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"A spot of D.I.Y." Thursday September 7, 2017

There's nothing like a bit of D.I.Y. is there? No, not the get-out-the-hammer-and-nails, off-to-B&Q kind of D.I.Y., (do I strike you as the sort of person who is going to build it myself?) I mean Do It Yourself in a Self Help kind of way.

The current trend for mental health is "Tell someone" - which I totally agree with.

"Don't keep it to yourself; ask for help" - yep, done that. Unfortunately, I have not had positive experiences. It has felt like that trust exercise where you fall straight back and somebody catches you - except that on every occasion they just let me drop, smack bang, flat on my back. Ouch!

Husband (now ex) told me to get a grip. Having 'shared' with my parents and siblings, they just pretend that they don't have such a difficult person in the family and hope (even after all these years) that I'll either grow out of it or (now that I am in my fifties) snap out of it. Professional help has proved to be incredibly difficult to access and then inappropriate and inadequate if I have got it. (No disrespect to all the effective and committed practitioners out there, unfortunately I didn't get sent to you.) So ultimately what I have learned is that if I want help, I have to do it myself.

When I am depressed I feel out of control and powerless; I panic because I think I can't cope. One of the ways that I seek to regain a feeling that I am in control is by searching for ways that help me to deal with the illness when it's there or, even better, prevent it from returning. Being part of the Moodscope community is one of those things and the few blogs that I have written for Moodscope are about things that help me that I hope might help YOU too.

All sorts of people write blogs for Moodscope and mostly they do not, to my knowledge, write for a living or have any professional background in advising on depression, bi-polar or anxiety (I say "mostly" because I know some do). What we all have is PERSONAL EXPERIENCE and this gives us a unique understanding; in many ways WE are the experts! Who is the expert on you? YOU are! Hopefully we are all on a journey to recovery, finding things that work for US as individuals to manage our conditions.

This is becoming a blog about two kinds of D.I.Y. Firstly the help yourself kind. Be your own project, the on-going aim of which is to bring about improvement. Secondly (and this has just dawned on me) if you find anything that works, put it out here on Moodscope. Don't just be a consumer of the blogs, write one! Do it yourself! There's a glorious range of contributors, with so many different styles and such varied approaches to life - but ALL of them are helpful in their way, and YOUR contribution would be helpful too. I am not good at D.I.Y. (the put-a-shelf-up kind) but I am trying to improve at the helping myself kind of D.I.Y., and I would really appreciate YOUR input!

Thank you.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Hopeful One Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 6:32am

Hi Marmaladegirl- can't believe I am the first to kick of today!I found your blog very interesting. You are correct in one sense that 'WE are the experts! Who is the expert on you? YOU are!' and indeed this is the basis of a one of the most widely used psychological theories called 'person centred therapy'authored by Carl Rogers.My dilemma, when we were introduced to this theory,was "If the client is the expert on himself why is he coming to me as a counsellor"?'My tutor could not give me a satisfactory answer so I formed the impression that 'We are all experts on ourselves but some are more expert than others'

On wards to our laugh for the day .... continuing the answers to exam questions for 12 yr olds.

Q What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A. Premature death.

Q What is artificial insemination?
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 6:42am

Good morning Hopeful One (First One today!) I am too busy giggling over your exam answers to respond sensibly... :-) I haven't heard of Carl Rogers but I reckon it's like this. The driving instructor knows how to teach you to drive the car - they show you stuff that enables you to go forth and do it yourself (like many things that we learn, of course. Maybe driving isn't the best example...) Anyway, once you have been shown, it's easy, the world is your lobster. The counsellor shows the client some things they hadn't previously realised, and lo! it helps them... Hope you have a good day HO - despite being up so early. I'm going to ask my Dad (ex-teacher) for some of his exam funnies and get back to you if there are any good ones. MG X

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 6:51am

Counsellors I suppose are like teachers - sometimes they are just giving the client a key to unlock their own door, and then the client can use the information they have on themselves (because they are the expert on that) that previously they didn't have access to. It is always fun as a teacher to teach someone something and then watch them use it in their own way, to produce something unique to them, to create something actually much better than you yourself could have done (as my father says, sometimes as a teacher you meet someone SO much cleverer than yourself!) I would, however, like to add that I am not advocating that we all handle all our troubles by ourselves. Of course not - we all need help, guidance, support, experts, medication, whatever it may be that helps to get us through! MG xx

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:17am

Tee hee HO, tee hee!

