Moodscope's blog

20

October


Can you always accentuate the positive? Thursday October 20, 2016

In the last decade there has been a trend to find the positive in everything no matter how distressing the situation. People who have a life threatening illness, people with disabilities, people with debilitating illnesses, people who have suffered a tragedy, people grieving, are all encouraged to remain hopeful, and see the positive.

I am interested in why there is such pressure to find the positive in one's suffering. A generation ago, when people became very ill, they received sympathy and best wishes.

Now people are bombarded with diets they should try, meditation and exercise regimes, positive ways of thinking to the extent they feel they are letting people down if they are not trying hard to be as optimistic as they can.

I recently read an article online about finding the positive things one has learned from depression.

Comments fell into three distinct categories: those who listed the things they had learnt from having depression, those who were angry that anyone would be fool enough to think there was anything the least bit positive about having depression and those who while acknowledging they may have a learnt one or two things from having depression they also felt that there was very little positive about having depression.

Probably among Moodscopers there are people who fall into three categories and maybe there are more groups.

What I would like to discuss is why it seems to me there is such pressure to be upbeat about everything. If one feels sorry because one has serious illness, one is made to feel they are being selfish.

Some people seem to be naturally optimistic but making everyone feel positive about everything to me seems a bit unnatural.

I would like to hear what other people think.

Do you think finding the positive in everything is very helpful?

Do you think there is too much pressure on people to be optimistic?

Or are you somewhere between the two thoughts.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

Smudge Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 7:05am

I am wondering if the reason is that as a society people are becoming more selfish and only interested in 'me'. This doesn't allow for feelings of kindness and sympathy towards others. . People don't want to hear about illness of any sort....it annoys them....it demands something of them, ...so it's requested that you are upbeat about everything so as not to upset others.

The librarian Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:15am

Yes, that struck me as a possible reason. Thank you for puttin it so articulately.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:54am

Smudge thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think that is true we wnat people to be upbeat and if they are ill to be fighting it and say positive things.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:55am

Librarian, Thats what i like about the comments people write things that I have not thought about.

Eva Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 7:35am

I find for me, that it's good to look for the positive whilst acknowledging the negatives. Yes I am ill, but I get a chance to sleep, read (I haven't read so much since I was at school, it's a real treat), play with my kitten, and I'm not having to rush my painting work which is a real pleasure. I'd personally rather not feel grim if I don't have to, which isn't to say that I haven't at times, but if I have the choice...

I have no problem though listening to other folks issues and if they wish, talking it over, working through solutions, but I do find doomongerers quite fatiguing and energy zapping. You got a problem let's solve it, or at least look at how to make life a bit better for you. My mum is a problem lady, we can talk a problem through and work out ways to tackle and solve, but she comes back next visit with the same problem, she's not looking for solutions she just wants to grumble. Maybe I shouldn't try to fix her issues, but I just can't bear the repetition.

I heard a thing by Tony Robbins who said (paraphrasing here...) that problems are a social currency they help people to connect, if you meet up with someone and you are fine and happy the other person may regard you in an ambivalent way, but if you have a problem they can empathise and assist. Interesting.

I don't know if the above answers your questions Leah, maybe, maybe not :)

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:56am

Eva, I like the way you have thought through your answer. You have given me more food for thought. Thanks for your reply.

Eva Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 7:36am

Oh, left a comment for Mary on yesterday's blog, hope you are anchored well.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 2:36pm

Hi Eva, I have replied to your comment yesterday. Thank you.

Jul Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:17am

I am with you on this subject Leah. I think being negative is often realistic and a natural reaction to depression or anything bad happening. It's good to get negative feelings out of ones system by feeling able to express them in public in my view. I am an expert in describing how depression and insomnia makes me feel. I am very articulate and expressive when I describe it. If I were to try to put a positive spin on it, it would come out false and unconvincing. However I do thing maybe some positive things have come out of being depressed but I suspect that's me trying to make the best of a bad job otherwise life would be unbearable. I also think that one cannot be negative all the time and positivity helps everyone. But to be cajoled into thinking positively when I feel awful, is anathema to me. Julxx

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:59am

Jul Thanks for your insightful comment. I lke your point taht we can't be positve or negative all the time but we need to chose what feels right for us.

