The Moodscope Blog



My Best Christmas Present ever!

Wednesday December 23, 2020

We all have Christmas memories. This Christmas will certainly be memorable; maybe not for the most positive of reasons.

I thought I’d like to write a blog today on our happiest Christmas memories. I hope we all have some – especially those Christmas gifts we treasure.

I’m going to tell you about the best Christmas gift I ever received; and I would invite you, in the comments, to tell me about your most treasured gift.

I got my best Christmas present in 2004, and this is how it happened.

I had given birth to my second daughter at the end of September. As we also had a lively two-and-a-half-year-old at the time, my attentions were almost totally occupied with childcare; and I had little time to notice the new neighbours. They were obviously Americans, from the local airbase, moving into the rental property opposite; and our experience of such neighbours was that they were friendly enough but not exactly neighbourly.

Now it was mid-December.

It was around 6.30pm. I had given the girls their baths and now I was feeding my little one while her older sister ran around in a state of nature, drying off those bits the towel had not reached.

From the street came the sound of sleighbells and Christmas music: it was the local charity Christmas collection.

For my elder daughter, this was pure magic. “It’s Father Christmas!” she shrieked. She ran downstairs at the speed of light, opened the front door, and scampered down the path to the “sleigh;” where the fattest member of the local Round Table, dressed in red and fur and a long white beard, sat enthroned on a farm trailer, throwing chocolates to all.

It took me a few seconds to realise my daughter was bulleting, stark naked, across the gravel drive, toward Santa!

I will forever be grateful to Belle, my new neighbour. She had been attracted by the Christmas music and looked out of her window, to be confronted by a naked child hurtling down our shared drive, lumberingly pursued by a woman still clutching a baby to her breast.

Belle has told me since, the thought that ran through her mind was, “This woman needs my help.”

She ran out of her house, scooped up my daughter, retrieved the scattered chocolates, and supported me back to the house. She helped me put both children to bed and departed with the words, “See you tomorrow.”

She did see me the next day, and the day after that. She became my dearest neighbour and friend. When, inevitably, she departed for the USA, we kept in touch. We still message each other nearly every day; I have visited her twice. That two-year-old is now studying medicinal chemistry at Edinburgh and the babe at my breast will be taking GCSEs next summer. Belle and I are still close friends.

Belle is the best Christmas present I ever received.

Tell me, what is your best Christmas gift, ever?

A Moodscope member.

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



These daily habits

Tuesday December 22, 2020

I have been a Moodscope reader for more than 5 years now, and every time I saw a blog post that actually changed my mood or uplifted me in a way, I would wonder if I could ever do the same, pay it forward to the community and make somebody else feel a little better through my words or my experience.

Recently, I was chatting with a friend, and I was complaining about how hard and different things are these days: my family is in another country, Christmas will not be with them this year, my friends are all over Europe and since Covid, I wasn't able to visit any of them, my marriage has its ups and downs, and overall, I just do not feel good. I was fired 3 months ago, luckily I found another job, but the feeling of just being fired is an awful feeling to deal with. He stopped me then and asked me "Why aren't you sharing all these emotions with other people? You know you're not alone in this, right? And you know there are thousands of people that go through the same things as you do." I instantly thought of the Moodscope blog, which helped me so many times. 

After this discussion, I stopped for a second and thought that I am not a complainer most of the time, and I just choose to see the "victim" in me: I have a loving family - indeed, far away, but they're there, I have a loving partner who's doing his best to cope with the reality we're all facing, I have friends that are looking forward to meeting again and have amazing experiences together. I just can't change the fact that the world is completely numb right now and there's nothing wrong with accepting that we cannot control this situation, but we can nurture ourselves with kindness, with love, and with gratitude that we're still alive and we can still see the sun in the morning, have that sip of coffee and breathe that fresh air. 

Discovering what makes me a little bit more content with life is a daily habit, and it's worth investing the time and the energy in it. Counting daily blessings is one of the habits I nourished recently, and today I'm grateful that I had the courage to write this very first blog. 

