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Navigating Grief with Moodscope. Tuesday March 1, 2016

It's six years this March since my much-loved husband died of suicide, after a long and brave fight against severe mental illness. It's five years since someone who'd also lost a loved one to suicide, recommended Moodscope. A recent blog by Mary on that topic made me want to start sharing my thoughts and experiences from my perspective when my husband was alive and also since he died. In this first blog though, I wanted to write about how Moodscope helped me through my grief.

I remember taking the test for the first time the day of my husband's inquest and how it dropped from 40% to 21% the day after, as the adrenaline rush that had got me through disappeared. Looking back over that first year of Moodscope, I can see how I tracked up and down like a yo-yo from a low of 20 to a high of 100.

It wasn't that I did the score every day, as is recommended, but when I did and wrote something down, it was incredibly helpful just being able to put that thought somewhere so I could carry on with my day. I would also discuss it with my counsellor. It wasn't until 2.5 years after his death that the grief started to even out and my own peaks and dips took over, which were rarely as deep or, thankfully, as high (the day I got 100% I thought, Oh No, the only way is down).

These days I rarely do the test, but I love reading the daily emails and several Thoughts for the Day have made it onto my study wall. In the early days when Jon was doing it alone, I used to wonder how he could consistently write such prescient and interesting blogs and how he could be replaced. Bringing in a variety of writers has been a genius idea though. You all bring such different talents and ways of seeing mental illness that has enriched this website immeasurably. Thank you.

So how has Moodscope helped you?

A View From the Far Side
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

Alex Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 5:39am

Thank you, for bringing up grief: one thing I have found is that I have to be careful what/how much ?I share, and where. Some places simply aren't right for me - they may well suit others, but not me ( and that doesn't mean Im wrong, or that my grief is 'wrong'....rather, that everyone grieves differently, and no one should ever, ever tell another person how to grieve, or how not to grieve.

And there are different kinds of grief, and different kinds of grieving: when my mother was killed in a fire, four years ago, I was estranged from her, for two years. Without realising, I had already been grieving a loss...then on top of that, the manner of it. And I still grieve the "what never was".... I was not the daughter she wanted, she was not the mother I needed.

Then just over a year ago, losing my husband. Another, different grief. And I spoke about it in one of the few email groups I've been in for a long time - we know one another pretty well....but was told I should not be feeling the way I did. I politely asked she not say that. I was told I was rude. I wasn't.

Lesson learned.....watch where I say things.....and another group I very briefly joined, and then left, when it became like a game of war stories - who could describe the worst things, all in the name of 'healing', and if you didn't join in, and make jokes, and show how well you were coping, well, that meant that you really didn't belong.

Again, thank you.
Alex

Anonymous Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 8:54am

Hello Alex. Like you, I have had to leave so called support groups too in the past but I have never felt like leaving Moodscope. I may be silent for a while but always read the blogs and take in the wise heartfelt wisdom and stories from much loved friends and new people like AVRTFS who hopefully will become one of our regulars and friends. I often think of you wee midden and wonder how you are coping. Mother daughter relationships are far from easy. I should know! Julx

Bereaved by Suicide Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 5:28pm

Hi Alex, I can promise you I will never ever tell you that you shouldn't be feeling a certain way. What I like about Moodscope is that it's very accepting.

the room above the garage Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 6:22am

Hello AVFtFS :-)
And now you are that writer...thank you for it! I very much enjoyed your blog. I do love when someone feels well enough to step out and into a blog. Did you find it felt like a great sense of achievement? For me, a fear left me and I knew it was one that would never return. Perhaps this is a new part of your grieving, being able to revisit parts of the past 6 years and say them. I feel proud of you, even though I do not know you, and I'm glad you're here. Moodscope has helped me by being my friend...just there for me, a big deal. Thanks for writing, love ratg X.

Lex Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 7:29am

I agree with RATG, Dear AVFtFS - to have you write for the community now is something I will look forward to - and on the deepest subject possible - your story, your grief and now your journey. Many, many thanks. L'x

Hopeful One Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 8:00am

Dear AVFtFS- thank you so much for sharing your difficult touching journey with us ,It's good to see that you are now able to write about it . I feel that is positive step towards the gate marked 'acceptance' -the last stage of the grief cycle . You could now be in a better position to gently close the gate behind you and look ahead at all the good things of life that await you.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 9:16am

Hi HO. Thank you for your reply/ies yesterday. I have just seen them and have written to you. So very helpful. Julx

Soulmansblue Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 8:28am

That was a brave step looking back at a grief stricken time of your life then to share your experience with us. You are a strong person inside, though to yourself it may not always seem as such.

