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Head, heart, nature. Tuesday June 30, 2015

I came across Moodscope some years ago through listening to founder, Jon Cousins being interviewed on Radio 4's Midweek. I was interested so logged on and did some scores.

However, more than the scoring, I found Jon's daily blog inspiring and thoughtful and it became my habit each day to read this and this deepened further with all the blogs from the Moodscope members.

I have never known or been sure – am I depressed? Sometimes I think I am an imposter – yes I get sad sometimes (quite a lot of the time), I struggle to be happy – but depressed – no, that is surely when one can hear someone is dead to the world, their tone of voice becomes dead pan.

I don't know if there is a definition for "depressed" – lately I have begun to say (at least to myself) "I am depressed" or to others "I have been very low lately". There are some happy days but they seem to be in the minority. I think it is as a result of personal work I am doing on myself and I hope I will soon come through to the other side.

I have made myself a list of "Things to make myself feel better" which I may share at a later time.

Today I just want to share one: go in to nature.

When I had some unexpected time today, I let my car drive me to a place where I know I can walk in the woods, hear no traffic and hopefully meet no-one. I parked and opened the door and my heart opened instantaneously – through hearing the sound of the high pine trees swaying in the strong winds today. Five minutes later as I walked, I realised all the depressive thoughts in my head had gone, replaced by a heart awareness of the sounds of the wind, the shapes of individual trees, the bright luminescent green of some moss, the colour and textures of the different barks, seeing many young shoots as a plant springs to life on the forest floor. For a while I feel connected, expanded and not at all depressed!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 7:29am

Thanks Melanie. Lovely. Jen

Hopeful One Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 7:45am

Hi Melanie- thank you for post telling us about how a connection with Nature takes you out of a blue mood. You ask if you are depressed or not. This is relatively easy to establish . There are many questionnares based on the major and minor criteria of depression identified by the experts in this field. One of them is the Burns Depression Checklist.( page 20 " Feeling good" written by David .D. Burns MD)if you answer his 25 questions which cover areas such as thoughts and feelings,activities and personal relationships, physical symptoms, and siucidal urges all of which suffer to a greater or lesser extent in depression. A score of 0 to 5 = no depression, 5 to 10 = normal but unhappy,11 to to 25 = mild depression, 26 to 50 = moderate depression , 51to 75= severe depression , 76 to 100 = severe depression..ticking any of the boxes 23 to 25 (suicidal thoughts) requires one to see a mental health professional. It is more accurate than Moodscope which is better at tracking one, progress rather than the initial diagnosis. I sel administered this test aand found out I was moderately to severe depressed for which medication and psychotherapy are recommended. I went on both , tracked my self on Moodscope and here I am I believe fully recovers to tell you my tale. Hope this helps.

Rupert Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 8:18am

Good blog Melanie it says so much. It is not just the simple act of enjoying nature but also finding time for yourself , stopping and taking stock of things and what is important to you and removing yourself momentarily from all the bad influences. When I came into work this morning I stopped for a few seconds on the pavement and turned my face to the sun - I could have been anywhere. Its not just that though but for me I think I crave a bit of solitude but rarely ever achieve it. Rupert

Anonymous Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 9:28am

Hi Melanie, thank you for a good blog reminder! The fact that you are here on Moodscope at all, says a lot about your state of mind, but take the other test that Hooeful One suggests.
I am lucky enough to have as grown-up daughter, so I have more peaceful and quiet times...but also a liddle dog who has to be walked twice a day, so am able to get out into nature and you are so ready helps to clear the mind as I listen to the birdsong, see rabbits, squirrels, sometimes some muntjac deer, the occasional kingfisher and three times have been fortunate to see the otter....all helping to calm me and keep me here and now.
Karen (

Mary Blackhurst Hill Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 10:13am

Nature and physical exercise are as effective as mild anti-depressants, clinical trials have shown. So let's hear it for the trees! Thank you Melanie.

