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I choose life. Friday September 18, 2015

I've recently enlisted the help of a coach to guide me in reaching my goals in life - one of which is to be emotionally healthy.

One of the first things she said to me was 'You are choosing depression'. In that moment I don't think I could have hated a human being more if she had stabbed my mother and stolen my husband (I don't have a husband but if I did and she stole him... er... anyway, you get the point).

I rallied and pushed against her words until I almost walked away from our relationship. She just doesn't get me I thought, she's not the right coach, she has no experience of depression, what does she know, pah, pish, stuff it.

But I went ahead with the coaching. And I'm discovering she has a point. I do choose my depression. Well, not me exactly but my thoughts do. And those thoughts are a style of thinking that has been with me for 40+ years so undoing it and choosing not to choose that style is a very deliberate and conscious choice. And its a choice to make daily. Hourly. Minutely. (Minutely?) In every single moment.

What I've also discovered is that my thinking has a style or an act - lets call it 'The Victim' - and that act has run my life for a long time. Oh, I couldn't possibly do that, I'm not good enough, I'm not confident enough, poor little me, I'm not one of 'those people'. But I'm learning that no-one is one of 'those people', there are just people who choose confidence and action and to get out there. They still have the same 'I don't fit','I don't belong' nonsense in their heads but they laugh at those things until the thoughts lose their momentum. And they choose life.

The past few weeks since I started coaching have been hard but amazing. My coach is like an alternative voice who crashes through the self-limiting stuff that comes into my head and out of my mouth and never stops believing in me. And I have a choice: listen to her and her empowering words, or listen to the words of the victim voice in my head which keeps me small and depressed.

So I choose to believe in me. And all of you. You chose to join Moodscope, you choose to write, read, comment and support each other and me, and for those choices I will be eternally grateful.

With much love,

Debs xx
A Moodscope member.

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

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Paul Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 5:21am

Hi Debs
What a great, positive, funny, and inspiring blog. Sounds like you have turned a corner there don't look back. Keep going in the right direction, sounds like you have a really good coach there too. Well done you now get out there and find that husband, and get the best you deserve it.


Cathi Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 5:37am

What an inspiring and beautiful blog. You totally get me, I'm sometimes much the same. Not trusting my own feelings, no confidence, good at letting others decide what should be my own decision. Thanks so much for this. Will think about your words much longer. Oh, and yes: I choose life!

Hopeful One Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 6:35am

Hi Debs- awesome blog ,totally inspiring. Keep going - you are on the right track .With the help of your wonderful coach you have simultaneously got rid of (?forever) what psychologists call "learned helplessness" and " the tiger in the cage" where the tiger continues to pace even when the cage is removed both of which occur after prolonged periods of depression where , even when the cage is removed the tiger behaves as if the cage is still there. In one jump Debs was free! Congratulations.

Luke Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 6:57am

What a cracker Debs. Thanks

Anne Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 7:22am

Great blog - spoke to me - thank you for sharing :-)

Liane Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 7:48am

I want to make that choice. I want to choose a life without the "luggage" to weight me down. It's hard to learn about me and why I act as I do. It's hard but it's necessary to move forward to a place of calm. Time to put the "luggage" in it's place, store but not easily accessible. Thanks Debs for sharing your experience.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 7:50am

What a great reminder to us all, Debs, that we have the power to change, and it's there, lurking inside us. A very inspirational blog.....we don't always think we will 'fit' into a given situation...but at least we keep trying! You should show your blog to your coach...she will be thrilled, not only at what you have written, but the fact you were brave and adventurous enough to blog about it here. Oh, and maybe she could tell other clients about Moodscope?? Plug, plug!!
HO...Lurve, lurve, Lurve the 'tiger in the cage' scenario! Grrrreat!
Bear x

Huw Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 8:04am

Great blog. I am choosing just to write this small comment to connect with someone. It is a choice but it takes some real effort to change your thinking.

Zareen Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 8:53am

Hi Debs, thanks for your blog! It is very encouraging & appreciative. All the Best for the days ahead!

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 8:56am

Thanks for all the comments! My thinking style is so strong that after I wrote and sent the blog to the Moodscope team my head voice was saying 'who do you think you are?! Nobody wants to read your stuff - you're just showing off! Leave the blogging to Mary and Lex and Bear and the others - they are the real bloggers, you're an imposter!' Ha! It never stops ;-) But I can choose to listen to it and stop myself or I can fling my blogs out there with abondon and if they connect with just one person that's amazing.
Huw - you're right, it doesn't have to be a big thing. Connection can be small and beautiful.
Bear - great idea, I will do that!!
Liane - you're right, it is hard and I am in no way 'fixed', it's a daily decision to listen to the nonsense (some people call it the 'monkey brain' or 'the machine' or the 'sabateur') and choose not to act on it or let it have power. Its been a slog for me but I am determined to keep going!
Anne and Luke - thanks muchly ;-))
HO - love the tiger image!!! Grrrrrr ;-)
Cathi - yes, learning to trust ourselves is a big one - I will blog on that soon!
Paul - a husband you say, yes please... know any likely candidates!? ;-))

Huge love to you all xxxx

Sally Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 9:44am

Interesting to hear your comments, Debs. It sounds as if your coach has got a point. It reminds me of Dorothy Rowe's book: Depression, The Way Out of Your Prison, which I found invaluable years ago

Mary Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 9:47am

That is a great blog Debs. Thank you for having the courage to a) write it and b) submit it. We all have negative patterns of thinking and we have to first recognise them and then learn new ones (and then choose to stick with the new ones). Oh, I loved your description of how you felt about your coach! That's hatred indeed; very powerfully and humorously expressed.

