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Empowered. Wednesday April 29, 2015

"Think Ninja – but without the turtles."

No – not you people. Those were the words I was writing for my fashion blog when I felt it.

I felt it as clearly as if I had been swimming underwater for too long and my head had broken the surface. There was suddenly air and light and sound.

The chemicals in my brain had switched state. Instantly, as they always do.

Thinking about it, although the swimming underwater analogy is helpful, it's not entirely accurate. This might be better.

Have you ever visited a watermill, and seen the wheel standing dry, stationary, far too heavy to push round by hand and, without that movement to turn the grinding stones above, useless and futile?

Then have you seen the miller twist the lever that opens the mill race; heard the rush of water through the sluice; smelled that green watery smell with that sharpness on the top like the blade of a scythe?

Have you felt the tremble shiver through the wooden fabric of the mill, heard the creak and slosh as the wheel starts to move, slowly, so slowly and then quickly with an easy and powerful assurance?

The millstones start to grind. The wheat is turned into flour which will in turn become bread, the staff of life. And down where the waters race, a sunbeam catches the splashes so they look like shooting stars...

And, more prosaically, the Moodscope score goes from 17% to 71%. It looks as if it's taken twenty-four hours. In fact, it's taken only a couple of minutes.

Now, because my depression affects me physically, I still need to take it easy for a few days. It's still far too easy to overdo things, get tired and find that score slipping back through sheer exhaustion, trying to do everything at once because – Hallelujah – now I can!

But this bad go is over. I'm back! The happy, lively, optimistic, sociable Mary everyone knows is back (because only a select few know the other one).

You people know both of me, and, through your comments, I'm beginning to know some of you.
So, for those of you still feeling that the powerhouse of your life has rusted shut and will be silent forever, I pray for streams of water.

And for those of you totally intrigued about how I can get Ninjas (but not turtles) into a fashion blog, you'll have to visit my page at We're talking Japanese influence on fashions this summer.

A Moodscope member.

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The Entertrainer Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 6:05am

How about Ninja's but with Turtle Necks? Would that work, or is that too AW15?
Seriously... beautiful writing, Mary... and welcome back Mary 1. We love the other Mary too - I call her "Mary Too". xx

Les Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 6:30am

Like can 'feel' your words.....and I know that 'switch'...

Kirsten Coeur Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 6:54am

Love the description of the watermill as it comes to life with the force of the water. I felt it viscerally as I read your post. Thank you for taking me there! (I've never actually witnessed what you describe, but now feel I must someday.)
Lovely writing.

Hopeful One Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 7:47am

Hi Mary- awesome post. So glad to read you are back 'on stream'! We love both Marys regardless of the scores.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 7:49am

Welcome back, Mary! I am so pleased for you!! That is exactly what I felt too, about two weeks ago now. I am so glad you put into words for me precisely what it feels like when that switch reverts...I had been describing The Mill on The Floss to a couple of people yesterday, and now today, your timely writing about the watermill. WHAT a coincidence! I love it, and you write so well I am taken back there . Thank you thank you, Mary. Oh, and I know all about the not overdoing it! I have to exert a huge amount of discipline there, hard for me, as I am DESPERATE to accomplish all the things I have been putting off/ unable to do/ suddenly have ideas for/ fear won't have time for until the next episode....... Am I preaching to the converted here? ! Bless you!

Rupert Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 8:35am

Another good blog Mary. Occassionally I experience this - almost a state of euphoria - but sadly it never lasts more than a couple of hours albeit it usually marks the return of a more balanced state of mind. Love the descriptive use of language! Rupert

Suzy Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 8:40am

Mary, I can't express how timely this post is. I was going to try and email you this very week and ask if you would write on this very matter!! It's a very similar thing for me (and a friend of mine also) I can pinpoint almost to the moment when it has passed. But how? Why? Is just because it is chemical then? I don't understand. And I can imagine there be a whole lot of folk for whom it just couldn't make sense.
Beautifully written, as ever. I want a visit t'mill now! :oD
Sadly, I had this moment a couple of wks ago and immediately started to 'crack eggs with big sticks', for want of a better expression. Had to put myself back in my "decompression chamber" for a few days. I'm emerging again. This time, slooooowly.
Thanks again Mary. Really and truly.
A fan of your fashion blogs also. ;o)

Charlie Bransden Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 9:08am

Excellent analogy, we merely have to find out what complex mix of emotions, potions and triggers change us from one state to the other in a matter of minutes!! One thing I have found works in some instances is the magic ten minute snooze - now I'm approaching 60 I have the courage, and the lack of shame, to grab a nap whenever - luckily in most situations I am able do that, and also luckily I can fall asleep almost instantly - but it's very important to set an alarm - more than ten minutes can be counter-productive.

