Acceptance, Blame and Reaching Out

15 Sep 2020
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“I know I should get out and exercise.”

“I can’t just sit here. I ought to do something productive.”

“Look at the place: it’s a mess – and I just can’t seem to care…”

So often, people suffering with depression sit on the sofa and beat themselves up for having depression.

Oh, we know we are depressed, but we think, if only we could motivate ourselves to exercise, to achieve something, to tidy and clean our surroundings, then we would feel much better.

The temptation of this thinking is strong. We know that, when we go on a brisk walk in the fresh air, we feel invigorated. When we achieve something productive, we feel a glow of satisfaction. We feel more at peace when our surroundings are clean and ordered.

Even the “Experts” say, “Exercise has been proven to be as effective as medication in many cases of mild to moderate depression.”

Feeling unable to do these things makes us feel even worse.

Some of the symptoms of depression, however, are that very lack of motivation; a lack of focus; an inability to feel any sense of vigour, satisfaction; peace; or anything much. People with depression often feel dead and grey inside.

It is not only futile, but self-defeating to blame ourselves for exhibiting the symptoms of depression.

This lock down period has been hard on many who live with mental health issues. I think it has been particularly hard on those who normally manage their depression through organised activities with others. Exercise classes have been suspended; clubs have stopped meeting. Even if your group meets online, it is not easy to eat a meal, craft together, or to play scrabble without the physical presence of others.

It may be that your symptoms of depression have worsened over the past six months.

Don’t blame yourself for it; view it instead as one more side effect of the Covid pandemic. Accept it for what it is – a worsening of your symptoms through no fault of your own.

Acceptance does not mean wallowing in self-pity; it just means removing that weight of guilt from your shoulders. Beating yourself up will only prolong your illness.

But you can do something positive – you can reach out.

Text a friend.

A friend might not completely understand, but they might be willing to call round, to encourage you to leave the sofa and go for a (socially distanced) walk together. While we can still meet in groups of six, a small group of friends might keep you company, if only to watch a little TV together.

The first step is reaching out. Even if you feel you have no one to reach out to, you will be surprised at how kind and accepting even casual acquaintances can be.

You are not to blame; it’s not your fault, but you can take the first, teeny tiny step. If you’re reading this, that’s a first step in itself.

Reach out.

Mary

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at support@moodscope.com to submit your own blog post!

Comments

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 12:29 a.m.

Very true Mary, the first part of your blog. I'm unsure though about friends and acquaintances. I think you must be very lucky with your network of people in your life. I can only think of a handful of people I would ask anything from and even they can let me down. Some people don't have anyone at all to reach out to. Personally my depression is no worse, it was there before, and it will still be there after all this is over, if it ever is over.... I guess I struggle with the word depression. For me it's clinical rather than circumstantial. In a strange way, the pandemic just doesn't touch me. Molly xx

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:04 a.m.

Thank you for your reply, Molly. Yes, I know I am fortunate in my friends and am grateful for and to them. For many of us with clinical depression unaffected by circumstances, this time has not materially affected our underlying condition. This blog was written for those who have become depressed, or more depressed, because their normal organised social support system has been removed.

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:01 a.m.

Hi Mary and Molly As you know I have had mental health issues for over 20 years. I have found that the pandemic has affected me a bit and made me low or anxious some of the time. But I think I will always have upsets that send me up and down (eg husband - who may be on the mild end of the autistic spectrum - getting grumpy with me when he is stressed or tired) as well as proper manic depressive episodes from time to time. So I am also finding that I am in my usual place mood wise, although the upsets are a bit different at the moment. (I am lucky not to have had too much disruption though, job suited to working at home, daughter old enough not to need much from me and her school did a good job keeping everything going during lock down.)Like you say Mary this must be very difficult for a lot of people who are experiencing depression and anxiety for the first time as a result of this pandemic and associated upheaval. It's much easier on those of us who have already learned some coping mechanisms. Love TF x

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:03 a.m.

Yes Mary, I know, I was just saying how it was for me. I know how badly people have been affected in all different ways. I just sat here and thought ‘has it affected me? Am I more depressed because of it?’ Apart from worrying about others, it has had little bearing on my life. You make some good points in your blog. Some need that little nudge of encouragement. I guess the equivalent for me is sending an email or a message, receiving one, even better xx

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:29 a.m.