Lou Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:39am

"Do you think there is too much pressure on people to be optimistic?"

Yes, most definitely. While it can be important to try to put things into perspective, and ruminating can make things worse, sometimes things are negative and sitting with a feeling rather than fighting it in an a attempt to 'think positively' can allow it to pass sooner. Life is not all positives and feeling like we must act as if it is can be emotionally draining.

Excellent blog, Leah, well said!

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:01am

Lou Thanks for your comment. I like your words"sometimes things are negative and sitting with a feeling rather than fighting it in an a attempt to 'think positively' can allow it to pass sooner" That is true for me and maybe for others.

Lou Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 7:37pm

I'm glad my comment struck a chord; it has taken a while and the help of a very good therapist to learn that lesson!:)

Dawn Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:52am

I agree with you all, there is definitely too much pressure to be positive. Some people trot out the most trite responses when they hear that you are not feeling well..... " there are lots of people worse off than you"...." at least you don't live in a cardboard box"..... and the one I hate the most is "Smile, things could be worse". (So I smile and things get worse!)

I think Smudge has hit the nail on the head, society has become incrdeibly self-centred and people are so obsessed with themselves that they just don't want to be bothered with spending time and energy supporting those with a "weakness".

Jul Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:48am

You made me laugh Dawn! About the smile and things getting worse. Very well put! Julxx

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:04am

Dawn Thanks for your comment. I often hear there are people far worse off . You have given me much to think about.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:06am

Jul, I agree I like what Dawn said- made me smile. The other thing people say whe I am thinking and I look serious"things can't be that bad". How do they know??

Jul Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:43am

Lol! x

The librarian Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:17am

Thank you for such an articulate post, Leah. Very much appreciated.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:07am

Thanks librarian, I appreciate your kind comment.

Andrew Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:00am

Great post Leah....If depression has taught me one thing, it is the benefit of learning to become self-aware, and having a better understanding, through reading, therapy, observation and discussion, of how I 'tick'....and i have learned that although positive thinking has power, it cannot be forced....any more than you can force the clock to 'tock' all the time! Tick tock.
And if the negativity is over powering, rather than push against it, sometimes it's better to hunker down, preferably with an understanding soulmate, and let it wash over until it passes....which it will.
x

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:10am

Andrew Thanks Andrew I enjoy your writing and your way of looking at issues.

Deborah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:30am

My x husband suffered anxiety and depression. Initially I put huge energy into trying to help solve his problems, until he explained that it was a lot more helpful if I just listened sympathetically. I did that but also learnt not to expend my emotional energy. Despite giving the desired responses, I began to click off, and escape into my own happier place. We drifted apart... sadly

I think the upbeat obsession of the last ten years is driven my the commercial agenda of the ever expanding self-help, mind and body, and pharmaceutical industries.
There is less allowance these days for the natural causes of unhappiness and grief and serious ill health, when we are lead to believe they can all be remedied by medication, and deep breathing.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:47pm

Deborah Thanks for your thought provoking comment. Your last paragraph articulates what I was trying to say.

Sophie Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:39am

'Just be happy', 'what have you got to be depressed about?!', I despise hearing those words. It's like telling someone who feels hot to 'be cold', or someone who is exhausted to 'be wide awake', in a diabetic coma? Snap out of it! Think positive! Imagine you aren't hot/cold/tired/awake/comatose/sad/happy!

You are what you are, but it doesn't mean you are that way forever. I find recognising (at first I wrote accepting, but I don't always accept it) my mood/feeling makes me feel less controlled by it, and makes me feel like it is not something that defines me, rather a passing wave of emotion.

