Not as bad as we thought) to write about how to react when MH matters take a really horrible turn for the worst.

You may have your own ideas but this is the mantra that I use:

Don’t panic
Stay calm
Rest
It will pass
Seek help, if necessary.

I would like to encourage you to comment on each of these:

DON’T PANIC.

I felt like adding “Mr Mainwaring”.

It is important to quickly acknowledge something is not right. It may be an unexpected anxious or depressive thought or a noticeable physical body change. If possible stop what you are doing, and stay calm.

STAY CALM

Staying calm is easier if you sit down, concentrate on your breathing and close your eyes. If others are with you then simply say “I need a short time away“.

REST

Find somewhere quiet and comfortable. Just let the feelings wash over you and diminish a little in intensity. They will pass.

IT WILL PASS

“Everything passes. Joy. Pain. The moment of triumph; the sigh of despair. Nothing lasts forever--not even this” (Paul Stewart).

You know from personal experience that bad times pass and better times will return. I certainly do. During the last 2 years in particular I have managed some horrible times but they have passed.

SEEKING HELP

If you are alone and feel you need some support then delve into your self help toolkit, if you have one. My two posts covered the subject of MH toolkits.

If you are with someone who understands, they can help you to stay calm, relaxed and give reassurance.

AFTERMATH

When the bad spell has receded and some kind of normality returns, don’t over analyse. It is often counter productive to set the Mind on a “Why” mission. It is probably best to give yourself some praise. You have successfully weathered the storm.

I wasn’t sure how to finish this Post. But I thought “don’t panic”. Find something light hearted, slightly humorous. No, not a joke, but I am a great fan of the humble “Pun”.
So this is what I wrote:

A pun is fun
It makes you smile
It makes you groan
Once in a while

A pun is fun
It makes you smirk
It drives you mad
And almost berserk

A pun is fun
It makes you glad
It fills with joy
The good and the bad.

It has been said there is a fine line between genius
and insanity! Don’t push me, I am close to the line!

Teg
A Moodscope member.

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


18

February


If one complains or is critical, one is pointing out what was wrong. If one comments one is noticing some behaviour or situation.

So, is it a matter of subjective definition? Most people will say they don’t complain they are simply noticing something.
 
In my experience, my observations are often seen as complaints while other people insist that I have misinterpreted their complaints as they are simply comments.
 
Both words are examining something but suggest different emotions. So, there are different results.

What do we get from complaining? Often, we don’t get what we want - a change, so we become even more discontent.
 
Sometimes people keep complaining about the same thing so they can be heard but get frustrated when nothing changes.
Maybe if we are telling our feedback to someone in customer service or retail things may change but usually, they don’t.
 
If we notice more and complain less, will our relationships be easier?
 
The real art of handling a situation comes when we observe with no emotions. Is this even possible? I have emotion in everything I do. So maybe that is why my observations are seen as complaints as they have too much emotion.

What is difference between a complaint and a comment you feel is helpful feedback?

How do you feel when someone has complained about you but say it was only an observation?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


17

February

Pills or skills?

Thursday February 17, 2022


In my last post I recommended viewing an excellent talk by American  therapist Michael Yapko. It’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVgQ_tgWMyU
 
I’d like to pick up on an aspect of this talk: the usefulness and limits of modern antidepressant pills (SSRIs). De Yapko is not against pills – neither am I – but  cautions against over-reliance on them.  
 
SSRIs can “raise you off the floor” and make you feel somewhat better. They can also help you to function more normally e.g. sleep better. SSRI pills, however,  only work for about 50% of people. And no amount of pills will teach you how to better cope with stress, make better decisions, make better personal relationships or create a good support network for yourself. Maybe Moodscope has helped you in the last of these?
 
So what can help you do these sort of things? Dr Yapko’s research give us some guidance.
 
“Oldie but Goldie”
A Moodscope member.

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


16

February

That Gargantuan Word, “No.”

Wednesday February 16, 2022


Bailey’s excellent blog of yesterday on Self Care leads neatly into my thoughts today on why it’s important to say no.

Any of us who have had anything to do with very young children will be familiar with the “Terrible Twos.”

