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Living with the tough stuff. Friday February 5, 2016

This morning (whilst in the bath) I was thinking how utterly British I am. At Christmas I wrote the cheeriest round robin describing all the positive things that happened in 2015. I completely downplayed the fact that I spent three weeks last February having been rushed to A and E with a stomach problem. My Facebook page exudes positivity - and I positively dislike those posts where people put down how annoyed, angry or sad they are.

In fact, I came to the conclusion that I should be awarded a doctorate in CBT, just for effort alone. However, there is a problem with this. Now I'm not knocking the power of positivity, nor CBT, which many people find helpful, but what do you do with those more uncomfortable feelings, like anger, sadness, guilt or jealousy?

It's only as an adult that I have realised that it's ok to be angry. How much depression could I have avoided if only I had realised that earlier? Last month I was very angry about something that happened to one of my clients at work, but actually it was right to be angry and although I couldn't do a lot about it, I reported the situation to my CEO who has blogged about the issue in the national news. This client had been treated appallingly and I was right to be angry on her behalf.

Occasionally in complete frustration with my kids I have stormed off for a five minute walk around the estate where I live - it's given me breathing time to stop myself totally blowing a gasket!!

It's taken me 44 years to realise that it's ok to feel negative emotions, that they are, after all, just part of being human and that pushing them away or ignoring them does not help at all.

I recently came across a wonderful little video about dealing with difficult feelings on Vimeo designed for children. Check out 'A Curious Look' by Helena Cameron.

How are you feeling today? If you're not feeling good, ask yourself why. Are you, like me, trying to be terribly British and ignore those negative feelings? Own them, feel them and see what you can learn from them.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Nick Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 6:46am

I feel that's a Wonderfully balanced view, of feeling all the bright emotions and all the dark ones. Over time this has helps me to understand me, a little bit better. It's only taken me 57 years to realise this, it's not just only OK to experience negative emotions, it's positively, positive! Nick xx

The Gardener Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:20am

Nothing to do with today's blog. I had an awful evening, very disturbed night, Mr TG in full tyrranical mode this a.m - then I opened yesterdays blog - and there, lovely replies to my rambling post - thank you so much, moodscopers. On childhood favourites - kids had Winnie the Pooh - read by famous actors. I can always hear Eye-Ore - when Tigger had eaten his thistle. In a deep baritone 'I was saving that for my birthday, but, after all, what are birthdays? Here today, gone tomorrow?' There was also a conversation yesterday about train sets - one of ours saving up £4 for a Hornby (had to be Hornby) Royal Scot engine.

Soulmansblue Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:30am

Hi TG, Hang in there. Sorry to here things are not going to well. Thinking of You SMB

Mary Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:32am

RG - So sorry to hear of your bad evening and disturbed night. Please know that you are as always in my prayers. And yes - love Eeyore!

Mary Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:32am

TG of course. Sorry!

danielle Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:36am

Morning TG I hope today gets better for you,, can you sneak off and put on a nice radio show with a hot drink ?x xxx

Leah Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 9:33am

Dear TG Glad you were cheered up a bit by our replies., I echo the others as I am thinking of you and am sorry to hear of your bad evening. I love the Winnie the pooh and do remember Bill and Ben the flowerpot men and little weeeeed!! I think pleasant memories help us to cope with the unpleasantness of the present. Keep on with those memories. “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."from winnie the pooh

Sally Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 10:16am

Hi Gardener. Ghastly situation you are in, and so alone most of the time. I have been in a similar situation albeit with a much younger person, and the sense of isolation is enormous. I can imagine that all your creative skills are stretched in dealing with all the challenges that are thrown up, and wonder whether there is any form of outreach worker you could have to give you a few hours for yourself. I know you are in France, but.. Just a thought. A fresh face is so welcome, as is a break!

susan Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 11:28am

TG, I often think of what you are dealing with and imagine that one of the hardest things is not knowing what the next moment is going to bring. It's like you're living with timed bombs positioned all over the house. You must be on red alert all the time, which is so completely draining in itself. A great testament to your strength, resourcefulness and intelligence that you are still able to function at all. On a positive note, the next moment can also bring unexpected pleasures and joys, sometimes in the smallest ways. Perhaps they are what save you. xx

Lou Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 12:51pm

Sorry to hear things are tough. Sending a supportive hug and thanks for making time to blog for us Moodscopers.

Anon Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 3:21pm


Anon Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 3:21pm

I wonder how people who take the risk to blog.....and be vulnerable - 'feel' about their blog being 'used' like a comments wall and nothing to do with their blog? It then moves the bog to that person's ownership and not the intended blogger. Respect? Integrity?

susan Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 5:26pm

Anon, I know what you're saying but......I think you'll find that most people who introduce or enter secondary chats here have addressed the blogger at another point on the page. And even if this isn't the case, it's all allowed here in this supportive community; the daily commentary is not the sole domain of the blogger. I would think, too, that often the blog has made people feel comfortable enough to reveal themselves and seek comfort and that can only be a good thing. xx

Anonymous Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:01pm

Well said Susan!

