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Playing the 'Determined' Card. Monday September 23, 2013

Here's Lex's second post about the adjectives that appear on the Moodscope cards - don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Please add them to the comments at the end of this post. Many thanks. Caroline

Today, it's the turn of the 'Determined' card, which Moodscope defines as, 'being resolute, showing determination.'

This is a card we really want to be scoring '2' or a '3' on, isn't it? A dictionary described it as, 'having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change.' To me, this is the difference between a line in the sand, and a line in cement.

When a friend's son was little, he was a 'determined' child! His father had laid some fresh cement as a foundation for a shed, and his mother was warned to keep Michael away. Penny turned her attention elsewhere for just a moment – enough for the be-wellied lad to make his footprint mark in the wet cement! Like some Hollywood Star, his imprint immortalised his 'moment' of choice. This is the difference between sand and cement – a quality of decision that has enduring permanence.

Michael was committed to exploring this option. He was determined. He now knows what 'cement' means. So I wonder what one positive decision you could make today from which there will be no turning back, no negotiation, no debate? Small is beautiful – so I'm not necessarily talking about the big decisions in life like dieting and exercise. I'm suggesting a small 'win' that will boost your confidence to be ever more determined.

Perhaps it is enough to be resolute just for today!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 7:42am

Very relevant today, I often struggle to feel or be determined and instead give in to feeling sorry for myself, feeling defeated and despairing. Instead I think I need to find my strength, my determination....

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 7:50am

Oh what a beautiful mornin'...

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 8:21am

For me, a 3 in Determined has got a different meaning - it means that I am in a state of 'gritted teeth and grim determination to soldier on through all difficulties to a state of total exhaustion'.

For me, this is not good as it means I am setting myself unrealistic goals. If I am calm and centred, and have Determined at 1, then achieving things becomes much less of a struggle.

Fionna O'Leary Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:06am

This is a good one for today and I 'get' the above posts. For me determination is partly about strength of commitment, but also about persistence in the face of difficult adversity.

Sometimes determination can feel like a strong continuous positive force...a quiet commitment to persist.

But part of that process can turn into the 'gritted teeth' variety when it doesn't feel so good, it seems as if I am going backwards and can feel as if I am hurting myself and increase exhaustion.

For those times I have a piece of paper with a quotation that says
"Courage can be that small voice at the end of a day that says 'I shall try again tomorrow'.

So WISE determination can involve a decision to let go today in the interests of a compassionate understanding that one may be pushing too hard today, need to rest and regroup but retaining the overall commitment to persist.

This is an important one for me and a timely post as I've been feeling wibbily-wobbly recently and really struggling ....but yesterday I realised I needed just to accept that pushing was getting in the way of progress and I needed to be quiet, not push and just be. ..... And slept really well for the first time for a long time....but that quiet little voice at the end of the day was still there.

Maybe ' kindly, good humoured and compassionate determination' is the state for which to aim when the teeth are gritted. Then the 'proud' card score increases too....

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:28am

Thank you for this.
With several of the cards I have wondered what the "right" answer is. What score will get a high score? For someone who feels a major failure much of the time, doing the moodscope test can become more a way of succeeding in something than a truthful record of how I am. I don't mean I lie exactly, just try to get the best score I can without being untruthful.
Realising this made me stop.
And added another failure to the long list.

The Entertrainer Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 10:20am

Reading our shared comments, I am struck once again how intelligence can lead to mental torment and disquiet. Moodscope really does seem to appeal to those of us who think... a lot! Furthermore, we seem to not have the ability to stop thinking. This is one of the reasons I liked Fionna's gentleness approach.

The purpose in my post today was to take some of the angst out of thinking. When we make a decision that allows no negotiation, we remove the "should I?/Shouldn't I?" torment. This is why I think a gentle decision on a small issue works best. We could be determined, for example, to take an hour out to read something uplifting - no argument. Or we could be determined to have a walk for 30 minutes - no negotiation. I'm sure I speak for many of us when I say that I often defer the nice things in my life in order to deal with 'serious' matters first. Perhaps this is going 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Perhaps our lines in the cement should be for those things and people and actions we love... leaving the not so pleasant decisions in life to be lines in sand.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 11:02am

For me, determination is a two-edged sword. It can help me through difficult times, keeping me going even if I am getting tired and losing my strength. But all too often I am too determined and keep doing something even if it would be better to stop and accept my 'weakness'. Thus, I am pushing myself too hard.
So, when I give 'determination' a 3 in Moodscope, it can be a warning sign for me. And whenever it happens, I try to figure out why I have to be so determined at the moment and if that's good for me or harmful.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 11:28am

I feel a determination to get my book out to as many people who have bipolar or manic depression as possible. I often feel guilty asking £10 for a book that is only 136 pages long but I suppose if it helps then maybe it is worth at least £10 and any profits made do go to charity!The book is called Footprints in the Sand and is a biography of my struggles with bipolar and Dystonia.At least after writing this blog I feel I can put down a higher number on the determination card as I have done something to promote my book. If you like it could you spread the word and then you can add to your own determination card as maybe you can say you have been determined to help others!