If i'm feeling sad, let me be sad. Maybe I've got something to be sad about. Depressed or not, bad things happen in life and we have a range of emotions to help us to deal with them. The problem of course is when it is prolonged and all-consuming, but as for thinking positive to fix everything - if only!

Great blog, thanks Leah :)

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:51pm

Sophie I too really find "just be happy" really grating and annoying. Thanks for your well thought out comments. I think it maybe part of finding a quick fix for everything.

the room above the garage Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:42am

Hello Leah, what a brilliant blog today! Yes, I thoroughly agree with feeling overwhelmed with the need to be positive. I think it's why I found CBT didn't agree with me...I needed to explore the 'why' first and understand. Later, acceptance and perhaps then a thought of rewiring my brain to look for different angles. Lou and Andrew's points about sitting with it and allowing it to pass are precise. I look at it in a Winnie the Pooh way...all of his friends knew Eeyore was depressed but they loved him anyway. They included him, accepted he would struggle with some parts and loved him anyway. I accept my depression now. That was a pivotal moment. And how I made the most progress. I would love for it to leave me but I not sorry for its lessons. In fact, might I dare to say I think the world would be an even more amazing place if everyone had the opportunity of feeling depressed, even if only for one day. Gratitude and kindness may take over. Thank you for a really great blog Leah, love ratg x.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:54pm

RATG, What a moving reply. I like the reference to Eeyore. You have given me much to think abiut today.

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 21st 2016 @ 1:15pm

:-) xx

Adrian Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:44am

Very thoughtful and useful post Leah.
Is it un-natural? well, it is natural to think of negatives first as our nature is to be aware of dangers (fight or flight inherited from our ancestors). The problem is if we get stuck in the negatives and accept them.
I find it very useful to force myself to think of the positives to get counterbalance, without loosing sight of the negatives. It create a balance.
A x

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:57pm

Adrian, I found your words very interesting "I find it very useful to force myself to think of the positives to get counterbalance, without loosing sight of the negatives. It create a balance." Thanks for your reply and will be thinking about your words. maybe I would not feel comfortable forcing myself but maybe encourgae mnyself.

Tychi's Mum Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 11:42am

Leah, I love this post. I am a naturally sunny person that looks for the positive in things. But when I am depressed I become the polar opposite of that person. It is impossible for me to think positively at all. I am in a state of total distress and feel as if my world has ended and I'm never going to be well again. Logic tells me that this isn't true but depression tells you lies.
I have found it best to hunker down and try to accept the negative feelings. To go with the flow rather than fight the feelings seems to work best for me.
I too, would rather be well all of the time...but depression has really made me appreciate the good days. For me, any day without depression is a good day and it feels magical to me.
Love to all, Tychi's Mum.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:59pm

Tychi's mum, Thanks for your personal and honest reply. I like to read about other's experiences.

Another Sally Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 11:51am

My mother always used to tell me that you could not have the happy times without the sad as a contrast. My score is well down today because I have a sick daughter who is many, many miles away. My husband has gone to help her out and now I feel very alone. It is difficult to feel positive when I am so stressed and anxious.
I did take my dog to the woods today and marvelled at the wonderful autumn colour. I felt uplifted for a while.
Thank you Leah for a good post. There does seem to be rather too much of the 'snap out of it' expectation from people who don't know how it really feels.
Where is HO? I'm missing my daily smile/laugh.

Here is my minor joke: why did the Frenchman only have one egg for breakfast? Because un œuf is enough. Ha ha.
Another Sally

the room above the garage Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:12pm

Hello Another Sally, I'm so sorry to hear your daughter is unwell and I hope once your husband reaches her that you will feel much better. I hope too that whatever has happened to her passes very soon. I think getting yourself out to the woods was a canny move. Thinking of you, love ratg x.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:02pm

another sally, Thanks for your reply. I am so impressed that even in your sadness you have managed to reply. You have expressed your feelings so well something I have trouble doing when I am sad. I like your joke made me smile.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:04pm

Ratg, another sally I like the way moodscopers are always so caring of others. This is a great place. I think the woods sounds so exotic and reminds me of fairy tales. We just have the bush!!