Thank you for contributing to the blog, that was an excellent first blog and I look forward to sharing more of your experiences with you. I hope that your future continues to brighten.

I have also experienced 100%+ highs, it's quite dangerous in my experience when looking back at those times. Yet while it is happening it is so exhilarating and so packed with adrenalin, you can do anything!

Well at least in your mind, until it all falls apart and you come crashing down and go sub-zero!
That's another story for another time. Then the sub-zero experience can scare the poop out of you!

Take Care
SMB

Soulmansblue Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 8:59am

Hi You All, Sorry that I've not been commenting lately on your blogs, I have been glancing at them but that's about all. Not having exactly a good time at the moment. Goodtime Charlie's got the Blues and it's weighing me down. I've been shouting from the rooftops that my mood was slipping for some six months but it's been falling on deaf ears. Now I'm pretty low and I've started to overspending trying to lift my mod[it's a symptom of Bipolar Type II so I'm told] and I also do this when I'm on a high. So now I've got myself into debt, yet the way I feel right now "I frankly don't give a damn!" as the saying goes! In fact that I don't is more alarming to me than obviously the spending. i used to care a lot especially about over spending. Now it seems that I just don't care and that goes for just about everything! Except for the things that I don't have or can't get. Calling some of them things is the wrong word but then things cover just about everything! I desire a closer relationship with my children, my Mum and still for some strange reason with my Dad who hasn't been bothered really with me since he walked out when I was only ten! That was some forty-four years ago and I have seen him only once in the last fifteen years. I wrote to him a couple of weeks ago and as usual I heard nothing back. So yesterday I phoned him using the last of my Skype Credits. The conversation went for us really well, in fact I hadn't heard him laugh since, in fact I honestly don't remember. During the conversation, not once did he mention my letter! In fact it was a package containing a letter outlining how I had felt over the years and pictures that I had taken/created and a photo of myself. I had to bring it up! I just asked if he'd received it and he just said "Yes, nice pictures" and I pressed no further. I want to love someone again and I badly need to feel loved, but what can I do? I look in the mirror these days and I absolutely hate the sight of myself. Yes the years have rolled by, but it's more than that the depression has taken it's toll, not only mentally but physically. I'm not surprised that I can't find any woman willing to go out with me. Hell I wouldn't! I don't get the chance to show what's deep inside, one look at the outside and man they're gone! Am I feeling sorry for myself, probably. Right now I can't see a reason that makes living worthwhile. I have all the material things in life that I could want and more most likely. They're no good to me without someone to share them with! Someone who'll be honest with me, push me and say no when needed. To talk to and discuss things. To agree and then agree to disagree. To love to share, to cherish. I want to spend time giving to someone I love. Yes, I help friends when I can, but that's not the same. I help my children, even when they don't ask or know. I'm not the monster I used to be, but no one will give me the chance to prove that I have changed! I don't just mean changed on the outside, but the inside. Just a thought what I look like now is probably what I used to look on the inside! Now it's the opposite way round. The Beatles once said 'Money Can't Buy Me Love!' I don't even have that to find out for myself so to speak. Yes, I know money can't do that, but right now I'd surely try! Sorry to have gone on so much, but no one else is listening and I know at least you'll read what I've written and throw a thought or two my way. That indeed could be the reason I'm all screwed up because I did it 'MY WAY!' SMB

Anonymous Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 9:04am

What sort of things are you buying Soulsmanblue? What don't you like when you look at your face in the mirror? What features? Julx

danielle Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 11:27am

SMB, I am really sorry to hear you are feeling so rubbish. I dont want to sound patronising but do you have a pet or have considered getting one? My mum was alone for a very long time and was desperate for a partner and getting a dog really helped her. I don't really have any answers but will say (and I am sure I speak on behalf of the whole moodscope community) we are ALWAYS here - you are never alone. you can always come to us xxxxx

