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'Arnold'. Sunday March 16, 2014

I've always been prone to occasional bouts of 'sadness', but until a few years ago they
were mild and usually manageable. To cut a long story a bit shorter, in 2012 I started to feel very depressed. CBT helped a bit, but things got worse.

Luckily, as I realise now, my eyesight started to deteriorate and as a result I was diagnosed with a tumour on the pituitary gland near my brain. I'm on medication and my vision is fine now.

The wonderful doctors explained that the tumour upset the balance of hormones and caused low mood and mood swings.

Just knowing that there was a 'reason' made a huge difference at first. If I felt bad, I just ignored it because 'it's me hormones.'

It's getting tougher to keep thinking that way though. Looks like the mood swings will continue for a long time, possibly for good. When I'm 'up', I'm good company I think. I think (or at least I try) to think of others and be kind.

When I'm 'down', everything seems hopeless. My wife, my dad, my cat(!) and my workmates have all been so nice and supportive to me. But when I'm 'down', I can't see that. They look 'odd', like there's a barrier between us, and I think I don't like them. And I feel awful about that. Then, when I'm 'up' (sometimes the same day, sometimes two weeks later) I wonder what on earth I was thinking.

The only thing that helps (but I can't always do it) is to call the sad feeling 'Arnold'. (Remember Tony Blackburn's old radio dog?) I let Arnold rest in my mind. He's always there, sometimes barking, sometimes padding around. So I pat his head and just get on with things, even if I feel odd or other people seem odd. And sometimes, Arnold goes to sleep!

Some days, Arnold isn't there and I think I'm 'cured'. Then he comes back. I try to welcome him now, however phoney that is. Maybe one day he'll go for good. Till then - 'Down Boy'!

A Moodscope user.

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peter Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 6:45am

Wow! What a brilliant idea - and weirdly good timing for me... he has just come back, full of hell after I thought he had gone for good. Now all I need to do is decide what to call him.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 7:29am

I call mine Charlie.....nice to see I'm not the only one.....

lyn Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 8:03am

I am glad for you that you have found a way to tolerate and deal with your situation and I wish you and Arnold the very happiest of lives and good health. Thank you for sharing your problem and your solution. Kind regards, Lyn

Lex McKee Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 9:11am

We've actually got sunshine today. It transforms the way I see the very same garden I look out on on a dull day. In a similar way, going for a walk in such glorious sunshine changes the way I see the rest of my life. My life hasn't changed, but the frame I put around it is like putting a more expensive frame on an old print - it gives it a fresh perspective. So, and I'm not meaning to be flippant, would taking Arnold for a walk help - fresh stimulation and associations giving a new frame to your life's picture?

Anonymous Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 12:37pm

This is a pretty sane way of dealing with a mood disability, and would work well in bipolar. Like Churchill's black dog, which his whole household used as a shortcut reference to his cycling depression. Your dark dog lollops up, despite your best efforts sometimes, and you need to be able to remember that the attitudes, irritations and ways of thought you feel while it is around aren't necessarily coming from your own personality.

Paromita Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 2:58pm

Dear Eric,
Great thought! I am going to try this out straightaway.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 4:13pm

Thanks for this Lex - my female 'Arnold ' is a real ' Arnold ' - and HAS had a hair trim this p.m., but no walk. I don't want to go ( to be honest ) but very rarely regret making the effort,, AND AS YOU SAY what a gorgeous day to take the risk !

Anonymous Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 4:40pm

Dear Eric,

I love your way of coping - and I love Arnold. When I found out about Churchill's similar problems that made a good difference because I could think of someone who achieved great things but had to keep on battling his biochemical demons.

The comment about ways of thinking resonates too - the "oddness" and barrier feeling is so unpredictable, and i too think it's gone only for it to come up and bite me. I know outdoors and nature and walking and cycling help me, so i think calling it a name and having it as a sometimes annoying pet would be a good approach for me too. I can take it for a walk or it can follow the bike if it's being annoying and it can exercise the steam out safely. So.... Will and I are going for a little walk later. Thanks all

Eric Sun, Mar 16th 2014 @ 6:15pm

Thank you all for the thoughtful and supportive comments. Sorry I couldn't reply sooner - didn't have internet access!

It's really nice of you all to take the time to comment. 'Taking the dog for a walk' is a great way of taking this further - thanks. The Churchill reference is also very helpful.

It's very reassuring that other people also feel 'odd' sometimes. I won't feel so alone next time.

Thanks everyone - having a moodscope 'family' makes life brighter.

Anonymous Mon, Mar 17th 2014 @ 6:58am

" Female Arnold ", took me an amazing walk, We both
enjoyed it, tho' she had me on a lead ! !

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 3:07pm

Good luck on your romantic novel Mary & thanks for your blog - it has motivated me to do the things I want to now rather than wait for tomorrow :)

Catcher Wed, Mar 19th 2014 @ 6:29pm

Hideous Shades of Purple for a Murder, Fluttering Lavender for a Romance? I'm 61, and for the first time my medication works; I have energy rather than somnolence and blur. For the past 30 years I haven't got it together to write the book, mostly because of feeling so bloody tired - unable to hold in my mind all you need for a complex story. But now I can! - and I hope soon I'll post that I am.

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