Elizabeth Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 9:39am

Mary, this is rather unfamiliar to me, since my changes are slower and smaller, and definitelly less lasting. Your writing makes me again and again see the more biological contribution to bipolar. But since with my work on myself I am much more on the psychological side, I wonder: was there a trigger? An event, a thought? If yes, is it possible to use those triggers again?
You don't have to answer me here of course. Good luck :)

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 9:43am

Go Marydoll! And she's back in the building :-)
I so wonder how that switch feels. Is it scary to be so fast? Or just great? I'm probably more Rupert-like in my experiences (as he explained above) and I'm fascinated by all of our differences. We each have the same base but there is a rainbow of ribbons blowing out from it. I'm glad you are returning and, as others have said, I hope all the Mary's feel at home here. Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 9:44am

There is something extra special about this blog, Mary. In addition to the transportive imagery and the relief that is palpable in you, this one sent out beautiful healing energy. I'm speaking for myself here but am also making the assumption that i'm not the only one who felt it. "I pray for streams of water" did truly wash over me. Thank you so very much. Really happy you're better. susan xx

Leah Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 11:09am

I find it fascinating how people can share the same label but have totally different experiences. It is this that makes life so surprising. Thank you. I believe there is one Mary- the ups and downs are all part of the whole. Leah

Lexi Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 11:51am

I love your posts Mary. Such beautiful writing. Thank you!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:29pm

Ah love it - ninjas with turtle necks! I shall steal that line if the Japanese influence is still around come autumn! Thanks as ever Lex - you never fail to make me smile.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:30pm


Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:30pm

Thank you Kirsten. I enjoyed writing it. You can probably tell!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:31pm

Ah, thank you. I love all of you too. We're all here for each other and that's just so precious,

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:32pm

Can never be told too many times though.... so thank you for the warning!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:34pm

Thank you Rupert. Yes - that euphoria is wonderful, isn't it? When I get it though it's worrying, so I try to dial it back. I'll be writing about that very soon as a couple of people have asked. I hope that you get your balanced state soon if you are not there now.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:39pm

Hi Suzy, one of the mysteries in treating depression is why, when seretonin uptake inhibitors are prescribed (that's prozac and it's relatives to you and me), it takes 10 days to a fortnight for the patient to feel better, when the seretonin levels in the body are affected within a few hours. Surely one should feel better after only a few hours.I have not idea why that is either, I just now that when my glands start to work again (and of course we don't yet know why they stop and start working, far less why they do it in a predictable pattern with some people) I can feel those chemicals being released into my body as it happens. Possibly I am more aware than some people about it - but a lot of bi-polar people report the same - especially if they have the rapid cycling form of the disorder.
Anyway - so glad you enjoyed the blog.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:42pm

And drat! There's no edit button for that reply above. Please mentally delete the apostrophe in "it's" which of course, should not be there! Sorry.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 1:43pm

Hi Charlie, nice to see you here - and thanks for your comment. Oh yes - the magic of a power nap. Agreed - 10 minutes is perfect.

Di Murphey Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 2:30pm

Dearest Mary,
How lovely & energizing to read your courageous words.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 3:58pm

Fantabulous! Amazingly wonderful- you've hit the spot again, Mary! Love, love your writing and I was there with the thrill of the watermill! So glad you are top dog today and can stay there for a while...must have a great view halo today, Mary! Karen x

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:11pm

Hello Elizabeth. No - there really doesn't seem to be a trigger. I get these downs every spring. Some years they're worse than other years. This year was "light" in comparison to 2014. So maybe it's triggered by day length.... but I don't know what flips me back into being "up" again - or at least what passes for "normal" with me! So sorry I can't help here, but maybe some of the other writers can.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:12pm

Oh, I love your rainbow of ribbons! Thank you sweetie! Everyone is so accepting here, up or down!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:13pm

Bless you Susan. Those words were heartfelt and I'm so glad you felt them.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:16pm

Yup. I am a yo-yo. Maybe we all are. But I want to be the one with swirly patterns and flashing lights! I may have to fight Lex as he will want to be that one too! Of course, when the yo-yo descends, all the lights go out and the sparkling colours fade to grey. The trick is to find another yo-yo on a different timing to you, so you can swap colours in mid descent/ascent.... And sometimes analogies can be stretched rather too far, don't you feel?

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:17pm

Thank you for your kind words.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:17pm

Always lovely to see you here Di.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:19pm

Have to say it feels good Karen. Thank you. I am basking in all the praise and may have to apply for a head reduction! I wonder if they do that on the NHS?

Curly Clare Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 4:46pm

Great blog thanks Mary - really resonated with me and will definitely be saving it to reflect on in the future; especially when I'm 'rusted shut'.

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 6:45pm

Decompression chamber is GOOD Suzy, I am going to use it if I may? Xx

Anonymous Wed, Apr 29th 2015 @ 6:55pm

I too think Mary's blog should be bottled!! More fizz than in a bottle of prosecco, and I will be saving it to reread. Smiley face ( which I cannot do on this keyboard!)

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