Maybe more to come? 

With love, 

A Moodscope member.

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



2020 Something Old, Something New

Monday December 21, 2020

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a sixpence in her shoe.

Part of the purpose of the old rhyme, is to ward off the Evil Eye.

If you have escaped evil in 2020, well done you!
Most families have had their history changed forever.
So what to do?

There are many treasures from the ‘old ways’ to carry forward. Driving on a wet Winter’s day to Shaftesbury yesterday, I was struck by the beautifully desolate countryside. It reminded me of the novels of Alan Garner – very English, very Ancient, deeply magical. What ‘magical’ learning or tradition would you keep and honour from the past? What ‘old ways’ have stood the test of time for you?

Something new, for me, has to be the New Global of the primacy of online experiences. Moodscope has been great at this for years, and now the whole world is realising that online communities and experiences are part of the ‘answer’ (though what is the question?) What new changes will you nurture, grow, and embrace going forward? What’s ‘New’ for you (in a good way)?

Something borrowed gives us continuity with someone else who has already succeeded in an area we’d also like to enjoy success within. For the bride, this and the blue was to do with fertility. The last thing I want is more children, but I’d love to borrow from someone else’s success in another field. That would be hypnosis for me – if anyone knows where to start. How about you? Who do you know who you would like to share in their success? What success specifically are you interested in enjoying?

Something blue. Blue still means ‘sadness’ as the dominant association for me. 2020 for so many was so sad. I believe the right kind of grief is so very, very good for us. And I believe that we should always honour memories of those we’ve lost, or that which we’ve lost. However, there is also a shift that needs to happen… to remember the chapter or even the Act that was, and to build from there.

My Mum is never coming back – nor my Nan nor my friends who’ve passed. These will be sad associations forever, but from each one, something new grows. Like the proverbial seed that ‘falls to the ground and dies’ – the new springs forth. Every time I absentmindedly find myself gently clapping my hands to invisible music, I feel my Nan. That is reassuring.

What of failure – my other blue? 2020 has been a year of spectacular failures for me. What I am learning is that those with a Possibility-Mindset learn to fail fast, learn from it, then put their mind to earn from it as they move on.

There is TOO MUCH here for you to respond to all of it, but I would love to hear from you in the comments about something old, or new, borrowed, or blue…

The wisdom of folk is folk wisdom!

A Moodscope member.



Wash day red hands

Sunday December 20, 2020

I grew up without a dishwasher. Dishes rota was just a normal part of daily life - sometimes fun, sometimes hated. I experienced my first dishwasher age 27. I had it for four years from brand new. When I sold the house, I sold with it a sparkling dishwasher used perhaps twice. Maybe even just once. Fast forward three children and loads of cooking and my dishwasher is on about twice a day, minimum. 

The dishwasher broke down. It’s eleven years old. The repair person will come in five days. This is inconvenient. And there is an upside. The kitchen is now always tidy. There are no longer queues of crockery awaiting space to go in, or queues of pots piled on the bunker, clean, waiting to be put away. There is no little bowl and spoon placed next to the sink, by someone pretending not to notice the dishwasher needed emptied. There’s no continuous rumble underpinning my thinking mind. There’s no long “beeeeep” the minute my head hits pillow. There’s no full clean load preventing the breakfast rush from finding a place to be. Nope, this inconvenience has an upside.

I’m keeping that. Inconvenience can show us a new way. If we can relinquish our rigid habits, we might just find new, fresh, efficient ways forward. 

Let us bring changing times under the crook of our arms and not resist or scowl. We might just like the eventual outcome. 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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



Moving on

Saturday December 19, 2020

So much has changed, is changing, for me , for everyone.

Our lives have been reshaped by an invisible force beyond our control and we are forced to adjust the way we live, work, love.

I live alone have done for many many years. I left home at 17 to find my way and successfully advanced through a career I still enjoy and I own my own home. Sadly no children, but I have loving parents and they need me now.