Hi TF, I can relate to the husband thing! I say to him he has to try keep his spirits up so I can try keep mine up. I don’t think he’s depressed he just has so much to cope with. He does get very anxious and impatient which I find difficult. Very true about those who already have some coping mechanisms. Knowing how difficult life can be regardless xx

Cyndi

Sept. 16, 2020, 3:26 a.m.

The danger with reaching out to a friend is that they may be unqualified to help you and you could end up using them instead of seeking professional help. By all means, once you have sought (and obtained) help from a GP or therapist, a friend can be an additional source of support, but I think they should be secondary to someone that is trained to help. We all know of at least one person that has used a friend instead of seeking professional help. It seldom works out well for either the sufferer or the friend.

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Ruth

Sept. 16, 2020, 4:59 a.m.

Getting an appointment would be easier with the queen during this time. In the meantime, a friend is easier and quicker to reach out to. It took me six weeks to get an appointment and ten minutes to speak to a friend.

Ian

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:34 a.m.

Of course you are right that one should not seek diagnosis or other medical advice from unqualified friends. However I don't think that is what Mary was saying. I interpreted her remarks as a useful suggestion for a tiny but achievable step towards improving one's mental and emotional landscape.

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:58 a.m.

I think your point about seeking the necessary professional help is a really important one. Thanks. TF x

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:12 a.m.

hello Anonymous, thank you for your comment. You are entirely correct (as are Ruth and Ian above). When I wrote this blog it was originally 658 words long and included just your point. I am limited to 500 words, however, so kept to the meat of my subject - which was about priming the pump for those experiencing depression (or worsening depression) because their normal organised group activities have been suspended during this time. We are social animals (mostly) and this enforced isolation has been hard on many.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:25 a.m.

Hello Tutti Frutti, yes, you are quite right: a friend can never be a substitute for a medical professional. My blog, however, was about asking a friend to help merely by encouraging exercise and social re-engagement. It was also aimed at removing the guilt many experience because they cannot make that effort (which they know will help) alone. If I had kept the additional 158 words, I could have covered this but Caroline would have made anguished noises at me! ;)

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:28 a.m.

Yes, Ruth. It is indeed! Our friends here do understand, at least. :)

Marigold

Sept. 16, 2020, 8:07 a.m.

Absolutely agree Mary. In some cases, we have fought very hard to drag ourselves along to a class and to have it snatched away is bad news. Personally, I did 2 a week( yoga) I just can't get back into it. Its not the same, I'm not the same , the teacher irritates me. Its a loss.

Susannah

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

Hi Marigold. Ah yes! The tricky conundrum of the annoying yoga teacher. I think that the answer is to find another teacher. You can't relax and get into it if they have an annoying voice, or say silly things. In a way we are lucky at the moment as so many yoga classes have gone online. It doesn't matter where in the world the teacher is if they are on Zoom. I had been doing two yoga classes per week with my favourite teacher, whose classes are usually too far away from where I live. That had been the starting structure of my week since April. She has decided to have a break in September. Most inconsiderate! I'm sure she'll be back with an online offering in October.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:43 a.m.

Is the Queen free on Saturday Ruth? I have a slot in my choc a bloc diary :-) you did make me smile xx I have to agree with Ian here, Mary’s point wasn’t about getting a diagnosis. It was about reaching out to a friend for a little support or to prevent getting into a rut. Professional help is a different kettle of fish. Anyway, I would much prefer an hour with an understanding friend, than I would a non understanding so called therapist but that’s beside the point! Molly xx

Ruth

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:46 a.m.

Me too. XX

Ian

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:28 a.m.

Thanks for the thoughtful blog as ever, Mary. I certainly agree that lockdown restrictions have been very hard on people who derive particular pleasure from social interactions. I would not count myself as one of them, but I have great sympathy for those who do. Particularly I feel that young people have been unfairly criticized during the period. It is not difficult for an old curmudgeon like myself to sit in my flat and work on my laptop. The times are bad, but most older people have seen bad times before. It's not fun, but it will pass - you hunker down and wait it out. But for young people, a length of time mounting up inexorably toward a year, during which one should not gather in groups to drink and laugh, activities beloved of young people since time began, must seem both interminable and unendurable.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:16 a.m.