Julia Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 12:30pm

Hi Melanie, I know exactly what you mean when you say you are not really sure if you are depressed or not. For me each day is different and I think back to when I was a child growing up and actually I am pretty much the same now as I was then. It's life, expectations and responsibility which have made me think maybe I am depressed since I don't appear to cope aswell as others. When I worked in a job I disliked so much, I tried to get away for a walk at lunch time on my own. I used to say to myself on leaving the office,pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again. The views and solitude gave me strength to face the afternoon. Your blog struck a chord with me, thank you.

Melanie Lowndes Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 1:40pm

Thank you very much Hopeful One - I will look at this.

Melanie Lowndes Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 1:53pm

Dear All, thank you so much for your replies on my first Moodscope blog! It was written a while back and I feel good now - the personal development is helping through Evolving Wisdom Courses Calling in the One and Feminine Power - helping me be more connected - and there is another wonderful supportive online community.
I name the courses because I wholeheartedly recommend them - and I am usually unconfident about recommending something because I feel it is only me that may like it - I have done quite a few things in my time.
I completely relate to what Rupert and Julia say about solitude - I also used to walk out to the local park and sit under a tree at lunchtimes in the last few months of a job I disliked. Solitude and nature are very nourishing, or just stopping for a moment to notice something. Love to you all.

Judy Tue, Jun 30th 2015 @ 9:11pm

Is unhappiness the same as depression?

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 1st 2015 @ 7:23am

Hi Judy- the short answer is no. Unhappiness only lasts for a short time depending on the event that lead to it. This , as you realise , is very individual. The event that makes you unhappy may have no impact on me at all and vice versa. One shares some or all of the major and minor criteria to a greater or lesser extent but the intensity is very low. If one used the Burns Depression checklist one' s score would lie between 0 to 5. The brain systems immediately start a correction so the ' unhappiness, gets ' quarantined' and positive thinking patterns establish themselves. In depression these systems lose their potency and the corrective circuits get no chance. In depression more and more brain functions start getting involved as the brain biochemistry becomes increasingly disturbed. At this point one needs external help in the form of medication to stabilise the neurobiochemistry. One needs an external voice that guides you back to where one was before the depression set in. Depression typically lasts weeks , months or years. Don't be depressed though- pun intended- as the majority will recover of their own accord as long as they never , never, never never lose HOPE that they will recover and things will get better.

Judy Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 5:28pm

Thanks Hopeful One-I don't know if it is too late for you to see my reply- but I shall anyway. What if a longstanding situation brings you to an unhappy place?
Does that still respond to antidepressants?

Melanie Lowndes Sun, Jul 5th 2015 @ 8:03am

Dear Judy, I just looked back and saw this. It seems to me that the problem comes from identifying with the unhappy situation or the unhappiness from the situation. I am learning from my personal development training that there are parts of me and sometimes I can think that IS me but I can also ask a question and step back and realise I was in something but there is also a way of seeing this from outside. For example I was very unhappy one day - sobbing like a 2 year old inconsolably and also feeling how unreasonable I was being as it was a small thing that had set me off (on top of feeling a bit unhappy about something) - I thought about asking my mother if I had ever sobbed inconsolably when I was small - I realised that just thinking this thought - like an inquiry - gave me some distance and lessened the feelings. The training I am doing has us deepening/rooting into our adult selves (competent, capable, wise, compassionate people of the world) and then locating and holding our younger (wounded) self in our bodies who may be in need of kindness and compassion and holding them. I hope this helps.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 5th 2015 @ 6:40pm

Dear Melanie, The definition of being depressed or not is for me not so important. I have wondered about it and I am sure I have been. Now whether I am or not I want to be as happy as I can be. And I keep a list of things that give me energy and what helps me connect with energy. Nature is definitely high on my list too.

Thank you for this stong reminder of how the best things in life may be so simple and also just round the corner if we only take the time to look for them and find them.


Judy Tue, Jul 7th 2015 @ 8:15pm

Thanks Melanie. I do try stepping back sometimes but perhaps I must keep at it. For me I feel that I have no real control over my unhappy situation so I get stuck in that mindset.

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