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As The Daffodils Fade. Wednesday January 28, 2015

Every year, when the daffodils fade, I get a little depressed.

OK – let's be honest here. Every other year I get a LOT depressed – that's the down bit of the bipolar. On the "depression lite" years (like this one) it's just the ordinary, average, every day blues.

Yesterday, however, as I saw the first sharp spikes appear in the roadside verges (Cambridgeshire – it's a lot warmer than where you are, probably) topped with the faintest sliver of pale gold, I started to get a bit down rather earlier than usual.


And I started thinking. Just a little, you understand.

I've worked out that, by the time the daffodils have started to fade, the year is a quarter over and (yet again) I won't have achieved anything. My goals will still be there, lofty and unattainable, sitting serenely far out of my reach.

Attempting to cheat by not actually setting any goals doesn't work either. Nope. Frustration and feelings of futility abound come the time of the sap rising.

So, this year (safely clear of the treacherous January 1st), I'm setting some goals that I can actually reach by Easter.

Apparently all that setting SMART goals is profoundly uninspiring. No – you need BFH (Big Fat Hairy) goals to get your blood pounding and your juices – well – juicing.

So, by Easter I will have:

• Finished the second novel. (Actually starting it would be good too)
• Lost 20lb of the 35lb my doctor says I need to lose.
• Booked a flight to see my dear friend who moved out to Georgia five years ago and who I haven't seen since.

They're all big but the last one's the scariest (for very boring reasons).

Those may seem big goals to you, but I know I can do them. I just need to kick myself very hard on the bottom to get them done.

The other thing with goals is to publish them so you can be held accountable. Right, ticked that one off then.

And I'd really like some company here, so how about sharing your goals with me in the blogspot?

So, come April, we can ask each other how we're doing, and give each other a big congratulatory bunches of flowers.

Tulips, I think. The daffodils will have gone over.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 5:18am

Ah what a great blog, Mary. Perhaps those serene and lofty goals are out of reach because you've set them too high??
Mine have always been, get fitter, lose weight.....then something like depression hits me and the diet goes out of the window or when I was walking just over six miles a day and swimming three times a week, I got nasty shin splints and am still recovering...whilst still doing about four and a half miles walking with pooch.
My goals are now to try recover the fitness; stop drinking alcohol during the week (eek!) and try to keep up with the housework so that when Easter comes and the daffs are fading, I will have to add gardening to my list and dead-heading the daffs :(. A job that makes me sad as their brightness will be gone for another year....however, the light at the end if the tunnel will be new foliage, new flowers of a different kind through spring, summer and autumn....hurrah for nature!
Is anyone else up at stupid o'clock too?!
Good luck, Mary, will your garden grow?! Karen :) Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 6:02am

good post. mine will be atchieve study, keep socially connected and tell myself one positive thing a day.

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 7:16am

Hi Mary-be grateful that you were there to witness the daffs not to mourn their passing.And 'kick myself hard on the bottom' will only give you a sore bottom.Congratulate yourself for what you have achieved.You are right about putting goal down on paper. In September 2010 this is what I wrote
My view of the future

In the short term
• Initially I would like to get better to the point where I no longer need medication.
In the medium to long term
• I would then like to turn my own experience into something positive by finding ways by which I could help others facing a similar situation.
• The best way I can think of achieving this aim would be to look at ways to train myself in the field of psychology as I am medically qualified.
• This will be an adventure as it will be completely different from my previous career as a consultant in pathology.
• my knowledge of the anatomy of the normal and diseased brain could very useful as not much is known of the brain changes in the field of psychology

I am well aware that this goal or the path I will take will be tempered by the state or rate of decline of my wife’s health and my role as a long term carer.


Yesterday I attended my first session Level 3 for a Diploma in Counselling skills.

When I wrote that in my diary at the depth of my depression I never imagined I would one day write this.