Thank you for your reply, Ian. You make me realise I may have been too condemning of my 18yr old as she embraces university life with, I feel, insufficient respect for social distancing rules. Being an introvert myself, very happy in my own company, I do not realise how difficult it is for extroverts like her.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:58 a.m.

Yes, when I was young, I used to live for my Friday/Saturday nights out. I would look forward to it all week. I would be in such good spirits after work on a Friday, I would do my housework, then get myself dressed up for my night out. Thanks for reminding me of this. It’s helped for me to remember just how difficult it has been for the younger generation. Just starting out in life....wanting fun, taken away xx

paul

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:40 a.m.

Thanks for posting this, Mary. You make some great points

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:17 a.m.

Thank you, Paul.

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:24 a.m.

Hi Mary I totally agree with you that you shouldn't beat yourself up about having the symptoms of depression. And often the overwhelming exhaustion and numbness which comes on with depression means that you can't do things which might otherwise help you and that isn't your fault. I am not sure about the advice to reach out to a friend however. I think this is another of those things that would very likely help but is very difficult for a depressed person to do. I feel so unworthy, unable for company and like I would be dispiriting to be around when I am depressed that I find it really hard to reach out to anyone. In my case (not that either of these things are easy when you are depressed) the first thing I will manage to get off the sofa for is stacking the dishwasher, and somewhat down the line comes going for a walk. Reaching out to friends comes way after these. Ironically under normal circumstances I hate housework and am not remotely houseproud so I don't know what is with the dishwasher thing. Possibly it is just the easiest thing to do when depressed which will please my husband, so that I can feel slightly less useless in one role at least. Love TF x

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Tutti Frutti

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:09 a.m.

Hi Mary I see from your responses above that your blog was more aimed at people driven into depression by current circumstances than at those of us who have been ill for a while. Your suggestion about reaching out to a friend makes more sense to me now and who knows, perhaps texting a friend would be a viable thing for people to do. But people shouldn't beat themselves up if the illness makes them feel unable to do so. Love TF x

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 8:26 a.m.

Hi TF, your comments connected with me. I think if one is feeling low and doesn't move then along with that can come feelings of guilt and shame and worthlessness which begin to reinforce the depression -- which, funnily enough, doesn't help. xx

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

Depression is so often a vicious circle. Breaking the blame game it becomes can, however, be a start.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 12:15 p.m.

I agree TF. I mainly communicate via text or email but I don’t want to sound like a stuck record. I thought about what Mary said, and thought “oh shall I call so and so for a nice chat, we haven’t spoken for ages”. But it wouldn’t be a nice chat because of my circumstances. And like you, I cannot really be bothered. I wish I had a dishwasher. I get the washing up done and clean the toilet and well that’s about it. I would love someone to come and take husband out in his wheelchair, but I can’t think of anyone to ask that would Genuinely want to do it. Oli, guilt, shame and worthlessness - yep!! Xx

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:18 p.m.

Molly, I don't have a dishwasher so (top tip) if someone was coming around to disturb my space I'd fill the sink with tons of Fairy Liquid and hide the weeks of dirty dishes under the mountain of suds. Guilt, shame, and worthlessness. I sussed this was cheating. It didn't even fool me. Interim answer: I got down to one plate, one spoon, one cup, one fork... you get the idea. Everything clean every night. Every morning a fresh start. Guests: (seldom), but they get OMG the cupboard opens and they get the second cup. Do I feel better? Actually, daft though it sounds, I love looking at a clean kitchen every morning. xx

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 3:46 p.m.

It does help doesn’t it Oli. Husband used to be the washer up. He can’t do it anymore. It frustrates him. I know that if I keep up with it, it makes him feel better to see a clean kitchen. No pressure! My sink is just as you describe. Hidden by fairly liquid lol. Every time I pass it, I think, oh I will just do five things. one, two, three, four, five. Oh I can sit down now lol. I really need to mop the floor. I did however wash the food recycling bins with bleach. How difficult can the mopping be!! Was it you that said you enjoyed the mopping once you did it? I think I do. I just can’t get motivated. xx

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 4:19 p.m.

