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June


Mr Fixit. Wednesday June 21, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2tq88O2]

Just round the corner from the house by the sea where we spend our summers, lived – until his death last year – Bob.

Bob was a real character: everyone knew Bob. He had lived in the area all his life and in that house for most of it. When the big floods came a few autumns ago he refused to evacuate as ordered. "I didn't move for Hitler," he grunted. "I ain't moving for some jumped up snotty nosed council official. That tide won't come over the wall, I tell you!" He was proved correct in this forecast and he stayed dry that night.

Bob could do anything and fix everything and he always had the right tools. Your drains were blocked? Bob had the drain-rods and he'd help you with that smelly job. That funny shaped and rusty bolt that needed to come out? Bob would have, not only the right size spanner, but the grinder to cut it off when the bolt proved too rusty to shift. The electricians who delivered your new oven refused to connect it because the electricity supply was somehow inadequate? Bob would remind you he was a qualified electrician and connect it all up for you. Bob is very much missed indeed.

They say a bad workman always blames his tools. Well, Bob always had the right tools for the job, and was always willing to lend them out. He always had the right spare part – or a spare part he could fiddle with until it was a clone for the right part.

He suffered with depression after his wife died. I asked him how he had dealt with it. He thought for a moment and then lifted his glass to me. "Long walks by the sea," he said. "Long talks with my sons and my sister. Long evenings with a bottle of wine."

I'm not sure about that last one, but I was remembering Bob today and thinking about all the tools we can use when our soul's dwelling is attacked by those terrible twins Anxiety and Depression.

Exercise should probably be the first tool we reach for. A brisk walk in the open air is good medicine for nearly everything (except possibly pneumonia). Some people find team sports lift their spirits (I can't think of anything more calculated to depress mine, but each to their own). Some like solitary running or swimming.

If we can't take exercise for any reason we must look at other tools. Meditation can calm things down and buoy things up. Mindfulness can quieten the screaming squirrels in your brain.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and TAT (Look up Tapas Fleming on You Tube) can help some.

A support network (family and friends) is vital - if maybe difficult to maintain.

Gardening, craftwork and pets can all help.

You will have your own tools and it would be great if you would share them with us in the comments.

We too can be Mr or Ms Fixit.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

LP Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 7:15am

Hi Mary,
I loved your description about Bob. What a lovely lasting tribute to him.
Many people will have known a Bob.
There's a quiet confidence about him getting the toolbox out and sorting it.

I've realised it is about getting the right tool for the job. The right tool for me that is.
I've tried walking when I've been highly anxious a couple of times and been disappointed that it didn't help.
What I probably needed at that time was CALMING. Or SLEEPING it off.

Going for a walk helps me to get a break from being in a "to do list" rut.
A me-time treat.
WALKING also makes me feel good about having achieved something that is good for me. Even a short walk does the trick. It's always lovelier than I thought it would be too.
DISTRACTION is a great tool.
MINDFULNESS Gently bringing my mind back to the moment and really looking listening and using my senses has helped me enormously too.
Thanks to you and Bob :) for an inspiring blog Mary. Love and light to you and all. LP xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm

Often I need to sleep too!

Sal Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 8:23am

What a beautifully written blog Mary. I used to love Alastair Cooke's 'Letter from America' on radio 4, partly because of the subtle way he would start with a homely anecdote and then weave it into one of the big issues of the day, making the issue suddenly much more accessible. Hats off to you who have that skill too.

One of my indispensable supports is co-counselling (see www.co-counselling.info). Why? Because it gives me a place where I can voice what's troubling me, for free, without involving my family and friends. I might choose to do that as well, if appropriate - but perhaps the issue is actually about them! It lets me not only voice an issue, but follow its thread further until I can find what underlies it. That may be a different feeling from the one I started with, or an incident I'd forgotten about. And all for free! (except that I need to exchange an equal amount of time with my listening buddy).

I guess this falls under your heading of a support network. And this one isn't so hard to maintain. I can use it when I want / need to, and leave it when I don't. It will still be there when I come back to it, because it's a wide network and doesn't depend on me having to cultivate a personal connection. The co-counselling approach is connection enough. It would be great (IMO) if more people would try it!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:43pm

Thank you so much for comparing me to Alistair Cooke. What a compliment. I too loved listening to his "letter from America".

Eva Thu, Jun 22nd 2017 @ 8:56am

How interesting I shall look into co counselling. Thanks Sal.

Diane Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 8:26am

Walking helps me too looking at the trees, clouds and listening for the sounds. Another way to look at this is other people probably look at us as you look at Bob, Mary, a person to go to when in need. We all have skills that we dismiss easily, I know I do.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:33pm

Indeed. We rarely value ourselves as ae do others.

Sue Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 10:30am

Always love your Wednesday blogs Mary, people like Bob are wonderful to know. My neighbour is one of them and loves helping anyone. My personal pick-me-up is painting. I am no good at it, but it totally absorbs me so I stop worrying about anything else for a few hours.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:35pm

Thank you Sue. I have my papercrafting. I like to make beautiful birghday cards, thank you, just thinking of you cards. Once in the zone everything else disappears.

Vickie Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 12:56pm

Hi Mary,
What a wonderful tribute to Bob.
Walking in nature always picks me up. Yoga always centers me. And music...sometimes a simple song can lift my spirits and the next thing I know I am dancing around my kitchen...this is when I know the darkness is passing. But that "right" song changes frequently so it's not as easy as it sounds:)
Thanks for sharing today.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:35pm

Dancing round the kitchen is good!

