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A workman and his tools. Tuesday November 10, 2015

Show depression you are not going to be easy. Arm yourself to be ready for a visit:

- Keep some store cupboard foods for days when you just can't go out.

- A timetable – when our brains are fog we often need to see the instruction written down.

- A 3 item list of things to do when well.

- Memories of when we felt happy (this can be hard but worthwhile).

- Box of photographs – we usually only photograph the good stuff.

- Split the day in two – in one half be the patient and allow yourself to be ill, in the other half be the carer and guide yourself into doing something that will help.

- A list of food you can make easily - bacon, egg and tomato in a pan, job done and gluten free.

- Don't take on any projects (this includes clearing something out). Routine can be a safety net.

- Trust someone with knowing you are ill. If there is nobody, there is always someone on Moodscope.

- Wash your survival outfit. A dressing gown without jam splodge is a win.

- Eat 3 times a day. BOOM! SMASH! KAPOW! Jackie Chan your depression!

- Look into the mirror and say "I have depression/bipolar/dodgy feet and I am proud". Then be proud because you have been honest.

Please share and swap your tools on the blogspot, it helps us all.

Remind yourself that you are in charge and that even breathing in and out is fighting.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

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LillyPet Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 12:21am

Much love and good night ratg. Will be trying very hard to with hold my comments later today and let others have a turn to speak! Will just breathe, and be proud of my dodgy ness! Snuggly dressingown going in to wash! :) xxx

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:13am

Hello LP, you have wonderful comments, why would you hold back? What if you say something that strikes a chord with someone who reads but can't may help without even being aware.

Maria Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 3:42pm

Please don't hold back. I often lurk in the shadows but enjoy reading your (everyone's) comments...such wisdom.

LillyPet Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 5:44pm

Thanks both, I normally just go for it, was just aware that I said loads yesterday! All good today! :) xxx

Barbara Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 5:33am

Terrific, rat. Specially like splitting the day in 2 - inspired. Will try to copy and print out to keep. xx all the very best.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:15am

Hello Barbara, that's great, and you can always make a blend of this plus your own xx.

Bearofliddlebrain Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 6:22am

Brilliogs blog, RATG.....I do hope these are lessons learnt well by you too, dear juanita! Hoping you're not just inspiring us but you actually do these things for yourself??

So much common sense here....I know that for many of us, when the Black Dog is howling at the front door...common sense has already scarpered out the back door! As Barbara says, it's a good idea to copy and print out.

Oh and the breathing? Easier today as the old muscle spasms are starting to subside and I can actually breathe in and out without as much pain! Huzzah for ibuprofen, cocodamol etc!!! If I fell over, I'd rattle!!
Goodly day wished to all, with gentle Bear hugs x

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:20am

Hello Bear, exactly this, often common sense is a distant memory when we finally realise we're tangled. I do this, it's a genuine list from my 'keep alive' file! :-) I'm so glad you are physically feeling a small improvement. Any more thoughts on the bigger picture? Xx

LillyPet Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 5:46pm

Glad to hear that too Bear! Xxx

Bearofliddlebrain Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 9:03pm

Exhausted and in pain this evening but glad to have got some jobs done today. Bigger picture? Still not sure about going back to doctor, a bit too early to decide. But thankees my liddle chuckie eggs!

Paul Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 6:40am

A very good and timely blog today ratg. My tools have gone rusty and that dog is barking again. It's dark and raining. It's strange plodding along nicely then suddenly I've been tripped up and stripped of my energy and drive.
Will try splitting the day in two it sounds a good idea.

danielle Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:42am

I hope the dog leaves soon Paul. Be Kind to yourself - when I feel bad I plan little things through the day to look forward to - even if its a nice cup of tea at 10;15 followed by a nice snack at 11am followed by ... and so on. this breaks the day up and you can congratulate yourself on reaching each little step. It helps a lot for me anyway and before you know it youve made it through the day :)

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:24am

Hello Paul, I know that feeling. Like a trap door opening up beneath us. Just bad manners! I thoroughly recommend a power walk in the rain. Face it head on! It's hell trying to get out there but you do come back with a new perspective even if just for a while. Danielle's suggestion is great too. Small bits get us there.

Paul Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:24pm

Thanks to everyone that replied much appreciated Paul

Conbar Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:22pm

That's great Danielle, I will definitely treat each little thing done as an achievement from now on. And love your blog ratg! Really helps! X

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:45pm

Thank you Conbar, great to know!