Anonymous Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 11:58am

Yes we are as Danielle says always here for you. A pet is a great idea! I also thought it was an interesting subject about what we see when we look in the mirror. It reminded me of the Simply Red song..Look in the Mirror Baby. I too don't always like what I see (tired eyes!) and also do tend to buy clothes when depressed and when up too. Julx

Norman Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 2:57pm

SMB hi! "I badly need to feel loved, but what can I do?" Start from loving yourself, which begins with self-respect. You've been through some dark times and survived, because you're not a quitter! You recognised the bad aspects of yourself and did something about it. If you have hurt people badly then it is to be expected that they make take some time to forgive and forget, if ever. Have you forgiven your father for the hurt? Keep battling on, keep doing unto others as you would be done by, eventually they will.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 9:01am

Hi AVFTFS. What a refreshing blog despite it being set against a tragic background. Moodscope has offered me insights into how to deal with my depression and insomnia. It has recommended great books and learning tools e.g TED talks, quotations etc. But above all, it has given me a daily handle on life, to look forward to and to hold onto. I know for certain, 100% certain, that if and when I am really down or even just normal miserable (!), someone on Moodscope will rush to help me. It's an amazing support group with no oneupmanship, no leaders, just us who think and feel the same emotions despite our varied mix of difficulties.
I cannot imagine what you have been through and wish you bon courage and lots of love. Julx

Wyvern Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 9:32am

Thank you all for your blogs and your comments. I don't comment much but I nearly always read.

danielle Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 11:31am

Hi AVFTFS thank you for a brilliant blog, you are a strong person to have managed through such a difficult time and I am sorry your husband lost his battle. Moodscope has been brilliant for me, the main reason being that I am not alone when on here. It is easy to get stuck into the thoughts of how will I make it through the next hour or day and so on, and how can I carry on life like this. But when I come on here and hear snippets of everyones lives I am revived - many manage to hold down jobs, run households, bring up families, care for loved ones, have hobbies etc all with these mental illnesses and it gives me huge amounts of hope - I also do all of these things in a fashion but I often feel i cannot get through the day (always do) but seeing everyone else managing makes me think I can too! thank you to you all xxxx

Salt Water Mum Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 11:53am

Thank you AVFTFS for such a powerful and brave blog x



Dear SoulMansBlue,


You say you desire a closer relationship with your mum, children and your father. Well done, you did something about that. You wrote to your estranged father and then you met him, that’s so brave. He probably is not a man who at this stage is going to discuss the ins and outs of your letter. He might not be a man to engage emotionally at all. But he did say ‘nice pictures’! Brief? Yes. But that might be all he can manage. He hasn’t been in your life for such a long time so perhaps it’s about getting acceptance that he will never be the father you would like him to be. He is who he is. It’s disappointing for you. I hear that. But you have managed to make contact and are sustaining that. It’s not what you want. But perhaps it is enough? I say this only because I am in sporadic contact with my birth mother and it’s only via text! Ideal? Absolutely not! I have half siblings I have never met. But it’s all she can offer. And for me, it’s better than nothing. I receive my emotional sustenance elsewhere.

You say you would like someone to love, to share with, to cherish. And you deserve that, we all deserve that. It makes me feel sad to read that you hate the sight of yourself. But I am hoping that this is just today, or was just this morning. You were feeling very low when you wrote this and I am hoping that your outpouring of heartfelt words has helped you release some of the pain. The very fact that you wrote these words tells me (and others I am sure) how much you have to give, how much goodness, warmth and love lies inside you - "Someone who'll be honest with me, push me and say no when needed. To talk to and discuss things. To agree and then agree to disagree. To love to share, to cherish. I want to spend time giving to someone I love.” Wow - you have a lot to give. So, go easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself. When you’re ready, it’ll happen.

One thing I have learnt (am still learning) is to allow some people in, allow them see my dark side. I am an expert at covering my sadness with smart humour and self-deprecating anecdotes but there are times we need to let someone in. I have a fabulous therapist and a few wonderful close friends. They are the ones who hear the real me. I do pick and choose though. I found I was so frustrated with some close people in my life who just didn’t understand. Again, it’s back to acceptance I think. Some people will never understand and that’s okay. That’s why we have therapists and close friends and resources like moodscope.

