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Market Research – pigeon holing. Friday June 9, 2017

I re-read my blog on 'The Empty' chair, and was again overwhelmed by the response. Another blog was on 'labelling' mental illness. I looked back over recent blogs and found the subject matter so wide, despite the basic premise of a system to help with depression. Shelley might have covered the subject: 'Lift not the painted veil which those who live call 'Life'.

The 'easiest' to name are those actually diagnosed as 'bi-polar', it IS recognised, there ARE treatments, the choice is stark – level yourself out with strong medication and forego the 'highs and lows'.

Then there is 'just' depression. Coming unannounced, debilitating, risking relationships, making any normal life a challenge – being taken for malingering, just a plain misery – difficult to treat, time-consuming, expensive, holding down a job and trying to keep a 'normal' face, exhausting. The worst hurdle seems to be getting anybody to listen at all, and then hope treatment, any treatment, will be available.

Self-esteem, being beholden, grateful, feeling of no worth, that your input, in family, work, voluntary work, does not really matter, or get noticed. Retirement, being on the 'scrap heap'. Yesterday's blog (8th June) is on 'boundaries' and people struggling with a wide range of emotions and relationships.

Only recently the Moodscope team has accepted blogs which deal with suicide – previously un-published, regarded as depressive in itself, but the fact that many depressed people will have these 'black ideas' (French description) means it needs airing.

'Treatments' get a good airing: the 'meds', counselling, mindfulness, yoga, psychotherapy – and always, the challenge of being listened to, and appointments with doctors.

Then there are 'one off' people – or, of course, they may have chosen another pseudonym to broach another subject.

And, for me, a weird sort of 'stress' generated by bloggers and posters when they 'disappear', Bear currently. We are free agents, Moodscope is a forum, we do not have to report in. But I don't think I am alone in hoping they are OK, that Moodscope has done its job, and not that they have gone 'downhill' and cannot even ask for support and comfort here?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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the room above the garage Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 6:32am

Hello TG, I love when you write, it's full and vivid. I'm just sticking my head to to say hello should anyone be concerned over me. I'm reading the blogs daily but have over committed myself with volunteering and school commitments have gone up two gears hence my lack of writing and replies. Currently feeling queasy with tiredness so o need to watch it doesn't pull me down, but I'm so far o...k...mainly. Thank you for the blog today. May France bring you warm summer air today and I wish for you a smile from Mr TG. Love ratg xx.

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:30pm

RATG - it sounds as if you are one of those who can't say 'no'. France nice today, Mr TG does not do smiles, unfortunately. Take 5 - or several 5's!

Sarah Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 6:32am

Would it be possible/a good idea, for Moodscope to have a live chat forum?

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:33pm

I get confused with 'on line' is what we are doing not 'chatting'. I do it with telephone engineers, in French - but of course they tap the reply straightaway

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:25pm

Live chat, is instant chat, being on line at the same time and chatting with instant responses from others. I don't personally think it is a good idea. I like the way I can log on here as and when I feel like it with limited confrontation.

Mary Wednesday Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:03am

Thought-provoking blog, as always from you. As a regular contributor, and, furthermore, one who is lucky enough to be able -it seems- to write on any subject under the sun (but what about black holes in space? Good point - that's the next blog sorted, then), I wonder if some kind of schedule might be useful, so we may be sure of covering a wide range of issues. The random approach seems to have worked so far, but it's an interesting question, as to whether the blogs should be organised. One to which I don't have an answer.

Another Sally Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:35am

Good morning Mary W, I feel that these blogs have it about right and perhaps a schedule would make it too regimental. The contributors write about what inspires them on a particular day and Caroline - and a team?- read the blog and decide what to publish. To establish a topic and ask someone to write in about it could impose a constraint on the wonderful free flowing ideas of the writers. As you,have put it so well above, a word sparks an idea and someone is inspired to write on that topic. I look forward to your piece on black holes ;)

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:34pm

I think your suggestion has been answered, Mary - no organisation

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:27pm

I agree, it is much more interesting to have a surprise blog.

Becky Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 5:12pm

Oh no, please not. The thing that has definitely improved for me since Jon moved on (much as I loved his posts too) is that we don't get that 'oh, it's Wednesday so we're going to read about being involved in something bigger than ourselves again' feeling. I love that the posts are all different and there is not just a recurring list of a handful of themes that keep getting rehashed in different ways. A schedule would prohibit originality. Someone with a groundbreaking new insight or approach could be among us but just not write it down because there's no category for it!