Debs Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:03am

As per Paul's comments RATG - a timely blog as I am being barked at daily. I do the splitting the day in half thing and it really helps. I do it slightly differently - in the morning I do something practical (today it will be sorting tax receipts and invoices) and then in the afternoon I pamper and look after myself. That might mean having a bath, watching a film, having a sleep or doing some reading. I never feel bad about it because I've done my 'jobs' in the morning. The morning activities also give me something to be proud of, a sense of accomplishment.

I also have a bit of a check list each day:
- See and talk to someone face to face
- Do 30 mins of exercise
- Go outside or use my light box
- Practice a relaxation technique
- Eat well (with good stuff on hand like you suggest above)
- Do something from my 'wellness box' (this could be reading, crosswords, drawing, calling someone)

Sending love dear Room, and anyone else who is suffering, I hope our dogs lie down to sleep soon. Xxx

Anonymous Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:51am

Hello Debs. I am not in a good place either. It must be the time of the year. I tell myself it will pass but in the same breath I tell myself but Christmas is coming, it will take weeks to pass! I am trying reframing ratg and it's a good tactic for many things so thank you. One of my workman tools is that I am trying to see beauty in the landscape at this time of the year. Yes it's dull, grey and oppressive but every time I go out or look out of the window, instead of gloom, I am viewing it from an artists point of view and see it as a painting. Am thinking of you Debs. And ratg. xxx (Jul) xox

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:32am

Hello Debs, what a great list! I'm proud of you. You're crossing the river, keep going xxx.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:36am

Hello Jul, Christmas is a big hurdle for me too. The build up, the commercial carnage, the exhaustion. It's time to be different. I will share any nugget I have and maybe we can up our game together this time. I love your idea of finding beauty in the sparse landscape. It is there if we look...just like ourselves. Xx

Debs Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 11:03am

I'm sorry you're in this place too Jul, that's rubbish... but a lovely idea to look at the landscape as a painting. I was doing that over the weekend when I was in Wales - my artist eye is never stronger than when I'm depressed. Today is really tough so far, my anxiety is through the roof. But it will pass. Am thinking of you both, such kind and wonderful souls xxx

danielle Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 12:09pm

I love the idea of taking note of the landscape - I am often up very early so see landscapes covered in fog, or sunrises at this time of year. My mum was an early riser too and always said its like a little secret between those early risers - a secret of how beautiful the world is. I think this when I see the beauty and I feel honoured that I hold this secret :) Debs I am sorry for you - i know exactly how you feel. But - mine was horrendous yesterday and despite going to bed dreading today - today it has lessened - rememeber yesterdays blog from the lovely Lex if you can - can you challenge the belief that it is here to stay - tomorrow will hopefully be better, or the next, or the next xxx much love - ps as for christmad - well lets all just dig a cave and wait it out til january!!

danielle Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:39am

excellent blog RATG, I might print this off for those darker days. I have a little list of things which make me feel better - a hug always helps if there is someone around. I like to surround myself with my 'nice things' - books (i love books, even endless empty notebooks which i cannt bring myself to write in yet!), wool (for crocheting), a blanket, my favourite foods and a hot drink. For some reason, even if I dont feel up to reading/writing/crocheting having those items physically close is comfort - almost like it is easy to reach them should i feel the need. The other top one for me is contact with animals - my cat and my horse - a cuddle with them always helps. and being with someone else - usually they have no idea, my OH knows but acts like he doesnt, we have an unwritten rule that he will only talk about things if i bring them up. This is a godsend at times as he will talk to me about random things and this distracts me. So in short - have your favourite and comforting things close whether that be books, blankets or tea, contact with nice people and animals (always here on moodscope for you!) and eat your favourite food if you can x

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:39am

Hello Danielle, you've made me think of our cat when I was wee. She was so perceptive...would sit on my knee if I was crying. Just be there. Such a powerful thing. Thank you xx.

Anonymous Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 3:27pm

Thank you Debs, ratg and Danielle. Christmas isn't meant to be like this! "Oh ye of little faith" I hear some saying but even if we try to take it back to its roots, I reckon the big commercial interests will find a way in to destroy it all soon enough. I think, being a mother who always tries to do what is right for ones children and everyone else, Christmas is particularly stressful. I think next year or the year after I am going to go away over the Xmas period just to see what it's like. No cooking, no guests, no thinking ahead, no planning, etc. Presents yes and love will remain. It's such a simple solution. Why don't more of us do it. Of course I would love to join you in your cave Danielle and sit it out with you lovelies. (Jul) xxx

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:49pm

Jul, is it too late to do it this year? Could you just book something?

