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Frozen Treacle. Wednesday March 25, 2015

So today has been difficult.

Difficult for all sorts of reasons. From nowhere a cold precipitating a streaming nose, sinus headache and the feeling that my brain has been sucked out and replaced by porridge. The discovery that there is yet more administration to do as the executor of my late uncle's estate. Oh, and that I've made a pretty big error as a Trustee on something else and have to put that right. Then, my latest and most respected beta-reader has suggested that I re-write the first four chapters of my novel (at least she didn't suggest I re-write the whole thing). Three people I care about haven't answered my emails. (They're trying to drop the friendship. I just know they are.)

And then my youngest didn't like the delicious supper I'd cooked and wouldn't eat it and I had to give it to the cats (they loved it!)

I mean, it's nothing major. I'm not coping with serious illness, with poverty, crippling debt, broken relationships; it's just normal life.

But – it's the end of March, going into April and – oops – having a little dip here. So it feels as if the lovely golden world of spring (hey - just allow me a little poetic leeway here, will you?) has crystallised in the cold March wind and has suddenly turned solid around me so that I can barely move, much less make progress to anywhere or towards anything.

It's temporary; I know it's temporary. And just at the moment I don't believe it's temporary because that's one of the things that depression does – yeah, it really screws with your brain.

Right now it feels as if I've wading through treacle for the last twenty years. Even though, when I look at my Moodscope graph I see I was fine only three days ago.

So these times are when we need that solid evidence around us to let us know that things have been good before, that they will be good again. We don't need generalities, we need specifics: "Remember that day we took your dog to the beach? That was a good day." "Remember your sister's party? That was a good time." "Remember the day you spent just painting? You had fun that day."

So my challenge to myself is to make more notes on my Moodscope graph. Not just explanations for the low scores (today's will be long. Serves me right for not doing it first thing), but notes on the good times too.

April might be grim. It normally is. But May is just round the corner, and sun will get warm enough to melt this treacle again. I'll see you (stickily) on the other side.

A Moodscope member.

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Di Murphey Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 5:35am

Dearest Mary ~
Once again your wit makes me laugh from deep down inside, at the truths of which you speak, the awareness of "'s nothing's temporary...", and the sheer mountain of energy it takes to be depressed. We could conquer multiple new frontiers with the energy it takes to nurse our depressions. It seems this way for me.

So, I play "what if?" with my heart:
What if I/we embrace depression as an ostracized, shunned, isolated and needy member of the family of life?
What if we invite it (the depression) to tea and really listen? Am I feeding it?
What if we give it permission to run its course? Will I become more inclined to give in to the grief?
What if we give it radical love and a sense of belonging? Could it become that pain-in-the-bucket-uncle who needs more forgiveness than a platform at family dinners?

I don't pretend to know the answers. I am simply wondering. What if?

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 7:04am

So representative of many of us, Mary, and my heart goes out to you. We are people with deep feelings, and a run of negative strokes can floor us . I know I feel down for weeks, and can't always my finger on " why?". Just now, a week away has done the trick. I feel great again. What a relief!
Take good of yourself, and lower your expectations of what you "ought" to....etc. you will bounce back. :-)

Hopeful One Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 7:50am

Hi Mary_ sorry to hear you are going through a dip which is understandable given the negatives you are facing but you write so well about them they sound like flea bites! Which if you could think about them in that way may reduce their sting.Anyway take care. Would a joke help you? I know it always helps me as the endorphins get rolling again It is not female friendly I am afraid so you are allowed to exclaim"Oh you men"

An female investigative journalist went to Afghanistan to study the culture and was shocked to discover that women were made to walk ten paces behind the men. She asked her guide why this was so and was told , "Because they are considered of lesser status in our religion.." Outraged the journalist went home. A year later she returned to cover violence in the region and was surprised to see that the women were now walking ten paces ahead. She turned to her guide and this time asked, "What has changed?" The guide answered, "Land mines."