Another Sally Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 12:59pm

I have not seen Bear on here recently either. Hope things are not too bad for you Bear.
Hugs to everyone who needs one.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:41pm

Hi Another Sally, waving Bear paws at you and everyone! Sorry you're on your lonesome at the mo and your daughter is poorly. Hoping she will be betterer soon with the help of your husband. I'm in the middle of huge demolition works and house in Bear Woods is a building site! I do try and pop into Moodscope when I can, and even though I am up to my furry ears with dust....I am fine thank you! loved your French joke...will pass that one on to the builders!! Hugs to all, Bear xx

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:06pm

Another Sally, you have just reinforced what I said about caring for others. Even though you are sad you thought of Bear. Bear, glad to you learn you are ok and bearing up to your demolitions- sounds very moving! Always great to hear from Bear woods.xxx

Benjamin Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:01pm

Great point, Leah. The 'positive psychology' movement is discredited within science, but still the popular books roll out. Large sections of psychology as a whole have failed to police themselves and are now imploding.

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/10/inside-psychologys-methodological-terrorism-debate.html

Yet the damage has been done. Power poses and priming are settled in the public mind while they have no basis in fact (despite all the abstracts and publications). These ideas are a primitive behavioralist approach to emotion and mood. Frankly, we must acknowledge that many people who are not neurologically depressed but exhibit signs of depression have something to mourn - and that while dawn may follow darkness, the dawn is also something new, not a logical consequence of darkness.

The appropriate historical response to mourning is to 'condescend.' This has taken a negative tone lately, but it can be positive. It means joining the person in pain and sorrow ('empathy' or 'sympathy'). Without delving into all the ways this can go wrong, it is valuable to admit others into our mourning, and precious to join others in theirs. Rather than try to jolt them out, get in there with them for a while.

the room above the garage Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:13pm

Interesting reading.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:08pm

Benjamin, what an fascinating blog. I will check out that link and read your blog again later when I have more time. Morning here.Thanks so much.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:09pm

yes ratg, I just love the way moodscopers always amaze me with their comments.

g Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:29pm

apparently it is enough to put our face into smile position to fool the brain into thinking that we are happy . unfortunately or fortunately ( depends who is looking and from where ) I was only able to test it when relatively ok .
I do not call a little sadness a depression as I do have an experience of this horrible chemical imbalance that puts illogical horrid ideas in my brain as the real depression and it has not visited for a while . I do not miss it even though I do acknowledge that a manic brain needs a respite not to burn out completely so it not clear cut - but what is ?

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:10pm

g, thanks for your comments. Your personal insights are interesting.

Christine Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:32pm

Thanks, Leah; a very interesting post, close to my heart. I can feel utter fury very quickly when encouraged always to "come on, be positive....it's not like you to be down". My usual coping strategy is not working right now, following a serious fall, breaking my wrist....and sad to say that those who have previously been so supportive are now bewildered by my seeming "continued" upset. Without my civil partner, I would be in a most desperate state. The constant encouragement from people to "hope you feel better soon" is most wearing. A friend told me of a friend of hers who on being told of terminal inoperable cancer is being encouraged to smile more as it will help adjust to the news. Who ARE these people? xx

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:15pm

Christine Thanks for your reply. "who are these people?" I suppose as others have written they are just responding to the moevment that tells us to be positive and smile no matter what.I think if you can't be sad when yu find out you have inoperable cnacer, when can you be? It can be a strange world. Thanks for making me think, xx

g Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:32pm

I have been just told by the computer that my comment was too short ! really ? and when accessing blog I do get an option to chose from a list of favourites but nowhere do I see an option of making a blog one of those so is it a gremlin or am I missing on some new developments or was it there all the time but I did not see or or or ?????????? still short though

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:16pm

g, I know it is frustrating. Your reply was posted and was not short. Maybe caroline can help with your questions. Thanks again.