LP Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 8:51am

The farmer one is hilarious! :))) xx

Orangeblossom Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:27am

Thanks for the blog Marmaladegirl and your contribution HO.i suppose that the counsellor & the teacher are facillator enabling us to increase our self-awareness & practical skills to enhance our ability to live more easily on a daily basis.

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:43am

Hi Orangeblossom - Well put! From my own experience I would advise people to not rely on "the experts" too much, it can make us more helpless. I have been told "There is nothing more we can do" by medical people but then found things myself that have helped. Maybe it's more about just keeping a positive attitude... In this blog I wanted to remind people to keep searching for different solutions and share anything that works for them. MG x

Orangeblossom Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:29am

I left no other comment. Just clicked in error. Sorry. Nothing more to add.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:34am

Ah DIY or in my case: DIYTGPH = Do It Yourself Then Get Professional Help!

Thank you MG :)You are right about so much here...people who just dismiss us when we bare all (promise, only the depression!)
There's the 'get over yourself', 'shake yourself up' or the classic: 'pull yourself together ' and they've all been some 'help' freely donated when I have discussed depression!
Thankfully my GP has been great. I'm only sorry I can't clone him and send him out to all surgeries!
Other professional therapists do marvellous work getting us to open up and delve into our own behaviour to see how we can help ourselves - that magic key.

I'm hoping we can all find the elusive key today and help ourselves, as well as others here on Moodscope and in our own worlds.
Sun is shining here - puppy has just worn me and himself out and is curled up like a cat on my lap! Happy days!
Bear xx

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 7:48am

Thanks Bear! Your first sentence reminds me of when I am trying to put something together (have a go, make a mess of it, decide that perhaps I should read the instructions after all!) Sounds to me like one of the keys to happiness is 'Get a puppy'! Have a good day. MG x

Sal Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 10:09am

Oh MG! (sorry, couldn't resist that one :0) Thank you. I am a great believer in DIY, along with professional help too, if it's good, not disempowering, and if you can get it, or afford it. A lot of 'if's.

A lot of what I've seen coming up in comments on Moodscope is about the value of being (really) listened to - and the destructive effect of opening up and then feeling put down. There is a technique I've experienced of being listened to, where the listener (after some training, and it takes effort) does not react, except to stay in contact in a warm and gentle way (eye contact, and possibly light touch if wanted). It feels quite strange at first, but if the listener is really listening, not judging, not reacting, it becomes incredibly freeing, and it's amazing what comes out. Why would someone do this for us, when it's quite hard? Because then we can do it for them too. Swapping round is quite important because it becomes something we give to each other, we are both equal, not one giver and one taker.

There is more information about it at

Hope this is helpful. xx

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:20pm

Hi Sal - This is really brilliant. Thank you so much for writing about it - it is just the sort of thing I meant. I will learn how to do it and become a better listener, but also I will encourage others to do it (because being a good listener is a real skill and I often feel 'unheard' when people respond in their various ways). It is particularly good because of the swapping aspect... Very helpful indeed! MG (OMG!) xx

Mary Wednesday Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 10:22am

Such a helpful blog. Thank you. Yesterday at my bipolar support group we were talking about an initiative in mental health which is service user led, rather than professionally led. A very different viewpoint. We are often more expert in ourselves than they.