Jane SG Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:24am

Dear Gardener, yes I wonder if people are ok when they are quieter. I the full range of topics. Sending hugs to all today. To all those who commented on yesterday's blog, a big thank you. I have now replied to each one. Hope all Moodscopers have a good a day as possible xxx

Jane SG Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:24am

Sorry 'I like the full range!'

Pennie-Lynn Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:27am

Unfortunately, taking medication for bipolar disorder does not guarantee that you can forego the highs and lows. For me, bipolar is still everything you describe as "just depression": disabling, requiring vast energies, episodes coming without warning or reason, no chance of a normal life.

Lacey Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:06pm

I agree Pennie-Lynn, sometimes I wonder if the meds do anything..... Apart from the depression which is as you describe I struggle with chronic anxiety although I don't have a diagnosis. Results in agrophobia although I feel no better staying at home. Sending you and all wishes of hope Lacey x

Another Sally Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 7:46am

Dear TG, I always look for your comments to see how your days is going. I think of you in France and your beautiful garden. Thank you for a thoughtful blog. I realise that people do not have to check in each day, but love to see familiar names crop up and hear how they are getting on.
I have a family member with Borderline Personality Disorder (can't remember the new title it has) and am finding it very hard to understand the mood swings and withdrawn person under my roof. None of the 'usual' remedies for even temporary relief seem to be being followed. I see poor diet, no fresh air or exercise, constant watching tv on a laptop - it would make me depressed, but I cannot say anything, so will spout it all to my therapist and otherwise hold my tongue. Any BPD sufferers out there with a view to give?
Another Sally

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:37pm

We have a nephew, now 63, who has had mental problems since he was 13 - not deficient, just weird - he's never done a thing in his life. If he is with the family he will just sit and stare - answers if spoken to, but it is awful to live with

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:32pm

Hi Gardener. I am surprised that you call someone with mental problems 'weird' and 'never done a thing in his life'. It is a very difficult thing to live with for family and friends (if you have any friends) but it is an ALMIGHTY difficult thing to live with for the person suffering.

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:40pm

Another Sally, I am a BPD sufferer (the new title is Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). It is hell for the sufferer to live with. Believe me, by holding your tongue with the mood swings is the best thing you can do (I know how hard it must be). If anyone turns against me after an outburst I will feel the worst person in the entire world, because I cannot help it and it is not me. If someone says to me "don't worry, I know that wasn't you" I want to hug them forever.

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:44pm

When I say 'hug' that is not literal as I mainly push people away as much as I can, physically and emotionally, but I am grateful that they know that deep down I am a good person and if I 'attacked them' I didn't mean it. Our minds are wired up differently.

Hopeful One Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 8:02am

Hi Gardner-thank you for a well written comprehensive blog highlighting topics we Moodscopers discuss on this forum. I too sometimes wonder where a regular contributor has 'disappeared'. I am afraid I am guilty of that but usually for a good reason like trying to complete my 2500 word essay( just completed) for my night school or revising for an exam which I have flunked twice.I am resitting it on Tuesday- I know my stuff when its 2+2 =4 but the exam I am sitting is like 2+2 =?. Please do not stress yourself if we 'disappear'-often there is a simple explanation.

And laugh when I can ...Warning: this joke has adult content which some may find offensive.

A pretty 21 year old girl meets a large, powerfully built bodybuilder at a bar. After a number of drinks, they agree to go back to his place.
The body builder takes off his shirt, and while doing so, he exclaims, “Boom!”
The girl says, “What a great chest you have!”
He tells her, “That’s 100 lbs of dynamite, baby!”
He then rips off his pants, once again yelling, “Boom!”
The girl is impressed and says, “My, what massive calves you have!”
The body builder tells her, “That’s 100 lbs of dynamite, baby.”
He then rips off his underwear, and exclaims “Boom!”
The girl collects all her belongings and runs out of the apartment.
The bodybuilder puts his clothes back on and chases after her. He catches up to her and asks her why she ran out of the apartment like that.
The girl replies, “I didn’t want to be around with all that dynamite when I saw the small fuse!”