Vanda Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 1:59pm

Great thought, Leah - you really put your finger on a HOT topic! Also super responses - this is something I have been pondering of recent. The same applies to Gratitude and Joy, there are many books and thoughts about the negative side of these.
My current thought is that it is all elastic energy!
What do I mean?
I believe that sad, angry, frustrated and general 'negative' thoughts and expressions are right for the situation. They are just forms of energy and need to be expressed. Some of the most moving music, art and poems are written with this energy.
And actually, I think you can be joyful in your sadness.
However, I do not believe it serves us, or those close to us, to stay there for a long time.
At this point though, the brain's chemical soup may be 'stuck' in the sadness recipe and it can be difficult to change even if we want to. The tweaking of the cheek muscled (forcing a smile) does start to change the chemical soup, even if no one observes!
For those we love, maybe the ALOHA acronym might be of assistance - Ask - Listen - Observe - Help - Ask
Thank you all :-)

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:18pm

Vanda, Thanks for your helpful comment.I like the idea of the brian's chemical soup- a great visual.

The Gardener Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 2:54pm

Thinking in cliches 'Keep smiling' 'Mustn't grumble', 'There's worse things happen at sea'. 'We might all be dead tomorrow'.My mother was never positive at all. Mr G would object to virtually all schemes and have to be talked round. I don't think I've thought about Leah's suggestion - too much positivity. On moodscope, I certainly don't score well on the 'enthusiasm' type cards - just can't plan in my old wildly enthusiastic way because I can not be sure, other than during respite days, that I can achieve anything at all other than vital routine jobs. Thinking about the last few days, when practical problems have worsened, I was in tears of rage and frustration. Mr G, whom I had just pushed, pulled and screamed at to get to bed said 'stop crying, you've got a perfectly good life'. So I threw a glass of water over him then had to change his pyjamas. But, middle of night, I thought 'I've still another line of help untouched'. Will mean a change of routine and catching an electrician, but I can surmount this problem. Is this what you mean Leah? I might be 'guilty' of being too positive, in looking round what I have achieved before going to bed - and determinedly dwelling on what I CAN do on the morrow, instead of, too east, giving way to the restrictions and defeat.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:22pm

Gardener, As always your posts are refreshing and illuminating. I ahd to smile at throwin water then having to change the pyjamas. Gardener I think if you are naturally positive and it helps you to get through that is great as it works. I think about when people are forced to feel positive that can be a problem. You keep on keeping on Gardener and I will be cheering. xxx

Mary Wednesday Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 2:55pm

What's positive about having depression? Nothing. A big fat NOTHING! Depression causes lost productivity, strained/lost relationships, vanished creativity, and general misery. There is absolutely nothing positive about any of that.
But - if you have been reading any of my blogs over the time I've been writing for Moodscope then you will know that my mantra is always that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.
Let's be clear about this though; at the time the lemons are in control, when the lemons are pelting down in a vicious hail, that's not the time to try to make the lemonade. That's the time to hunker down and weather through. Afterwards, you can gather up the lemons and start adding sugar, water and heat to make that lemonade to share with others (I suggest though, you keep a few back for gin and tonic).
I write about having bi-polar; I will talk to anyone about bi-polar. I try to use what gifts I have for the good to help others understand the condition. But, believe me, if there were a cure, I'd be right at the front of the queue.
I think we can bring positivity to the condition of depression, we can allow the condition to refine us and make us better people. But depression is like manure; it stinks. And - if you spread it on your roses, then your roses may well grow more beautiful and sweetly scented. But it is the always the roses which smell nice, never the muck.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:25pm

Mary Wednesday, Thanks for your very descriptive reply.You have described your feelings so well I have notjign else to add. i will never look at lemons or manure or roses in the same way again.!!

