Moodscope's blog



Having an 'under the hedge' day. Wednesday December 4, 2013

In some ways depression is like any other illness. We have bad days, but we also have some days that are, if not good, than at least, not too bad.

It's the bad days I want to talk about here. The days when just getting out of bed seems a feat on the scale of climbing to the moon on a cobweb, when it's utterly impossible to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet (to quote T S Eliot) or even to put a load of washing in the machine.

These are the days my sister calls 'Under the Hedge' days. When her cat is poorly he goes and hides under the hedge just by himself, and I think we can understand how he feels.

What my sister has to do is be cruel to be kind. She has to go scrabble under that hedge, grab him (he does not appreciate this) bring him into the warm and give him his medicine. Then she has to make sure he eats something and stays snug in his basket by the woodstove so he can feel better.

Sometimes we have to be our own responsible owners. It's so, so easy to stay in our "comfort clothes" of sweatpants and fleece (well – those are my comfort clothes anyway) and not bother with any other food but toast and jam. If we cannot drag ourselves out from under the hedge, then we need to have friends to whom we give that permission; friends who can give us that tough love.

Is there anyone with a key to the door who can come in, roust us up and into that shower, make us put on real clothes (and makeup if appropriate) and take us out into the fresh air for a walk?

If there is no one currently, could there be somebody in your life who would be up for that? It's a brave thing to do – to ask someone to be that tough with us. It may not be appropriate for you, but it's all part of building our support network.

After all – it's simple to stay under that hedge, hiding; but it's cold, and the twigs have thorns and the rain gets in our fur. Nobody likes to be grabbed and man-handled and force-fed medicine, but it's much nicer to be warm and cosy by the fire and to know that someone loves us enough to make us do that.

Not perhaps purrfect, but better at least.

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

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Sapphie Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 6:40am

Aww. I love this. Thank you. <3

PWD Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 6:56am

Good and very appropriate today I am having a bad under the hedge day and its only just began, following a bad night. I think it would be good if there was a small list of like emergency tips for when we are feeling very low. Don't know about others but when I am having a under the hedge day my brain seems to freeze up and can't remember the good things to do.


Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 8:06am

if any help Paul, I know exactly what you mean. I've just done my score and yesterday it was a healthy-ish 40, but today has slumped, and its as if any glimpse I had yesterday has all but vanished. Emergency tip list is a good idea, I shall have a think! or maybe others can do the same? needs to be a bullet point list I think or in this foggy brain state i'll only go round and round - simple and succinct. Here's one to start with - post-it note with short line written when you weren't feeling so bad? as a reminder to self when you are having an Under the Hedge day? (great description Mary!).

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 9:16am

Your post made me cry again today. I'm currently on holiday in Europe. I travelled alone and I don't really speak the language, but I was too stubborn to let being single prevent me from coming.

I had a good first few days. Yesterday I had a wobble. This morning it took so much effort to drag myself out from under that duvet. I definitely relate to the cat hiding under the hedge.

My top tip is, if I do nothing else, goand get myself a drink of hot water. Feels as comforting as a cup of tea but - crucially - takes virtually zero effort. And staying hydrated is doing something good for your body. Just a tiny thing, but a good one.


Elizabeth Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 9:27am

I don't understand. I haven't experienced any "harsh love" working, rather the contrary. What would they have to do to help?

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 10:30am

I think it's ok to have under the hedge days and stay there from time to time.

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 10:32am

this is a very nice post, and good advice, but I wish I knew how to go about finding someone I could trust enough to drag me out from under the hedge.

The Entertrainer Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 10:36am

This is so well written and so relevant - thank you

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 11:22am

snap! me too...

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 11:58am

Great analogies! I also do not have someone to come drag me out. I wish I did. Not having that person though, I must rely only on me for those under-the-hedge days. Here are 2 tips I use. 1) I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes for a single, seemingly insurmountable task (dishes, bills, ....). Sometimes that's all I can manage. Other times it leads to setting it for another 15 minutes. 2) texting these days helps. When I can't tolerate the thought of reaching out for help (ugh!!), I have a small handful of dear, dear friends who know how bad I can get. I'm usually not eating properly by then. So a text or brief email goes out: "help, must have lunch/dinner".
Its rather amazing the nice places they'll take me to--even in stretch pants & sweatshirts.
Blessings to all my fellow hedge hogs!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 12:47pm

I've heard it said that we "can't remember pain". If we could remember pain, there would be no second babies in the world. But, what do you do when the memories are the pain? What do you do when you are going through your day under constant assault by memories and thoughts that you can't get away from? For me, it's like learning to live with physical pain. It's there, it's real, but it's not the whole world and it doesn't define me. Some people have "hot" physical pain like the radiating heat from an incandescent light bulb. The pain of memory and thought radiates in the same manner except that it is cool like that of a light emitting diode (LED) bulb. When you think about it that way It becomes both real and manageable.

Lostinspace Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 1:09pm

I've started having a shower as soon as I get up, it makes me feel better and kid myself that I am in charge of my day rather than the other way around. I think especially if you haven't anyone to share your problems with then taking care of yourself in this basic way is important. I had a Mormon friend here once and in very difficult circumstances she always looked good, clean clothes, clean hair and a bit of make-up. She told me one day that her Mum had taught her that first you take care of yourself and then you can take care of your family. Somebody once gave me some Al-Anon literature and they banged on about personal appearance to the extent that I binned the leaflet but I expect I was annoyed because they are on to something. Even Mother Teresa of Calcutta mostly cared for her patients physical needs and left the rest to God. So wash, wash, wash!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 1:18pm

What a wonderful post!

“Just getting out of bed seems a feat on the scale of climbing to the moon on a cobweb”

This is a brilliant description of a terrible feeling. Depression is just one of my chronic conditions, and I often get asked why I don’t just stay in bed on my rough days. For this very reason – if I stayed ‘under the hedge’ I would feel much worse. Even just being up and getting a couple of things done can feel like an achievement to be proud of. I shall go and celebrate this thought with a fuss from my favourite antidepressant; my cat.

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 3:06pm

Hi Mary,

That was BEAUTIFULLY written. Really struck a chord. I think giving someone that space to be tough when you are weak and wobbly is both an act of insight and courage. Going through depression has made me feel more empowered than helpless. Again, it was an amazing read!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 4:02pm

Your post about the pain of memory has caught my attention. I have suffered badly as a child and have been left with terrible painful memories which would haunt me every day many times but interestingly since I have practiced mindfulness (since fen this year) it has helped me to live in the moment and realize that the pain I felt from my memories are just that memories and that all that is in the past and I'm safe now. Living in the moment skills has been part of the answer for me. Good luck to you. Julie.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 5th 2013 @ 4:56am

Hmmm....I get what you are saying, easier said then done. Its a lot to ask of someone, and they are going to see you at your most vulnerable
unkempt self. Furthermore, you have to be careful who your "friend" is, I have been in this position before and it was with people that had an agenda, and ended up trying to either rescue me, control me, resent or see me as beneath them. Its tricky. Gotta find the skills within, dig deep. Cause that 'friend' doen't last for long. sorry but true.

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.