It was me; maybe not quite “enjoyed” but satisfied for sure. Done it at least six times since. Mopped it yesterday and have 5 litres of Flash amazoning its way now the Cillet Bang has gone. King of the Mops. xx

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 4:25 p.m.

:-) xx

Paula

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:41 a.m.

Motivation is so difficult. I remember a GP telling me years ago that a brisk ten minute walk every day would help . She clearly didn't realise how impossible that would be. I now see a specialist because I don’t think most GPs have the time or expertise, sadly. And I don´t reach out when I am really depressed. That only happens when I am starting to feel better. But your blog did cheer me up. We are all in this together. Thanks for taking the time to communicate and share x

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

Thank you Fluffy. Yes, at the bottom, we cannot reach out; it's as much as we can do to hang on. I know, at my lowest, I cannot even walk fifty meters, let alone going for a "brisk walk".

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 12:23 p.m.

I find it so frustrating when people say go for a walk. It makes no difference for me, in fact it can make me worse because I’m thinking on my walk. I know it helps some people though. There seems to be quite a few walkers on here xx

The Gardener

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:50 p.m.

Molly and Mary, walking not just good for depression. Opens communication with the young. Last day of grand-child visit 'walk with Granny'. Apparently, testosterone is released, and they will bring out anything from cricket to exam worries.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:08 p.m.

You are very right; walking is excellent for communication.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:10 p.m.

Depends if one wants to communicate xx

Mrs H

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:35 a.m.

A really well-expressed post, Mary. Thank you. I achieved something yesterday that I'm really proud of - a clear dining table. My motivation? An overnight stay from father-in-law. So I was pushed into it (only hid the hoover as he pulled into the drive) - BUT I DID IT! Little steps...

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:46 a.m.

That's fantastic - honestly! I am staring at my grubby hall and know that I should do something about it - and I just keep staring at it and being depressed by it. I am sure, if I asked a friend to make me accountable to her (or him) - to check in at each stage when I had vacuumed, cleared the shoe-rack, wiped down the skirting boards, mopped the floor and washed the rugs, I would manage to do it. And then I would feel good about myself and the hallway. But - it's finding that impetus to do it. I wonder who I could ask to visit...

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 12:34 p.m.

Well done Mrs H. When I used to have guests, it was a great push for me to tidy and clean! It’s hard to keep on top of it. My desk is looking very cluttered as everything just seems to be put on there ‘out the way’ but it’s not out of the way, because it’s right in front of me! Molly xx

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:58 a.m.

Lots to reflect on in your blog and the comments Mary. I’ve been lucky insofar as wellness-related activities have kept me functioning well-enough but I know that these things are not enough for all mood problems. With more complicated mood problems one could walk for 10,000 miles in the wilderness and it wouldn’t help — not even with a healthful diet, enough sleep, a regimen of cognitive exercises, and a lottery win. As an aside this is why I generally avoid use of the word “motivation” — I have a personal history here learned from working with physios and doctors saying the patient wasn’t motivated to do x, y, or z, and I knew this was plain wrong even then so this is why I won’t judge myself as being motivated or not; I try to keep my self-reflections focused on behaviour (including verbal behaviour). In the last six months I’ve been fine with many aspects of the changes since the pandemic but recently I’ve noticed my mood shifting. I’m still functioning, meeting goals, but there’s an alertness now. Things that were easy now feel more difficult. It's always good to be alert to knowing when to seek help. Reaching out to friends might be useful but not always. Friends might be able to notice things or they might not because they're (probably) not experts. Basically I'm reminding myself that it's a good idea to get off the train before it comes off the rails. Thank you for this blog Mary.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:49 a.m.

One of the things we can find, when we have have been consciously aware of our condition for long enough, is that we notice things for ourselves and can take action. So, yes, get off the train at the next station - or will you need to pull the communication cord (if modern trains have such things)?

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 12:53 p.m.

Oli, as Mary said, get off that train! You have such wise words for us on here. You help so many people. Worthlessness is not the word for you. You are so honest and insightful xx

Marigold

Sept. 16, 2020, 8:14 a.m.