Mary White Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 3:29pm

Hi,I really like this blog Lea. think positive all day in every hour it is not easy, but it is possible and it works, but remember that the things that happen by our choices or by circunstaces, we can choose to be positive and move or be only sad. The think is that, we have to be assertive with our feelings but always looking to the good for us. Thanks for being honest. My philosophy: 1.Live one day at time.(worry about today only) 2.Acept your feelings and working them (expresse them). 3.Think positive and see the goodness in all (as possible as you can) <BTW I'm still working on that everyday, and yeap, it is not easy, but it is posible> Have anice day :)

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:26pm

Mary White Thanks for your comment. I am glad you have found a philosophy that works for you.

John Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 3:33pm

I haven't read all the comments, so forgive me if someone has already covered similar ground, but I felt called to respond to Leah's post.

I've learned, and am learning, a few things about "attitude," "outlook," "aspiration," or however you might characterize the "pressure to accentuate the positive."

Until recently I was convinced that belief, attitude, etc., was not a choice. For example, I grew up in a Christian household and felt a lot of guilt for never really believing in the Christian concept of "God," or the afterlife, let alone "Jesus." When people would ask, "why not just believe? If you're right (and there's no God or afterlife), no harm done, but if there is an afterlife...." I felt that I could not make myself believe something. But I've come to realize thru therapy and my Buddhist practice, however, that belief is a choice. Sometimes it's a very difficult one - maybe even impossible for a certain person at a certain moment in time under certain conditions - but, generally, belief is a choice.

Because I'm a human (and moreso b/c of my depression) I sometimes have difficulty making choices in my beliefs and attitudes that are healthy for me. I sometimes believe that life is pointless; that no one loves me; that my irrational, unfocused anger is justified; that I'm worthless. But I've learned that I can choose to wallow in those feelings, and this is not healthy. "Venting" is a fallacy - for me. It only gives life and energy to the negative. Negatives should be expressed and resolved, sure, but dwelling in them does not make me happy and does not line up with my life goals of being a good husband, father, son, friend, citizen and co-worker.

My therapy and Buddhist practice have taught me that I can give myself the tools - the time, the space, the knowledge, the support systems, the structure - to make choices in my attitudes and beliefs that are positive, inspiring and joyful. I don't always succeed, in fact the past 2 1/2 weeks have been low. But as I've focused myself over the past year or so I succeed more often. I'm happier more often. The lows aren't as low or long and the joys are greater and deeper.

I don't write this to demean anyone's experience in having difficulty "focusing on the positive - I still do myself. But I felt I had to try to tease out the idea that, while it's not easy, attitude is a choice.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:28pm

John thanks for your reply. I find reading about other people'spoint of view fascinating. I have always been interested in Buddhist practice. I am please you have found a way that helps you.

The Gardener Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 7:21pm

I'm feeling totally out of 'synch' with Moodscope, I'm in the wrong place - don't click with blogs or posts. My needs are totally different to all you with depression - you all know that you live on a 'see-saw' - you'll probably always go up and down, but there will be 'ups'. What I need, and would be grateful to anybody who knows of such a thing, is a Moodscope type organisation for the 'no-hopers'. In that I mean the terminally ill, the carers in particular, whose life is - well - caring, people dealing with the rehabilitation after terrible traumas - our problems is keeping our humanity, faith, if we ever had any - dealing with guilt - acknowledging that family/friends cannot cope with it, modern parlance 'in denial'. We need to be able to shout, scream, compare notes on dealing with sleep deprivation - cannot see how the excellent system of the cards can apply to the case of the 'no-hopers'. You're all lovely out there, but your needs are not my needs - Hopeful One understands, and Sally.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:32pm

Gardener, I hear what you are saying. I am not going through what you are now, but twent years ago I did help care for my mum with dementia. I can understand that you feel many of us dont understand what you are going through and that this forum isnt heloing you. I really do appreciate your posts and am sad that this place is not helping you. xxx

