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Bad Thoughts. Wednesday April 15, 2015

Having Moodscope Buddies can be a double edged sword. Especially when they do their job well.

So you Moodscopers know I'm bumping along the floor at the moment instead of flying high. It happens. It happens with predictable and embarrassing regularity. It comes. It goes. It will lift – eventually. I just have to wait it out. And we all, family and friends, deal with it.

And, with utter predictability my Moodscope Buddies deal with it in their own way. I get daily messages of support and encouragement from one. I get a salutary "I've got my eye on you. Make sure you do your Moodscope every day. If it drops below 10% you're going to that doctor whether you like it or not," from another. And from my third lovely Buddy I get the phone call anxiously asking me if I'm having bad thoughts?

So for a moment my mind irresistibly creates the thought of a leather-jacketed figure leaning against a graffiti covered wall, cigarette dangling between his lips, over-long hair dropping into his eyes as he casually tosses his flick-knife into the air and catches it again over and over... (Hey - I'm a writer: it's what we do!)

Then I realise. It's a code. She wants to know if I'm thinking about killing myself.

So, how do I deal with this question honestly but without frightening her?

Honestly? Well, yes. But not seriously. I haven't been serious about it for twenty years now.

At one point I was fairly sure I wouldn't reach fifty: the depression would have taken me out, one way or another. I'd made plans.

But the diagnosis of "bi-polar" changed everything. It means that all the dark thoughts are just another symptom. They don't have meaning or validity and they certainly don't have power to control my actions.

The last time I had a suicidal thought, just last week, I was driving along the A14 to attend a concert. And that thought is now, if not an old friend, at least a familiar enemy. It drops into the passenger seat with no warning and starts whispering.

But these days I know I don't have to listen. These days the whispers no longer get loud enough to be a conversation, they never become the insistent shouted commands of agony the way they were when I was seventeen, twenty five, thirty three.

So I can laugh at the thoughts now. Say "thanks for sharing," and dismiss them.

Would I rather they didn't turn up? Oh yeah!

But am I scared of them? No.

Tell you what though – that earlier "bad thought" image? Ridiculously clichéd. Now, that's what does scare me as a writer. I'm going to have to work on that one!

A Moodscope member.

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Leah Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 6:52am

I am in awe of the fact you can write such an insightful blog when depressed. When I am depressed the mere thought of holding a pen or finding the computer would exhaust me. One sentence would be as impossible as climbing Mount Everest. I am not comparing just observing. I think humour and insight into one's own behaviour are essential and you have both in abundance.
I am also interested how you and others here are willing to share their "bad thought". Not sure I would ever be that brave.
From the sheila down under!! Leah

Hopeful One Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 7:19am

Hi Mary-perceptive as usual.As long as the S thought remains a thought you have nothing to fear.Because it is so dangerous to our existence our 'flight and fright' center goes into overdrive.And because the threat comes from with in it gets even more importance than it would otherwise.It is like people exclaiming'I wish I was dead' We know they don't mean it but use it more an expression of exasperation or frustration.It only becomes dangerous if one then takes it to the planning stage or even make an attempt. At that point PLEASE seek professional help.You need it.But as long as it remains a thought and one acknowledges it as such like you did no harm will come to you.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 7:39am

This is so helpful to hear someone put into words. Thank you

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 7:58am

This is so true for me, like Mary I have learnt to observe my thoughts even when they are very distressing and not to react to them.

Rupert Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:41am

Mary thanks for sharing those thoughts with us - it is so helpful to have another human being vocalise things that to me sound so normal but to others may just sound odd so cannot really be shared with many. Rupert

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:49am

So brave, Mary! I agree with everything people are saying on here and WISH there were something we could do! It is soooooo unfair that it's always the NICE people who seem to get the raw deals! You do not deserve this, Mary. We think you are great, and I just hope and pray this awfulness lifts soon. I used to suffer badly but T.G. it is a thing of the least for the time being. The threat of its return is always a scary one, though, as I remember how bad it can be. Huge hugs and sincere wishes. S.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 9:00am

Mary, it is interesting how you characterise the s-thoughts and how they have changed from insistent shouted commands to whispers. I find the whispers more threatening. They usually come when things are feeling black and say "you don't have to put up with any of this, just do x and you won't have to worry ever again." I admire the way you deal with them. NR

Fionna O Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 9:55am

Hi MAry...dead impressed as always at the élan and humour you bring to your blogs...even when low. It's the meaning we attach to those endless stream of thoughts and our reactions to them that are worth the attention..often more than the thoughts themselves. in fact one mediation tip is not to try and STOP the thoughts by shouting at them but just nod at them and label them as 'thinking' without trying to label them 'good' or 'bad'. Just thinking. If I try to wrestle this thoughts one might characterise as 'bad' to the ground I then enter into a dialogue with them that keeps them hanging around. If I deliberately and repeatedly turn my attention to something else they leave of their own accord..if they come back, repeat as often as necessary. I am so grateful you keep your wonderful blogs going no matter what. Big cyber hug.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 10:56am

