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My score is down – so what? Saturday April 1, 2017

You know the pattern, do the test, see your score, read that message that says something like "This is the way it is... feeling worse than you were the last time you took the test... better than your worst ever... below your average"

It would be great if we all had that special someone we could turn to when that score drops relentlessly down – I haven't, I thought I had but it didn't turn out like that.
I'm not saying that for anyone to be sorry for me, just simply a rather sad statement of fact.

So today my score was down – again!

So what?

I know I'm vulnerable: Moodscope confirmed how I felt, but I was maybe reluctant to admit to myself.

• I know that I must avoid people who are negative
• I know that I should keep active, ideally take some exercise
• I know that I should try to understand why

These actions are easy to understand and two of them pretty simple to do. That final one's much more tricky.

I can't speak for you, but my mind's sometimes a deep dark place. It's hard to understand something that you can't see, find hard to describe, can only feel. A feeling that you are being eaten up from the inside, going numb, looking inwards inside yourself. Being sucked down and down into the heart of a vortex of desperation.

Sometimes my understanding of why comes easily: some events that have triggered my feeling down. These times it is sometimes a case of getting the events in perspective.

It sounds defeatist, but most times I really can't fathom out why, so the best I can manage is to summon up all my strength, do those first two actions and wait...

For me exercise is often the best defence I have. It doesn't have to be a frantic run, just a gentle walk will often be enough. I've tried very hard for over a year now to do things that will make me happier with myself – maybe you have as well – losing weight, going to the gym, starting a running programme.

The problem is that it takes very little for all that effort to be squandered, procrastination to set in and all my horrible little inner gremlins to take my mind over.

Then I don't run, don't go to the gym, eat like a pig. That's today we are talking about.

That's where my Moodscope comes in, because when I do that test again tomorrow morning (I personally always try to do the test when I first get up) I get a measure of how I'm getting on beating those gremlins.

So today my score was down again.

I have written this blog hoping it may help someone else as well as (by writing it) helping myself. I'm going to the gym now – well I think I am, if procrastination doesn't win.

Moodscope shows me I can be much better, it's one day at a time. Wish me luck for tomorrow!

A Moodscope Member.

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

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Molly Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 5:02am

Hi David, it feels to me that you are pretty hard on yourself and I truly believe, (whilst it is good to fight off certain emotions), we sometimes have to accept the way we feel and go with it. The Moodscope test was used more by me when I was working and busy and not so aware of my feelings or where I was at. Now I have said that, I have only just realised it, but I don't believe it is a tool to try and beat the score, or do we feel quietly pleased if we do !! Like you I agree with not knowing why our moods change as they do and getting things into perspective is certainly one we all need to learn. But wouldn't we love those gremlins to go away !! Wishing you luck (as requested!) Molly xx

Paula Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 7:54am

Keep running David, even if it's only a short run it will make you feel better. Promise yourself you'll only do 10 minutes and I'm sure you'll find yourself doing more when you get out there. I'm about to take my own advice and head out for a run now! Good luck, Paula x

LP Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:01am

Hi David,
I can identify with so many of the things you've said. It's not that we don't know what to do, it's just doing it.
I can pretty much predict roughly where my scores will be too. I do believe the research that says the process of doing it is helpful in itself. You probably know that too!
I can clearly remember a specfic time when I was really low and couldn't work out why. It turned out to be physiological. It was years ago when I didnt know any better and had no carbs at all for far too long. My sister had read that it could be liked to low mood and my gp confirmed it. She said the brain needs carbohydrates, which I didn't know. Now when I m trying to eat healthily, I cut out the carbs that are't any good and have a little of the healthy ones.
I'm not saying that it could be that with you, but it I would guess that probably is something physiological if you can't figure out why. Perhaps you've already been down the gp route
Did the process of writing help at all, honestly? Reading it and responding has lifted me, so thank you!

Good luck for tomorrow. Wanting it to be a better day may help it to be so. Better to hope that you have a little control maybe?

Very best wishes to you and all looks like it's going to be a nice day in London and that always helps me a bit. LPxx

LP Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:02am

Typo "linked"

PInkwaterfairy Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:11am

Hi David
I hope you made it to the gym, but if you didn't, I hope yore not berating yourself. It's definitely "one day at a time". Wishing you good luck for tomorrow x

PInkwaterfairy Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:11am

"You're" not "yore" !