I have had to make a decision to stay here in the comfort of my safe home or sell and move to a spare room in my parents home so I can be there for them. Dad is not too well and Mum struggles to cope.

It took about 5 mins to decide. 

My house is going through a sale. I hope to be in  the room next to the garage by Christmas, work stuff, everything I need with me.

My heart is full and content.

I am lucky to have them and will cherish every moment good or bad. After all home is where your family are. 

Love to everyone, be brave be fair, but most of all be true to yourself. 

Love from

The Attic
A Moodscope member.

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



What saying annoys you?

Friday December 18, 2020

My mother used to like quoting proverbs sayings, and quotations. She seemed to have a saying for every situation.

Now the internet is full of memes with sayings. I am not sure, if like me, there are some quotes that you do not feel make sense. I will mention two now.
The first one, that I heard through my childhood was “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I never understood this as words would leave a scar that would affect me long after the sticks and stones had hurt me.
The next one I have heard throughout my life, and countless times this year;
“Everything happens for a reason”. Really? I feel that sounds heartless. I am thinking of all those whose loved  ones have died suddenly. I am sure people will disagree with me and feel this is a good saying.
So, what proverbs or sayings do you disagree with or find not to ring true? Maybe you disagree with my two choices and feel they are sayings that make sense, why?
I realise that we interpret quotes differently so hence different interpretations.

A Moodscope member.

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



What’s the Point!

Thursday December 17, 2020

Roses are red, violets are blue, I felt like killing myself what about you?

I remember those days so dark and sad, wondering whether I would ever feel any better?

Keeping the faith helped. Faith in myself that is; although this was very difficult, it's what I found helped me through the difficult times, that, and more particularly the support of a few close friends. Friends who never judged, just listened, just called on me and supported me. I had the faith in myself that I was a good person and I could get through this ‘Black Dog’, dealing with the problems that I had in my life, approaching the difficulties in a different way.

I sought professional help and ‘interviewed’ several phycologists/therapists before I settled on someone whom I felt I could work with. Someone I trusted with my most inner personal turmoil. I remember, very clearly, wondering how long, if ever, it would take to feel better, as it had taken many, many years of feeling so bad, to finally bring me down.

As it happens, it wasn’t an overnight recovery. It was more of a gradual progression. That’s where the faith in yourself comes in. You know who you are, inside; reach into your mind and just remind yourself who that is. The real you never goes away or really changes much. It just needs reminding that you know you are there, who you are.

On the road to recovery I came across an obstacle in the way; Lockdown number 1. I had to brake to avoid it. I guess I hadn’t serviced my brakes for a while and I skidded off the road into the ‘Black Dog’. Roses are red… no, not quite back to the beginning. Roses are red, violets are blue, though these are dark times, I will pull through. Remember, keep the faith.

I remembered, and started to deal with my problems approaching the difficulties in different ways, ways learnt through the therapy sessions and found myself back on my journey, eventually feeling stronger than I was before, before Lockdown 2! Fortunately my brakes were now much stronger and I don’t have much of a fear about this lockdown. I feel I can, and I am, handling it in a different way.

What’s the point? From despair to repair, takes time, effort, detours, breakdowns; takes faith in yourself (you), even when you don’t have that faith in yourself! Just start to believe in yourself, seek help, reach out.

Roses are red, yes, I know violets aren’t blue, the point is, I don’t mind quarantine when I’m with you!

A Moodscope member.

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



Greetings from the Grey Tower

Wednesday December 16, 2020

I am grateful to my jailer who has graciously allowed me to communicate to you by way of this letter.

I write to let you know that, although incarcerated against my will, I am safe and now resigned to my imprisonment. So far, I have been given no indication of how long I must wait until my release, but here in the Grey Tower, time doesn’t matter. Nothing really matters here. There is no colour, no scent, no savour. There are only shadows, and nothing is real. The Grey Tower is surrounded always by grey mist and anything you think is real has no substance here.

I ask you to be kind to the body I left behind. I know you think she is me, but she is not; she is merely my shell which is normally my home. I think I shall name her that – my shell, Michelle. Michelle is finding it hard.