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:40pm

Hi HO, glad you are with me in subjecting yourself to the torture of exams. I did an MA in Computer Applications for Historians, in 9 months, 'A' level statistics thrown in. Had to have two goes - but it paid off in what followed afterwards. When I did my first degree (over 50) there were two more mature students - they could NOT take exams, became ill

Orangeblossom Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 8:29am

I like the spontaneous element of Moodscope blogs which are always inspiring & thought provoking. At the moment I am reeling at the election results but not distressed. It will take me a little time to regain my emotional equilibrium about the local outcome.

Carol Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:05am

I'm also got the label Bipolar also PMSD for me the medication doesn't always work. The lows are debilitating which bring on the nightmares the doom and gloom feels it's not worth living. The highs oh yes the feel great factor I can do anything let's forget the dangers I put myself in..What can happen I feel like Super Women... the devastating I leave behind the debris the guilt the shame that has to be cleaned up ..normally by my niece I'm lucky she doesn't ever condem me but I see the hurt and frustration in her eyes. A grown woman that has to be watched monitored. Suicide that's often on my mind do I react to those thoughts ..the tormented voice. I'm ashamed to say yes.. I tried to stop these what a month ago found unconscious hospitalised...Angry confused ... Am I lucky that family have a key and check up on me the time I don't feel that ..
I'm now on the normal level whatever normal is now dreading the next episode hopefully not. Take your meds is not always the answer feel like a Zombie you'll feel better once they're in your system great doctors words . A magic pill no such thing it can always be changed increased etc.. Rely on them ..hope ? Cognitive therapy ..counselling..then your left on the scrap heap discarded with a leaflet for the crisis team information for the walk in mental health clinic .. I feel at that time it's patronising a pat on the back your all better now
On a brighter note I'm normal now
Enough of me waffling on.
I wish and hope we all find that inner peace love to each and everyone x

Melanie Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 10:30am

Dear Carol, I find what you say so real and touching. Thank you so much for sharing. Lots of love and inner peace to you too. xo

LP Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:08am

Hi TG,
It's so good to raise the things that many of us are thinking but haven't really expressed.
Yes sometimes I hope that when people are off radar that it's often that they're reading but not commenting, or busy and have stuff going on but are ok. Sometimes they may be going through stuff.
Sometimes in the past I've thought of saying that I won't be around because x or y then all the reasons why not thankfully step in to stop me!
Then yes, if I ask after others, I hope that I haven't put pressure on them to comment or write!
It's about me being maybe a bit too sensitive about other's feelings. Probably, most people are ok and often feel free to say if they're not.
I seem generally to have to think through the unwritten social stuff about appropriateness that seems to come naturally to others. It's the boundaries thing, potentially crossing others as well as protecting our own.
It's good thing that Moodscopers has a community feel about it and I think that it's fine just to say "hope x is doing ok/thinking of you" type things as they occur to us.

LP Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:10am

Sorry, forgot to say hugs you and Moodscopers TG, thanks for a great blog. LPxx

Jul Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:49am

Thank you for your reply yesterday LP. Kindred spirits we are! Julxx

Jul Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:37am

What a beautifully written blog Gardener. One of the best if not the best description of the almost insurmountable difficulties those with depression face. I would hope that those regulars who suddenly stop commenting might email Caroline to let her know all is ok. I am sure Caroline would do what is best to find out too. I think with mental illness, one shouldn't worry about putting pressure on anyone if they haven't commented for a while or to let us know that all is ok or not. It's caring and being kind. I am of the opinion that we should make our fellow moodscopers aware we are thinking of them from time to time and please would they get in touch if only to say.."still here". Good to hear from ratg today! I think we should have blog asking where everyone is. I wrote one once, can't remember when. I could do another one but not today! Been up all night watching the general election coverage. zzzz Julxx PS A big hug and massive thanks Gardener for your blog today. May you go well.

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:54am

So much brilliant common sense above. I am surely Caroline and the team are constantly watching the workings of Moodscope. NEVER would I suggest a 'theme' or writing to a subject. It is obvious from many blogs that they have been written in great distress - probably with great courage to do it at all - and that one hopes that the comfort and support from subsequent posts make it worthwhile. Mary, Wednesday, had a good laugh at my 'stream of consciousness' comparing it to a rambling rose. Having the blog today is great, only wrote it yesterday. People I only know vaguely e-mailed to say they will all re-visit in August. I feel this friendship deeply. Need it. What a morning. The election awful for us - indecision (awful for all, really) sliding pound = reduced income - less chance of selling house - Mr G sliding into childish, self-pitying dependency - awful to cope with. Then, probably not noticed, Qatar is causing ructions in the United Emirates - one of our sons is in a senior position in Abu Dhabi, another worry for HIS future. Jul, I usually sit up all night, when realised no likely outcome before morning went to bed - for a virtually party political broadcast from Mr G - he would not make much more of a mess of running a country than the current incumbents! Sun IS shining, and my 'annexed' garden has loads of raspberries and wild strawberries. Have a nice day y'all, xxx