Penny Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 7:38am

Hi Mary. Well they are certainly BFH ones you have set yourself, good luck on achieving them. I too have some BFH goals for this year, but I also have some smaller goals set along the way so I can keep track.
My main BFH is to setup a working studio and start running courses in ceramics and art by July.
The steps along the way...
Move house - Fingers crossed happening on Monday.
Install new glass doors instead of the garage doors that are on the huge double garage in the new garden. By March
Install new velux windows in the garage roof. By March
Fit new wiring and Install my kiln. By end of February.
Clear out stuff from garage and setup workspace. By end of April
Run first classes (not in garage!) by Easter.
Good luck

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 8:06am

OK , realistic goals

Establish a routine of regularly attending my pottery and tango classes
Swim x 4 times a week to combat degeneration in my spine
Clean the house regularly so I don't feel overwhelmed when it comes down to it
Go to bed before 11pm so I don't feel so exhausted when I have to get up at 6.30

Doesn't look too much when I put it down, ohh... and stop procrastinating rather than doing

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 8:37am

Well done Hopeful one, I admire you for achieving this. Best wishes. Julie.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 9:53am

Wow to you Penny...amazing BFH goals....can't wait to hear how you're getting along and good luck with the house ove Monday...fingers crossed.
Won't cross toes as I will fall over, no doubt! K x

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 9:54am

You are incredible, Hopeful One! Karen x

The gardener Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 10:23am

First goal, sleep, living with an Alzheimer sufferer - then goals, many. On my desk picture of my lovely garden - my mantra 'Think positive, stay cool, be kind'. Replaced with picture of fantastic mosque with inlaid flowers - scrawled on it 'I will live'.

Simon Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 10:27am

Very eloquent and inspiring. The best of luck with your goals, and hope you get to Georgia.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 10:54am

Everyone is different, but having lived with bipolar for over 40 years, I find life is easier by living in the moment (which is now now sooo trendy ;) ), rather than anticipating ups and downs. I do take care of my sleep, food, exercise (as we all should) and this is what allows me to feel in control. Everyone has upsetting 'hit's now and again and I seem to surrvive these by looking after myself - rather than assumming it will end in an up or a down. I know this sounds hard but, it works and I meet other longstanding bp people who to a large extent agree.

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 11:02am

Thank you anonymous @ 8.37 am and Karen @ 9.54am

Maureen Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 11:11am

Great blog Mary,
make a budget and stick to it
move or don't move make a decision
be kind and compassionate to myself
get healthy with diet and exercise

Maureen Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 11:12am

Great blog Mary,
make a budget and stick to it
move or don't move make a decision
be kind and compassionate to myself
get healthy with diet and exercise

hanhie Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 11:14am

Good morning all!

Fantastic blog post, Mary. I like the idea of setting BFH goals for Easter and exposing yourself online so others may check up on you, and see how you've done!

I had talked to a friend about resolutions and he said how pointless they are as people forget them half way through the year. You then end up being the same person you were with nothing much completed.

I believed about 50% with what he said: as I normally set goals at the beginning of the year, only to end up not doing anything for weeks/months! But I also disagree as I've not set any concrete goals for the 1st of Jan and I felt really lost and frustrated!

I was lucky to get away for some Winter Sun and been back at work for 3 days and with this post about setting goals for April, and that sounds like a good plan! So here are mine:

- Be more productive at work and update various projects (this is the first thing I do after this post!)

- Plan my guest list for our Wedding in 2016, then I can sort the venue out. (I've been putting it off like the plague!)

- Job search at least 1hr a week and send off applications.

- Stop being a lazy sod when I get home. Do more house work as I know I've got plans on weekends and won't be around to do them!

- No gadgets before bedtime. Wind down with a good book. It'll help me sleep better.

Some of them are big things (I'm a big procrastinator at work, writing this is proof! And I guess the Wedding is important too :p) and others are more to do with getting back into a routine, so I can feel productive, creating a clear & clean space at home to relax and enjoy in and just feel good about getting things done!

