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Are you struggling? Monday October 6, 2014

Are you struggling today? I am, a little, and I hope I can catch me before I fall again.

I struggled for many, many months, in fact years, before I knew I was struggling.

Way, way back, rather than face what overwhelmed me, I took therapy in the form of skiving school. Going awol. And on these days, I would skulk through all the people heading to work and going about their daily chores and spend my paper-round money on a train ticket to the next town. I would walk around safely knowing nobody would recognise me, tap my shoulder and ask why I wasn't in school. I took my camera. I took snaps. I still have them. It was a very basic camera which had a lens with no power to capture what my eye had seen. But nevertheless I snapped away, kept the snaps and I look back and treasure them. It is comforting to see that, although I was stuck in a dark place and didn't even know it, I had formed a self-therapy and it is to that that I have returned.

My passion for photographs has been life long and yet I have done nothing with it. I wish I had been at school learning and had had someone older and wiser pull me to realisation. But worrying over that will not fix anything. Instead, I am trying, slowly, to bring my passion into my life in a small way. Learn more. Photograph rather than snap.

I have an archive of snaps of my children that, when they look, they see things we do that are good. My LowLife will not have failed to have touched them - my stresses, my shouts, my frustrations and yet hopefully they also see how, through my camera, I saw them. How I saw their sticky faces when they ate ice cream on a windy beach. How I sneaked in at night when they were sleeping and took secret photographs of their slumbering faces over years and years.

Are you struggling today?

If you are struggling on a scale of 5-10 (with 10 being the hardest struggle) then I encourage you to look at some old photographs and see what it does to your mood. It may make you feel weepy, but is it a good weepy? It will, I am confident, make you laugh at least once. You may see the other you.

If you are struggling on a scale of 1-5 then I encourage you to take one photograph every day of something that you like. Look back after a week and see what your story has been. If you are not able to be outside or with people then aim for snapping something around you but from a new angle. Try photographing the tomato sauce from the table height and watch it loom above you in your snap. It feels good to be small sometimes.

Sometimes it's good to try a new angle.

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

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Rupert Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 8:15am

I am struggling today because I was fretting about work last night in bed and have come int to be faced with a barrage of emails sent to me at 3 o'clock this morning on some ghastly urgent job.It is hard to stop and take stock when you are constantly having to deal with new crises that you face.

Mary Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 8:20am

Dear Rupert, I visualise you in a Firefighter's outfit, (in a natty pin-stripe pattern), valiantly and single-handedly putting out all the fires that land on your desk and in your in-box. You are a hero. Warm wishes from Mary

Mary Blackhurst Hill Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 8:30am

Hello RATG, Great post, as always. I often wonder if there is an inescapable link between depression and creativity. For you it's taking pictures; for me it's writing and also drawing and papercraft (cards, mostly). If I put those pleasures to one side, life gets extremely arid.I can justify my Moodscope and professional blogs, but my poor novel gets neglected because I feel it is very self-indulgent: I can't justify taking time away from my family and business just to write romantic fiction; but then the characters in my head clamour loudly to be set free on the page and I just get frustrated! Arghhhhh!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 8:34am

Here, waiting, on the rung below you, waiting to catch your fall, RATG. What a lovely post - who knew you missed so much school, when you can write superb post like this.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 8:38am

Oh Roo...remember someone who wrote those emails was up at stupid o'clock worrying too! Try to write your worries down and if you think of answers in the night, write them down too.
I really feel for you as I am kept awake by fretting and unless I get uo and write it down, I forget my plan by the next day!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 9:01am

Winter is here, my husband has galloping Alzheimers and the neighbour's cats have killed most of my birds - light at end of tunnel please!