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:27pm

Hi Mary - Thank you very much for your positive comment. I read your beautiful blog yesterday and wept (it moved me so much) but didn't reply. Thank you for posting it - I will keep it so that if I want to write a supportive letter to someone one day, I have an amazing example. Your comment today reminds me that apart from Moodscope I do not get out there and join groups that might support me. It doesn't even have to be for mental health - my Mum is part of a writers group; my friend is in a meditation group. Humans work well in groups and I would no doubt feel more understood and supported if I found like-minded people for things that I enjoy doing... Lots of love MGxx

The Gardener Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 12:06pm

I just started thinking about 'Marmalade'. When the kids were like a nest full of ever hungry mouths I did loads of cooking, including about 30 kgs of various marmalades. We had access to wholesale markets - cheap fruit - I remember a '5 fruit' marmalade. I digress. I am SO tired can't keep my mind on the job. When I was manic depressive (called so for 15 years until the actual problem was diagnosed) I had a fantastic GP, we really worked as a team. He used to quote a mate at Medical School who used to erupt from his room shouting 'blessed mania, it's here'. I've a strong suspicion he was talking about himself - only going on a visit to us in France with his charming wife when he could NOT stop talking, or doing things, at great speed. We were all worn out '****, I said, some of us consider a siesta a good thing after lunch. He was mortified, because Mr G had just had a heart scare, and here was our own GP exhausting the lot of us. Things are at a very low ebb with us, but Mr G is going in for a week respite tomorrow, even if we live on 'special offers' from now on. What I have found new strength in (impossible with depression) is decision making given my energy available. All important things depend on good weather - tidying garden of house for sale for a visit tomorrow, processing the endless washing while drying conditions are good, and mowing the lawn. Sounds trivial and domestic, but if I don't do it, panic will set in, can't afford panic. As to help - I get lots - but, all they can do is sympathise, because there are no answers, just a downward slope to be 'managed'. I'm a bit scared because to cope with the ultimate fear, suicide, there is nothing. Church here useless, and the French equivalent of the Samaritans are always overwhelmed. Mr G has been against suicide, half-baked religious ideas, and hurting family and friends. Last evening he said he had enough of life, and wanted no more. I said to him, as I have before, we can be out of this life by midnight - enough sleeping pills and some good wine. He agreed - so I had to do some rapid back-tracking. I do NOT use it as a threat or a lever, but to panic him into a more reasonable frame of mind. While on the subject (Caroline has the mechanism to block this I think) many friends, perhaps a bit younger than us, Christians, lovers of life, clever - are seriously considering assisted suicide because having seen their parents die of dementia or Alzheimers they have a real terror of 'inflicting' this on friends and family. BBC 4 has a programme yesterday - Chris Tarrant was a contributor I believe. I'm going to crash out, having had a Kir while writing this - DIY Marmalade Girl, a good rest and get enough energy to do more sweeping - it's a pleasing occupation, if you have the energy. After thought, thanks for the blog, very thought provoking

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:34pm

Dear Gardener - How has your day been? I hope the weather has been kind so that you were able to get a few more jobs done. Life is sometimes just one long "To Do" list, don't you think? Thank you so much for your thoughts, all of them - very wide-ranging! It is obviously a very busy place inside your head! I would like a Kir, perhaps with some white wine in... Don't know if Kir exists in North Yorkshire! Lots of love and marmalade, MG xx

Brum Mum Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 12:29pm

Thanks for your blog, Marmalade Girl. The bit about DIY tickled me as I spent the August bank holiday trying to build a new flat pack desk for my daughter. It was a disaster and I am very grateful to my partner for coming round and putting it up which he did so swiftly it put me to shame!! I agree with you about the other sort of DIY. My ex could not cope with my depression but as someone who rarely shows emotion himself I actually feel I carried his depression as well as mine at times. I used to never tell anyone when I felt low or ill, but now I have no hesitation in picking up the phone to the duty CPN. I recently reached out to two friends, one who has twice not replied to texts I have said saying that I am low and the other who sent me a text with four hearts and then proceeded to moan about her pretty trivial domestic problems. Needless to say that stung a bit and let's say that they have both gone down in my estimation. So I resort to DIY. I am about to walk my loyal, patient rescue dog, I've just treated myself to a ring I saw on holiday but didn't quite have the guts to buy at the time and if I need medication later today then I will take it. You have reminded us how special Moodscope is...a place where people understand, empathise and listen! Thanks again. Xx

