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April


Being The Problem. Thursday April 21, 2016

I was watching a program on television about a family being helped by a pyschologist. Most members of the family felt one person, the teenage son, was causing all the problems due to his behaviour.

Instead of identifying with the parents I found myself sympathising with the the son, the one whose disruptive behaviour made it hard for everyone.

That was a long time ago, but as I watched more, I found myself back in time when no one wanted to invite me anywhere as they didn't know who would turn up - silent sad Leah who would sit like a lump of lead and mope or wild Leah who was so unpredictable and talked so fast and so much that it was exhausting just listening to her. My family would feel like they were walking on eggshells if manic Leah turned up and even though sad Leah was like a damp cloth to any party, she was far preferable to tornado Leah.

When I was high I thought I brightened up family gatherings with my witty conversation and my engaging stories, I had no comprehension that no one could understand half of what I said and they found my behaviour very strange, frustrating and at times confronting. I could go from being sweet to being so argumentative and hostile, that my family thought I may hurt someone.

The program made me cry because I thought of the discomfort and emotional agony I put my family through nearly 40 years ago. I wanted to hug both the parents and the son because I could feel the pain and frustration of both.

At the time I had no idea of what my family was feeling or coping with. Even if I did know I would have had no understanding. I would have found their concerns so simple and petty as I felt so superior.

I was sick but I chose to be in denial. I was reminded of how much chaos my behaviour caused my family and friends.

I am proud I have come a long way since then. I know I should not dwell on the difficult past, but by exploring past actions it is possible to see how changes in behaviour have had a positive effect on relationships.

What is one thing you have changed in your behaviour that has resulted in positive results?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

Christina Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:23am

Good post and I guess in 40 years you would of had to made some way forward. Sounds like the realisation is very laid bare to you and that is by far the greatest achievement you have. You know more than most, who you are and who you're not which is something more valuable than gold.
I'm learning to expect less and give more. Still erratic up and down scales but I'm doing it....

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:32am

Christina,
Thanks for your kind words and insightful comments. People have said that I know who I am and who I am not, but at times I am not that sure. I like that you are learning to expect less and give more. keep trying and doing it.

Zareen Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:46am

Thanks for the blog which fully resonated for me. I found it gripping to read.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:31am

Zareen, Thanks for your kind words.

Hopeful One Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:59am

Hi Leah- a very insightful blog ,giving me a chance to experience what it is like to have the highs and lows for a bipolar individual.One would not wish that on anyone. But more importantly how you found the insight into your condition. This i think was the crucial factor in allowing you to come to terms with it.

You ask "what is the one thing you have changed in your behaviour that has resulted in a positive result?" I would say to spend as little time as possible in the past. The past is the past and nothing I can do will change it.It has told me everything it knows and there is nothing more to tell. It is a spider's web and if I go there I will simply get entwined in its strands and find it difficult(in my case) or never(in many cases I have seen) to emerge. It is a prison of one's own making and to go there voluntarily is to offer to be its prisoner again with little chance of release.

So today ,instead of my customary laugh , I quote my favourite poet Omar Khayyam.

" The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on:nor all your piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."

Verse 71, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:33am

Hopeful One, Thanks for your wise advice about the past as long as we learn from it before we discard it. Thanks also for your quote.

Eva Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:37am

This is interesting, I totally get not dwelling in the past, and in generally I don't, it can however be tricky as a couple of the people I love the most have died recently so the only way to think of them is in the past and I don't want to stop thinking about them. It hurts as its still fairly recent and the grief is still newish, but I don't know quite how to leave this bit of the past behind and if I want to...