Tim Clayton Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 9:28am

What great advice! I used to use my many photos (usually not of people, as my wife pointedly pointed out on our early holidays together) to revisit - or was it wallow? - in golden times of yore. Now I hardly look at those, and am quite happy to cull them every so often, being happier with the present. What gives joy now is looking back on early toddler pics of my kids, recorded in only the lighter moments of all that necessary tribulation. It makes me gooey-hearted in a way I never was at the time. How potent are photos. Just as the Kodak director, with whom I accidentally plonked myself down one lunchtime in the staff canteen, helped me see with a cameo of a poignant hospice visit.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 9:53am

am the same but for me it was music. Music for me is the best therapy and recently I have been trying to play my guitar again.
I took music out of my life for many years as the voices I have wouldn't let me listen after many years I am trying to go against what the voices are saying but it is hard.
Some days I only manage 5mins but it is better than nothing.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 10:11am

What a wonderful post and a brilliant idea

heather Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 10:39am

I have no advice, just admiration for someone looking after a sadly ailing partner and sadness for your shock over the birds. And maybe faith that all the love that will come to you from fellow Moodscopers, when they read your post, will help. With love from Heather xx

heather Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 11:04am

Dear ratg, your blog brought teas to my eyes, something about LowLife affecting our children and sticky faces on a windy beach (there, it's doing it again). I did not play truant as much as you but I was there in body only, my mind always elsewhere, and I learnt very little. Nobody realised I was suffering from an illness. I am never sure how soon blogs are printed, i.e. whether you are low now - I do hope not. Are you looking after your pot plants (and not killing them with kindness). Always love your contributions. Heather xx

Dave C Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 12:22pm

My first time on the site and WOW it's full of interesting stuff.
I too try and find happiness in the simple pleasures of life. Nowadays I grasp & cling onto any shred of positivity that comes my way, if it'll give me an ounce of relief. It can be anything from hearing the rain tipping onto the windowsill as I'm safe + dry inside. A warm smile from a family member. My dog wagging his tail in understanding as I talk endlessly to him. The smell of rain on freshly laid Tarmac.
I too love capturing the moment in a photo. I can drift off to a happy place by gazing at old (&new) pictures.

Thanks for all the above posts

Theresa NZ Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 12:48pm

Dearest room above garage ... Thank you.very very much for your beautiful post. i will try the photo thing. when i come out of the grey i do scroll thru my photos on my pjone and i see what a bleesed life i lead witj four gorhrous cjildren and a supportive husbsnd. and i see that i am anexcellent mother. and yet when i go down i dont hav inclination to do anythinv. i hav trouble clickinv like on a fb post. I have bipolar which cycles every month. I hav been.struggling for the past three days due to a sudden death of a friends new writers page (aunty trees writer) has enabled me to.write out these intense feelings of how life can be so unfair. and my grief.

Theresa NZ Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 12:50pm

scuse mistakes, on phone, in bed, in dark,.tired. i feel good this evening. i am so grateful for FB, my ability to share my feelings in writing and to moodscope.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 1:30pm

I am unable to stop for long at the moment, but I did just want to say, Rupert, what a horrible start to your sleep badly leaves a cloud of brain fog and its almost impossible to push through that. Can you lean on anyone? A colleague who could support the really urgent stuff? It is so easy to suggest but so very hard in practice. Failing that, a personal someone to talk it through with? We cannot hope to be productive until we pause. Reset. Rebalance. You sound as though you are giving out more than you are taking in. Feed the animal! And remember my favourite place for mini-breaks...THE TOILET! Seriously, let them think you have diarrhoea, the regular breather might make all the difference. And, if possible, cut out tea and coffee after 12noon. Made a huge difference to my sleep. In my thoughts. Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 2:17pm

hi guys! and g'day to you all. Can someone tell me how do I go about posting a wee story on moodscope

Dawn Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 2:35pm

hello again...just figured out how to put my name against a comment! duh!! very slow with my computer skills but love to write and dying to share some good stuff with all members. I am a new member of moodscope but despite searching the site and the wee box entitled 'blog' at the top of the page there is nowhere to instruct me how I actually go about posting a blog myself. Help please! thank youXX

Dawn Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 2:42pm

hurry somebody! I am just dying to share my writing skills and lots of good things with you all!! this looks like a fab site...just the thing I was looking for...please see my comment above! HOW DO I WRITE AND POST A BLOG ON MOODSCOPE? :))) XXXX

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 2:45pm

Please I need help........who can i talk to nobody understands

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 3:24pm

Hello Dawn

You send it to Caroline; the email address is
It can take a while before it is posted (sometimes days, sometimes weeks in my experience - which is limited).
Of course, you can reply every day to that day's blog - as you have done above.
Good luck!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 3:30pm

You can talk to me My e-mail is We do understand and that is why we are here...also you are loved and special even if you do not feel that way right now...feel free to contact me...DaveB

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 3:36pm

Hello Anon 2.45pm

There are loads of us here who will understand and who will do what they can to help; can you be a bit more specific about what the problem is?

