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Goodbye 2016. Wednesday December 28, 2016

There's a card on the Moodscope test (which we all complete diligently every day, of course), "Excitement", which carries the explanation "looking forward to things."

Many of us are all too familiar with the grey cloud which descends upon us and sucks all the enjoyment out of life, so that we feel unable to look forward to anything, even those things which normally, when we are well, bring much pleasure.

But I am looking forward to 2017. Mostly because it will mean saying goodbye to 2016. In management speak, 2016 has been a challenging year; in Chinese curse terms, it has been interesting.

Of course, nothing is altogether bad and nothing is altogether good. Another Moodscope friend of mine described 2016 as, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Yes, that too, for many of us, I guess.

I have decided to take only the good memories with me into 2017.

One of the challenging, interesting but wonderful things of 2016 has been having my son Tom come to live with us. Tom is chaos in human form. He is a hurricane which has disrupted the quiet and ordered running of this house. He is spontaneity itself whereas my husband likes to have everything scheduled. He is untidy (like me), when the rest of the family like to have a place for everything and everything in its place. He will argue passionately and stridently for his point of view, rather than politely agreeing to differ.

He's certainly livened up things round here.

In the last month he has formed the habit of saying, "Hey Mum! Do you want to come out to see a film?"

(I don't want to see a film. I don't want to do anything.)

"Alright," I say, without enthusiasm. "When?"

"Right now. Fantastic Beasts/Miss Peregrine's/Moana's on."

"Well, Okaaay... When does it start?"

"Five minutes ago."

So we dash out of the house, and manage to take our seats just as the last trailer before the main film draws to an action-packed close. And I enjoy the film very much. Even if I have to take a nap afterwards.

Until yesterday I had not realised that this was causing stress for my husband. I was going out with Tom and not with him.

"Fair enough," I said. "I would love to go out with you; you just have to take me out."

"Yes, when you're well again."

And there, I realised, was the crux of things. My husband puts everything on hold when I am ill with depression. Tom realises that, although I may not have much energy, even though I may not be able to drum up much (or any) enthusiasm, if he takes me somewhere, I will enjoy it.

So our joint new years' resolution, for my husband and me, is that we will just do things, regardless.

Although he will probably need to schedule them in the diary at least a week before.

(And I rather like that about him.)

A Moodscope member.

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

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A View from the Far Side Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 7:52am

Another great post to round out the year. Thanks Mary for all you have written in 2016. Your five-parter was incredibly powerful. What a gift you have.

the room above the garage Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 8:40am

Hello Mary, hope you are still beachside and wrapped up. Fully agree, I think doing things regardless can be a life-saver. It takes breaking through the pain barrier of really not wanting to but without that...I'd hate to imagine. I hope this is year they can stop you riding rollercoasters and I wish you steadiness through 2017, love ratg x.

Hopeful One Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 8:44am

Hi Mary- it seems that Tom is just the tonic you need! When we are low we convince ourselves that we will not enjoy something but like you found out when you went to see the film that "And I enjoy the film very much. Even if I have to take a nap afterwards." The trick seems to be not to let the negative loop prevail.

Today's sortie produced this.

Warning : This joke contains adult content which some readers may find offensive.

A husband and wife decide to go a masked costume party. The wife hangs the costumes in the cupboard so her husband does not get a chance to see her costume. On the day she has a headache and asks him to go alone. She then has a lie down feels better and decides to go the party in her costume. She thinks it would fun to watch her husband and see how he acts when she is not with him. She soon spots him on the dance floor, dancing ,flirting and sneaking a kiss if they let him. She then dances with him and after a little kissing and hugging they end up in bed still with their costumes on. Just before the unmasking at midnight, she slips away and goes home curious to find what kind of explanation her husband gives for his behaviour. She asks him when he comes home .He says “Oh You know I never have a good time when you're not with me." She asks ‘Did you dance much?" He says, “I never even danced once. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But you're not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to..."

DAVE Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 9:37am

Hi Mary,
I think your blog is very representative of everyone, with or without Bipolar. iI we took twelve random persons of varying ages off the street, their results of these Moodscope questions may well be higher in score, although, we are not party to other types of adversities, unless we know someone in or out of our families whose different struggles, no less unbearable as ours, then perhaps we would see a more realistic true picture of the lives of those around us, than just we struggling with depression etc.

It is essential that there is opposition in all things, because without it life would be extremely dull !

We have to ride the 'storms' and patiently wait for the 'sunshine' to compare our emotions.