Charlie Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 10:14am

Beautiful analysis, agree with others that random blogging is good - we're all too regulated in daily life, and the sheer variety of Moodscope blogs is in itself refreshing, supportive and challenging.

Melanie Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 10:45am

Thank you for the very good blog. I have this thing of - do I belong? Have I the right to be here? Am I depressed? Might I say something that sends someone who is truly depressed off the rails? Am I on subject with what I am saying in a blog? So I think your blog was right on point - is this only for people with true "depression" - what does that mean? Guess if I am here I am meant to be here. 2 days ago, I had a day where I was tired and then simply depressed, miserable, disheartened - no interest in anything. Other times I feel very anxious. I spend my time finding all sorts of new ways to address these feelings and most of the time I find this endeavour very hope-giving and inspiring. I noticed that the day after my really depressed day I felt more in myself and more creative/happy and sometimes I think (usually only afterwards) that depression is an incubation of great things. I think in terms of recovery - I have been going to Al Anon meetings for just over a year now and found them and the readings very helpful, I wonder about going to Adult Child of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families meetings (none near me). So many things help. Al Anon is where the term "progress not perfection" came from and there is another one "take what you like and leave the rest". Recently I listened to a Hay House World Summit interview with Sandy Newbigging - I may do a blog on it - he says we have conflict because we resist life - we resist what we don't want and are attached to what we do. If we can identify instead with the inner still place which is unchanging - he calls this our self awareness - being aware of the self that is aware - rather than our ever changing emotions then we do not get stuck resisting an emotion. Because whenever we resist something we get stuck to it - what we resist persists. So I find myself saying not "I am depressed, I am tired" but "I am willing to experience feeling depressed." "I am willing to experience feeling tired." "I am also willing to experience feeling peaceful and happy and energised." Well I may do a blog on this to explain it more fully - I have found it helpful. I have gone on too long - I like Carol's wish: Love and inner peace to everyone.

Molly Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 3:33pm

Melanie, I agree that when coming out of depression, it can feel like we are happier, appreciate things more etc, I guess that's where the highs and lows come into force. Sounds like you are good at finding coping strategies. Molly xx

Leah Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 10:49am

I love you writing, your anecdotes, your humour and your determination.
However I have a confession to make but I don't really understand your blog . I know people have written great comments so I realise I must be slow. I agree about thinking about names that come and then go.
I am not sure what your paragraph about bipolar means. Diagnosis for bipolar can take many decades . I am not sure what 'easiest' refers to.
If someone can explain to silly me, I would appreciate it.
I agree about the many different topics we have had in a week or two, topics included suicide, plastic lids, horses,librarians, grief , abba songs , feelings and lots more.

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 11:02am

Hello Leah - sorry if blog confusing - it was a quick 'troll' through recent blogs and the range of subjects covered - I realize descriptions of bi-polar and depression are too pat and trite - but many were taken from actual blogs by people suffering those disorders. I think there are so many 'famous' 'well-publicized' people who are bi-polar one gets the ideas it is easily diagnosed - wrong. And your last paragraph is the essence of 'Moodscope' and the width of subjects. Thank you

Leah Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 11:26am

Thanks gardener, I am easily confused. I like the idea that every day I have no idea what the topic will be and except for Mondays and Wednesdays I dont know who the blogger will be.

Kelly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 1:05pm

I personally think that it absolutely needs airing. My therapist was telling me on Tuesday that I might struggle with suicidal thoughts for the rest of my life...and I can't think that's unusual for people who suffer from any kind of mood disorder. Therapy does help, medication does help, friends and family help, exercise helps...lots of things help but I still have those kind of thoughts, that's just part of my reality.

I know there is a fear when people stop posting on these types of forums...there's always going to be that fear. One of the unfortunate things about mental illness is that sometimes it proves terminal.