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:41pm

Hi Brum Mum - I think we were married to the same person (my ex also could not cope with my depression and showed no emotion himself - tried to ban any emotions being shown in fact!) I hope you have had a good day - walking dog, buying ring, maybe taking meds. An excellent description of Self Care if you ask me, so Well Done! Did you see Sal's comment earlier? She had some great info on how to listen (I think your friends could maybe do with the link!) MG xx

BarH Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 2:43pm

Hi. Does anyone else know of "Infinite Waters". They are videos on You Tube made by Ralph Smart on all sort's of emotional and spiritual subjects. I find them really uplifting whether I am happy or not. He is so positive and happy, a bit mad maybe but he is so glad to be alive. Some of his tips about healthy mind and body have started to rub off on me too. I would recommend watching him, definitely.


Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 3:43pm hoping that stands for your Yve set the BarHigh and not Bah humbug!!! I've just watched one of Ralph Smart's videos...he is a bit strange...but quite good. Just watched the one about what not to eat and it makes sense mostly! Thankees Bear x

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:43pm

Hi BarH - Top tip, thank you very much for giving it to us. I have found all sorts of useful (and weird) videos on YouTube... I should try and remember what they were called and share them. Ted Talks are often good. All the best, MG x

Stephanie Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 3:53pm

Great to read your blog Marmalade Girl. I have found in my own experience that I need to help myself as much as I can, yet not be afraid to seek help when I need it. My counsellor and GP are great with mental health. I also use another GP for pain related issues. I need to update her regarding my mental health issues. My first GP thinks I have a form of Bipolar. I tend to agree with her. Accessing a psychiatrist and getting correct diagnosis and meds is so hard on a Disability Pension. For years I have identified and struggled with depression, also in recovery from addiction. I know there is some other mental health issue present in me that is undiagnosed and untreated. I find meditation and hypnosis for Bipolar works well for me, plus writing and using Moodscope. All very helpful. Plus having good people and experiences in my life, and the love of my dog, who I call my little friend b cause she is always next to me.

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 4:49pm

Hi Stephanie - It sounds like you are doing a really brilliant job at working through all your different issues. It IS a full time job isn't it, all the time and effort it takes, but at least YOU benefit from it, so it is a job worth doing. I hope you can find out what that other mental health issue is and get yourself one step closer to being as well as you can possibly be. Wishing you health and happiness. Lots of love, MG x (and an extra one for your little friend! X)

Jul Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 8:58pm

I really do love your blogs and comments Marmalade Girl. Your strength and personality shine through. I have found that the tips and advice plus experiences of Moodscopers have helped me enormously, more than any professional therapies have. DIY help is definitely the best. Trial and error for me but knowing that I share so many of my negative feelings with such a large community and you especially MG makes my DIY approach safe and comforting. Love to you MG Jul xx

Marmaladegirl Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 9:38pm

I have been lost for very many years Jul (being with the wrong man from 1997 onwards saw to that). It was only this year that I started to have the strength (of mind and body) to take much notice of what was going on on Moodscope and start to get involved. I still feel like a watered-down version of the person I used to be but somehow you seem to see me as I truly am - right at the core of me is the undamaged person, still strong and whole, and it is so wonderful that you can see that person because I feel she is slowly clawing her way back. Your comment above may only be a few words, and maybe I am making too much of them, but I really do take such hope and strength from feeling that I am not totally lost. I am putting myself, my life, back together and people like you can see the good in me. I felt invisible, then I was a black and white version, but you give me hope that I can be the full technicolour, all singing, all dancing version of myself. I hope you are happy today Jul. I hope that life is good and that you are enjoying it. You have had so many struggles that you deserve happiness now. Love to you too, xxx

Lexi Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 10:13pm

I love your response MG. I know you will be full technicolor version of yourself soon, if you are not there already. So inspiring. Thank you. xo Lexi