Lucas Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 6:24pm

Although I'm coming at it from a very different place, I've been feeling similarly. This particular blog was the first one in a while that I felt like I could really identify with (some actually frustrate or anger me). I'm in a position of having had a string of traumatic events through my life, and in more recent years developing chronic illnesses that cost me my career because I have trouble managing them, and there have been further difficulties since then. And, all the while, the depression and PTSD. I've had to adjust my expectations for the future, short and long term, and realistically I don't know how much support I can expect from family and friends. But I say all this not to dump all my stuff out there, just to hopefully show that I can relate or understand, at least a little bit. It's very hard for me to feel hopeful about the future, and having people tell me to look on the bright side of things does me no good--I already know what "good things" I have going for me, and it's completely internal whether or not thinking about them will lift my mood or not. I've seen the blogs talking about simply getting a full night's rest or doing a couple of other "simple" things as if they'll turn things around in a snap--those aren't assured if you're caring for someone or if you have a body that doesn't cooperate, no matter how much planning you put into it.

Leah Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 9:28pm

Lucas Thanks so much for replying with such honesty. I agree that hen people even though they are well menaing offer a simple solution it can be frustrating. Life is complex. This is a place where it is safe to to talk about what concerns us. You have expressed yourself very well. It is important for people to hear about what others are going through. Thank you again.

Teresa Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:40pm

I can understand why people try to 'cheer you up' but actually they just make you feel guilty. One thing I really dislike is the current ban on even using the word suffering. People are no longer allowed to suffer from cancer or dementia (for example) they are now 'living with cancer, dementia, etc. This seems to be intended to make the situation seem less grim but in fact it belittles and normalises it. When something earth-shattering like a major illness arrives on your doorstep, you suffer. It isn't just another part of life.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:34pm

Teresa, Thanks for your reply. It is interesting what you say about the use of the word suffering.

Leah Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 9:36pm

Thank you everyone for reading my blog and your responses. I am overwhelmed by the quality of the responses. Feel free to keep the conversation going as I always pop in to see if there are new responses.Thanks again.

Duma Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:05pm

Thank you Leah, for provoking this 'hot button' discussion.

Very informative.

I would like to share my dad's take on my condition.

"Why not you?"

Worth thinking about.

As empathic as kick in the fork, but still...

...why not me?

Duma, pensive.

Leah Fri, Oct 21st 2016 @ 12:58am

Duma Thanks for your reply. I have had people say that to me, but I never found it helpful. I will consider it again.

Janet Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 10:43pm

I think this positivity business has a strong connection to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This therapy promotes the belief that if you stick a fake grin on your face then everything in your life will suddenly be happy happy happy. Apparently studies have been carried out that prove this to be so.
Personally I think it's a load of rubbish and maybe that's why CBT has never worked for me.

Leah Fri, Oct 21st 2016 @ 1:01am

Janet I am glad you expressed honestly about what you really think about CBT. It made me smile. I have never been a big fan of CBT because I found I was constantly going over things that I had dealt with and moved. To be fair many people on Moodscope find CBT very helpful. That's the message isn't it, to find something that works for you. Thanks for your reply Janet.

Eva Fri, Oct 21st 2016 @ 7:08am

Hi Leah, interesting reading all the subsequent responses, it seems that people don't like to be told to be positive, which is fair enough, I don't really like to be 'told' anything ;). I personally don't find the positive encouragement in the media to be too much, but I may be guilty of just seeing what I want to see. I may also be very lucky in the people around me in that they never suggest that I should do one or the other. Maybe it all comes down to choice, if you can choose to engage in positivity rather than having it shoved down your throat it's a positive outcome.

Leah Fri, Oct 21st 2016 @ 7:48am

Eva,
Thanks for your comment.
I think you have a point. I for one do not like being told how to feel. It should be a choice. I just feel there is a movementto be very positive which is not a bad thing but it needs as you say to be a choice.