Orangeblossom Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 2:16pm

Hi Mary, thanks for the blog which I loved reading. Currently am going through a deep valley and am experiencing flatness. I know that I shall emerge the other side eventually and will just have to take a day at a time. I love looking at trees as I trudge home from my visit to town.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:36pm

Ah, thinking of you, OB.

The Gardener Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 2:17pm

Hello Mary, my only tools are support network, gardening and craftwork. But I do have a 'Bob' really 'just' a painter and decorator, but knowing my 'plight' he'll wander round the house putting things right and in particular putting in things like safety rails. This morning we had a lovely market morning (far too hot for anybody) but we crowded under one umbrella and yelled greetings across the road. This was accompanied by Mr G yelling for attention from inside, with me cringing from time to time, he now considers he has a RIGHT to be rude to anybody and everybody. One friend seriously suggested prayer - not one of my Catholic mates. One of her daughters had a stroke at 32 - they thought she would die when she had another aneurysm - they prayed, she came through, although the doctors had told them to expect her death at any moment. She is still weak down one side, can hardly walk and often in pain (now 38) but she does marvellous art work, and the Internet is her link with everything. I said I found praying difficult, especially 'asking' God to sell my house, materialistic. But my friend explained, cogently, that shortage of money is making coping with Mr g much more difficult, so I'm not praying for money, but the means to make life better for us both. I do suffer two 'd's', despair and defeat, but not depression - and if I pray at all it is for courage and, more and more, not to lose my humanity. One 'tool', in short supply, is a few minutes without being called for. Last night, on my terrace, there seemed to be more swifts than ever, flying very low, presume insects were low - and the blackbird seemed to be singing his bed-time song more beautifully than ever - perhaps a rehearsal for the Fete de la Musique tonight. Thanks Mary for listing the 'tools for the job'.

Sean Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:49pm

If you love birdsong, "Lark Ascending" by Vaughan Williams is a piece created to emulate it in an emotional way :)

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:38pm

Oh, I am with you on your terrace in the twilight with your swifts. Sending supportive thoughts your way.

The Gardener Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 9:44pm

The swifts have bowed to competition, terrific jam session on drums to finish an evening full of music (all floats up to our terrace) and a day packed with friends

Sean Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:09pm

Music and musical instruments are a godsend when emotions are a struggle. You build a relationship and rapport with your intstrument of choice: over time, you begin to anticipate and understand. It's extremely rewarding if you work hard on it. Not only does it open a new musical avenue for you, but will in the process teach you about why music is as it is.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm

What a lovely comment Sean. I do not play a musical instrument, but I have sung with some good choirs and know what you mean. Music can indeed soothe the troubled breast.

Sean Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:47pm

I think everyone should attempt to learn a "classical" instrument, cause it does sometimes give you something to live for. I remember once I was in a dark place, and I played the 2nd movement of the poulenc flute sonata, written by the first openly homosexual composer, about regret, pain and loss, but in an almost peaceful and serene manner. My teacher always likedned it to a lone swan floating down a river. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOqCLj1RJG0 The ability to perform a piece close to how you feel, or opposite to how you feel (light and cheeky) - such as this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl9yN4MMmXw can totally manage your mood in a miraculous way.

Sean Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 5:50pm

It's never too late to start if you wanted to!! Often you can get 2nd hand instruments under 30 pound nowadays, made of carbon fiber. :)

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 6:40pm

Mine instrument would be the piano, Sean. My mother gave me a nice one to help me out of depression, but is played only by my children at present. My aunt at 80 is learning piano. I shall take my inspiration from her. And I will listen to those pieces you shared.

Garry Fri, Jun 23rd 2017 @ 10:16pm

I would like to play the piano, just one song to start, all my life's a circle by Harry chapin, going through a rough down patch, no motivation but spend hours trying to get a neghbours lid ill soweing to work but to no avail, had some people look at it o wed but no luck so gave up and gave it back to my neghbour, made dinner for my mum & I. Anyway sorry for mouthing off

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 8:20pm

Sean, it's taken me some days, but I am listening to that flute piece you sent. Yes - a swan! (And did you read my blog "The unbearable Whiteness of Swans"? -1st March). Oh, and that second one has John Rutter's fingerprints all over it! He is always a joy to sing and it sounds like a joy to play too. This is new to me as I only know his choral works. Thank you for introducing it to me! My darling friend Raz is an extremely accomplished musician (among his many talents) and he has introduced me to many pieces too. I'm always grateful to people who so generously do this.

Sinead Wed, Jun 21st 2017 @ 10:35pm

Thanks for ur lovely blog Mary, reading, music, sleep and talking with friends are my most useful tools.

Eva Thu, Jun 22nd 2017 @ 9:14am

Hi Mary, replying late... I always like Wednesdays because of your blog and sometimes your blog reminds me that it is a Wednesday! We had a Harry, he practically rebuilt our house, he always turned up when fresh coffee was being made, and typically when my brother and I had been left on our own (although he was never asked, he would turn up and then rail at us about how it was illegal to leave children on their own, and then stay until mum came back) he was like a crotchety old uncle to us, and we loved him. Happily he was able to come to my wedding, put he passed away quite a few years ago now, he is missed, when he was in his 90's my husband and I used to write to him about our DIY efforts successes and failures and he used to respond with tips.

My list is very similar to LP's, add to that - good nutrition, yoga to stretch me out (I have tension in my back after many hours of painting), sleep, painting, good books, radio and podcasts, seeing my friends, counselling and finally I think Moodscope is also a great tool to remind me to look through and use my tools, maybe it's the tool box!

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