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A Moodscope giveaway! Sunday May 11, 2014

You may not be aware, but tomorrow marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the focus is on anxiety, one of the leading causes of mental ill-health in the world. But before we open that particularly wriggly can of worms, I hope you don't mind if I introduce myself.

I'm Sarah Rayner, and I've been a Moodscope user for three years. Back then my chart was a vertiginous zigzag of ups and downs, and great though those highs feel, I was desperate to work out what triggered such extremes and to morph my chart from something resembling an alpine mountain range into one more like the South Downs, near where I live.

In this process I found being able to track my moods very useful, then when Jon left I offered to write some of these emails. Moodscope had made such a difference to me that I wanted to do a little to help the lovely team who run the site. I've blogged anonymously many times since and I've especially enjoyed the responses from you, my fellow 'scopers.

My day (and sometimes night) job is as an author – a few of you might know One Moment, One Morning, my novel, which was something of a bestseller.

More to the point, my new novel, Another Night, Another Day, is about a subject close to all of our hearts – mental health. It focuses on three people who meet in a psychiatric clinic and explores breakdown from the perspective of those experiencing it, touching on anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, addiction and more, yet is, I believe, funny as well as moving. I hope – like Mental Health Awareness Week and Moodscope – it increases understanding and encourages more openness. Certainly it has a positive message overall.

The book is available exclusively at Waterstones, but now, as a thank you to Moodscope members and to mark this important week, I've arranged with Caroline to give away a signed copy of Another Night, Another Day every day from today until May 19. Just email with 'Giveaway' as the subject and they'll pick one person each day to receive a free signed copy.

Tomorrow I'll be writing the first of my blogs about anxiety – a subject I know about from personal experience. But first I just wanted to say 'hello', and 'I get it; I've been there'.

I hope by putting my name to my blogs, I'm helping in a small way to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. I also hope it might illustrate it's possible to get better – because whilst my chart still isn't quite as gently undulating as I'd like, it's lot less alpine than it used to be.

Sarah Rayner
A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 7:20am

"a small way to overcome the stigma" two beloved cousins of mine and one of my two nephew have mental illness. What a surprise for us all! When I was a child there was no mental illness in our extended family.
Thank you for your contribution to overcome the stigma.

ft Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 7:24am

thank you sarah : ) i have entered the giveaway draw... i'd be intrigued to read your novel! your post is so honest and resonates with me... it has inspired me to record a score again (after 1 year exactly of not recording scores!) .... which is giving me new insights. thank you : )

Charlie Bransden Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 7:38am

I too have managed to level out the wild zig-zags of my graph with three years of moodscoping. Aided by a recent change of diet (Ian Marber, the Food Doctor) no alchohol these last 2 years, my remaining problem is one on almost constant anxiety. The problem is, it appears that this very anxiety is in fact a driver of our passions, hobbies and jobs, so how to temper without losing motivation.

Diana Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 8:11am

I agree about "motivation" here Charlie, & maybe its strength is directly linked to whether one has "self-worth ".

Valerie Scott Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 9:01am

New to the site.-However refreshing to have a thought for the day with someone's name to it.?

Sarah Rayner Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 9:07am

Charlie, I agree too. I feel without anxiety nipping at my heels I probably wouldn't have written my novels, as it is so closely related to motivation/enthusiasm/excitement. I did, if truth be told, manage to get myself anxious about writing these blogs about anxiety - how tautological a mental process is that!

Anonymous Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 9:18am

Look fwd to reading ur blogs on anxiety !

Anonymous Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 9:23am

Congratulations for all you have created. The undulating hills sound like more joy, less drama. It is in becoming wedded to the joy, more than any tease, found in the drama, with the help of meditation & therapy, that I have started to be happier (I have fibromyalgia).. Is this a physical depression? I am grateful for your openess.

Anonymous Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 10:53am

How kind of you to give something precious away. I try to give time to people and am so happy when people give it back. :)

Bunnykins Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 11:55am

Thank you for your blog, it's reassuring to know I'm not the only one who struggles with insidious anxiety and depression. All I need now is a job I can cope with.

Sarah Rayner Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 12:26pm

Bunnykins, you really aren't alone! I wasn't very good at full time work either - or at least I was OK when I was 'up' but couldn't cope with the stress of it when I was down. Start small, if you can, baby steps... Good luck.

heather Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 1:05pm

Gosh, we have a celebrity amongst us. I wonder who else lurks among the numerous Anons ! Everyone of them a gem I suspect. Thank you Sarah Rayner for "coming out" in aid of Mental Health. I shall buy your books as I never win anything (but have been lucky in other ways). Must remember to do my chart - still haven't worked out my mood swings and am retired now ! Can't wait to get hold of the books ! Feeling uplifted !

Mapsie1066 Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 2:17pm

Hi Sarah,
Well done for coming out from behind the 'Sunglasses'! I have been a Moodscope user for 4 years. It has helped me through 2 episodes of severe depression and a really awful time when I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Affective disorder type 2 (the lesser, but no less real mood disorder.) Thanks to the wonderful support from my family, and sympathetic, psychiatrist at time of diagnosis and now during remission, I am well on mood stabulisers. I am able to function again as a full-time GP. I am the Practice Lead for Mental Health and Depression. I believe my personal experience with mental illness has given me a special insight in to the effect this has on people's lives. My patients appreciate the support I provide. I also recommend it to patients to help them understand their own health problem and encourage them to bring them to review sessions. Keep on bloggin!
Peace and Blessings. Pam Herbert

heather Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 6:14pm

Well, Dr Herbert, that is certainly another success story for us. Your patients must be blessed to have such an understanding GP. People seem to be reluctant to take a mood stabiliser, but as I have mentioned before it has saved me. Thank you for unveiling yourself and speaking out during this important Mental Health Awareness Week to show us what can be achieved even with a mental health diagnosis. I wonder if there is anyone else who would like to come forward.

Anonymous Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 7:42pm

that's a lovely thing to do ... good luck and I look forward to reading your blogs...

James Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 11:18pm

anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, addiction
As someone who suffers from all of the above, I could really relate to tonight's message. This winter with it's endless lashing rain has been particularly hard to deal with. My moodscope scores are way down, and it's interesting to be able to see it in the charts. Off to the doctors again this week. If I can summon the energy that is.

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