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Out and Aloud, If Not Proud. Wednesday May 10, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here:]

Hands up: who's out?

No, darlings, I couldn't care less about your sexual orientation. I mean, are you out regarding our mutual black dog? What's his name now: Rex, Fido, Hades?

And where is he now? Is he sitting by the back door, waiting to be taken for a walk, just when you need to go out to work? Is he importuning you right at your feet, drooling on your slippers? Is he sitting on your chest, all eight stone of him (50kg), breathing and drooling into your face? Or – has he disappeared for one of his expeditions: you are so glad he has left you for a while, you never ask where he has gone?

(And – all the above with apologies to those of you who own Newfoundland or St Bernard or Pyrenean Mountain dogs and know intimately the wonder of such glorious doggy delights).

My real question is, does your family know about him? Do your work colleagues ask about his health? Does your boss factor him into your work plan?

Yup, thought so. You do your best to hide him away, don't you? Because you are ashamed.

Just consider for a moment, if that black dog were tangible...

Let's consider he has his teeth clamped around your intestines (or, in extreme circumstances, your throat). Let's consider if everyone could see him...

Do you not then consider you might be due some additional consideration? A little more understanding?

As it's ‪#‎MentalHealthAwarenessWeek‬, are you making people around you more aware?

Do you make them aware of Moodscope?

I mean, if you are reading this, you must find it useful, right?

But, do you tell anyone?

I am frequently shocked by the number of health professionals I come across who have not heard of Moodscope. I sometimes feel I am on a one-woman mission to educate the whole country. I tell everyone (when appropriate, of course). I wax eloquent; I tell them about the daily twenty questions. I show them my graph. I tell them I write the Wednesday blog. I tell them about my buddies and the way buddying works. I tell them the basic Moodscope is absolutely free!

(Okay, so that's when I'm well. When my own black dog sits on me I can't tell anyone about anything.)

Without exception, everyone I speak with is intrigued and enthusiastic. They can immediately see how it could help their patients, their friend, their Uncle Trevor.

And nobody looks at me with that condescending pity we all fear.

It's taken time, but gradually the world is beginning to see that depression is an illness, not a moral weakness.

I won't say it's your duty to come out; it must be your own choice, and you may have your own reasons for staying so far in that closet, you pay your taxes in Narnia.

But to help all those suffering, who do not know about Moodscope, please get the word out.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Lexi Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 6:38am

Where I live in the US, it's not safe to come out right now. Cetainly not during this time of having a mysogonistic, xenophobic, narsassistic, emotionally disturbed person as president. Right now it's about building up the resistance, fighting in numbers, marching, being a sanctuary individual even as he tries to outlaw sanctuary cities. It's not safe. These are seriousky scary times.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:29pm

Well. Lexi - although it's rather hard to spot your political views from this, I do take you point. I think Europe is before the US in some things and some States seem to be totally opposed to each other in terms of the way they view such things as homosexuality. California v Alabama, for instance. I am sorry it's not safe for you to come out, and wish you all the best. The times, they are a-changing. Although at the moment it seems that the world seems to be shifting to the political right, those advances in thinking will not be lost. We will not see regression back to Victorian morals and hypocrisy.

A View from the Far Side Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 6:44am

You'll be pleased to know you're not on a one-woman mission, as I'm with you running on a parallel track. The possibilities of Moodscope are huge - even for the mentally well as we/they learn how much of our daily life is affected by our moods and how transient they can be. I think it's not condescending pity that I fear so much but that people won't take me seriously if they know I have up and down moods. I self-stigmatise because I don't want to be labelled, when I'm not even sure what I am - although I'm fairly convinced now that I'm a highly sensitive person and that's a label I'd be happy with, given all the positives that come with it.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:28pm

Thanks AVFTFS! Carolinex

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:30pm

Good to know I am not alone in this crusade!

Lizzie Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 7:04am

Me too Mary! Just yesterday I shared the benefits of Moodscope in exactly the way you described, and it was with my children's Headteacher. I've 'come out' in the last couple of weeks and it feels like a bit like I've shown my bottom! I'm still feeling anxious but also having some lovely helpful decisions. Hoping things keep moving forwards re mental health openness for the benefit of future generations.
Hope you have a good day.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:29pm

Thank you Lizzie. Carolinex

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:31pm

Lizzie, that's fantastic! That took some guts to do. And I hope the reception from your children's head teacher was better than you had hoped for.

Orangeblossom Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 7:23am

Hi Mary, I have recommended Moodscope to people, the students who I support & also clients. That is why Inregistered on it in the first place. I don't like to recommend things to people which I haven't tried out myself. I have had my own emotional difficulties in the past. Wish that I knew about the resource then. I love the blogs. They set me up for the day.hope each of you have a great day today!

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:30pm

So pleased you are enjoying the blogs and thanks for recommending Moodscope. Carolinex

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:32pm

Orangeblossom, you are a blessing to us. Thank you: your comments are always positive. Best wishes to you.