Therefore it is apparent, that the lull between storm and sunshine, is where our negativity, heightens rather than lessens, through a positive attitude, how each of us many many different ways.

After all it is only from our type of adversity that our minds focus on 'me' in 'my cocoon'...Its Our vision of 'our' life with 'our' kind of adversity.

So what's the best, least painful solution.....

Try hard to focus on our own reaction to both 'storm' and 'sunshine'...We see the same pattern emerging every time we experience these 'Ups' and Downs'...So perhaps we need to place more emphasis upon ' making the very best of the 'storms'....KNOWING for CERTAIN, that it will, as it always does.....Pass....Remember my bible analogy 475 times in this book it says...."And it came to pass".
My own reconstruction of this saying only differs by one punctuation mark....But it GIVES a whole new meaning to this phrase, and that is....

"And it came, to pass !

Everything comes, BUT everything PASSES ! !

Shall we now ride the storm, knowing it will pass, and LOOK forward to the Sunshine'.

Your son loves the sunshine !
God bless you and your family.
Dave X

John Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 10:00am

Hi Mary,

Even though I am the one in my marriage that uses moodscope, my wife is that one with the medical problems. I have to say it is very easy when you love someone and care for them, to encourage them to rest rather than push through the discomfort or pain.

But my wife would rather I spent time finding ways for her to manage her conditions so that we still do those things we love - she says that is - in her mind - more caring. Me - I love her and don't want her to come to harm - but that's cotton wool thinking - if you know what I mean.

I like your new years resolution - to just do things anyway.

I think that is good advice for any of us.

Best wishes

Lexi Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 2:10pm

Happy New Year Mary! I too am glad to see 2016 gone. I particularly feel this last month should be punched in the nose. I too will only take the good memories...there were a few, just have to remember what they were...I feel like my moods are like exercising sometimes. If I wait to do it when I really feel like doing it, it'll never happen. So I sometimes force myself and then when it's over I'm surprisingly happy I did it!

Norman Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 3:41pm

Mary hi,
I really like the moral of the story, it's like children, we make the mistake of shielding them from the world when we need to be pushing them out there and supporting them to deal with it. Some years ago in returning to work after time off (due to depression) my colleagues carefully set me an undemanding workload with routine, "low stress" (it actually isn't) work. Actually what I wanted to hear was "thank god you're back, we have all these tasks outstanding that only you can do!" Instead I felt that I didn't merit a place in the team. I didn't fully recover there and left a year later.

2016? Well it started with me in a job which was causing depression, a grotty lodging room (ditto), and no relationship for a while (double ditto). To add to this I was under an injunction to avoid alcohol, previously a survival mechanism. I had tried to tackle these one-by-one, unsuccessfully so I made NY resolutions that I was going to tackle them all, in no particular order. By February I had met a lovely woman, totally wrong for me in every respect apart from being just right. I found a nice house share with another lovely woman and just got out within days leaving my deposit behind (it was worth the loss), and I reached a settlement in June with my former employer which enabled me to leave with a financial cushion which would give me a few months to help me sort myself out.

Going into 2017 I have just moved in with my partner and I am beginning to earn fees as a consultant and trainer. Enough to keep food on the table anyway.

Jul Thu, Dec 29th 2016 @ 6:34pm

Lovely to hear your news Norman. All the best for 2017. Love Jul xxx

Night Owl Fri, Dec 30th 2016 @ 12:14am

Good stuff, Norman, thankyou for sharing. NOx

The Gardener Wed, Dec 28th 2016 @ 3:42pm

Happy New Year Mary. All I can think of is that I shall start 2017 with Mr G in respite. I looked up the same date last year and it was awful, But, we're still here, a year older and worse off in circumstances. I read people's pre-christmas fears of coping with the 'festivities' when they felt low. I thought I was immune to sentiment at Christmas - then when all but two of my family ignored my existence on Christmas Day I felt distraught. The nuns had given us a delightful lunch, but nuns do not play charades or monopoly - we got home at 3 p.m, Mr G more difficult than ever - I did not speak to a soul that day - everybody has smart phones and up to the minute technology - I feel so bitter - just a message, text, to say 'hello'. Lexi, like you, there were some good times - I always do a 'review' of the year, usually with a grand-child, noting how many days away, what hotels we stayed in, family visits etc. No 1 - stupid to ignore as I sit here - I achieve the complete conversion of as much of shop to house as I can afford- with super workman - and am gratified by the 'wows' and how my kitchen table is now a confirmed gathering ground.

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