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Hey, how you doin'? Saturday August 6, 2016

The character Joey Tribbiani famously uttered that phrase in 'Friends' to chat up any available lady. I would be delighted to have the delectable Mr LeBlanc utter those words to me, but finding the answer would be a different matter.

When I was very unwell, I would have been reduced to responding with 'Hmmm...' or 'Hneh...' Any noise really, so that I didn't have to vocalise the sheer terror I felt as I battled to remain in control of my emotions. I was also unable to vocalise that I wasn't well, because as soon as I admitted that out aloud to another human being, I would be admitting it to myself, and I really wasn't ready to do that.

As I began to accept that I wasn't well, my response would change to 'Up and down', which does nothing to describe the rollercoaster of emotions I was riding. Later it would be 'Better than I was', which was a truer representation of how things were, but open to misinterpretation by people with no interest in my wellbeing.

Finding Moodscope allowed me to put a number to that feeling. I score mainly 65 now, with an overall average of 57, significantly better than the days when 11 was an achievement. If I go above those averages, I know that I am going to crash. Too low and I know that I've already crashed. These scores are a better judge and description of how I am feeling, than I am of myself. I can also use the 20 emotions to describe exactly what is going on. 'Ooohhh, that's a bit hostile'; 'I'm proud of that' etc. and then do something to reduce the negative and increase the positive.

Now, as I find myself in recovery and trying each day to maintain my wellness, my answers to Joey's question would be: 'Taking each day as it comes'; 'On the mend', and my favourite, via Douglas Adams: 'Mostly OK'. Sometimes I am not, sometimes I have a bad day, but that is the thing about recovery, you have to take the good with the bad.

So, if Joey asked you, how would you respond?

A Moodscope member

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

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Carol Anne Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 8:16am

Rats thanks for your blog today. Got total connection with you.

Before coming into recovery, my answer to "How you doin'?" was either alright "Alright" or "shite".

I didn't know what I didn't know...

Almost 8 years on and I have learned who I am, what I'm feeling, importantly how to name my feelings, the importance of keeping connected, that I don't have a glass head and people have 'no idea' unless I'm open verbalise.

I've worked incredibly hard to get here and I know to maintain a forward momentum I need to stick to the basics.

I've recently changed job and that has set me lots of challenges. A couple of weeks ago, on the Friday I finished my work feeling terrible 3/10. Low, beat, some of my old core beliefs swamping my head (you are a fraud, you are weak, you're going to get found out...")

Yesterday I finished feeling 7/10. What was different was that I spoke to new boss - I said the equivalent of "I need some help". I put in place a daily 15 min chat. That's already moved to Mon/Wed/Fri and will fizzle out as and when I need/want it to.
I had a 1:1 on Thursday and he told me I'm doing great, he said I demonstrate extremely high levels of self awareness, he can see my confidence growing, the work producing is vg... and he was so v impressed about me proactively reaching out for help/guidance.

The internal thoughts on my head have been in overdrive during this time of change. Last week, the technique I deployed to turn the negativity around wasn't to challenge the thoughts but instead to ask my brain questions "What do I love" "what is it I love about my new job/the co I work for/my husband/my family/my home/myself". When I asked my brain a question and replaced it replaced the negativity with love and feelings of wellbeing, love and all the light feelings became present again"...

We know change can be unsettling but my biggest learning is that we were not alone, have patience and kindness with self. Most of the things I was telling myself were untrue/umhelpgul/toxic and I wouldnt have said them to another human being so if you are struggling today TALK to someone. Or if that's too hard TEXT/WRITE it down. Take the power away from will help.

Happy Saturday folks. X

Mary Wednesday Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 10:11am

Thank you Carol Anne. That has really helped me. I must ask myself what I love about my family and friends and life. That will give me better answers.

LillyPet Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 8:44am

Hi Rats, great blog!
I like "mostly good"! I'd choose that, but my hormones hugely affect my moods and relationships and it has felt like monthly damage limitation!
I've had a huge falling out with my siblings because I'm being forced to work with my sister-in-law who I can't abide.
Anyway back to your question, with that stuff gnawing away in the background, I'm so-so I guess. Shame because it's a beautiful day and I'm on leave from work!
Thanks again for a great blog. I feel lifted! Sod 'em I'm going to enjoy my day and not let them drag me down! Maybe I can change " so-so" to " Pretty good actually!" :)
Sending smiles to all. LP xx

Rats Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 4:09pm

Hi LilyPet, I'm glad that my blog lifted you - it was my first ever blog! It is hard to ignore the background stuff and stay in the present. Though I'm finding that I can achieve this little by little, even if it's just five minutes of each day when the demented hamster on its wheel which is my thoughts takes a rest and leaves me to enjoy what is happening in the here and now. I hope you managed to change to 'pretty good actually'.