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:50am

Eva, My dad died nearly nine years ago and I think about him most days. To me the trick is not bgged down in the complexities of the past but remembering loved ones to me is part of grieving and then living now. If I start obsessing about my mistakes from the past or how someone hurt me it is not helpful. To me learning about my ancestors is a part of who I am. Not sur eif that helps but is just my view.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 9:38am

Yes I agree with Hopeful. I do think of the past but generally very fleetingly. My memories of my parents who died relatively recently are such good ones. Bad memories are not to be visited and dwelt on. What is the point? They happened full stop and anyway I always think that today will be the past soon enough so make today a good one. Julxxx

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:19am

Jul, I think the trick as you write is to enjoy the good memories and not dwell on the bad ones. Of course sometimes we need to learn from the bad memories then move on. Thanks for your comments.

Hopeful One Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 1:34pm

Hi Guys-thank you all for your helpful comments. I suppose what I am saying is that ,in going through life , one has a choice of looking through the front windscreen ( the here and now)rather than the rear view mirror( what has already happened) I know what I prefer. I will glance at the rear view mirror to update but ,having done that ,not spend time there but shift my attention to the front windscreen and be with all that is happening there(being in the moment)

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:32pm

Hopeful, The car analogy is useful as it reminds us that we do need to refer to the past but then concentrate on the present. I still think that remembering our loved ones fall into a different category. Thanks again Hopeful one for your thoughtful insights.

Sally Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 7:30am

I identified with this post, Leah . Like you,I remember sitting miserably at family gatherings and parties, feeling a burden with nothing interesting about me to contribute, or else a whirling dervish who was reckless and unstoppable and stubborn. I feel sad for that other me, but fifty years on, I do have empathy for the underdog, and insight that comes in handy.
My biggest success is to have mastered a deep shame and sense of inferiority and to have finally learned to value myself and the gifts I have been given. Today I am finally content, even happy.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:35am

Sally, I think mastering deep shame and a sense of inferiority and developing sense of self value is a great achievement. Thanks for sharing your memories and thoughts.

Sally Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 9:41am

Thank you Leah. You are great!

Sally Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 7:31am

The biggest thing I did to help change was to have counselling. Invaluable .

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:36am

Sally, I am so glad counselling worked for you.

Sally Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 9:43am

Yes, it did. I would advise anyone feeling despair to try it and not be afraid of something that gets a bad press at times.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:21am

The skill is to find a counsellor who you can work with, I have not found that yet.

Eva Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:35am

hi Leah, what a turmoil for you, you have come such a long way. My achievement I suppose is learning that I can choose a positive outlook and when I do life is brighter. I do forget sometimes and luckily have various tools lying around to remind me of the benefits, so usually these days I don't stay down for too long before I remember to reframe and use perspective.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:37am

Eva, thanks for sharing what has helped you.

Sheena Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 8:58am

I enjoyed your post Leah - It seems in a blame culture that everything is somebody's fault. The one thing I have changed: I take responsibility for myself Oddly this means I look after myself and it took me fifty years to realise just what this means! In every situation we may be part of the problem - it is rare for any of us to actually be the problem With love Sheena

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:23am

Sheena. I agree with taking responsibility . That is one reason I wrote the blog. I spent many years blaming everyone. I think even though we maybe part of the problem, so may see us as being the problem. It is perception. It is often easier to blame one person that to see the other dynamion. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 9:28am

Hi Leah. I have learnt that it's OK to feel down, that I can cope during the day after say a bad night's sleep. I frequently used to cancel meetings and arrangements if I didn't feel 100% moodwise but these days I know that I can survive quite well if I go through with things. So I guess I have learnt that my perception of how I come across is not realistic and that others don't notice how I'm feeling inside even though I think or used to think it was glaringly obvious for all to see. I loved your blog Leah. It threw up many issues for me which I'd like to explore at a later stage but for now I decided to restrict my comment to answering your question! Julxx

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:27am

Thanks for your comments Jul. ink having the confidence you can cope even when feeling low is very important. Perceptions are real even though they may not be shared by others. Thanks for your kind words.