I feel compelled to respond to this theme as it is very relavant to me. Thanks for the blog Mary. My son is going abroad to live. This is a major loss for me. I "reached out" to a long standing friend yesterday. Alright it was via fb message, she seems to respond to that. I would never call round although she lives minutes from me. The response was pretty unsympathetic and yet a person I have met recently understood my struggle and expressed this in a kind way. I guess what I am saying is, reaching out has some risk. I need to be careful who I contact. The circle decreases, the negative thoughts crowd in. Should I just move along and forget the long standing friend? Sad to say, perhaps there is just nothing there. How do I find the energy to push myself forward into activities and human contact? I don't know, its a mystery right now. People are jangly and distrubed by the Covid thing.

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Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:06 a.m.

Marigold, I'm finding today's blog relevant for me too. It's been a couple of years since I've seen my son after he moved to the US -- but as it happens our contact has never been stronger since this pandemic and we started checking in with a minimum of an email, basically, "still breathing?" We often speak for a lot longer on WhatsApp once or twice a week, so we have more contact now than we did when we lived five miles apart. I do miss my friend though. Although we had the most socially-distanced relationship imaginable it suited us fine but there's a difference between choosing not to see each other and not being able to see each other. Definitely starting to feel alone. The risk of reaching out is real. Rejection hurts. If it's explicit rejection at least you know where you stand. It's harder when the signs are more ambiguous and you're trying to work out what their silence means! And it might not mean anything about us. All I'd add, (and I'm reminding myself of this as I write), is to remember the positive value which is behind the action of reaching out. It is a good thing to want to connect with other people. The outcome is not in our hands but that doesn't detract from the positive intention.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:52 a.m.

Sometimes we reach out and the response is not what we hope for because the person to whom we are reaching out is in a place where they are unable to respond themselves. Don't give up on your friend straight away - there may be extenuating circumstances. I would echo Oli's words too - you did something positive by reaching out - just your action was a step in itself. Don't allow one closed door make you believe that all doors are closed.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Marigold, when my brother went to live abroad for a year, we had more contact than we do now via Skype (back then, now it’s Zoom or whatever) it felt like he was in the same room. I think with friends, some get it, some don’t. I have long term friends that don’t get me at all. Well, they might get me but they don’t fully understand and I get the impression they can’t be doing with it. They will always be my friends but contact is now limited. Since my mental state deteriorated and my circumstances got worse, I keep them up to date briefly but of course they have their own issues as well. The most support I get, is simply on here xx

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:28 p.m.

Oli, I am so pleased you now have some contact with your son. Ambiguous is the word with my situation (as you know) stuck record time. Why leave me hanging on! Tell me to F off. I’m appear to be blocked now, although not sure. Maybe just ignored. Daughters doing I think but he has a brain of his own. I would have felt better if the dog was dead. Harsh I know, but await every single day and I’m wasting my life by this (Almost) obsession xx

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:50 p.m.

Molly, me and my eldest son (in the US) are good; me and my youngest, not so much. If it's any reassurance that feeling of "I wish [x] were dead" is really common. I've genuinely felt it myself with my part-time imaginary gf. I don't *really* wish she was dead. Never. What I'm wishing for is that the pain would stop. Death = full stop; new paragraph; move on. And that's how desperate we can be to stop the pain. But today, I wish her well. And you. And me. And everyone. xx

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 4:34 p.m.

Thank you Oli, as always, you make me feel better. Did you not get closure on the girlfriend (sorry can’t remember now) xx

Oli

Sept. 16, 2020, 5 p.m.

Closure? Not as such. But me and the part-time-imaginary-gf have been jogging along for years. She is medically iffy (vulnerable) so she was doing isolation. She had a life-threatening illness recently too. I don’t stress about that funnily enough - nothing to be changed by stressing. Just miss speaking to her.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:21 p.m.

Xxxx

Susannah

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:25 a.m.

Thanks for this very timely blog, Mary. As a highly social animal I completely get where you're coming from. My mother was getting lonely and I persuaded her to invite a passing neighbour (who she always 'hello'd and chatted with ) to her garden for a socially distant cuppa. Mum was nervous of rejection, but finally asked the neighbour, who was absolutely delighted. They had a lovely couple of hours chatting in the garden and have since repeated the experience.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

Susannah - that's a lovely thing to hear: really positive. Thank you for sharing that.

Marigold

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:56 a.m.