Marmaladegirl Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 6:08am

Hi Lexi - Thank you. Maybe. Having glimpses of the full colour version is a good start. I hope all is well with you. MG x

Jul Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 9:06am

Dear MG. I felt a bit bad for writing so little and I know you didn't mind but I did! All day I wanted to write but felt so tired and breathless with anxiety (I think/hope!) I just couldn't find the energy or the right words to respond. I know you will get this. All your replies to comments yesterday were amazing. You really do have the ability to write beautifully and must put every ounce of energy left to make us feel needed and our comments valued. I felt my comments didn't do justice to the message of your blog but it did do justice to you as a person MG. That's what I wanted. Take care, go well etc etc. Raining here this morning. Jul xx

Caroline Ashcroft Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 10:08pm

That's really interesting to hear that you felt invisible or black and white. You are such a talented writer. I'd love to see the all singing, all dancing version of yourself. Although, I think you are very special just the way you are and to know your circumstances and the way you look after your daughters too, makes you all the more special. You'll probably hate this post because it's far too positive for you, but it's the truth. Carolinexx

Marmaladegirl Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 6:25am

Hi Caroline - Thank you. I thrive on all the encouragement I can get so I definitely love your post! Wouldn't it be great to really DO something with my writing skills... At the moment all I have time for is the basics of survival (plus squeezing in the occasional response or blog for Moodscope!) so I'm not sure when or how this could happen, but I live in hope! Interesting that today's blog is about busyness... Everyone likes to be recognised as being good at things and as I have said before, Moodscope has massively fed my confidence and feeling of worth because people say that I am good at writing and that I am a supportive, kind person. I would like to use and be recognised for both these talents in my daily life (which doesn't happen at the mo, apart from looking after my two daughters). Meanwhile, this site is a great place to use those skills. Lots of love, xx

Valerie Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 6:04pm

Hi Marmalade Girl,

You are absolutely right about having to rely on yourself when it comes down to it.I grit my teeth when people say "you're so strong/independent/too proud to ask for help etc" I want to say "Yes,and aren't you so relieved that you have not had to come to my aid."

One of the people who said this to me was my late father.He conveniently forgot the desperate phone call I made years before when my son (who he had never seen) was around a year old.It was past midnight,I was on my knees sobbing and literally bleeding from my ex-husband's latest outburst.Dad's first question was "How did you get hold of my number?" Then "You've made your bed you'll have to lie on it"

He then asked to speak to my husband,also never met.Told him,to ex-hubbies delight,"Her mother was mentally unstable and I fear she is going the same way"

Like you,the couple of times I have sought professional help I have found the therapists nice enough (except for the one who was going to provide me with the means to repair all the bad stuff from the past,including my fears of being abandoned.She never showed for the second appointment and scarpered from what I could gather.)

You know best what the triggers are,when to take evasive action,when to avoid people and situations that experience has taught you are toxic.

Reading blogs from people like you has been an absolute godsend love,it really has.That and yummy Prozac are invaluable.


Marmaladegirl Fri, Sep 8th 2017 @ 6:37pm

Dear Valerie - Hopefully you are one of the people who has survived a lot but is now out the other side of actually being IN those dreadful circumstances. The only thing that seems to remain is the scarring on our minds - we can heal on the outside but inside seems to take so much longer (that's why I always preferred physical rather than emotional abuse. You get more sympathy for physical damage and it heals quicker). You come across as wise, empathetic and interesting - I'm sure your life experiences have taught you a lot - and I hope you are in a better place than you have been, although I know it isn't all easy for you. You mention in a comment on Alan's blog today about your partner (a consultant of some sort) so it sounds like you might be in a healthy, positive relationship now. That's a fantastic achievement after the way your ex-husband and late father treated you. We all have a story to tell - some more dramatic than others! Whatever the back story, the anguish people feel when they have mental health issues is horribly tangible and painful, so finding anything we can to help cope with that has got to be good... Lots of love, MG xx

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