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:06pm

Hi Anon, Susan's right, the community is here to support everyone, no matter what their problem/comment. All are most welcome. Caroline

Mary Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:33am

Wise words, Brum Mum! I'll check out that video. (And - like you, my FB page is always up-beat - apart from the times I share my Moodscope posts and they are (like Wednesday's) not quite so positive.

danielle Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:37am

Thanks Brum Mum. I often struggle with these uncomfortable feelings of guilt and jealousy and bitterness. I don't mean to have them. Maybe i should try and ackowledge them and accept them rather than fighting them. A bit like our friend Andy Puddicombe says - observe them, dont focus but dont fight xxx

Anonymous Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:57am

Hi BrumMum
I bet you felt pleased that your CEO thought you were right about the client. That would give you oodles of confidence to trust your deep feelings in the future. It's not just feelings though is it; it's the certain knowledge based on logic and experience that you are right about something but it takes another person..with me confirm that you are right. All too often for whatever reason, we are not supported. So what a clever CEO to do what was right. I often feel angry and of course haven't felt able to express it in the past because I wasn't sure I was right. We suppress so much emotion, even positive, as we are all too aware of those around who might not approve!!
Thank you for this blog. It's made me think that I should trust how I feel and express it more. Julxx

Hopeful One Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:58am

Hi Brum Mum- Anger and its allies jealousy, envy are negative corrosive emotions which do us no good at all stimulating that ever ready one gear amgdala in our brain to dispense a squirt of harmful cortisol.. Any Puddicombe is absolutely right when he suggests observe then and let them pass.

Thank you Brum Mum and Danielle ( and all the others)for giving my yesterdays joke a thumbs up.

Here is my offering today .

A man goes into his son's room to wish him goodnight. His son is having a nightmare - asks his son if he is OK? The son says he was scared because he dreamt that Auntie Susie had died. The father assures him that Auntie Susie is fine and sends him to bed. The next day, Auntie Susie dies. One week later his son is having another nightmare that granddaddy had died. The father assures him that granddaddy is fine and sends him to bed. The next day, granddaddy dies. One week later his son is having another nightmare this time that he daddy had died. The father assures his son that he is OK. He goes to bed but cannot sleep because he is terrified seeing how accurate his son has been.The next day he drives very cautiously to avoid a collision,skips lunch to avoid food poisoning and remains jumpy throughout the day .He comes home at the end of the day and says his wife."I've just had the worst day of my entire life!" She says "You think your day was bad, the milkman dropped dead on the doorstep this morning."

susan Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 11:32am

hehehehehehe on that one, HO. xx

Lou Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 12:49pm

This make me squawk with laughter! thank you :)

Mary Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 2:23pm

Guilty snigger!

Wyvern Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 9:07am

I'm learning to acknowledge to myself what those feelings are, instead of squashing them down, denying them, and pretending things are all right when they're not. (Which is what I've done for as long as I can remember.) I'm finding that a lot of the time I don't have to express the feelings to others, but when I do, I try to be more explaining about it and not just shout or cry. My approach is, "When X happens, I feel Y, becasue of Z." Usually the person on the receiving end takes it better, but if they don't or can't, I reckon it's their problem, not mine, and I try not to take it personally.

LillyPet Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 9:15am

Morning BM,
I'm feeling ok today and am thankful for that.
It's so good when you feel that injustice kind of anger for others that drives you to take positive action.
The more personal stuff is harder to get a handle on, but definately can be unpicked.
Thankyou for a thought provoking blog and the inspiration to write one!

Thinking of you today TG and SMB
Warm hugs to All. LP xx

Anonymous Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 10:28am

Brilliant blog, BrumMum. Thank you for your insight. Go well.

susan Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 11:19am

Hi BrumMum, i agree with you and with so many of the comments above. I've found that if negative feelings are ignored, they will eventually either pop up in misplaced ways or in dreams. Often it is simple observation that clears them. But one way or another, they will demand to be acknowledged. So I figure it's best to nip them in the bud. But then, I haven't a shred of British stiff upper lip in me:) (husband and daughter sure do) so find this easier than some. If observing and acknowledging doesn't shift them, or I find myself focussing on them too much, I talk to a trusted friend and get another perspective. Isn't it fascinating the way we are made?? Thank you for your terrific blog. xx

Sheena Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 11:32am

BrumMum What an inciteful blog. It took me years to realise feelings are my own to own! It is just so very British to please those around one who continually declare their wants - whilst not recognising or realising ones own basic needs. Well done. Sheena

Lou Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 12:50pm

Excellent Blog BrumMum. I have just learned this too, about giving yourself permission to feel negative emotions. Scary and revelatory stuff!