It is around two years old a child first starts to express his or her autonomy and separateness from the world, especially from his parents or caregivers. This results in the word, “No!” usually expressed with some force and volume. “No, I don’t want to go to bed!” “No, I won’t wear my boots/coat/sweet little dress Granny made for me!” “No, I won’t eat my peas!”

It’s also at this point we start to learn that saying no is unpopular. We learn that saying no can bring about unpleasant consequences; we learn that saying no can make other people angry or sad. We learn that saying no is a Bad Thing.

Saying yes, however, brings its own problems.

How many of us say “yes,” far too often? We say yes when we should say no. We say yes because we don’t want to be unpopular; we don’t want to risk unpleasant consequences; we don’t want to make other people angry or sad.

It’s been said one of the main causes of stress is when our brain is saying, “No, No, NO!” yet we open our mouth and say, “Yes.”

I have recently been reading “The Art of Saying No,” by Damon Zahariades. It’s made me think and reconsider my point of view on that little word, no.

A very wise friend reminded me a while ago that our time, our money and our skills and talents are our own. They are ours and they are not the property of others. An employer may pay us for our time and for the use of our skills and talents, but they remain still our own. Other people may want or need our time, skills and talents, but they do not have an absolute right to them. Our first duty must be to fulfil our own needs. If we spend all our resources on other people, we will ourselves starve. Even if we do not starve in a literal sense, we will still emotionally and psychologically go hungry.

There will always be more demands on us than we have resources to fulfil. We need to learn to say no to some of those demands without fear or guilt.

There are many ways of deciding what to say no to. Does the request fit in with our values? Do we have the time, energy and skills to meet the request? Does the request fit in with our other priorities? When we lie on our deathbed, will we be happy we said yes? Only if we can answer yes to all those questions, should we say yes to others.

Otherwise, say no.

I have run out of words, so “How to say no,” must be another blog for another day.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


15

February

Self Care

Tuesday February 15, 2022


I finally had a good day for the first time in a few weeks of moping depression. Motivation married ambition and produced activity. I baked, wrote a segment in the book I am writing and did the laundry. Then I thought since I was doing so well, I would run a few errands... and that went so well I thought I may as well go and visit a friend... and caught myself. "Self," I said, “Just because you feel better doesn't mean you have to spend it all in one place. Pace yourself or you will be worse off than ever." 

It is a journey but I am learning not to leave my self care up to other people. There is no one better than me to say “Enough," to me. Part of learning self care is to put up boundaries with takers. Human nature is to get what you can while you can and the first step is not taking more from myself than I can give.

Self care is saying no to draining friendships, or at least limiting them, and cutting the wrong people right out of your life. Snip snip snippety snip.

The reward of taking care of oneself is the absence of resentment. I don't have to resent anyone else who didn't come through for me because I came through for me. 

When I lost the people pleasing addiction I gained myself. After all, if I were to nearly drown I don't want someone else's life to flash before my eyes. 

With mental illness comes vulnerability and people trying to walk all over you and take advantage. I had someone walk right into my unlocked gate and into my unlocked front door this week. It infuriated me until I remembered who left the hatches wide open. I also had someone hack my social media account. So now I lock and block, without guilt. Good fences make good neighbors, I have heard all my life. 

All my adulthood I have wanted a romance and found anything but. Lately I have simply learned to enjoy my own company and that of my house pets, a dog, a cat and assortment of dust bunnies. I jokingly say: “The more I deal with people the more I like animals." But I enjoy everyone on Moodscope and playing the game of: “Guess the author," when I start reading the blogs. I once said, about romance:"I have been looking for the missing part of me and can't find it," to which the listener replied; “Maybe nothing is missing." 

A speaker I once heard said; “When it comes to people two halves make a quarter." And I agree while applauding community, and say sometimes you have to be your own rock. People and things are a bonus. 

Bailey
A Moodscope member.

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


14

February

The Spice of Life

Monday February 14, 2022


How wonderful to meet Eric, the Chef at our local pub. In moments, Eric taught me something (and in a French accent) that I didn’t know was a Golden Rule for using seasoning in cooking.  Eric calls it, “3, 2, 1.”
 
Imagine that in his beautiful French accent, Eric says, “You ‘ave three pinches of your dominant spice, two of the next most important flavour, and then you can ‘ave as much as you like of any other spice as long as it is only one pinch.”
 