Molly Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 6:44pm

Hi Kelly, mental illness is usually terminal. Once you have it, I don't believe there is any way out of it, it might come and go but in the main, it is, as you say, just a case of finding ways of coping with it. People have said to me 'but so and so got over it' but that is more along the lines of people who are reacting to a bad situation or a bereavement for example. It is not the same thing. My general circumstances are not great at the moment, but I would cope alot better if I did not have these constant demons in my head. One feeds the other and I know I should be stronger but my mental illness doesn't allow me to xx

The Gardener Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 4:48pm

Started replying, but Mr G back from respite, very difficult in the evenings. Kelly, you're right about 'airing' - twice, when absolutely desperate, and too late to phone anybody, I tried to phone French SOS - recorded message 'overwhelmed'!! My friend whom I've been propping up for 30 years (plus an army of medics, helpers, quacks) is now in psychiatric care, I think - she was never actually diagnosed with depression - just seemed not to cope - yet she had everything, money, good looks, travel - like this whole subject, unfathomable.

Molly Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 6:56pm

But Gardener, it is not about money, good looks and travel is it. It is an illness !! It surprises me slightly, as Mr G has Alzheimers, does that not give you a better understanding of mental health issues? Surely Alzheimers is a mental health issue? I could win the lottery, it would not take my problems away that I have to deal with daily. Would winning the lottery take away Mr G's Alzheimers? No it wouldn't. I sympathise fully about what you have to cope with as I have had experience of it but I am quite angry about your views on mental health. There are also many many people that have not been diagnosed. It is not the 'be all and end all' if someone has a diagnosis."Not diagnosed, just couldn't cope". Can you tell me the difference then, between someone who cannot cope and is in psychiatric care - to someone who has mental illness?

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 9:57pm

Hi Gardener, I suffer with depression every day, some days are better than others yes. Circumstances for me, are not helping at all at the moment, but my illness is clinical. I know however, I will have this for the rest of my life. It is no life. The added diagnosis of BPD, which I only got the diagnosis years after (thought I had it, but we go back to labels), finally explained to me that I am not 'weird' and if I don't want to do anything then 'it is okay'. I worked all my life up to two years ago. It was not easy by any means. But I managed it. Now I might have given up the fight, but deep down, I will never give up as I want to be 'normal' and I will hopefully at some stage, strive to try and lead a better life than I have now.

With regard to people who disappear on here. I often want to disappear in real life, and I think maybe the same applies to, for instance, Moodscope. I think some people just want to lay down low, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently. Sometimes I feel completely paranoid and wonder why I have ever said a comment or written a blog and want to hide away. I guess it goes with the territory of mental illness and I don't think it is possible sometimes to pop up and say 'by the way I am fine' because one is too busy just trying to survive.

Leah Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 11:41pm

Molly, I really found your last sentence to be very insightful. It so true that often'one is too busy trying to survive.'

Molly Fri, Jun 9th 2017 @ 11:55pm

Thanks Leah, it makes me feel better for having a ramble xx

Molly Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 12:28am

Rightly or wrongly, I do not feel that anyone should be judged for their behaviour. Everyone behaves in the way that they do for a reason. I have a niece with difficulties. Their parents do not understand it at all, they are constantly 'fighting' with her. It is not the answer. Mental health is not understood and it saddens me greatly - but I fear I am rambling again. Her parents cannot accept that she is 'different' and have done everything to make her 'normal'. I dread to think what her future holds. I have spent too much time trying to tell them. I have run out of steam as they cannot hear me.

Becky Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 5:02pm

Ouch! As someone with bipolar can I say that the stark choice you outline - take meds and forgo the highs and lows - doesn't exist for most, if any of us. Mostly the meds are palliative, they treat the symptoms - to some extent and given time - when they turn up. We can't just take the meds and be fine for the foreseeable future. For some people mood stabilisers work well enough, for others they just don't. And, we can do everything 'right' in terms of taking the meds, doing the self management, and still get ill. Being high is truly unpleasant (understatement!) after the first initial bit. If I could forgo them, and the lows, I would without hesitation. I don't have that option.

Molly Sat, Jun 10th 2017 @ 6:34pm

Hi Becky. There is no 'cure' is there. If there were we would all be well and stable. I have decided the meds are not working for me and have stopped taking them (been on several over the years with different outcomes and different side effects). When I come out of a depression, I can feel pure relief and life seems slightly enjoyable again but if I go on a manic high, it scares me, so I can relate to what you are saying. Molly xx

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