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It's Only Feelings. Wednesday July 26, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here:]

"What you need to do," I told myself as I took two packets of digestive biscuits from the shelf and put them in my shopping cart, "is go home, have a cup of coffee, sit down and have a good cry."

Because I'm grieving.

Oh, nothing serious. Nobody has died, but we can grieve over many things; the loss of a job, an opportunity, a client, a friend. I grieved for a fish once – a beautiful tortoiseshell koi carp – which developed a tumour and died. I grieved for my lovely White Dream and Queen of the Night tulips, when my husband decided he wanted that flower border for something else. Grieving is about loss.

And I am appreciating the grief.

Oh, not enjoying it – that would be either self-indulgent or masochistic; I'm not sure which. I'm appreciating it because I can actually feel that hollowness of loss, the sharp piercing pain of grief which happens every time you bump against a memory.

Digestive biscuits. Yes – it's the silliest things that cause that twinge.

Many of us will have experienced the numbness that frequently occurs with depression. In that dark place, we could be told our house had burnt down and our family lost, and the darkness would swallow the pain. We would stare blankly and be unable to react.

Sometimes the antidepressants exacerbate the situation. They enable us to function, but they dull everything, including pain. A friend once confided to me that she had stopped taking anti-depressants when her dog died and she felt nothing.

And for we bi-polar people: when we're high, we can't feel much either. The crazy adrenaline distorts even good feelings and losses are dismissed as insignificant.

Many people out there think that depression is feeling sad all the time, but they are wrong. So often depression is feeling numb all the time. When depressed I often feel as if I am on the other side of a thick and dirty plate glass window. All the world, all the colour and sense and emotion is on the other side and I am isolated; not just from the world, but from myself.

I know from talking with other folk who have this illness that I am not alone.

So, being well at the moment, I am appreciating each feeling. The feeling of anxiety over my daughter's stress levels, the joy I felt over taking a glorious three days away with my husband, and yes – even this grief.

Because feelings are precious and to be treasured. Even when they hurt.

A Moodscope member.

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

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The librarian Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 7:51am

Thank you for this, Mary. I am feeling very low at the moment but I needed to be reminded that at least I'm feeling the feelings, that I'm not completely numb on anti-depressants and that it's all part of the process of learning to tolerate what isn't pleasant. I just hope by letting it be, it'll lighten soon.

All the best.

the room above the garage Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 7:56am

Hello Tl, sorry to hear you're low. How much can you drop from your schedule? I find my lows pass quicker if I can give in for a bit but it's not always possible. Stay near and keep us for company, love ratg x.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:53am

I am sorry to hear you're low. As RATG says, sometimes you need to give yourself a little slack. As it was, I didn't sit down and have a good cry when I got home, I sat down and wrote this, but then, words are always my comfort and my solace - whether writing them or reading them. It will be different for you. Whatever is your solace, give it enough time to provide comfort. And remember, comfort is not just that warm squishy feeling, but something that suppoerts,energises and encourages. My very best wishes to you, TI -and a hug. Because we all need more hugs.

The librarian Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 9:30am

Thank you for hugs and kindness and wisdom. I have taken the day off sick and will let myself cry, and I'll read and think about my novel and listen to music and let 'whatever comes come and whatever goes go'. I will also try to remind myself that this will pass and that there will be brighter moments along the way. I don't have to change the world or my life or my personality right now. Or ever. We definitely all need more hugs, and I wish I was the sort of person who could be more confident about initiating them. So virtual hugs to all, though they may be a touch lachrymose today.

the room above the garage Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 7:53am

Hello Mary, that is familiar, appreciating a feeling. I get some numbness, thankfully only when really ill, but very much identify with feeling grateful for a feeling. Even if it's a troublesome some, if I can cope without it lowering me to my knees, it's a good day. Thank you Marydoll. Love ratg x.
p.s. I managed to listen for the first time...a new experience, great stuff!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:57am

Oooh - so pleased someone listens. I do wonder sometimes, but I rather enjoy recording them - even if they seem to end up sounding like Radio 4s Thought For The Day. And hugs to you too. BTW I thought we were friends on FB but i couldnt find you last night... (I wamted to pass something by you before sending it out further). If we are, can you PM me please?

