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May


Playing the Blues... Friday May 13, 2016

Q: What happens if you play blues music backwards?
A: You get out of prison, your wife returns to you and your dog comes back to life.

Ah, if only it were that easy, you say! Well, sometimes it is.

I have been going through a period of the blues lately.

Yes – the blues – not depression.

A lot of people can't tell the difference, or rather, they mistook those blues for depression. Because, yes, they were pretty deep and my Moodscope scores took a dramatic dip.

But it wasn't depression. How did I know? Because it was all linked with circumstances and events. My broken ankle had meant a loss of independence; I couldn't even leave the house unassisted, let alone drive. I had done no exercise for a couple of months - and we all know how exercise improves our mood. My novel had got to a sticky patch and was going nowhere. A couple of health issues had raised their heads, so I was in pain and worried. My daughter was distressed about her SATS (she's 11 – and the exams this year are vicious – just vicious). My husband and eldest daughter were stressed and irritable and to cap it all, I fell out with a close friend (and I never fall out with my friends).

That was a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have been given the all clear to drive. I have started back at the swimming pool most days, I have written another two chapters of my novel and have renewed faith in it. My daughter is now actually doing her SATS this week and, having revised all she can, is now philosophical. My husband and eldest daughter are now less stressed because I can do more and my friend phoned to apologise and make up. (The apology was unnecessary – but the making up was!)

The result is scores back in the seventies! Yippee!

I'm not saying that it's never depression if your mood is linked to events, because I am sure that has a lot to do with it for some, especially where grief is involved. But for many people, our depression is utterly unlinked to circumstances; there is no reason at all for us to feel blue.

And often we don't feel blue – we feel grey. We feel disconnected from the world and as if we are experiencing that world through a fog bank and all we can do is smile thinly at the people who say, "But what have you got to be depressed about?"

The answer is nothing. Because our depression is not the blues. A change in circumstances will not reverse our condition, and as far as I know you can't play depression backwards.

We just have to hang on and ride it out. And music does help. Quite a lot sometimes.

Anyone up for playing the twelve bar depressions then?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

LillyPet Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:05am

Hi Mary,
In the past my depression is at it's worst when triggered by specific circumstances. Circumstances that resemble childhood circumstances. It seems that I have experienced them as being traumatic, deep rooted fears. At least this is the story that I have been telling myself.
Having said that, I agree that it is completely natural to feel low in certain circumstances and it's important for us to remember that. I felt that I couldnt bear the circumstance that I was in 6 months ago and didnt give up until I had changed it.
There is also a circumstance that has resulted in a deep and long low. I made a concious and determined decision that I'd still choose to stick it out at that point in my life, but was not "stuck" or "forced" to live with it. I chose to because as hard as it was, on a practical level it made sense to.
Only once have I ever felt depressed for no reason that I could think of. No adverse circumstances. I was bewildered by it. I went to my gp who suggested that it could be a lack of carbohydrates over a long period of time. I clearly remember the relief I felt when she said "Your brain needs carbohydrates!".

I loved how your scores reflected the improved and temporary circumstances in your life. Thank you for this blog Mary

Zareen Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:22am

Hi Mary, as always I enjoyed your blog & found it thought provoking. Am glad you can see blue skies & fresh horizons. I registered with Headspace, a mindful package & it has made a difference. It has given me more calm, clarity with the direction in my life & this has resulted in greater contentment instead of feeling turbulent. The website is www.headspace.com you may have registered for something similar yourself.

the room above the garage Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:43am

Loved reading this today Mary. This is very true and I think when we can identify the difference, it's another milestone reached. Peaceful day to all, love ratg X.

Tutti Frutti Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 9:08am

Hi Mary
I agree that sometimes circumstances give us normal blues (physical illness,tiredness,rubbish day at work,family argument etc). (My Mum who has no mental health problems is one of my buddies and it was only after I asked her to track her own scores for a month that she stopped panicking whenever my scores dipped.) You certainly had loads of issues to make you feel blue coming at once Mary and I am glad you are now coming out the other side.

I sometimes think I have something more like an actual depression triggered by circumstances though - where I get my thoughts about what's happened out of proportion and really dip down. I am not sure if these are true depressions as they sometimes don't last that long but I still need to battle to pick myself up again in the same way so I think it's more helpful for me to imagine that they are actual depressions.

It also struck me how different we all are in our scores. 50 is a pretty nice place for me and my mother really does panic (with reason) if I ever get 70! I don't think the differences in scores between people matter (it's just how we understand the words on the cards) and I think you should just look at yourself over time.

Best wishes to all. (Hoping for a better day at work today than yesterday which was awful!)