I wish everyone the best of luck with their goals. We can do this and more all by April :)! x

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 11:57am

Hello from across the pond Mary!

Here are my goal for April:
Run a 10k - I have a daily workout schedule to get me there
Meditate daily - breathing exercises to release energy
Lose 10 lbs - keeping a food (and wine) journal

All these goals are for the intention of learning to be more in touch with who I am, more compassionate with myself, more loving to myself. The goals are how I get to the intention. Good luck with yours!

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 12:55pm

Hi Hopeful One I was cheered by your reply. I am currently having a pretty wretched time but am interested in pursuing a career in counselling. Tell me please, what do you think about people who suffer from depression, and their emotional resilience to deal with having to counsel others. I suffer very badly from depression and have had a dreadful experience at work. I am also medically qualified, am a nurse. I am very interested in emotional issues and feel I can relate to people on this level. But I worry that even in the world of counselling that there will be a ' dog eat dog ' environment.

Rupert Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 12:58pm

All these comments are so positive! How about gettiing into a mind frame that encourages thoughts of positive thinking!

Liz Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 12:58pm

Nice one, I liked your post anonymous at 10.54am

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:35pm

Thank you Karen. I wish you a full recovery from those splints, and the accomplishment of your goals. I set myself to have a dry January and - good grief, it's been hard. but I'm holding out. Saturday night though I have a date with my hubby and the bottle of wine my Father in Law gave us for Christmas. Just another 4 days to go... So with you on the "eek" and the housework, and the fitness... Check in again at Easter please... (or before if you wish. I'm here most Wednesdays)

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:36pm

You can always share your one positive thing a day with us here if you like....

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:39pm

Your example is truly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing it. Yes, you're right about the kicking of the bottom - my therapist frequently admonishes me for using such violent terminology towards myself. But - what actually works for me is going public. So, actually by doing that, I equip myself with both energy and wings. No kicks required.... and that's given me an idea for another blog..... Thank you again and watch out for that one!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:41pm

Penny - great goals: BFH ones and little "I can actually do this by...." goals. Please keep us posted.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:43pm

oooh, can I join you in the cleaning, swimming and 11pm goals? I do feel a facebook group coming on. Who would be up for that? With a reminder at 10.45 every night that it's time to switch off the pc/laptop and *Go. To. Bed.*

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:44pm

Wishing you deep and restorative sleep.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:48pm

I do take your point about living from moment to moment. I am fortunate in that my bipolar seems to have a regular and (moderately) reliable pattern and cycle, so I can actually plan around it. You are an inspiration in that you are actually looking after yourself. So many of us (me included) don't. As Anonymous at 8.06am shared, some of our goals need to reflect exactly that. Small, day to day goals that, if achieved, contribute immeasurable to our health and happiness.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:51pm

Hi Maureen. Excellent goals. Have you made yourself an exhaustive list of the pros and cons of moving? I find that with major decisions, I make a list, give everything a weight or value and then come up with an answer. It doesn't mean you go with that answer; it means that your heart will tell you what it thinks of the answer and then you have your decision. Good luck.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:54pm

Fantastic goals hanhie. Did you update your various projects? Make yourself a list of jobs to be done at home. I always work better with a list because you feel so good when you tick things off. Wishing you all the best with your wedding planning.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:56pm

Hi there over the ocean! Wow! 10K run. Mark me down as being impressed. Ah, meditation. Yup. I need to pop that one in mine too.
Food and wine journal..... Do you think that might stop me eating those six biscuits (cookies) before bed if I had to write them down. Hmmmm. Worth thinking about. Let us know how it goes.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:57pm

Bless you Rupert. Of course. How about having friends here that always support you? Oh, we are already! Hugs to you, my friend.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 5:33pm

Ah lovely, well done are doing amazingly well! Karen x

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 5:36pm

Nice to see you back here Rupert and sounding cheerful :). I think everyone here today is in that greater frame of mind today. Karen :)