Tutti Frutti Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 9:03am

Hi Mary
I totally agree that we need to come out of the closet as far as possible to reduce the stigma around mental health. I have told a fair number of people and never regretted it and have also recommended moodscope. That doesn't make it easy though and there are still groups I find difficult to tell/am not even sure I want to tell; clients, people who might have to work for me, parents of my daughter's friends. And this feels difficult even in England where the establishment is quite open about mental health at the moment so no wonder Lexi thinks it is unsafe. Mental health awareness week always presents me with a quandary of should I do more. Right now is definitely not the right time at work though since we are in the middle of performance appraisals and a regrading which affects me. So if I do pluck up courage to tell my whole team at work it will have to be delayed a bit. Might try drafting an email starting, "I have decided belatedly, following mental health awareness week last month, to let you all know that I have bipolar disorder...." and see how I feel when done. Good luck to everyone grappling with what to do and hugs to those feeling rough at the moment. I am a lot better than last week but still feeling pretty drained.
Love TF x

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:30pm

Thanks Tutti Frutti. Carolinex

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:33pm

I will be thinking of you. Amazingly courageous. I hope very much that your team will say "Of course, well *that* explains it. How can we help?"

Lexi Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 12:54pm

Hi Mary and all - as I wrote above - am scared right now, as are many women and minorities that I know. We feel as if the country has suddenly taken a step backwards fifty years. But what I really should have added to my original post is that I find Moodscope invaluable for my own well being, especially now, and I have shared it with those whom I know are open and willing to listen. My own young daughter has begun using it when she cannot or is unwilling to articulate her feelings. She lets me sit with her and watch her score each feeling, and that lets me know where's she's at. I applaud the Moodscope Team and everyone else who is reaching out to their communities to let them know that Moodscope exists to help them.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:35pm

Huge hugs, Lexi. You are not alone in your fears: my friends who live your side of the pond, even those who are white middle-class professionals are afraid - if not for themselves, then from their friends who are from minorities. Well done for sharing - and especially with your daughter.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 1:36pm

Hi Lexi, I can definitely understand your concerns. So pleased you are finding Moodscope helpful and what a wonderful way of connecting with your daughter. I thought my youngest was a little bit down a year or so ago and sat down with him to do Moodscope - it really opened my eyes as he scored a lot less than I thought he would! He wouldn't talk about it afterwards, but we did talk a little as he went through the cards, but just knowing how worried and upset he was made me realise he needed a lot more support. Carolinex

The Gardener Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 2:19pm

When I was doing an article on 'Loneliness' for the church mag here I read that statistically French people were treated more for depression and insomnia that in the whole of Europe, The only woman I know who is in a serious mess here is English. Two others, both English, who made news, were also depressed (I think one eventually committed suicide) but, extenuating circumstances?
Economic problems (often what I call 'mucky' divorces) drove them to live here - they did not like it, would not learn the language, and refused to make friends. I have suggested Moodscope to my English friend who I have been 'propping up' for 30 years, she was not interested. I do not think she WANTS to help herself (probably can't) and this may be cynical but her permanently depressed state gets her lots of attention - she does not suffer quietly. She arrived at her daughter's house for a grand-daughter's birthday - announced that she was terribly depressed as she entered the door - her son-in-law, super guy, told her to shut up and not spoil the child's day. She did - if seriously depressed, could she have made the effort to go in the first place? Very puzzling, more so for hard-pressed GP's trying to sort it out. Caroline, you talk about introducing your son to Moodscope, other way round with me.

Brum Mum Wed, May 10th 2017 @ 10:33pm

Mary, it took me a long time to be open about my depression and even now it's a selected bunch not everyone. I am in my first job in 25 years of work where my manager understands and has actually made things easier. I think he suffers too. I tell people about Moodscope quite a bit and think the medical profession should do much more.

LP Thu, May 11th 2017 @ 5:01am

Hi Mary,
Yes, openness makes for a better society, if only just to dispell the myths.
With the support of each other here on Moodscope and with the current positive mental health awareness media promotion in the UK, there's no better time.

I strongly feel that there is no them and us. We are all just people, all different and there is no normal.
Life is difficult, more so for some than others.

Of course, I'm not denying the reality of the range of illnesses linked to mental health.
If I were physically disabled, I wouldnt want to be seen as disabled first and me, a person just like everyone else second and it's the same with my mental health. everyone that I know well is aware that I am me first and that I'm also managing my life with depression and anxiety amongst other things about me.

How was treated at work was appalling, it doesn't help productivity for the powers that be, to be supportive and I'm not even in a profit making organisation, it's supposed to be a so called caring profession! So I do speak out if need be for positivity and equality in mental health.

Still, things are getting better all the time and we are stronger together!
I also feel that as individuals we share how much personal information with others that we are comfortable with and that's ok too.

Thanks for a motivating and empowering blog Mary. Good wishes to you and all :) LP xx

Eva Thu, May 11th 2017 @ 7:47am

Hi Mary, great blog, I am pretty open about my condition with friends and some of my work colleagues, and I do recommend Moodscope to friends and acquaintances, and also to my counsellor. I think I don't put it out there though it's more that if it comes up in conversation I'm happy to share experiences and resources. I'll think more on this.

Kelly Fri, Jun 2nd 2017 @ 12:51pm

I have slowly become more open about it. It hasn't been easy but I needed my close friends to know.

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