Mary Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 10:37am

You raise a vital point here. It is the pattern of our MS results which is important, not the scores themselves. My "normal" is a very narrow band between 72 and 76. Below 65 I'm down (it goes into single figures in the bad places) and if it goes above 80 then watch out - I'm probably in mania. But one of my buddies aims for 60 as a good score and my daughter reckons anything above 40 is a great day. It's a very individual thing.

Hopeful One Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 9:09am

Hi Mary- Thank you so much for this blog which reminds us to distinguish between depression and the blues. It is not always easy partly because the word depression is bandied about so freely. However depression has definite diagnostic features agreed by most psychiatrists and listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders for doctors to help to distinguish it from temporary unhappiness or sadness.Needless to say its not very straight forward or easy even for professionals as no two individuals are exactly the same.

g- Thank you for your comments and the nymphomaniac joke on May 12 th. Lol. Apologies for the typo re Squadron. No its not some kind of a censor in my head.The Squadron refers to the Joke Squadron which is a one man Squadron(me) formed when battling an enemy called Alzhiemer Dementia that struck his wife eventually putting her in a nursing home where she is today.Its aim is to get laugh a day which it found ,among other things ,that keeps the blues and depression away.

Here is today's offering.

Dr. Parker, the biology instructor at a posh suburban girl's school asked during his class, "Miss Smith, would you please name the organ of the human body, which under the appropriate conditions, expands to six times its normal size, and define the conditions." Miss Smith gasped, blushed deeply, then said, "Dr. Parker, I do not think that is a proper question to ask me, you should be ask a boy. And I assure you my parents will hear of this." With that she sat down, very red-faced. Unperturbed, Dr. Parker called on Miss Johnson and asked the same question. Miss Johnson replied, "The pupil of the eye, in dim light." "Correct," said Dr. Parker. "And now, Miss Smith, I have three things to say to you. One, you have not studied your lesson. Two, you have a kinky mind. And three, you will some day be faced with a dreadful disappointment."

the room above the garage Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 11:35am

Altzheimer dementia is where my granny is in her stage of life. She went into a nursing home this year and that event traumatised her. We seem to be getting on a more even keel now. I'm seeing as much of her as possible and I've found her nursing care to be really good. Does your wife still recognise you HO? My granny gets us all mixed up sometimes but gets there when it's gently explained. It's cruel watching the decline but far easier for me as she is a good age. I can't imagine how sad it must have been to watch a young woman be taken over.

g Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 1:33pm

Tenacious ? I hope it is the word I mean when I want to describe the consistently high standard of the river of blogs wchich seems to flow mainly from Mary recently regardless of of your state of mind - the writer ! ( why am I surprised ? because - It is a privilege for our work to be our hobby too .. Lucky Mary .... HO - I was not going to mention it but I do think now that it is necessary for me to do so fore for a long time I assumed you to be a woman . I do not read all the posts and only recently someone writing about you revealed your gender to me and I was very surprised and I do not mean it as criticism but praise because not many men are in touch with their feminine side ( Prince was ) . The reason behind your daily joke on the clock elevates you in my mind to a still higher shelf of 'my ' hierarchy of good people. Respect. This beast almost took my father and it was heart breaking to see the fear in his eyes when his enormous brain was being taken over . His unrelated death was like a get out of prison card for my mum ( he became dangerous to be around at times for her ) and a life sentence as she had to face her life without its main purpose - she was his carer for most of his.

Hopeful One Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 2:03pm

Hi my lovely cyberfriend RATG- so kind of you to ask. No my wife stopped recognising me or call my name about 2 years ago. I am now just a voice which she identifies as friendly and she will do things for me which she may not do for the nursing staff ,bless their souls ,for they are very caring. Yes it was profoundly sad to lose someone with whom one spent most of one's lifetime. But I have a strategy for that. I allow myself to feel sad or bad but not both at the same time . It was that loss and all the hopes and dreams associated with that loss that sent me into a depression.. I fully accept that not everyone agrees me (there are inexplicable cases of depression ) but in my opinion some loss in the widest sense of the word at the root of most depressions.

Hopeful One Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 2:09pm

Hi g- thank you for your compliments . They are most appreciated. I don't know if your Mum is still around as you seem to be speaking in the past tense but I have yes that word you used -respect for her.

g Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 1:29am

Dear HO , if I may address you so . My Mom is a very strong person . Having suffered with severe asthma most of her life she is always on the look out for new approaches , diet tips , alternative meds , activities , hobbies . Ten years later she is still surfing internet , skyping , travelling , living independently , complaining about some old people who let themselves go ... I do admire her . You are doing great HO .Keep on keeping on . There is a soppy movie out their that comes to mind The Notebook I think.Well it got very late again. Thank you for checking back and responding.

g Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 1:29am

Dear HO , if I may address you so . My Mom is a very strong person . Having suffered with severe asthma most of her life she is always on the look out for new approaches , diet tips , alternative meds , activities , hobbies . Ten years later she is still surfing internet , skyping , travelling , living independently , complaining about some old people who let themselves go ... I do admire her . You are doing great HO .Keep on keeping on . There is a soppy movie out their that comes to mind The Notebook I think.Well it got very late again. Thank you for checking back and responding.

g Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 1:29am

Dear HO , if I may address you so . My Mom is a very strong person . Having suffered with severe asthma most of her life she is always on the look out for new approaches , diet tips , alternative meds , activities , hobbies . Ten years later she is still surfing internet , skyping , travelling , living independently , complaining about some old people who let themselves go ... I do admire her . You are doing great HO .Keep on keeping on . There is a soppy movie out their that comes to mind The Notebook I think.Well it got very late again. Thank you for checking back and responding.

g Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 1:29am

Dear HO , if I may address you so . My Mom is a very strong person . Having suffered with severe asthma most of her life she is always on the look out for new approaches , diet tips , alternative meds , activities , hobbies . Ten years later she is still surfing internet , skyping , travelling , living independently , complaining about some old people who let themselves go ... I do admire her . You are doing great HO .Keep on keeping on . There is a soppy movie out their that comes to mind The Notebook I think.Well it got very late again. Thank you for checking back and responding.

Anna Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 1:47pm

Great distinction Mary and makes it very clear to picture. I agree depression can be triggered by circumstance but when bad circumstances don't lead to it I always feel a little triumphant. So well done for getting back on track :-)

Maria Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 2:58pm

Hi Mary - You sing and I play the drums...a start... This community is so talented that I am imagining a whole stage full of moodscope musicians jamming to the blues. How about "Banish the Blues"? We could have so much fun with the lyrics :) I'm so glad that you are on the up and up.

The Gardener Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:25pm

These scores - mine are always pretty low now - not depressed but because I canfenot say I am enthusiastic or interested because I know that for the moment I can have no life of my own (not self-pity, just circumstances. A week respite coming up - just beginning to think of what I can do with it (or, not do anything at all but feel the lack of responsibility for a while..

The Gardener Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:30pm

Hopeful one - sooner or later I will be in your position. another friend, her mother this time, is in a home and does not recognise her at all. the mother has become like Mr G, absuive petulant and childish by turns - my friend says she will NOT visit someone who does not know her and be abused. \It depresses her frightfully as well). This ***** computer has gone bonkers, but, my 'new' office has electricity - so should stop having to type on an ancient trolley in corner of kitchen

The Gardener Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 8:38pm

ack to 'hopeful one'. \it's the stultifying boredome which gets me, knowing that there will be no sensible communication in the day, that physically Mr G is sound, mentally he has lost all motivation and sshhufffles cfom chair to chari. I can still laugh, joke, enjoy the company of my more disreputable friends - there is still life in me - I get scared that I, too, will sink into the doldrums of no incentive.

Rebecca Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 9:24pm

I can't always tell what is the blues and what is depression. For example I have entered an event with my horse in a couple of weeks and tonight she looks lame. I am gutted, and thinking the worst immediately. Suddenly I feel nothing but envy for a girl a friend of mine has bought an event horse for. She pays the livery and all the competition fees. This girl also has another 4/5 horses to event.Is this feeling down and envy depression or a part of me being a bad person? I know I am lucky to own two horses (one old and semi-retired)but I just can't see that sometimes.

Eva Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 9:03am

Hi, did you feel envy before your horse looked lame, is it purely down to that? I think there are two things here... One - It may be catastrophising which you kind of note yourself. It might be good to try to take each moment as it comes here and see what the outcomes are rather than assume from the outset that you won't be able to enter the event. Advice I need to take myself when a challenge to something I thought was going to go smoothly encounters obstacles. Do you have to get your horse checked out, or do you have to wait a few days to see if it is really lame? Two - This girl certainly seems lucky with having lots of horses to enter events with, but you don't know what the rest of her life is like, could be great, could be awful or a mixture of both. If you had to be her you might miss being you. Can you turn it on its head and appreciate her good fortune, it's nice to know that good things can happen for people. I like the karma idea where good energy flows. Can you make it known in your community that you would also be happy to ride in events for other owners? Is that possible is there a network out there that you could use to make it happen? I don't know if this will be useful to you or not, just suggestions from a stranger :) I really hope your horse is ok.

Brum Mum Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 9:49pm

Mary, glad the ankle is healing. SATS over and the world seems a different place. No1 daughters cars is off on Tuesday. My partner plays a mean blues and you and I have had a bellyful. Here's to better days and as ever a smashing blog!!

Brum Mum Fri, May 13th 2016 @ 9:49pm

Cast even...

Mary Sat, May 14th 2016 @ 3:19pm

So sorry I didn;t reply to the later comments last night. For once a family evening and early bed! But it would have been great to have replied to you all last night!

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