Mary - it was like looking in a mirror, 2013 was a very bad year for me I spent two periods of my life in hospital following the fairly recent death of my mum, dad and more recently my partner. I spent a month in July and two months during November / December ( including Christmas and New Year ). I even told my 20 year old daughter I was going to commit suicide. I was kicked out of the hospital in the new year of 2014, they told me they thought I was at a low risk of suicide and that they said they were unable to help me anymore.. I suppose they were right I am still around, . I decided to make some changes to my life this time , I now do two days a week volunteer driving for my local NHS department, a service I used when in hospital and have joined several Meetup groups and SPICE which have made all the difference. I still have low days as you do, especially in the mornings but I just try to keep hold of the positive things in my life. Many thanks for your thoughts, it is the first time I felt lick putting pen to paper ( well fingeers to the keyboard )

Amy Rose Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 12:38pm

thank you to Mary and Anonymous for sharing these very raw and heartfelt thoughts and emotions, I want to give both of you a very big hug from afar. I read the moodscope blog nearly every day but have so far not contributed to it. i struggle with my depression, i've learnt what it is and how to accept it, but sometimes I still feel the need to fight its existence, and especially dread the thought that I may be taking pills for the rest of my life. i find it hard to see how i will ever come off the pills and be happy enough to rely on my own strength. i recently had a bad turn where I ran out of medicine and it was a full week before I attained any more - during the comedown from the medicine my brain was very unfocused and it took me four full days to remember and get myself to the doctors to get a repeat prescription! at the moment i am going through a frustrating period, i neither seek the comfort of my bed nor am outgoing and care free, it's more of a dull hum, a numb feeling, where motivation does not come easy, but i am up and eating and drinking coffee, but it will take me a full day to coax myself into getting showered, dressed, and to start work (i freelance from home so not leaving the house has really taken its toll on me), by the evening i am motivated but then my boyfriend wants to hang out with me. anyway, i don't really know what i am saying, but just that I am glad there is a community of people out there that is willing to share and support each other xxxxx Amy xxxxx

Anonymous Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 1:14pm

Hello everyone, great comments here today xx. Mary, tres bien my love, you've opened a door and your heart. I love your 'no stone unturned' approach to writing. I've so much I'd like to say but no time to write it. Your image of Flick Knife Boy made me picture Sid Snot...anyone remember him? Kenny Everett character/sketch? LOVED it!!! Love from the room above the garage x.

Hopeful One Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 5:47pm

Hi Fiona- Our minds are designed to produce thoughts. We think we can control this stream of thoughts but that is a fallacy. Think about it . If we could we would block all our unwanted unhappy thoughts and live with our pleasant happy thoughts ever after. Your approach is the right one. The other thing about thoughts is that they follow the rule , "if one resists then the thought will persist". In a classic experiment one group of people were asked not to think about a white bear and a control group were given no specific instruction They then clicked a switch qwhen they did . The people who were told not to think white bear returned a significantly higher score than those who were given no specific instruction.

Fionna O Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 6:11pm

Hallo Hopeful One. That IS the way our minds work. Amazing when you think that a new baby does not have a single word but certainly interprets experiences through its (our) own very limited

Glad that you can catch that thread given we are chatting about something not so very easy to explain. ?..Ooops...And now I've looked at all my grammatical errors in my post. Boo!. I realise that Mary must check and double check them each time she posts to make her posts read so elegantly. Never when she is feeling rubbish like know. As the Irish would say: Fair play to the girl!.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 7:58pm

Hello Leah, writing is therapeutic for me. I write to express and process emotion. One of my friends deals with it by spending a couple of hours at the gym putting his body through a punishing routine. I could not do what he does. We all have to find our own route. I hope you find something that helps you through the bad times.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:02pm

Bless you HO! Could have done with your sage advice in the past! Fortuantely, I came through it more or less intact and have a fair amount of confidence in the future. If my sharing helps, that's great. If it doesn't please ignore and don't worry about me: I have my wonderful buddies who do a great job on that!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:06pm

Ah, Bless you S. Honestly - it's a bore and a pain and an inconvenience, but if I think about the whole "when life hands you lemons..." thing, then the "lemonade", in terms of the loveliness of the Moodscope community, the opportunity to help others, the friendships, is delicious and makes the lemons seem almost OK.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:08pm

Rupert my dear, we *are* the "normal" ones! We're just *differently* normal!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:11pm

Yes, NR, I agree that whispers can be more threatening because they are more subtle. I probably should have said that mine no longer have the attractive power they once held. I hope that your whispers will grow weaker and feebler as you learn more ways to deal with them.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:12pm

Yes Fionna, I do!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:15pm

Sending Anonymous and you Amy Rose big and gentle cyber hugs. We are all heroes for going on, and going on, and going on..... Never doubt our strength, even when we feel incredibly weak.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 15th 2015 @ 8:19pm

Hi RATG, Ah, now *that's* who I was thinking of! Thank you. I'm a fan of the "I'll happily strip naked for you if it will help...." school of writing - but when you do it - it's so more visceral: your writing dance is art; mine burlesque!

leah Thu, Apr 16th 2015 @ 1:10am

Mary, writing is my therapy too, just can't seem to do it when down, so I admire people who do. cheers leah

Hopeful One Thu, Apr 16th 2015 @ 6:56am

Hi Mary- you shouldn't have mentioned' strip naked' as it triggered this joke in my mind .I know you appreciate a joke so I will share it with you.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. When he came closer, he realized it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end to shield themselves. One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave! "The old man frowned and replied, "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked ." Holding the bucket up he said, "I'm here to feed the alligator."

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