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Clothing by mood. Tuesday June 18, 2013

I don't know about you, but I've noticed several patterns to my behaviour when I have mood swings.

On days when the Moodscope score will deliver a robust 75% and all is right with the world (but not too right), then getting dressed in the morning is a pleasure. I'll choose the clothes I will wear that day with enjoyment. I'll put bright colour combinations together and every time I pass a mirror it will (metaphorically at least) give me a wink and a whistle.

On the days when even getting out of bed, showered and dressed is a major hurdle‚or let's be honest, a mountain of effort to climb, then it's the automatic reach for the comfortable old jogging bottoms and raggedly fleece. And makeup, or shaving for you chaps? Forget it! It's the clothing equivalent to comfort-eating, I guess.

And it's just as bad for us. We all know that, even when we're craving the carbs (and one of the symptoms of depression is a craving for carbohydrates because we're seeking that energy boost) what really makes us feel better is some protein and veggies/fruit.

In just the same way, comfort clothing actually makes us feel worse than we already do.

Already we don't want to answer that door to anyone and we certainly don't want anyone to see us looking in such a state, so we're even less ready to open that door. I guess many of us have sat in the dark, pretending we're not at home, and hoping that if we ignore that doorbell, they will just go away and leave us alone.

It's not always achievable, as we all know, but, if we can make ourselves go for that walk or eat that nourishing food, then maybe we can make ourselves wear some cheerful clothes in our favourite (bright) colour; not black. Maybe we can dress the face with a shave or some makeup, depending upon gender/culture. At least then the mirror will cheer us on, rather than commenting, sotto voce, "just look at the state of you" every time we pass.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Liz_lowlife Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 6:48am

Some of us actually LIKE wearing black even when we are all bouncy and happy!
Having said that, I wear black all the time and have done since I was a child because it is easy to colour co-ordinate. I was never very good with clothes.

But on the good days- black can be that LBT that you look dynamite in, or that super- sophisticated vintage lace number, or that figure-enhancing swimsuit!

I agree that on the bad days, black can be those tired old joggers that are now, actually more grey than black though!

The eating well and exercising thing resonated with me though, as did bothering with makeup. I feel so much better if I am freshly shaved (my legs not my face!), with a little bit of slap on (I don't wear much- but a bit of concealer and lippy is all it takes for me to feel a little prettier) after a nice little jog or walk and a healthy breakfast. I know then, that I am set up for the day.
I wish these days were the rule rather than the exception at times though... X

Victoire Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 8:27am

Thanks Mary, your experience sounds so like mine, its spooky! (and yes, I have done that hiding in the dark ignoring doorbell thing, comforting to know this isn't just me). Jogging bottoms are de rigeur when having a less good day (eg. today, though actually, they'd be an improvement on my dressing gown). I used to wear make-up and have wondered when I stopped? probably a gradual thing but I suspect its to do with depression, which hit me like a truck after my mother died (a truck? a full blown sea tanker more like). I take your point about colours and clothes though like Liz I do often wear black as it coordinates so easily. Less thought required, and thought is often in short supply first thing (don't get me wrong, teeming fleeting thoughts are in abundance but careful considered Chronic indecision can be a problem too - what to wear? what to eat? - what to plan? what out of my long list of Things To Do take priority? oh its a jungle of decisions, and mainly small incidental things yet.... on days like today, they can feel overwhelming. And that in itself leads to even more sense of one's hopelessness. Full circle round. Back to the dressing gown, the unmade bed, the unwashed dishes. Taking your post as a catalyst, I shall have my shower and donning those jogging bottoms, go for a brisk walk, even round the block might clear the cobwebs. Then, at least the day is "under way" as opposed to stalled and stuck. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to face a colourful cardi!

June Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 8:32am

Wow, you hit my nail right on the head, thank you Mary. :)

Carole Baker Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 8:59am

Great post this morning and I am having a good day because the joggers were abandoned and I chose bright red jeans and top. Watch out world!

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 9:37am

ok so it works for you. fine. it works differently for me. personally, i feel better wearing comfortable clothing. i do not feel better with a brightly colored face nor do i feel comfortable getting winks and whistles (also i don't tend to give them to myself either in order to reward myself). even though i'm a women! oh wait: that has nothing to do with each other.
i think it's much more important to tell people to get outside, move, go for a walk or go swimming NO MATTER WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. and to especially tell this to women who are usually taught to put their looks infront of their action(s).
i see it that way: you feel like shit – you look like shit. everybody does. and no, i'm not gonna end this comment with "but if you're good to yourself and when you get better you'll be super pretty again!" I won't because: maybe you won't. and then what? well, you'll still be yourself. so work on person, abilities, character, skills or simply fill your time with things that you enjoy (yes, maybe coloring your face is enjoyable to you. then please do it! but do it no matter if you're a guy or a girl.)
+ to be honest the winks and whistles thing sound much more like the energy boos that people crave for.
i'm sorry for this harsh comment.

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 10:52am

I recently attended a cousin's wedding, and even though I was having a depressed day, making the effort to dress cheerfully (and it was an effort) really helped me too!