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 11:20pm

Facebook can be full of virtual friends I stay away as much as possible when unwell and gives young people mental health problems.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jul 27th 2017 @ 12:04am

And also very real friends. I met Raz on FB. I keep in touch with friends who are on the other side of the world via FB. I belong to groups which are overwhelmingly positive and supportive. True, FB can also be full of negativity and harm - but, like many things, it contains what you look for and is what you make it be.

Orangeblossom Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 7:59am

Thanks Mary for your blog. As ever I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am able to identify with the feelings of grief. Within the last six weeks I have lost two significant people in my life. My favourite uncle and a lady at church who has been steadily kind to me. The loss of my uncle has probably changed the emotional landscape. However, am slowly allowing myself to accept the changes. Have the able & effective support of my Cruse Supervisor.

Eva Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:21am

Hi orangeblossom I'm sorry to hear about your losses, sending you hugs.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 9:00am

Losing a favourite uncle is a grief indeed. I remember. My deepest sympathies to you. Allow yourself to grieve. Somewhere, about three years ago, I wrote a series of four blogs on grief. I will find them and put the dates here. But need to be on my pc, not My phone for it! And more hugs to you. Long warm ones.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:46am

5th November 2014 and the following three days. These may not help at all, but they're there if you think they might. Much love to you.

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 11:23pm

My wife was born on 5 November and a temper like a Romania candle.

Orangeblossom Thu, Jul 27th 2017 @ 7:42am

Hi Mary I appreciate these loving thoughts very much. I know that I am in the midst of my grief journey. Yes, and I am allowing myself to grieve but those who have experienced it sometimes find it gut-wrenchingly painful. I am reading through Helen Jaeger's Paths Through Grief which I find helpful. A big hug!

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:21am

Hello Mary always remember your feelings of grief will pass it may take a week or like my last episode 6 months.I pass the time with puzzles and shut down as much as possible. Also remember your do not walk alone many Bi_ Polar are also treading in your footsteps and will support you.Hope you resurface soon, us Moodscorers expect you to do your duty and get well soon.bye for now,

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:27am

Hello David, this is a minor grief - so I thank you for your kind words. And actually some of the loss has been retrieved.

Eva Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:24am

Hi Mary this is very akin to mindfulness and accepting what you are feeling without regret, this has helped me enormously to accept on days when grief threatens to pull me under that it's OK to note it, feel it and move on when ready, I'm no longer worried that it will be all I feel or am forever. Thank you for reminding me, I also think I need a digestive!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:34am

Digestive biscuits are very comforting aren't they. And - while the reminded me of my loss, it was a comfort at the same time.

Eva Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 8:24am

Hi Mary this is very akin to mindfulness and accepting what you are feeling without regret, this has helped me enormously to accept on days when grief threatens to pull me under that it's OK to note it, feel it and move on when ready, I'm no longer worried that it will be all I feel or am forever. Thank you for reminding me, I also think I need a digestive!

Liz Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:19am

This is so lovely Mary, thank you. I agree after coming off anti depressants recently after 10 years I am thoroughly enjoying feelings - and I have to say there have been some acute ones but boy I would far have those and deal with them than be in the mush. I always felt it was like being in a plastic bag, with no way out and no way in. Bring on the feelings, and when they are genuine and good - wow - there's nothing better! x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:39am

A plastic bag is a brilliant analogy; that suffocating feeling too.... To be human is to feel. If we do not feel then we feel less than human.

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 1:03pm

Over medication is atrocious.

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 1:05pm

Over medication is dangerous and to common, please always ask for an independant review

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 2:00pm

Finding the right medication for one's own version of depression or bi-polar seems so often to be a case of trial and error. Our GPS are so overworked it is scarcely a wonder that sometimes we feel neglected or, even worse, are left on the wrong medication. We all have a duty to be pro-active in the management of our condition and yes, to seek a second opinion if we feel uneasy. I am incredibly grateful myself to the wonderful Dr Samar who was careful, thorough and involved me fully in my medication choices. It is a great pity that he is the exception rather than the rule.