Grace Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 9:54am

Thank you Debs, your blog really, really spoke to me. Keep us updated on your progress.

With love Grace

Jen Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:00am

Morning Debs. Thanks for this inspiring blog. Really interesting and thought provoking read.

I've had a shakey start to the morning (bought on mainly by extreme tiredness) and was really beating myself up about it.

Just waiting for my boss now to call about starting back to work in 6 weeks after maternity. In the meantime your words and another listen to Heather Small's 'What have you done to make yourself proud'sone (after your blog last week) and a look at my VPL (yes I have one now.....other Moodscopers will have to look back to last week if you missed what that is!)and I feel boosted for the better with a refocus of my outlook to the more positive. Thankyou so much x

Helen Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:04am

Making the choice, again and again, day after day, is the way forward for me, too, Debs, and it is so good to hear how positive you are about it.
It can feel very, very hard work sometimes, but I remind myself that even the smallest choice is a step forward in retraining my thought patterns. And, yes, it sounds like you are moving forward in leaps and bounds, I'm so glad for you.

Jen Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:06am


To save people time and in the spirit of sharing here's a link to the song I have found so uplifting this week mentioned above and in Deb's previous blog (Olympics version)


Silvia Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:47am

so very important to keep going and having goals! It does feel though as if the situation in the world portrayed in the news conspires to bring your mood down, just alone the migrant and refugee situation. It feels like being in a 3rd world country, not in Europe. I think being affected by it just shows you are being a human being.

Adrian Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:58am

your so right Debs -choosing our thoughts is so so important. and of course so difficult.
keep on keeping on
A x

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 11:26am

Adrian - I get that, its so hard isn't it? Certainly a daily challenge for me. I'm not sure we really ever get to the point where we properly choose them - my take would be that they choose us and then we choose whether we follow them or not.

Silvia - being touched by something as significant as the refugee crisis is most definitely human in my book - I have cried more in the past few weeks seeing those images than for a long time. What incredible strength of humanity those people have. Just incredible. I am slightly cautious of the news these days - having worked in the media for many years I try to steer clear. I am conscious of filling my head full of things that bring me down. I struggled for a long time for that not to sound uncaring but now I feel the news is just a snapshot of the many difficult things happening in the world - and there are amazing, inspiring things happening too every day too, the media just tend not to focus on those ;-)

Thanks for the reminder Jen - have just played Proud again and vow to listen every morning! I'm so proud you've created a VPL ;-) Go you!!! Would love to hear how you get on with it.

Grace - thank you and I will. Your message really moved me, I hope you'll blog about your progress too, I'd love to hear

Mary - and aint that just the challenge, sticking to the new ones.... those pesky old ones are flippin persistent!

Sally - thanks for the book tip, I love reading about depression.... there's always a new nugget to pick up and share ;-)


the room above the garage Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 2:11pm

Jeez yes, and your comment later about showing off...reminds me of being a kid and someone telling me 'pride comes before a fall', I feel I've been living in fear of that ever since. Wonderful blog, needs to be out here and thank you for doing that! Love ratg x.

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 3:00pm

Thanks ratg - and I'm glad I'd already sent this long before your blog came out otherwise I would probably have run for the hills - my thoughts would have been screaming I'm not worthy!! ;-) How you inspired over 100 people to join together is INCREDIBLE!!! Just the most amazing thing I've witnessed for a long long time. You should be the proudest of the proud. Run for PM please!! Your country needs you!! ???????? xx

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 3:00pm

Woops! The ???? We're k

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 3:01pm

Woops! The ???? Were kisses!! Obviously lost in translation ;-)

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 3:13pm

Huw - a bit late in the day, but welcome to you Huw (said in the Welsh way you have spelt it!). I do hope you can keep popping by to see us on Moodscope. In the meantime, if you need a buddy to connect with, just let Caroline know and I'll buddy you. :)

Jen, going back to work after a period away is hard but after a considerable amount of time like maternity leave it is daunting, so please be gentle with yourself. You are going to be entering a new stage in your lives and it will take time to adjust, but needs must etc., and it's something so many of us have to do, so be kind to you. If you don't look after won't be able to look after your liddle baby! your response above made me chuckle - I thank you for including this liddle Bear in with the likes of Mary, Lex et al...but really, I think you have blogged more than I and you have done it so PROUD, woman!!! I too, feel terrified that the minute I press 'send' I'll regret it....but by then it's too late. But at the end of the day, if it gets even the smallest message of encouragement through liddle triumphs we can achieve, then hopefully it will help others who are in a similar situation.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 3:16pm

Note to all...emoticons don't seem to work on the Moodscope blog, so you have to use the old fashioned :) for smiley faces...or else we get ??????!!!!!! Lolilol x

Alice Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 4:51pm

I really enjoyed your blog and could relate to it. I sometimes think I allow myself to be a victim. I worry about the future all the time from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep. I would love to be more mindful and have started a free online course. I too have suffered from anxiety since I was a child. I have had counseling and know the tools but sometimes it's hard putting those tools in place when your mind isn't clear. I've got a lot of work to do building new pathways in my overworked brain but found you're blog very helpful,Thankyou...