Rupert Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:11am

Hi Mary good blog. It is an interesting thing - and I think your blog alludes to it - as to whether it is the events that trigger the depression or if it just your perception of those events due to the depressioni.e things like that happen to you every day but it is just the way you interpret them. As usual I am giving my simplistic analysis of things but for me I find it can be a a combination of the two - something can happen or a thought occurs which almost instantaneously sets off a chain of negative thought and sends those endorphins fleeing! Rupert

AJC Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:26am

Mary, thank you!
I have been 'caught up' in daily life for a while now, getting faster and faster! I am starting to recognise that this pattern. Looking from afar, I can recognise it, but 'up close and personal' it's illusive. It can be particularly pernicious when things are exciting, creative, 'going well'. I stop doing the things that add to my 'wellness'.
I'm fairly new to moodscope- I love the daily blogs but am not really using the daily test/notes as a tool. I can see this as a real positive, proactive practice. I'm off to take the test! Thanks again everyone,

Julia Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:39am

Interesting Rupert. If it is perception then we may be able to change this. I have just said to my husband that if only I could control how I feel rather than how I feel controlling me. I said there is nothing I can do!

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:40am

Made me smile HO :-) love ratg.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:42am

Exactly this Rupert. Chicken and egg. And how to make one lead the other. Love ratg. Hello Julia :-)

Julia Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:43am

So sorry you are feeling this way Mary. Is this part of the usual annual cycle for you? I remember you saying once that you knew, looking back over the years when the depression would begin. I feel horrible right now. The cold winter has gone on long enough but it's still cold! But as everyone says, our low feelings it will pass. Hurry up I say.

Julia Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:44am


Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:44am

AJC, I haven't been doing the daily test as the thought of seeing my fall was a challenge. You've inspired me and I'm off to do it too. Love ratg.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:47am

I'm trying to push myself to go for a short walk on the beach today Mary. If I don't go in the next half hour I won't have time. Trying to use nature to uplift me. I hope your day brings some cushioning if not a breakthrough, love ratg.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:49am

Di, haven't seen you in a bit. How are things? Your lovely brother? Love ratg.

Charlie Bransden Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 8:56am

Splendid summary, Mary, particularly echo your view that the daily diary should cover the good and bad - I try to make sure I use up all my 400 characters every day - with good and bad, significant happenings, thoughts on why a particular mood shift, a written challenge to self to tackle a particular emotion that's giving grief - or enhance one that's giving results - a sort of "dear diary". Well done, excellent blog.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 9:47am

Hope you got to the beach RATG, lucky you being near one! Have missed seeing your name here recently and hope you feel well soon! Kx

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 9:51am

I agree Rupert - some days you can deal with things and not get upset or bothered by them, then depression won't let you ignore those thngs another day :( I don't think it's simplistic at all, I think it's what happens.
All the best for a good day, Karen.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 9:57am

A great blog today, that you write so well and can articulate what many of us cannot during the depths of depression. Frozen treacle? Get a toffee hammer and chip away at it...
Know what you mean about beautifully and lovingly cooked meals...when we try so hard and it's not appreciated...makes me wonder why bother? You can always give some of your treacle away!!! Ok, I have lost the plot now so will leave you in peace...or pieces!! Ha ha ho hum! Karen aka x

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 10:52am

Hi Di. First - Hey - I've missed you girl! Great to see you back. Echoing RATG on the brother question and thirdly - wow, what a great piece of writing there. Please. please just put that on Word and send it to Caroline. More people than just the ones who post on the comments need to see that! Oh, and thank you so much for your kind words there. It means so much to me that what comes out of my keyboard mean something to the people they're meant for - so I appreciate your comments more than you can know. Hugs to you Di.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 10:53am

Yup - sniggering here (and then wondering if I ought to as it's such a serious subject). Keep those jokes coming Hopeful One; they are much appreciated.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 10:59am

Hi Rupert, Bless you for your comments. I always look forward to reading your words. For me it is absolutely the depression leading the way. Apart from the cold, none of those things I mention would touch me in the slightest were I "well". More work on the estate: yeah, I was expecting it - bring it on! Mistake as a trustee "Hey - it happens; it's easily put right." Constructive criticism of the book "Right - thank you so much for taking the time and giving me the benefit of your expertise. Yes - I see what I have to do now: so grateful." Child not eating her dinner - happens five times out of every six. She's a very skinny child and she deserves to be because she just won't eat. It's all normal stuff and I'm usually fine with it. I'm not fine with it when the black dog comes and sits by me, casting his shadow over everything. Anyway - just about to write out a plan for coping. Read it next Wednesday folks!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 11:02am