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 6:32pm

Hi The Gardner- I too have experienced this journey and its associated sleepless nights. So like Mary I wish you a refreshing sleep . I know not always easy as Alzheimers suffers often wake up in the night . Some dress up and want to go for a walk ,others will switch on the TV at full volume or as I experienced just scream and scream and become violent if one asked for them to calm down. I too had my mantras which changed over the years. My current one is what A A Milne asked Christopher Robin" Promise me you will always remember : you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think"

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 7:08pm

Hi anonymous @ 12.55 pm. - glad to hear my post cheered you . Here is my two penny worth. First I would keep your understandable desire to follow to seek a career in counselling on the back burner for the moment because you are vulnerable due to your depression. I did not go for it until my Moodsccope scores were in the sunny half of the screen consistently . I also monitored my progress using the Burns Depression questionnaire . There are others but his was the first I stumbled across. Only then did I take on learning councilling skills . Now I can look at my depression with a detached dispassionate point of view. I of course won't forget the experience but I immeditely will have empathy with anyone who comes to me with a depression . I am afraid it is a competitive field and so dog eat dog survival of the fittest will operate . That said equally you will meet people who are really helpful as I have done on my course. You will undoubtedly be a good councillor but in counselling one is trained to try and keep ones emotions on one side. If you went into it now I think it will only make your depression worse.I hope this helps.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 7:41pm

Thank you Liz 12:58 and Mary 1:48. It is becoming part of my 'anti-stigma' effort to point out to 'busy' people that they are demonstrating their lack of good mental health (hygiene). Those of us that have lived with a very real issue for a very long time know that burnout is deadly - hence LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES :) :) Friends and family tell me that my approach and efficiency quietly achieves much more than 'busy-ness'. Just getting on with it is so much more uplifting than any moaning.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 8:56pm

Thank you. Your reply was most interesting. And I appreciate what you have said. Really helpful. This is written by anonymous @ 12.55pm.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 9:01pm

Wow Mary - look what you have started! And yes please, LET's DO THIS! (to quote darling daughter)
let's share and encourage (don't do Facebook but maybe I should learn?)
Yes, me too, cut down on wine;
also stop procrastinating and focus on work earlier in the day when I am fresher;
set time limits on work time (I teach 3 days a week and currently do school work every day)
do the online counselling course I have signed up for, with a view to leaving teaching (and maybe pick up some work somewhere else, but that would be a plus rather than a goal)
REALLY focus on my strengths, not beat myself constantly to the exasperation of my nearest and dearest;
Good luck one and all - and thank-you Mary

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 10:12pm

Just waving, saying hello and thanks for today's blog. Both interesting to read and wonderful to see the chatter. Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 7:07am

Do stretches to keep back and shoulders moving and healthy, plus meditation to allow me to paint and work

Keep healthy, eat well and walk to enable visiting dad in hospital, this may be long term so don't want to get run down

Socialise, it's hard fitting everything in currently, but seeing friends and keeping perspective is important, going to try to do that at least once a week


Julia Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 9:13am

Hi Anonymous. I still think you have a very sound basis from which to practice counselling. Being medically trained and a nurse will put you in an excellent position to pursue a counselling course. It will cheer you up to look into it and make plans. You may never stop feeling depressed but doing something like this will alleviate it and for most of us, this is what we hope for. Something to take our minds off this awful feeling of low self esteem etc. I think in any profession or even a social life the dog eats dog thing will exist. One has to rise above it and not care. Difficult I know especially for those like you who have had such a terrible experience at work. You sound a very caring person. Good luck!

Julia Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 9:16am

How are you doing with the wine Frankie??!!! xx

Julia Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 9:16am

Lovely to see you ratg. I am waving back at you. xx

Anonymous Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 3:01pm

Thankyou Julia, you have cheered me up, and seem to understand me well.

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