Normally, she relies on me to tell her what to do. I am trapped now in the Grey Tower, however; far, far away, and my messages to her are delayed and garbled – things get lost in that vast distance between us. She finds even simple tasks, like keeping her balance while walking; like speaking in coherent sentences; like cooking a recipe we have both made a hundred times before, difficult. Sometimes it will take her a moment to recognise you or to make sense of what you are saying. She will look at you with blank eyes while she sends a message to me to ask who you are.

Please be patient with her; it takes time and effort for her to send and receive messages and she gets very tired. She needs to rest and to sleep. It is I who am the force and power in our partnership, and without me, she is running on emergency backup power only.

I would be angry, upset, distressed by this – because there are lots of things to do; commitments to fulfil; promises to keep, but none of them much matter here in the Grey Tower. Michelle gets upset though; she weeps weakly or rages – without the strength to act.

We have agreed between us, she and I, that we must not let our clients down. We have a duty of care to them and her energy must first go to those work obligations. There is little left for family or for friends and she is sorry for that. I’m sure I would be too, but there is no emotion here in the Grey Tower.

Please be kind to Michelle. Please remind her to sleep. Please let her know it’s okay not to get everything done. Tell her you understand. When she cries, don’t be upset; just hand her a tissue. When she gets angry and frustrated, remind her that she cannot hope to function perfectly while I’m away. Please reassure her I will come back.

I will come back.

I promise.

A Moodscope member.

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



Scarlet woman with antlers

Tuesday December 15, 2020

The other day I heard an interview on the radio with a man who called himself ‘The Happiest Man Alive’. The reason he had adopted this title was because he had lost virtually all his family and relatives in the Holocaust, and, having survived against all the odds, was determined not to waste any of his new life in hate and acrimony, but to count his blessings. (This did not mean he had forgiven his persecutors. He had never again set foot in Germany). After the war he had married another survivor and was now a great grandfather.

Clearly he was a remarkable man who had lived a remarkable life, in a way unlikely to be imitated by any of us. But I was struck by his determination to see good in bad and had an opportunity to put it into practice later that day.

One of the good things for me pre-second lockdown was being able to sing with others from my choir. About half the singers were willing to give it a go. We rehearsed in a local cathedral church which provided enough space. Everything was done with minute attention to detail. The entry door was locked at the start. We maintained social distancing when singing, initially daunting but I came to like it, especially in the cathedral acoustic. (I imagined I was singing to a packed stadium).

Then came lockdown 2 and the end of rehearsals. In the last one we decided to do some Christmas music and were invited to dress festively, or at least to wear something red. I complied, but nothing went right for me that rainy evening. Two roads were blocked on my journey in and I had to park some distance away. I arrived at 2 minutes past the hour. The door was locked, the streets deserted. Then I realised I’d forgotten my phone, so I couldn’t contact people inside.

I hammered on that door on and off for over 25 minutes. The interior of the church was some distance from the entrance we used, the only one accessible, but even so, someone must have heard! Surely.....! But no one came. It was my own fault, which never makes things feel better. In the end there was nothing for it but to scuttle back to the car through the wet city streets, a deeply disappointed scarlet woman with antlers.

A sorry tale.... I had to work at it to find the good in the bad. But the thought of me capering through the streets was actually very funny, even though only one person was interested enough subsequently to appreciate it. And I had made an effort that evening in more ways than one, rather than staying in again. And all the other rehearsals which I attended had been special. How fortunate I was to be in a position to attend them. And I could write a blog....!

I don’t think I could have called myself ‘the happiest soprano alive’, but I know what the man was getting at.

A Moodscope member.

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



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!

A Moodscope member.

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



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.



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.


A Moodscope member.

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



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?

A Moodscope member.

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



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.

A Moodscope member.

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



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.

A Moodscope member.

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




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.

A Moodscope member.

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



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..
A Moodscope member.

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



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.



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.

A Moodscope member.

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



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?

A Moodscope member.

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

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