The Gardener Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 1:50pm

'Storming off' and 'being angry'. Adults are supposed to have controlled that. The first is for teenagers - anger is difficult to treat, is it righteous? Flare up of the moment? I do what BrumMum does - different reasons, driven into hysterics and need to cool a situation. Our second son says 'avoid confrontation at all costs'. His first son, an absolute darling, as a toddler would 'go out of control'. I could, usually, calm him by stroking his head and neck and talking calmly, even when he was threshing about on the floor. His Dad has spent all his working life with orientals and arabs - if that does not teach you tact and self-control nothing will. Mr TG is angry against the whole world, has been for seven years when he lost the ability to drive and read - that anger is ONLY released on me - his upbringing won't allow his to 'let go' to anybody, even paid professionals. I am so lucky in that my anger can usually be dispelled in furious physical activity - rather hampered at the moment. In the 70's Mr TG had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown, never treated as I took over the reins of the company when he could not face it. We had loads of Sicilian workers, all doing piece-work, and most did not speak good Italian, let alone English. They were paid in cash on Friday afternoon - whereupon they would analyse their pay sheets (they could all deal with money, of course). One devilish middle-age guy gave me the greatest hassle. One day he accused me of starving his wife and children (next step to go for the wicked English government who wanted tax!) I was so furious I said I had five children and could not afford clothes (wearing a very scruffy sweater) I took his pay packet, threw it in a puddle and jumped on it - satisfactory. Scarier to deal with - the youngest of a family, extremely spoiled, pulled a knife on another worker. Despite any employment rules it was instant sacking. He then attacked his wife and was done for GBH - he came to me for a character reference, upset when I would not comply! Anger is a necessary outlet for everybody - healthy, not stored up and worked on. Yesterday's lunch was interesting - those of us who had very serious problems all found that as we left the house the 'mask', smile as well, was plastered on like make-up - we were all smart, another weapon in our armour . I am, at this moment, exceedingly smug on what I've achieved, just off to do church flowers. But very angry as well - absolutely useless - Mr TG in about 5 layers of clothes and all the heating. The anger is that it cannot be long before he becomes extremely physicaly dependent and I know I can't cope - no persuading, no logic, no outlet for this useless anger except in moaning - that's useless too, upsets me and alienates friends. Noticed Susan's British 'stiff upper lip' - I wonder how much depression/repression that has generated.

Mary Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 2:26pm

Oh TG - you always manage to make me laugh with your memories - I think we all feel we know you a bit now. I love the image of you jumping on this chap's pay packet!

The Gardener Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 8:24pm

Thanks Mary. Just one word gets me going - 'anger'. Lovely memory of one Saturday afternoon. We had a semi-gypsy family (the hierarchy was actual Romanies, travellers, Irish tinkers and 'pikies')working on the farm and living in the caravan. They all fancy themselves car menders - this one had an old Fiat 'CinqueCento' - he fiddled with it all the afternoon - then, in utter fury, went into the toolshed, got a 14 pound hammer, and demolished the car! It would have made a lovely silent movie.

Samantha Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 9:24pm

Thank you for this blog, it really struck a cord with me today as I've been fighting feelings of envy. Some events at work have led me to become jealous of the relationships some of my colleagues have with each other. I've felt embarrassed and cross with myself for feeling jealous, I'm a grown woman, a professional, I shouldn't have these feelings. I've tried to be rational - I can be quite aloof, introverted and not a great communicator so I'm not going be as popular as those outgoing, heart on their sleeves and chatty ones. I've never wanted close relationships with my work colleagues so why do I feel jealous?
Your blog has made me just accept what I feel without (too much) questioning. It's OK to feel jealous, it's not a nice emotion but it is how I feel. Experience has taught me that the feeling will become weaker in time and will eventually pass but whilst it's here I won't berate myself for 'feeling'.

Norman Fri, Feb 5th 2016 @ 9:24pm

TG hi! Would you mind taking more care in your choice of words? Most of the terms above are pejorative and intended to dehumanise the target in order to justify inhuman treatment of them. There was a recent fire which destroyed a traveller site in Dublin and 10 people died. It took weeks to find a temporary replacement site as residents of houses didn't want the surviving victims near them. Of relevance to this site is that I understand that depression and suicide among travellers is higher than among the general population.

Leah Sat, Feb 6th 2016 @ 12:25am

Brum mum,
Better late than never with my comment. Your blog is full of compassion and understanding. I think in Australia we have inherited a bit of the British stiff upper lip. Our take on it, is to say she'll be right mate. I once saw a family who and lost everything they owned in a bushfire and they said things could be worse, we are lucky to be alive, we are so lucky. Thanks again for giving us food for thought.

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