Nicco Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 3:54am

Your blog has resulted in many good comments, Leah. I love reading them as it gives me different perspectives and shows me things I've not thought of. I used to get told, "Smile, it may never happen", to which I longed to reply, "Too late, it already has". I think it's a very British thing to smile and carry on as if nothing's happening, or at least try to, for fear of (horror of horrors) a) embarrassing ourselves, and/or b) upsetting others. I also got told once by a so-called close friend that I was too maudlin and spend too much time living in the past (apparently 'everyone' thought so too - ouch). I think that was the time when my mother had recently died and a lot of anger was coming up for me which I thought I could be real about with my close 'friend'. I felt a lot of pressure to be sunny and smile and behave as if everything was fine and dandy. Those periods of darkness and anger have dissipated but I don't think the friendship will ever be the same. I always do try to learn something afterwards - after the darkness has finally eased up - so that, like Andrew, I can learn more about what makes me tick, causes my depressive episodes. It feels then that the episode hasn't been completely for nothing, that at least something positive (my learning a little more about myself, finding that I'm more compassionate to others, etc.), has come out of it, otherwise I'd look back and see nothing but hell. So, yes, I do like to look for positives, but mainly after the event, not during. Thanks for such a thought-provoking blog. Best Wishes, Nicco.

Leah Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 7:41am

Nicco,
Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. It makes a lot of sense. I appreciate how people relate to my blogs and I always lean a lot.

Lucas Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 6:44pm

I'm a bit late to the party here, from a mix of other things getting in the way and losing track because of my physical ailments giving me trouble, leading to a plummeting mood one day. But I found this very relatable, and as I said in response to another comment here, it's the first time in a while I've felt that way.

I'm sure there are some folks out there who benefit from being told to "look on the bright side" and being reminded of the positives, and they find themselves jogged out of a depressive state. (And I can tell you it's not a uniquely British thing, as I'm American, and it is every bit as pervasive over here.) For me, I'm often aware of the good things I have going for me, but they just don't seem to matter anymore. When I have someone remind me of them, my response is (often just inwardly) "I know, but..." Often times, what I need is a reassurance that I'm cared about and that I matter, which is sometimes a subtle difference, although often enough differs greatly from what I'm being told. Usually there's not an actual problem to be "solved;" medication and therapist visits are components of that, anyway. I find myself feeling alone, and attempts to solve or get me thinking positively feel like a dismissal. They feed into the fear that people don't want to deal with me in that state, and they don't want to hear it.

The other thing, and I hope this doesn't belittle anyone else's struggles, as I do see these as being unique and personal things, I think I have to have some degree of positivity and hope, as hard as it is for me to express it, because of the simple fact that I'm still around. I've had suicidal ideations and contemplated it to the point of calling a crisis line before. But for whatever reason, I've never acted on it. So when I come to someone struggling, complaining, and dismal, I'm probably doing the best I can. Being told to "look on the bright side" is being told that my best isn't good enough.

I also don't know where the line is between trying to shift one's thinking and simply repressing emotions. I've never heard anyone, professionals included, explain that.

The one thing that sometimes does make me smile, if a bit sardonically, is remembering times when these same people in my life have complained about mundane things, and thinking of ways I could respond in kind to them: "you're stuck in traffic? Well, look on the bright side: you have paved roads and a car, you know some people don't have those things. You should be grateful!"

Leah Sat, Oct 22nd 2016 @ 9:37pm

Lucas,
Never too late to reply. I really appreciate your comments. They have given me a lot to think about.
I think you have explained so well how other's comments to be positive have affected you.

I have often wondered the following to :
"I also don't know where the line is between trying to shift one's thinking and simply repressing emotions. I've never heard anyone, professionals included, explain that."

Thats why I have had problems with CBT. The look on the bright side is pervasive in Australia too. We say she'll be right mate, or things could be worse.

I hope to read more of your writing I enjoyed reading it .

I really liked that you recognised you must be doing something positive because yoiu are still here.

I like your traffic analogy- very clever.

Thanks again for replying.

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