The Gardener Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 9:01am

Just read last nights entries -just a quick 'thank you' for enquiries about my foot. It has been attended to and ex-rayed. Imagine you're doing the Cresta run on your back-side and you put your foot out as a brake, which then stops the whole weight of your body. My foot did not break, but everything bent backwards, every bit of it stretched, bruised, sprained. I do my best with the advice - all it needs is rest and TLC - I'm no martyr but not much chance of that at the moment. Team of friends coming in to do 'ladder' work tomorrow. Feel teetering about on a ladder would be tempting providence, who is not on my side at the moment. RATG, the box of photos. We've gone better - all loaded on a huge computer screen and go by at random. Ahgkor Watt can be followed by my garden at its best - rose window at Chartres (I love stained glass) favourite birds feeding on my hand at Singapore Zoo, Australian beaches, temple ceremonies on Bali, parties and parties and parties - even my m-in-law aged 7, in 1900, in Switzerland in a sailor hat. Enough, just to show that I don't wallow in misery. RATG timetable - usually do that - it's just paper-chase - I can't stand the chaos of not finding important papers. Au travail, bon journee a tout le monde - we are not down-hearted, are we?

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:41am

Hello TG, what a time you're having! I think photographs are my's not "I used to be that person" but "I AM that person". On a loop on the screen is like a surprise every time! Xx

Sally Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 7:10am

Sympathy to you from a fellow foot sufferer. Fell down a step ten days ago and had to go to hospital but in spite of swelling from ankle to knee, is neither clot nor sprain but " soft tissue damage" so hopping about and resting it... I love the photos idea. And visualising all those places you mention. My mother first went to Switzerland on a family holiday in 1938 and as a consequence we went to live there in 1959 when I was 7. Beautiful country . How is your husband? Am I right in remembering you are a carer for him? Best wishes to you. Thanks too,

Sarah Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 9:08am

RATG your blog is really helpful. I have wanted to reply to all the blogs, as I read them every morning and would like to say thank you to everyone and Moodscope. Today I am staying in due to bronchitis. So I will take the time to mention something that I have been doing recently that has been helpful.
I go into my mind and imagine I have a control room. On the left is a door where I put my negative thoughts and the right is where I keep all my qualities.
If I have a negative thought, eg fear I first make it big then mentally make it smaller, then I open a cupboard and put it in, then lock it and walk out. Then I go into the right side and take a quality say confidence and make it bigger and then take it out with me on my journey. This is a very small example and it can be anything that suits the individual. I even did it with a nightmare. I made a door with a bin outside and put it in. I have not had a nightmare since.
I don't see my negative thoughts as bad but more as messages. I wanted to know that they don't have to overwhelm my whole thinking. Sarah ( yellow rose)

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:46am

Hello Sarahyellow :-) what a great technique! A whole new kind of room! Xx

Conbar Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:35pm

That is great Sarah. I listen to a meditation by Andrew Johnson called The Control Room, where you turn up or down the thoughts, feelings or symptoms and it seems to help me too. Will try the cupboard technique and see how that works for me. Another one is to visualise a running stream or river with leaves floating by and putting any negative thoughts or feelings onto a leaf and watch them float off! It really works for me especially the pins and needly feeling I get in my arms and legs during the dreaded unwanted adrenalin rush! I also just keep telling myself it WILL pass! Thank you x

Anonymous Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:44am

Stellar TRATG! Your advice is hugely appreciated. Go well.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:46am

:-D your comment is too! X

Catherine Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:53am

Thank you TRATG great practical blog. I would add that we all forget that to endure the presence of the dog and come through it requires strength, something that we don't acknowledge when we are well or when we are dog sitting.

Debs Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 3:16pm

Youre so right Catherine - we should remember to ackowledge ourselves when we are struggling. Its tough and we do an amazing job just to get through the day. I heard depression only targets the strong.... sometimes just reminding myself of that helps me to stop beating myself up xxx

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:51pm

Catherine..."dog sitting" I particularly like!!

susan Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 11:02am

Great list, ratg (hello). The food thing is so important. It's easy to forget to eat good healthy food but it's essential, especially good protein.

Also must guard against sitting on the computer longer than necessary because that makes things worse. Seems to very quickly zap any brain power i do have.

I don't answer the door and phone calls are screened. A good friend knows to ring the doorbell and then call my name through the letter slot:) I use 1471 to find out who has phoned...or wait for a message. It's good to talk to people, but they have to be the right people.

Light housework can help on moderately bad days -- ironing focuses the mind so if possible is saved for bad days.

Thanks, ratg, hope you are well today. xx

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:53pm

I'm a bit of an ironing fan too. The process of having a messy pile on one side and an orderly pile on the other...oh yeah. Sorts my mind out!