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 5:31pm

Oh Alice, I get ya - an overworked brain I have for sure! It whirls away from morning till night... especially at the moment when I am premenstrual so am thinking all sorts of CRAZY stuff. But simply understanding that it's a little monkey up there messin' with me helps me put it into perspective - 'thanks monkey, you can pop off now, I'm fine without your meddling' ;-)

Bear - you're a star! You make me laugh out loud with your comments, such a clever funny turn of phrase. Are you a prof writer? if not you should be ;-)

Happy Friday evening all, hugs xxx

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 6:04pm

Huge monkey-hugs from a silly Bear x

Robert Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 7:28pm

I am sorry but I do not agree with all that was said. If it were true are we all weak willed choosing to be depressed, I do not think so. We are the sum of the parts that has led us to places in our head that are beyond our control.If depression, anxiety, unreality could be taken away by talking then Depression would not exist.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 8:26pm

Hi Robert, I agree, we are not just weak-willed, when it comes to depression. I know I am weak-willed when it comes to food, alcohol consumption, but depression? No, I don't think so.

I didn't choose this. Like so many other people, my depression seems to have been kindly donated by various sequences in my life: far too many to go through at this point. But if we can 'talk' to each other here on Moodscope, or discuss problems with therapists/counsellors or have a great life coach help us in some small ways - just showing some chinks of light at the end of a dark tunnel - then it's worth it for that individual. Hope this clarifies what other peeps have said.
Bear :)

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 9:28pm

I totally get that Robert - depression is a complex and challenging condition and it presents itself differently in each of us. Anyone who tries to suggest a 'one size fits all' approach to tackling it is certainly barking up the wrong tree - some of us will need meds, others psychotherapy, others dietary and exercise regimes and others hospital treatment. For me, there are a mixture of things that help and it's taken a loooong time to find out what they are - certainly talking is a big one - particularly the ability to detach the meaning I give to things/situations - but that doesn't fit for everyone. We are all as unique as the depression we carry ;-)
Am sending warmest thoughts for the weekend, Debs xxx

Petal Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 9:38pm

Wow! What an inspiring blog! I too identify with all those monkey brain thoughts. I agree Robert that Depression being an illness reminds me that for some choosing to be free of an addiction can be a minute by minute day in day out choice as a way of life. What so many of us moodscopers have in common is how deeply we think and feel. It seems that our blessing is also our struggle. The caring support of a community therapist/coach helps. For me, there are some things that I have learned that talking about just makes me feel a whole lot worse. That's where I'm at. Dealing with those downward spiral issues. I've been putting off finding the right support to be able to tackle the hardest part. Debs and all of you have made me think again about "going there" and choosing life! Love to all x

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:14pm

Thanks Petal ;-) For me talking has been the biggest blessing - I've been down deep with a therapist and now I'm building a future with the coach. The depths have been dirty and painful but I don't think I could be where I am now without having gone there. I'm so glad you're thinking of getting help, you can do it girl ;-)) You have all the courage and strength you need. And we'll all be right with you every step xxxxx

Petal Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:27pm

Thanks lovely, I'll get back on it, as a choice while I feel ok, rather than wait till I feel awful. Illness doesnt take waiting lists into account ;) xxxxx

Debs Fri, Sep 18th 2015 @ 10:41pm

Good for you ;-) and if you want to buddy up at any point for mutual support let me know. Big hugs xxxxxx

Petal Sat, Sep 19th 2015 @ 9:39am

Thanks Debs, will do. Xxx

Petal Sat, Sep 19th 2015 @ 9:50am

Just checked out the Olympic version Jen! It's put a big smile on my face. Great way to start the day, thx :)

Laura Sun, Sep 20th 2015 @ 2:03am

Nice post, Debs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've recently decided to look at my automatic negative thoughts as a habit. When I get triggered (or when they just pop out of nowhere), my usual "habit" over the years has been to start beating myself up: "Uh oh, I'm going to get really depressed about this", "Oh my God! I can't handle this!", "I am so incompetent!" You know how it goes. But I realize now that this is a habit. So now, when I feel depressed or anxious or angry, I say to myself "I don't want to keep doing this" and it stops my brain for a moment. Instead of going into a tailspin, I acknowledge what I'm feeling; then I accept it as a fact, not attaching any judgment or expectations to it (which helps me stay calm); and then I ask myself: "Now, what can I do about it?" or "How can I empower myself?" Of course, it takes an awful lot of time and practice to change one's thought patterns, but it's starting to work for me.

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