Yes Oli, btw I see my spelling mistake. Will Gardener be along to help me with spelling!? She always seems so erudite. What's the point me wasting hours ruminating about long term friend who I basically feel I am pursuing? Give up. Try again elsewhere.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:31 p.m.

If you give up on your friend and walk away, they may come running after you. If they do, don't say, "Oh, I thought you didn't care!" Instead say, "How lovely to hear from you." You may be able to go on from there. If you walk away, unpursued, then, sadly, you will know that the friendship came to an end for that person. It does for some people...

The Gardener

Sept. 16, 2020, 4:26 p.m.

Marigold, scrolling through I saw my name. Think I will have to change it to 'pedant'. Accused of swallowing dictionary - Molly says she has to look things up! My Ma was a great speller, good at Scrabble until she refused to wear her glasses. x

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:06 p.m.

Darling Gardener, I adore your pedantry and dictionary swallowing!

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:16 p.m.

I’m just not as well read as you Gardener, it was no criticism. I think I’m quite good at spelling but some words I have never heard of xx

Valerie

Sept. 16, 2020, 10:03 a.m.

Reaching out never comes easily to me.I suspect that is true of many people,hence the existance and success of Moodscope.If we are honest,we can be kind with each other on here without having to take on further responsibility.It can be a different thing if someone is phoning you several times a day,turning up on your doorstep,asking to borrow money or be given temporary housing.Backing off does not mean the other party is necessarily callous and selfish.Self-preservation is hard-wired in most people. When I have reached out,the results have ended up making me embarassed,or very disappointed at the outcome.In general,I stick to my good pal Prozac and the non-judgmental lovely souls on Moodscope.x

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:11 p.m.

the "further responsibility" of which you write sounds like a nightmare. That is not friendship, but something darker and more twisted; more like being used. Friendship is give and take and is undertaken on an equal footing.

Marigold

Sept. 16, 2020, 10:31 a.m.

I think I am mindful of the reciprocal nature of friendship. I suppose I can get a bit low and negative but I try to reel it back in. If any friend asked me a favour, I would be there. ***, life was never this complicated in the past. I went to work and met people or the school gate gang were about. Its a whole different landscape now.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:13 p.m.

it is indeed, but reciprocity is crucial.

Anonymous

Sept. 16, 2020, 10:31 a.m.

Thanks Mary for reaching out to ME. Standing here crying because I'm in this very situation. Beating myself up because I'm the class dunce in an online training course which I've got to go back to in a minute. Thank heaven I can turn off video and sound. I know it's depression, and I keep thinking I've beaten it, but some days it just beats you back. Will check back later to read what I'm sure are lots of other lovely comments on this very thoughtful and kind blog

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:42 p.m.

My very dear Anonymous. Please have a big, virtual hug. Depression is a slimy thieving, deceiving ******* which steals all our self-confidence and makes us feel like a piece of slime on the floor. You are being lied to, you are being gas-lighted by this illness. Please remember that. Depression will stack up the evidence of your stupidity before you and taunt you with it; and it's all lies. Thank you for saying something here. I hope more of the training will go in than you think. And, if you are in a professional situation where this is possible, speak to someone about your depression. (And I know that, sadly, this is not always the case). Take off the Dunce's hat, dear Anonymous: it doesn't suit you!

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

Well said Mary xx Anonymous, hang on in there. Depression is a liar. I woke up feeling awful today. It felt like the end of the world. Hard to cope with but I knew the depression was playing tricks with me. It’s not gone but it’s still hanging about. Things that are bothering me, but wouldn’t if I didn’t have depression xx

Patricia E

Sept. 16, 2020, 10:36 a.m.

It is hard to reach out. Rejection, or perceived rejection, is difficult to take at any time but especially when you really need a hand to hold. I have risked just dropping in the words 'struggling a bit this week / today' to texts, emails, whatsapps etc. along with the rest of the message, when I need some support. I've tried it with long term, 'close' friends, with people I've only met fairly recently, with family members, close or peripheral, all sorts. The outcome has been quite a surprise. I think because it gives the recipient the opportunity to ignore that little phrase, if they either can't be bothered to engage, or perhaps aren't in a place where they can help just now, mostly the response has been very positive and supportive. And because all I need is a hand to hold for just a little while until I can steady myself again, it's working well for me. I hope everyone can find a hand to hold when they need one. In many ways it has been easier to ask for help during this pandemic - it seems to me that anyone who says they're not in any way adversely affected by it, mentally, emotionally, is either dangerously out of touch with themselves or possibly living on a different planet. Thank goodness for my garden and Moodscope. Two points of sanity in a very odd world

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:46 p.m.