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 11:51am

I'm having a bright dress day today, yesterday I wasn't but went to the gym and felt a lot better for it, calmer too.... I feel optimistic today, think my bright dress is helping too who cares if the sun isn't out! -right! :-)

Julia Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 12:40pm

Hi Victoire. I was very interested in the comment you made about wearing make up. I have always worn it but increasingly I find that I don't bother or put on less nowadays. Make up was so much a part of me, shallow as that sounds, and to suddenly stop or even gradually stop begs the question why. As women age, they get less interest from men (maybe women too) so why bother putting make up on? And no! I didn't wear it only for men but it can be a self confidence booster to look at a nice image in the mirror. There are so many reasons for not wearing so much and one COULD say that maybe my confidence has increased so the need to look attractive no longer exists so strongly in my mind (but I don't think so). Also increasingly magazines are showing images of"celebs with shock horror, no make up!" and the general consensus (in the Heat office), is that they look better. However I do think that the issues thrown up by wearing jogging bottoms and easy comfortable clothes as opposed to dressing up, are different to those issues surrounding the wearing of make up.
I find when writing posts or blogs that I never manage to answer my own questions. Life is definitely not simple.
BTW I haven't properly read the posts in reply to my blog about tiredness yet. Only back last night from holiday but I am really looking forward to doing this later or tomorrow (busy now) and replying to all your kind, helpful and lovely posts.(I did mange to skim through them)

cheekipixi Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 12:49pm

when I'm on a high, I will wear clothes that my daughter says 'oh mother ur too old to wear that', at the time I take no notice, as its never skimmy or low cut or reveiling even, it when i'm down it hits me, and makes me feel worthless and useless and brings home to me that im not going to live for eva and that's when I tend to wear black.

I would hate to be on a mega high if I was to get married because im not sure what id wear, probably wudnt be the thing I supposed to wear. but that's me lol

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 2:11pm

Hi, I'm Jim Elliott; first time I have participated in this blog, indeed any blog. I have suffered depressive episodes for over thirty years now so have devised a number of strategies, some of which work, some not so good. One which does work without fail is a cold shower, so if the day is full of dread and you need a boost, just to get you up and out of the house, then it helps for maybe an hour, maybe two hours but generally no more. Likewise it helps in the evening for parties and the like.

This can't be to everyone's taste, and the very prospect may make the world seem blacker, but for me it just helps in getting over that initial hurdle.

Thank you Mary.

Bridget Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 2:57pm

Thank you Mary.
As I'm sitting here in my Pyjamas - yes it IS nearly 3pm - feeling physically ill I have now decided to very dressed and get out for a stroll in the sunshine. ..

I have recently started to paint my Nails not for anyone but me - I enjoy the creativity of it and at least my Nails look good even when I don't feel good. ..

nerakco Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 7:31pm

Getting up with a spring in my step?? What is this??! Even on my good days, this does not happen. Mornings are my achilles heel, if anyone has the secret please share!!

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 8:55pm

i tend to have this feeling that my live is not worth getting up for. so i find getting up very hard, too. I'm not quite sure if that's the kind of feeling you were referring to, but I'll reply anyway.

the following things help me quite a bit:

- I need something to look forward to. since most days there's nothing special coming up, I figured something simple would have to do. for me it's a cup of my favorite tea that helps. for a friend of mine it's a song, she has her alarm playing it. I know it sounds too simple or pragmatic. give it a shot ;)
- I do morning exercises, stretching. i do it first thing in the morning, then i take a shower. sounds simple but requires discipline, especially on bad days. on the long run I noticed that knowing that I'll feel better after the exercises helps me to get up even if I feel like shit.
- this worked for me on the long run: regular sleeping times. ok so that's not quite true. I go to bed between 10 and 4 at night. BUT: I get up at 8 every morning. and even to get up around the same time helps me a lot. I think it takes a lot of discipline to do this. in the beginning I asked a friend who usually goes for a run in the mornings if she could pass by my house and take me with her for her cool down walk. I did this to give me some kind of appointment, something binding. as soon as it became a habit to get up at that time I noticed the very positive effect of waking up more easily. it did take me a year though. of course the walk and the social interaction also helped me to feel better!

hope you can find some ways to set up your mornings so that you find it easier or more acceptable to get up.


Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 10:00pm

I would love to have a day where I got a 75 on the moodscope test. Anyone got any hints how to achieve that .

Anonymous Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 11:24pm

simple.'correct'the negative filter in our mind by scoring one point lower than what you would score for the blue cards and one higher for the red cards.If you manage to hit 3 on at least 3 to 4 of the red cards you will have a 75.Then convince yourself that is the true score.

Anonymous Wed, Jun 19th 2013 @ 1:09am

When I'm on an up, I eat everything in sight. When I'm on a downer, I don't have to worry about carbs, because my appetite just goes and I hardly eat anything. As for worrying what to wear in case the doorbell goes, it's not really a problem. I don't have a doorbell. What would be the point? No-one's going to call.

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