Be kind to yourself,

SWM x

Frankie Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 3:01pm

Hello Soulmansblue; "Go on" for as long as you like; especially if it helps. Salt Water Mum is very wise ... acceptance is key ... and the most challenging part ... Making contact with your Dad is a massive achievement; I hope that the seeds you have sown there will grow and flourish, when the time is right for both of you. I have lit a candle for you, and another for everyone who is struggling right now. Step by tiny step, piece by piece, piece by peace ... Frankie

Vivien Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:43pm

One thing I feel with Moodscope is that one can be honest! If you feel crap then you can say so, without fear of judgement. Looking back to the loss of a loved one can be hard, but to do it, is being honest! I joined Moodscope to try and judge my feelings. Sometimes I 'race' through it, and I don't think I put down how I really feel. So I've given myself a good talking to! In the safety & comfort of my home, I can yell, shout, scream and laugh without people judging me. I do look at the blog and just want to 'cuddle' you all.
Keep smiling all - we are all friends.
Viv xx

Laura Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 1:31pm

(((((((AVFtFS))))))) Please accept this hug. For your bravery, your courage, your surviving day by day (or hour by hour). And today's "Thought for the Day"? Wow. I don't know about you, but it hit me right between the eyes. Remember you have people who care about you. :)

The Gardener Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 2:12pm

I echo the others in the courage to be able to speak about what I have always thought to be the worst of tragedies. At the times I've been near the edge I've always thought of the awful legacy to leave your family. About Moodscope I've said 'ad mauseam' what I gain - communications, friendliness, comfort, sharing. I do the cards - the advice at the end seldom applies in my case - if I look at the 'lows' they are nearly all due to sleep deprivation - the lesson to self is a)can you help the situation when it is bad, and b) where the situation is insoluble is to take all help to gain strength, wisdom and faith in yourself to keep going. I hope you are finding the peace in your mind to learn to 'live' again - because I think that bereavement is the hardest of all to recover from. I have been told to do a sort of 'grieving' as the man I married is no longer there - and I'm struggling to put a 'brave' face on the situation

Frankie Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 2:52pm

Hello View - thank-you for your generosity in sharing your story and your grief journey ... a huge inspiration. For me grief is like waves - sometimes they lap gently at your feet; at others they crash over you time and time again with barely a chance to breathe ... it's the unpredictability of the mood changes that I find challenging and SO exhausting ... Moodscope is a lifeline. Looking forward to reading you again! Frankie

Occult Gnu Too Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 10:12pm

hi all, joined today after a bereavement at the end of January this year. Scored 10%. Am so up and down, can be fine until an advert/song/random thought/watching a film for the first time without him comes along then it all gets v dark indeed. Will be back if only to try and better 10%, either by getting zero or some sort of higher score. Paid for the funeral today, guess that might account for some of the negativity. Also the wine that's been consumed. If nothing else reading other people's comments makes me realise it can't be like this (so low)all the time.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 10:21pm

Hi OGT, welcome! So sorry to hear about your bereavement. It's understandable that you're up and down at the moment. I do hope Moodscope will help you in some way. We have an excellent community made up of some very caring, supportive members who I'm sure will be here for you whenever you need them. Caroline

A View from the Far Side Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 10:41pm

I got overcharged £650 by the funeral company I used. That made me feel extremely negative, but it also made me feel strong challenging them. Glad you felt able to post. It took me five years to come out of lurkdom. Look forward to meeting you here again.

the room above the garage Wed, Mar 2nd 2016 @ 2:57pm

Hello OGT, welcome! Keep coming in, Every Single Day. That's it. Just keep coming in, every day. Show up. Some days you might just read. And one day you might write. I hope every day you might pick up some small something that helps you on to the next stepping stone. We all live that way and, from experience in here, there is always someone who is on the stone ahead and the stone behind. Good to see you, love ratg xx.

A View from the Far Side Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 10:32pm

Hi All, thanks for your kind comments. It's been a very busy day or I would have responded earlier. I had about five minutes earlier and responded to Alex as Bereaved by Suicide (my old name which I messed up changing). A View from the Far Side fits more with where I am today. It is six years after all and I'm in a very different place. And yes Room Above the Garage, it feels very liberating to find a safe space to share my thoughts - it helps that I'm anonymous. Night night all.

the room above the garage Wed, Mar 2nd 2016 @ 2:52pm

Anonymity can be empowering. I'm glad you're here and I look forward to hearing more. Your name change is significant, what growth in that alone. Well done, you can be proud xx.

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