We all have different ways of coping - the fact that you have blogged means you are already moving forward and taking control - well done!

Can you give yourself a break and do something really simple that will lift your spirits a bit - a walk? a soak in a bath with lovely smellies? a funny or uplifting DVD?

Maybe read back through some of the Moodscope posts until you find one that really speaks to you - then scroll down and read the replies?

I will keep checking over the next 5 - 6 hours or so to see if you want to reply to this.

Hang on in there - I am rooting for you!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 3:37pm

I saw a cat program last week that had a couple of harmless deterrents, an ultra sonic one and also a water spray thing that was activated by cats, maybe you could try something like that to preserve your birds? And maybe taking action on that would bring you a bit of peace to reflect and watch the birds in your stressful time?

Anonymous Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 3:39pm

No I did but you all going at once stop

dawn Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 4:45pm

thanks for that Frankie! good to know and a good idea to just be able to comment daily alsoXX

heather Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 5:38pm

Welcome, Dave C.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Oct 6th 2014 @ 5:44pm

Hi Dawn, we'd welcome a blog from you. As Frankie has said, just send it to me at I do hope you find Moodscope helpful and enjoy the blog.

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:08am

Anon 8.34, thank you very much, what a fab thing to say.
Marydoll, self indulgent no! Perhaps your novel is your saviour...when you really get to be you.

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:17am

Ditto Heather, much admiration from me. Watching a loved one slip away is so hard and I only have experience of fairly mild dementia not Alzheimer's. Stick with us, perhaps having an outlet to talk honestly when you otherwise can't, might support you a bit. Much love from the ratg xxx.

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:19am

Thanks Tim :-) perspective is everything.

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:20am

Welcome to Moodscope. I really hope you find it helpful and enjoy the blogs.

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:23am

Music accompanies me from dawn to dusk but I do not have your talent...please do keep playing x.

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:24am

Thumbs up :-)

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:31am

Hello Heather, ah yes, children and tears (our own), inextricably linked! I fell down hard last week but things have improved a bit. Taking great comfort in that as it would sometimes go for months...I've never experienced a short burst like this so I'm taking it as a big positive. It's still there but it's different and that must be good. Thanks for commenting and asking x. p.s. Plants are so not me...perhaps I should turn my attention to that and improve an area I run from!

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:37am

Hello Dave C, I love a bit of rain too, and the garden smell after...

Anonymous Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 9:40am

Theresa, you sound like you are doing everything right. You know what you have and you know what you need...glad you're here, and hope the grey lightens soon x.

heather Tue, Oct 7th 2014 @ 3:14pm

Can be therapeutic ratg.

Helen Tedder Wed, Oct 8th 2014 @ 2:30pm

How strange, we must have been on the same wave length, on the same day I had an urge to look at my photographs. But life soon put a stop to my personal urge! But I know exactly what you mean. I've been so low now for weeks due to circumstances beyond my control. Looking at pictures does lift my mood. Even the beautiful ones I save into a "beautiful" file on my computer, just so I have those to look at. You know the sort paradise beach,,, yes please. It does show you that there were happier times, but I'm all to aware of how little happy times I seem to get. It makes me question - mood? Age? life? And before you know it I didn't look at my pictures, but after reading this I will put it on my list for today. Thank You. Helen x

Suzy Tue, Oct 14th 2014 @ 3:00pm

Dearest RATG, I'm always insanely behind on reading and I'm soooo sorry for the tardy response here but I adored this post. I always love your posts RATG.
All the best,
Suzy x x

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