A View from the Far Side Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:22am

Hi David, I don't know how deep or dark these wells are that you sink into, but have you ever thought of just sitting with the feelings as you sink and not trying to understand or change them, but doing something alongside? As you gently touch the bottom, I don't know if that would help lessen their impact and help you rise again. Exercise is a pretty awesome way of dealing with things too, especially in the fresh air.

A View from the Far Side Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:22am

PS Good Luck

Adrian Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 8:35am

A very thought provoking blog David. You have identified the crux of the matter. The gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Using Moodscope to keep your eye on closing that gap makes good sence. It is one hell of a journey and I hope you get the most out of it.

AlieN Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:10am

I love pigs. They are beautiful, intelligent, loving creatures.

Jane SG Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:16am

Hi David, your second paragraph touched me. If not one special person then I hope you have people. I feel awful when I go into a dark place. When I return I wonder where I have been. Have a good day David x

Eva Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:51am

Hi David, you have some great tools in your toolbox. I use my routine to motivate me into action daily. On down days, I still use it but if I don't do everything as I usually do I don't beat myself up about it any more, these days I usually congratulate myself on managing some of the routine. And if I end up not going out and eating not so well one day, well so what? I can start again tomorrow, or even later that day...

I've been thinking about the down days, mine are often linked to emotional / mental exhaustion, once tired it's harder to stop the negative crap creeping in, but I'm aware of it now, so in that state I try to remember that and rest or distract myself with fun TV, books, nature.

I hope this helps, you are doing so well, feel proud of yourself.

The Gardener Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 11:14am

I DO Moodscope daily - as a 'milestone'. I used to do my diary (over thirty years now, fascinating stuff) after breakfast with my second cup of coffee. That discipline has gone, same with regular times to do Moodscope. This inevitably warps both exercises - my scores are always low, because the inevitably of never getting a job finished leaves the red cards with a low score and all the negative emotions at 'extremely'. I look at what I call the 'homily', but I have all the help I can get - only my inner strength (and ear-plugs, but they are potentially dangerous) will keep me from going mad (tears of rage already this morning) at the 'where are you' almost every minute. On the bright side, I get loads of exercise chasing things all over two houses. Work unfinished either means remembering where everything is or having two sets of everything. I do not WANT to be negative - I am depressed, not like you people above, but because I can no longer wake joyfully in the morning and say 'I'm going to do that today - and, moreover, enjoy it'.

Vickie Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 11:47am

Hi David,
Thanks for the timely blog. I was having one of those days yesterday. It was a sunny Friday with weekend plans with family and I just felt the darkness settling in out of no where. In the past I would spend hours trying to figure out why, making myself feel worse. Instead last night I went for a walk, had a bath and went to bed early. This morning I am planning another walk and the heaviness inside has lightened a bit. Fresh air and exercise will get me through this slump.
Sending you best wishes as you work your way through your slump.

The librarian Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 12:18pm

You describe the darkness so well, David. Keep going and be gentle - try not to turn exercise into self-punishment.

I keep trying to keep in mind that all shall pass, and tomorrow is another day. And I was advised by an octogenarian sage yesterday to let go and to live moment by moment.

All the best and take good care of yourself.

Becky Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 7:11pm

I don't think knowing why is always possible, or necessary. Sometimes our mood plummets in relation to a trigger, and after that happens a few times we learn to deal differently with that trigger. But sometimes it just happens, or happens because of something tiny and unnoticeable that somehow had more power than you would expect. Sometimes we do just get depressed. We want to tidy everything up by identifying cause and effect, but life is often more messy than that. And maybe, the not having someone to share it with is a part of it?

But whether or not we know why, what we need to do for ourselves and the help we need from others is broadly the same each time - and a bit different for all of us. If you have a stash of tools at your disposal which have helped a bit sometimes, you can get to know which of them to pull out when. Knowing why is not always in your toolbox, but other tools are. Sounds like you know what works for you, and doing Moodscope makes you face the numbers and know you need to start using them. Sounds like you have a good system there.

Simon Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:32pm

Hi David, I am so totally relating to your blog today. Yesterday and today were my lowest Moodscope scores in over two years. Thank you for posting.

Jane SG Sun, Apr 2nd 2017 @ 7:42am

Hi Simon, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling so low. I hope you start to pick up a little soon.

The Gardener Sun, Apr 2nd 2017 @ 10:54am

Also sorry, Simon - one has to grab on to, however difficult it is 'this too shall pass'

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