For many of us here, gardens are a source of solace.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:02 p.m.

I must be in that category then Patricia. Dangerously out of touch and on another planet.

Molly

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:19 p.m.

Try this. I have severe depression and anxiety. I have agoraphobia, a personality disorder and colitis. My husband is disabled and is in constant pain and cannot walk. He struggles now to hold a cup, to write and to speak. So no, we are not on a different planet thank you. We couldn’t get out before. We will rarely be able to again without great difficulty. Virus or not. So be careful when you decide to judge.

Marigold

Sept. 17, 2020, 6:36 a.m.

I sort of get what Patricia was trying to say? That there is a lot of denial going on. Dear Molly, your circumstances are so challenging and hard, I'm not surprised the wretched pandemic has almost passed you by.

Molly

Sept. 17, 2020, 8:22 a.m.

Yeah I know Marigold, just took it personally I suppose. I don’t like people judging and putting everyone In the same boat. This probably comes from my mother, she seems to think the world consists of about ten people, and can never see the wider picture. Thanks for understanding xx

Orangeblossom

Sept. 16, 2020, 11:43 a.m.

Thanks for the very encouraging blog. It felt like you were next to me suggesting that we went for a altogether.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:46 p.m.

Absolutely, dear Orangeblossom

Orangeblossom

Sept. 16, 2020, 2:35 p.m.

It was meant to read for a walk in the fields or the Harmony Garden which is a good place to be.

Lexi

Sept. 16, 2020, 1:49 p.m.

Hello Mary! Thank you for the timely blog today. Last night I had a friend over. We sat in my backyard, socially distant, drinking wine and chatting about things. This is a person that I consider a "new" friend, someone I met when our daughters were in the same gymnastics class about 5 years ago. I am extremely nervous making new friends. I always think they will see all my flaws and decide I'm too weird to hang out with. But for some reason she and I were always comfortable with each other. I've seen her through her cancer and remission and she has seen me through my separation and random horrible dating experiences. Last night she confided in me that her daughter has been diagnosed with a type of psychosis. It is so hard to watch her struggle; she loves her daughter so much. Anyway, the point I guess I am trying to make is that the whole time I was worried that she would be put off by my bouts of anxiety and depression, she has gone through much of it on her own and we have become a support system to each other. We don't expect each other to solve our problems; just listen. I'm quite proud of our friendship. I have to say it's one of the most genuine things I have accomplished in a long, long time. She is someone I could reach out to. Before her, there were two, very close friends whom I've known for a very very long time. And after my last serious bout when I was suicidal and I didn't reach out to anyone, I made a change. When I got better I called these two people and told them about it. Then I asked them would it be okay if it ever happened again, to reach out, just to say I'm struggling. That's it. No need to do anything other than say I hear you. They both responded so positively. So now I don't have to think about it. I can just text them and they will know. They know they can't solve my despair but they can let me know I am not alone. They also keep an eye on me. So my take away from your post is that reaching out is so important, not just to the people who are in the well, but to people who care about them. And that it really one takes one person. (Sorry for the loooong reply!) xo

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The Gardener

Sept. 16, 2020, 5:57 p.m.

Lexi, that's great. In the years when I was really struggling with my husband's illness I had this outlet, two particular family members, and 3 'experts', UK GP, priest and professor. I worried about 'abusing' the friendship, they just said 'no worries, keep writing'.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2020, 6:15 p.m.

I loved your comment, Lexi. That's what it's all about.

Lexi

Sept. 16, 2020, 7:14 p.m.

TG, I worried too. When I was well I told my two friends that they had an "out"; if they didn't want to see me in that state, no worries, I wouldn't ask them. But they both told me they would be angry (not really but you know what I meant) with me if I got that bad again and didn't reach out xo

Gayle

Sept. 16, 2020, 3:22 p.m.

Thank you Mary

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