Duma Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 9:17am

The cultural norm in Brooklyn is to respond with a mirror phrase - "How you doin'?" is correctly replied to with "How you doin'?"

This is local argot, amongst Brooklynites.

How am I doing? Well I have hatched a plan with no obvious drawbacks!

This took a little plotting with one of my 'social aunties' (Glaswegian for 'your mum's close pal').

There's a Californian/therapy joke. I have to share...

...question - "You're fine, how am I?"

Hoping you geddit.


Orangeblossom Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 9:44am

Hi Rats, I would rate myself as middling today. Physically am feeling on the rough side which is affecting my overall sense of wellbeing. Hope that you maintain a steady course.

Rats Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 4:04pm

Thanks Orangeblossom, I'm hoping that this course stays steady too after a rather rocky time of it. I hope you feel better soon.

Eva Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 10:07am

I do tend to find myself saying, yeah fine thanks regardless of how I am. Imagine scenario where my leg has been blown off, yes I'm fine thank you very much for asking, and you? ;) I do open up to friends in the know, but if in response to a colleague I generally don't go there. Although I do sometimes respond with I'm knackered!

Rats Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 4:02pm

It's interesting how we can find the words to describe physical feelings, but struggle with the mental/emotional ones. I do the same as you; open up to those who can understand and fudge an answer to those who can't.

Mary Wednesday Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 10:13am

I always love the very English phrase "Mustn't grumble."

Duma Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 10:41am

My faither inherited and adopted an expression from his father. "Just dodging along." I am the only heir to this phrase and intend to pass it on, fates willing.

The Gardener Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 4:40pm

I can't say 'very well thank you' as taught in polite society. Living in the middle of a town neighbours watch my struggles, help out in crises, and they know perfectly any positive 'Good' or 'I'm fine' is a downright lie. Truthful reply 'I cope, most of the time, when I don't its tears or screaming (getting under control)'. My mother ALWAYS said 'I'm tired', on the phone or face to face. One is often criticised for not regarding dear old mum with rose-coloured glasses. But My mother had no interests whatsoever, knew nothing about art or music, resisted physical exercise all her life, had a bad diet and presumably never felt 'full of beans'. She lived to be a hundred. A few weeks before her death our doctor phoned me in France 'she's no longer feisty (he was scot) she's near the end'. What he meant, was she'd stopped grumbling. I don't ask my b-in-law how he is - he has an average of 17 things wrong at any one time - and tells me if I don't start another subject pretty damned quick - he's 90, and can eat and drink more than I can with my extremely active life. Mary, Wednesday - my mother was also very fond of 'mustn't grumble'. Does anybody remember ITMA, with Mona Lott 'It's being so cheerful as keeps me going'. Duma, you had social 'aunties'. I seemed to have so many, thought when young my parents had huge families. We did not do christian names then, did not want to Mr or Mrs all the time, so the 'Auntie'. We are 'Auntie' and 'Uncle' to hundreds of Indian kids in various refuges.

The Gardener Sat, Aug 6th 2016 @ 7:19pm

Eva, the 'fine thanks' is in our culture - I find I still reply politely on the phone or face to face, then let rip with the written word. For most of my life, if I say 'How do you do' (French, literally, how are you going - pedants could have fun) and somebody actually tells me how they ARE doing, would be taken aback, and vice versa. I am now finding this near idiocy almost dangerous. Mr G started to have sight problems 8 years ago, pre Alzheimers. We had a concerted rush of family, friends and professionals, all ready to do everything possible to make his life reasonable. He refused all aid - nearly all of it most practical. Still, now, he answers all inquiries 'I'm fine', even at the doctors, where one has gone presumably because one is NOT fine. Now, eight years down the line the feeling is 'let him stew' people being fed up with being repulsed. I've taken him to excellent psychotherapists - having primed them well first - they talk about the weather, at 45 euros for 20 minutes (cheaper than UK I think). Going back to RATS blog, it is the ACCEPTANCE that you are not well which is the first hurdle - which many people cannot get over. So, it's just 'I'm good', and the status quo remains.

Leah Sun, Aug 7th 2016 @ 1:41am

Gardener as usual you make a lot of sense. When my mum had dementia and people would ask how she was at first I used to say how she really was. I realised that they were just being polite. Take care.xx

Leah Sun, Aug 7th 2016 @ 1:39am

Congratulations on your first blog and hope this is just the first of many. I am always interested in person's personal journey.
Thanks again for giving me something more to think about.

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