Whilst I’m certain I’ve sold him short on the culinary advice, I loved the principle. “Could it be used to add spice to your life?” I wondered.
 
Who knows? But we could have a go, couldn’t we?
 
What would you like the main theme, taste, or flavour of your life to be? Whatever you choose, it would need three pinches of that… which in real terms means giving it your main focus. I would choose, for example, to be inspired and to be inspiring. Ideas light my fire, and sharing them is my spice.

What would your secondary spice be? Mine is Nature – I want more of Nature… naturally!  (I’ve still got Eric’s delicious French accent in my head, the ‘naturally’ came with a little Gallic shrug!)
 
Thus the flavour of my life would be dominantly inspired/inspiring, and I’d also be known as a Naturalist (spell that one with caution!)
 
Then there are hundreds of other themes and topics that fascinate me but I don’t have the time to give them full attention.
 
Now, I’m curious – what would you give your time and attention to if you had the option?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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


13

February

In our lives

Sunday February 13, 2022


Last Sunday, one of our Moodscope members left word on the blog that her son had died that morning.  I can’t think of anything harder than death going against the grain and stepping in to claim a child before a parent. 
 
My intention today is not to pull everybody down but rather to give everybody a place to say the name of loved ones who have died, and those we would love to talk with again.  It is up to you if you say those names silently, whisper them quietly, sing them out loud, or post them here to see those names again in black and white. 
 
I am of the mind that dying takes only the body and that the soul goes onwards into the next room.  Here is to your loved ones, greatly missed. 
 
Gran and Grampa 
Gran and Granda 
Steven 
Roy 
Michael 
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


12

February

Where are you looking?

Saturday February 12, 2022


The following old story I read recently resonated with me. 

Man walking home late at night sees a friend of his, despondent,"on his hands and knees under a lamppost. “What’s wrong?” the man says. “I lost my car keys,” says his friend. “Bummer,” the man says, “let me help you,” and he gets down on his knees, too, and they both scrabble around in the grass companionably for a time.

After a while, the man says to his friend, “I dunno, are you sure it’s here? We’ve been looking for a while, and "the friend says, “Oh, no, I have no idea, I’ve been all over town since the last time I’m sure I had them,” and the man says, “Then why have we been looking under this lamppost for the last twenty minutes?” and the friend says, “Because everywhere else it’s too dark to look!

regards

Mark
A Moodscope member.

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


11

February

Food, comfort or challenge?

Friday February 11, 2022


I know eating disorders are complex and can be tragic. I want to have a look at our relationship with food.

People say they have special food that they eat when they need comforting, where as for me all food is comforting.

Other people find eating most food a constant battle and the thought of eating rich food like cake or chocolate to cause anxiety. Food unlike alcohol is needed every day so one can not give it up.

Food is  part of our lives and so many memorable times with loved ones, friends and food sometimes cooked with love.

So why does something as basic as food cause so many different responses and different people?

Does it start when we are babies  or is it something that we inherit from our ancestors , our culture, our families?

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think of chocolate and cheese. If I don’t eat any I think about eating them, or when I can buy some. If I get through a whole day without eating chocolate but thinking about it all the time; I feel I have achieved something.

I’d like to hear your stories, the comforting, the challenging, the memorable and the surprising relationship you have with food, thinking about it, eating, cooking, worrying and enjoying.

How would you describe your relationship with food? Does your mood affect what you eat and how you eat?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


10

February

Multiple Personalities

Thursday February 10, 2022


In the village where I live on the North York Moors there is a starling that calls like a curlew. It’s often had me looking up searching the sky for a curlew’s gliding flight and thinking that it’s odd a curlew should be over the village when they are normally found on the high moor. Then I see the starling perched on a television aerial and give a wry smile for being caught out again.

The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa wrote in the voices of 75 different poets, which he called heteronyms. He used three of them regularly and wrote a detailed description of their different characters, personalities and abilities. One “sees things with the eyes only, not with the mind”, another would “See life from a distance. Never question it.”, and the third would “feel everything in every way”.

A writer friend suffered when they were a child. As an adult they often retreat into different personalities. They are an exceptional linguist, and each personality has their own nationality – Elvira from El Salvador, Reva from Russia, Dagmara from Bulgaria. Each language carries its own culture and perspective.