Mary Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 5:28pm

Forty years ago not so much was known about bi-polar. My family had no conception of why I was up and down so much. They had no conception of why my father had killed himself because nobody really knew about depression or bi-polar or schizophrenia. Thank goodness that these days we are better educated - or at least we can choose to be. Self knowledge is our greatest weapon in the fight. Thanks for this post Leah. As you can tell, it resonated deeply with me.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:35pm

Mary, many people are better educated today but alas there are some who are not, thats why Moodscope is so helpful. I agree self-knowledge is very important and some days I am better at it than others. Thanks again for your honesty and sharing your thoughts.

The Gardener Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:25pm

When I was young we did not do any partying - war, then parents break-up then early married life with no money. Then I rebelled and started giving parties on a shoe string - garden lit with tractor lights through the hedge, blacksmith anvil as BBQ, bopping on lawn to battery gramaphone.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:37pm

Gardener, I like this phrase 'bopping on lawn to battery gramaphone'. What a lovely image and to think halon would need a translation for that!!

The Gardener Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:29pm

When I became manic I really did cause chaos - not quite like Leah but non-stop and often did not make sense. Since then, due to nerves, I talked high and fast - most wearing - hope have trained to bring voice down a register and slow down. We have an invite! 2 weeks time! Despite the worsening state of Mr G will go.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:39pm

Gardener, I am naturally a fast talker but have learnt the importance of pauses. I am glad you have an invite to look forward to.

The Gardener Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:33pm

It will be smart - loads of pals - in anticipation today I put on shoes with heels and did my hair and walked tall. Remember at beginning of my Moodscope onvolvment HO said that he did the same thing (perhaps not the heels, who knows?) - 'carers' have the habit of slumping, as though a real weight was on their head.

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:43pm

The the thought of you in heels and the remark about Hopeful one, made me smile. Are getting new outfit as well? I imagine you have a wardrobe full of glamorous gowns. I know I used to slump when depressed as I did not want to take up space.That would be an interesting topic how our moods, responsibilities affect our posture.

the room above the garage Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:52pm

Hello! I'm just nipping in to say thank you. I've been a bit flat and have had nothing of worth to contribute. However, thank you to one or two people in here who have my email address, I've been reminded that friends stick out their hands in the loveliest of ways and steady each other when needed. Thank you for being my friends and noticing my chair had remained un-sat on :-) Sending love to each and every one, Lov ratg xx.

Frankie Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 6:58pm

Lovely to see you RATG! I've missed you. Frankie x

LillyPet Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:19pm

Sending love right back at ya ratg! LP :) xx

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:48pm

tratg, Thanks so much for saying hello. I have been thinking of you and I know several people noted your absence and many like me thought about you.I always look forward to your words as they make me smile. It is interesting how we decide we have nothing of worth to contribute without any evidence to back it up. I always remember and use your reframing- I used to be ..... but now I am ....or tying to. There are also so many images of yours I think of to make me smile. Sending love across the seas. Leah xx

Frankie Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 7:00pm

Hi Leah; learning to act as an adult around my family, despite wanting to react like a child ... it is hard, but well worth it. Thank-you for sharing with us. Frankie

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:49pm

FRankie, I have used that advice of yours Frankie as I tend to want to put and say its unfair! So now I try to be an adult. Thanks so much for your comments. Leah

LillyPet Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:34pm

Hi Leah, I'm moved by the compassion that comes through your blog. You've reminded me to give my younger/ more ill self a break as well as appreciate how much my family have been there.
It's hard for me to think about what behaviour I've changed for the better. Probably noticing when my thinking is unhelpful and choosing to stop and be in the moment instead.
Thanks for a thought provking blog. LP xx

Leah Thu, Apr 21st 2016 @ 10:54pm

Lillypet,
Thanks for your kind words. I think the awareness to change unhelpful thinking and stop and be in the moment is a very useful tool.

When you said you didn't know what behaviour you have changed for the better, I immediately thought of your hot coals blog as I thought that was very insightful and practical.

I appreciate your comments. xx

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