It's so tempting not to do the test when we feel fine. Then we don't want to do the test when we feel bad. Moodscope works best when we do it every. single. day.
Yup - and I'm as bad as the rest of you. (walks off muttering "must do test, must do test, must do test" under her breath)

Laura Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 12:25pm

Hi Mary - Thank you for being so open and sharing such beautiful words with us. I have felt defenseless against my depression for most of the last 30 years; however, I have recently come to really understand that, although I cannot control the thoughts that pop into my head (which result in my feeling a certain way), I CAN decide what to do with them. If I obsess over the thought/feeling and ruminate about it, I will no doubt become stuck in negativity. Then I end up asking "How can I get rid of this pain?" and, possibly, engage in some kind of harmful behavior. But if I instead say "Okay, I have this thought (or this feeling) how can I empower myself?" then I am more likely to take positive action and do the things that I know make me feel better. Of course, it's a work in progress, and sometimes I go through it multiple times per day; but I am learning - slowly - that it does help. It helps me feel stronger, like I have some say in the matter, it helps me get through those moments or days that I feel depressed/anxious/fearful/angry, and it helps make those feelings go away more quickly so that I can become my better self again.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 12:34pm

Charlie - bless you! What a brilliant idea - using up all the 400 characters. I have to confess to using as few as possible, even less than a tweet. Thank you so much for this. BTW - do I remember you right as a farmer with heavy horses?

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 12:35pm

Hugs to you Karen. Love the idea of the treacle toffee hammer!

Anonymous Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 4:07pm

Really feeling your words today Mary, as I did RATG's y'day. Thank you both!

Hopeful One Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 4:36pm

Hi all - here is my two penny worth on this conversation . I think of athoughts and feelings as two sides of the same coin like happiness and unhappiness or compassion and forgiveness . One cannot choose to have one without the other . So I accept whichever side of the coin is facing me at that particular time or day with a as non judgementalan attitude as I can manage . That way I avoid getting too attached to either which saves me the dips and angst. That doesn't mean I am some emotionless blob bobbing on the sea. Far from it. I become simply aware.i hope all this makes sense!

Julia Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 7:57pm

I am interested in this. Are you saying one cannot have highs without lows? Surely it would be better for us all if we were on an even keel every day? I have taken comfort from what you say though. H One.! I particularly like the idea of not getting too attached to either the high or the low by accepting without judgement how I feel on any given day . I shall try it! If you have the time would you tell me/us more about this way of dealing with moods on a daily basis?

Di Murphey Wed, Mar 25th 2015 @ 11:13pm

Dearest RATG & Mary ~
I am deeply touched that you ask about my brother. You'll never know how you touch my heart. He is gone to live freely with his Lord and I am struggling with the loss in a manner of which I am not proud.

Thank you, Mary, for the lovely idea to send my thoughts to Caroline. I will proceed in that direction. Be well, you two.

Anonymous Thu, Mar 26th 2015 @ 12:06am

Di, grief is never pretty but you shouldn't feel ashamed of whatever way you cope with it. I'm heart sorry that he has passed, I remember weather prevented you from travelling to him. That will hurt terribly. Do not think you have to be graceful and dignified through that. The opposite may be of most benefit. I agree with Mary...more should see the 'what if' words above. Would writing a few blogs help? Love ratg xx.

Di Murphey Thu, Mar 26th 2015 @ 4:05am

Dearest RATG ~
Your writing is filled with acceptance and hope for healing through writing. I am presenting orally on a small stage next week ~ poetry and a very short story about my brother. Then I will sing the song he loved so much. It may work in a written format (at least the poem & story). I am grateful for your ideas and will give it my best "go."

Hopeful One Thu, Mar 26th 2015 @ 8:38am

Hi Julia- yes that is what I am saying.The reason for saying this is that we have really no control over either but for some reason we believe we do..Think about it.If we did we would simply block out the negative like unhappiness or ,as you mention ,a low. The generation of thoughts and feelings both negative and positive is the natural way our minds work as that is what it is designed to do. But we have a choice whether we react or respond to these thoughts and feelings. So by keeping a distance from them in our mind ( this does not happen naturally unless one does some kind of mind training like meditation for example) we are then not affected by them so much and less hostage to them.

Julia Thu, Mar 26th 2015 @ 8:47am

Thank you for this. It's very kind of you to take the time to reply.

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