Whilst not as dramatic as mimicry of another bird, poetic heteronyms, or different nationalities, I have my own multiple personalities. Recently I had to take two weeks off work because of stress and anxiety. Going into work would have been ridiculous as I wouldn’t have been able to function and would have probably made a fool of myself by having a melt-down.

Only my direct line managers knew the reason for me being off work and everyone else just assumed I had the dreaded lurgy. Despite my sick leave being medically approved, nonetheless I felt guilty and did as much as I could working from home by putting on my ‘brave face in adversity’ personality, which sometimes even morphed into ‘competent professional’ whilst all the time on the inside feeling ‘frightened rabbit’.

Even when not caught in the grip of anxiety I’m flitting between personas depending on who I’m with or talking to on the telephone. Perhaps it’s a ‘thing’, that if I could find the ‘true me’ then all problems would be solved. Or perhaps we all have multiple personalities in some form or other.

Rowan On The Moor
A Moodscope member.

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


9

February

New on the To Do

Wednesday February 9, 2022


I like a good “To Do” list, don’t you? It gives structure to the day and ensures things don’t get forgotten. And it’s satisfying to put a tick next to each completed task.

I’ll come back to that list in a moment, but first, something else – which is relevant, I promise.

Last week I didn’t have covid. No, really, I didn’t. Three lateral flow tests and a PCR all came back negative: it wasn’t covid. Well, all I can say is, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck, but isn’t a duck, please pass me the Field Guide to Birds, so I can identify that wild goose!

It knocked me completely off my feet. In fact, I was in bed, snuggled in my warm, fluffy dressing gown, as I replied to all your kind comments on my blog last week. I’m still tired and find the least activity exhausting.

Back to the To Do list.

I find it helpful to colour-code my list. I use the method described by Stephen Covey in his excellent book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He divides tasks into important/not important and urgent/not urgent.

Tasks which are important and must be done that day, I colour orange. For example, I must take my daughter to school on Thursday, as she has an important exam, and we cannot trust our unreliable bus service to get her there on time. Things that are important but not urgent, like the laundry, or writing this blog, are green. Of course, these tasks can become orange if ignored: if my family has no clothes, for instance, or if it’s aTuesday – oops – that’s today! Things that must happen today, like attending a meeting, might not be important – I can read the minutes later – and I colour these yellow. Then there are the pink ones, those things which are neither important nor urgent.

Mr Covey tells us to spend most of our time in the green zone and to minimize the orange zone by doing those green things promptly and regularly, so they don’t become orange. Hmmm – good advice, Mr Covey; I wish I could follow it.

I have discovered, however, it’s important to do at least one pink thing a day. These tasks can bring a disproportionate feeling of satisfaction. In fact, if I complete a pink task first, it really sets me up for the day, so I can concentrate on the orange and green things. Yesterday I tidied and reorganised the medicine cupboard; it made me feel good.

Today’s list is short. In fact, there are only two important items, both orange: write this blog and rest. If I rest, I will get over this wild goose quickly. I’ve never before put “rest” on the list, but I can see it makes sense.

And at the end of today I will have the satisfaction of giving both these jobs a big fat tick.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


8

February


This is my first attempt at a blog, so bear with me!

I am an ordinary, unremarkable person, diagnosed with mild to moderate depression 8 years ago. But I seem to have always suffered from mood swings and a sort of melancholia, low self-esteem, worrying a lot about things in general, never feeling good enough or clever enough, for most of my adult life.

I have no answers, solutions, suggestions of things that might help, to offer.

The first Nurse Practitioner I saw suggested I find something online to rate my mood, hence I joined Moodscope. That was May 2015, I find it helpful, a way to monitor my ups and downs, to be part of an online community as it were. I did try CBT but it just wasn't for me, maybe I'm in the minority, I'm sure it helps a lot of people.

I had to cope with a bereavement last year, something that you never get over, just learn to live with I feel. I'm sure some people can overcome difficulties and hard times better than others. Losing mum was hard, even though as she had Alzheimers she was lost to us already.

Anyway,Thanks for sticking with me and taking the time to read this.

Christine  
A Moodscope member.

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


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