Danny Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 3:37pm

What a fabulously frank and damn useful blog. Thank you for sharing this. Exercise works well for me, even if you don't feel like going out - try a few press ups, walk up and down the stairs a few times, arm curl a couple of cans of beans, jog on the spot. Anything to get the oxygen and endorphins flowing.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:54pm

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

Maria Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 3:40pm

Having a difficult day but wanted to say THANK YOU!

LillyPet Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:26pm

Hope tomorrow is a better day for you Maria. LP x

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:59pm

Maria, i hope tomorrow brings a small change xx.

Mary Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 4:18pm

Love this list, RATG. I am getting a bit better. Yesterday I cleaned and de-mildewed the ensuite bathroom - something I can really see (and smell - bleach - yeuk) the difference with and feel proud about. Today I did some admin with my lovely supportive admin assistant. The first bit of work for 8 weeks. But I am still splitting the day in half. Morning is work. Afternoon looking after myself. Oh, and my survival outfit - soft trousers and a snuggly jumper. Yes - clean (I have three sets!). Thank you, RATG.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 11:01pm

I like it Mary, slow and steady wins! Xx

The Gardener Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 6:06pm

RATG - 'sharing your tools'. These are not really tools, but my guidelines for running life. Visiting my husband this p.m I was so shattered I went out and leaned against a wall. A nurse asked if I was ill - I said no, just composing myself. Now trying to recompose a life. I've always loved a tidy kitchen, always had super ones, with super outlooks. I'ts GOT to be tidy, not house-proud, but I love cooking and entertaining, and my kitchen table is my 'palette'. Ditto office, it has achieved so much, and is one of the central photographic attractions of the web-sites for house sale. Here (sitting in front of computer, of course) I am surrounded by books, for amusement behind me, reference (at vast expense) in front. On my right, lots of family receiving degrees. Again, it is my 'palette' for writing, research, and it is smothered in papers I regard with despair - there is a blue recycling bag beside me, magasines piling up will go straight in, I'll never read them, and events are outstripping their usefulness. My (don't like the pronoun, but it will never again be 'our') bedroom is such a perfect example of 18th century paneling in various shades of honey with gilded molding it is a joy to behold, (and much beheld on patrimony days) and has been a ghastly mess for days, due to stupid foot. The tools are courage, back to routine - continue my 'standards' which please (and will probably console me) so that I can retain self-respect, which is seriously slipping, why bother? Because, back to RATG, 'you are in charge'.

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:34am

Late reply as kept falling asleep last night! I think keeping standards is a winner, if they can stay as routine (within reason) they can keep our heads bobbing above the line.

LillyPet Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 6:32pm

I was just thinking that I havent got a simple clear tool kit wrtten down like the ones mentioned, Ive tended to observe myself, how I'm feeling and what I've been doing and trying to get a healthy balance without being to hard on myself, keep it simple, do the basics and knowing I'll pick up again. Lots of positive ideas. I tend to have a main one for a while like seeing if the turn around is a bit faster than the last.
This has reminded me of a session on managing stress I once went to. All sorts of bits to stimulate or calm the senses, tastes smells, things to feel etc. Lots of discussion about what causes stress in the environment. At the end we had to write our own "prescription" from the session.
Will defo do my clear and simple tool kit!
Thanks Ratg and others xxx

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:40am

Hi LP, late response as I kept snoozing last night! When I'm in the midst of a difficult low (and haven't realised that I've been heading there) I sometimes need a written list to remind me how to be, to act as my instruction. Modern life helps too as I keep things on my phone lists so it's always with me. Enjoy writing your prescription...a lovely reinvention!

Vanessa Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 8:27pm

I'm trying to stroke the dog gently in the hope he curls up and goes to sleep x

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:41am

What great thought, I like it!

Alice Tue, Nov 10th 2015 @ 10:26pm

Hello RATG. Thank you for this really helpful and positive post. I love the practical support this site gives. I am in a good place just now but have that feeling that disaster lies around the corner .............. why do we set ourselves up like this? My ever optimistic self just invites disaster in. Yet would I change a thing, be less optimistic - no! I shall prepare myself for what I dread and thank you for your help. In addition I shall post self help stick up affirmations reminding me that nothing matters that much, it's all working perfectly (despite what I might think) and that I need to live in the present and harness the energy of the universe. An ever hopeful Alice xx

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:43am

"nothing matters that much"...a great survival tip!

Sally Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 6:55am

What an amazing blog, Room! I only came to it today, but am bowled over with how practical and useful this list is. Definitely one I will photocopy and pin up! Thank you so much for sharing .

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:44am

I kept falling asleep replying last night so you are timely! I'm really glad it's been useful.

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