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 5:02pm

Yes it has taken me over 50 years and still educating myself.I have met some of the World leading specialists in Bi Polar I have been very fortunate.

Lexi Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 2:33pm

Beautiful post today Mary. Your description of the numbness of depression is spot on. Sometimes I want so badly to cry but I cannot. I just sit. I miss crying. Or rather, I miss the feeling of relief after a good cry. Crying to me has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sitting and staring into the void has none of those things. Last night I met a friend and I thought I was going to have a deep conversation about something very sensitive and important to me. I had told this person that I needed to talk. But when we met at the bar and sat and started to talk he was texting nonstop, to work, to his daughter, to who knows. He even texted and invited someone else to join us without me knowing. When this person showed up, I felt numb, like I was watching a movie and I was removed. This is now what I wanted to do. Then I felt it. A pressure in my throat and my eyes start to well up. I paid for my drink, jumped up, said goodbye, and left. My friend who had just joined ran after me, understandably bewildered. All I could say is "I cannot talk right now but I will call you tomorrow. I"m sorry." And I went home and just sat. I am not sure why I'm writing all this, perhaps to let it go. But I don't want to feel numb about it. I feel a bit guilty for leaving like that. But as my therapist says "you have the right to take your ball and go home if you don't want to play anymore." If I could just cry I am sure I would get over it quicker!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 9:29pm

I agree, sometimes the relief of tears is denied us and the rage and pain burns hot behind our dry eyes. I hope you were able to say (gently but firmly) to your friend, that you had needed a quiet and intimate conversation with him and that what you had instead, did not meet your needs at the time. If, at that time, he was not in a place to meet your needs, then fine - but you, at that time, did not have the resources to be the easy social company he seemed to want. Sometimes we have to be very careful with our phrasing; people who work in government departments, teaching or healthcare, learn ways of putting things so there is no blame, but the message most definitely comes across. But - do not feel guilty for running out: sometimes that's what we need to do.

Lexi Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:39pm

Mary, you are a wise woman. You put into words what I could not articulate last night to my friend. Now that I've had a day to decompress I think I can come from a calmer place and explain what I was feeling. Thank you so much, Mary. You are a treasure.

Lacey Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 10:54pm

Hi Lexi You did very well to get to meet your friend in the first place;often I so need to talk but can't summon up the confidence or the energy to meet up with anyone.So I end up having my own pity party at home... I'm sorry that you ended up leaving but it's okay to go home,cry and have some time to ponder.Remember,you tried,you can't ask anymore of yourself than that.Not your fault your friend didn't understand what you needed. Take care Lacey

Lacey Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 11:06pm

Hi Mary Wednesday
I listened to your podcast;I really liked it.Yes,its like Thought for the Day on Chris Evans morning show on Radio 2 and I find them very uplifting.
So along with your broadcast I've had a cracking day which involved seeing a practitioner of the Havening Technique. Interesting and something of a new concept for me; I know about the numbness of antidepressants for bipolar disorder too. However over the thirty plus years I've had this prob I've been open minded regarding how to cope and today I'm smiling
And that's a good thing
Take care

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jul 27th 2017 @ 12:07am

Hi Lacey. I have not heard of this technique. Would you consider blogging about it 250 - 500 words) if you think it might be useful to the Moodscope community?

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jul 27th 2017 @ 12:07am

And - fabulous that you're smiling!

Lacey Fri, Jul 28th 2017 @ 7:31pm

Hi Mary I'm still smiling! Search UTube to see various people carrying out this therapy. I will happily blog about it if you think it might help I would appreciate your feedback Love Lacey

Mary Wednesday Sat, Jul 29th 2017 @ 12:46pm

Hello Lacey again. If you'd like to run a blog by me, then just ask Caroline to send it to me. Email her at I will be happy to comment and feedback.

David Wed, Jul 26th 2017 @ 11:29pm

Hello Lacey I can relate to your commenthe the greatest asset I have is insight of myself and my brain.

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