Julia Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 12:38pm

Determination on the card is supposed to be a positive thing. It's a red card so it must be. I always score 4 (extremely) without fail. It's one of the cards I don't have to think about. Or haven't until today that it..... Thank you Lex and others for making me wonder if actually it is a good thing to see oneself as a determined person. It is hard work and carries responsibility for others and as one of the comments above says, conjures up the words , "grim determination" and "gritted teeth". Not good! But the card will remain a red one I guess.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 2:17pm

Has there been any study about mental health maintenance outcomes for MoodScope users versus the general population? A psychologist friend outlined the factors currently accepted by the mental health professions as:
* 40% family support
* 30% talk/discussion therapy
* 15% how the therapist goes about things
* 15% others

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 2:24pm

How much would MoodScope (Plus, say) users be interested in the algorithm including optional, simple statistical limits attached to their charts?

Some proponents of 'math as life skill' believe knowing how to apply simple stats to life situations is a useful one. But an ongoing issue is most of us who ever took a stats course are put off by the obscure complexity with which the subject is usually presented.

Julia Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 2:31pm

Can you explain what you mean exactly please?

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 2:49pm

When one's daily, or any-so-often scores lie within simple statistical limits, it suggests the system (i.e. one's mental well-being) is at least stable, whether good bad or indifferent.

When these same limits suggest an outlier score has occurred, it can be a heads up to ask 'why'.

While it can be argued we know ourselves best, and it ought to be obvious when something unusual has occurred unduly affecting our emotional/mental state, a not-uncommon thing in our society (indeed, it surrounds us daily) is the over-reaction to an event when not warranted.

Of course, e.g. all news organizations operate that way as they desire attention for their 'news'. For example, financial press wringing of hands when "unemployment went up 0.3% last month". Lay that on a simple stats chart and most likely it is NOT an outlier. The system is stable and concern isn't warranted.

If, in personal life, we go overboard in response to something, it can cause more issues.

So the suggested MoodScope tool would likely be of most use as a preventer of the 'knee-jerk'.

I believe it to be compatible with the overall MoodScope aims.

Julonna Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 3:02pm

Thank you for this prompt reply. I have read it a few times and I sort of get it. Although not sure I understand what outlier means. I expect others do. I think knee jerk reactions are often not helpful and perhaps some people have a tendency to go overboard in response to issues which other people may treat in a calmer ,different way. So if you have a method of helping us who have these tendencies, I suggest you contact Caroline and her team at Moodscope. It's great that there are people out there like yourself who want to help. I know she considers any suggestions which might add to the valuble tool which is Moodscope.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 3:05pm

I find these little words of wisdom helpful. I have been in therapy since 1988. What really works is the medicine and exercise. Staying away from depressed and toxic people is extremely important. Thanks.

Renee Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 3:05pm

I find these little words of wisdom helpful. I have been in therapy since 1988. What really works is the medicine and exercise. Staying away from depressed and toxic people is extremely important. Thanks.

Lostinspace Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 3:23pm

Tend to agree with Fionna. As am British of a certain generation I was brought up to be determined, the alternative is "weak" and implies failure. Private education at boarding schools (Public school to the British but other nationalities might appreciate the definition) is great for one sort of person but left me baffled and on the outside lines! However I find determination exhausting and often achieve more by surprise (to me) i.e. I don't know how it happens. So pleased to see another card discussed, thank you.

Bill Andrews Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:16pm

In a way, all the comments today highlight the complexity of psychometric measurement. We all agree how long a metre is or how much 2 kilos is, or what a normal body temperature is and these things are easily measured and can be agreed upon universally. But,'determination'?, what's that? Like 'beauty' it is in the eye of the beholder. Our own personal viewpoints on what determination is and our answers to the choices on the card have their own meaning for us and that meaning can change day to day, week to week or even moment to moment. Determination might mean on a bad day..'I feel like lousy but I'll somehow manage to walk to the shop'. On a good day it might mean taking a yearly perspective on something and committing to finish a project by this time next year. They can both result in feeling 'not at all' or 'extremely' determined. But it will be down to our own interpretation to bring out the meaning of the word for us. The moodscope plus feature, the 'affectogram' helps to illustrate the daily fluctuations of each card anyway.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:16pm

For Julonna- thx for the interest and questions.

One way of describing an an outlier is: a non-normal event.

Julia Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:44pm

Thank you! Julia

Julia Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 9:50pm

Yes you are so right Bill. I may look at Determined differently from now on thanks to Lex, you and others who posted today. Before, I interpreted it as am I a determined person. However when I think about jittery for example, I always score how I am feeling that day and not am I a jittery person.. I am obviously being inconsistent in the way I view each card. So this is helpful. As you point out, it is our own personal viewpoints.

Anonymous Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 @ 10:38pm

That's very useful contribution Mr Andrews. I'll take a look at the affectogram as I've not been using "Plus".

Anonymous Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 4:55am

I dont find the moodscope definitions helpful. If they included on a scale of 1-5 what is the level/severity of your: physical energy, feeling of balance, able to be in the moment (we know depression is based on past/future thinking), thinking about the past, thinking about the future, worrying, feeling suicidal, hopeful, at peace, needing attention, ect. I'd like different adjectives. That said, I am determined to go on a 4 day silent walking adn sitting meditation retreat. It is my first and I have always wanted to go but it has either been too far, too expensive or I felt i wasnt ready. This is 30 dollars and for 4 days a vipassana retreat, 1 hour out of town with ride share. It is 3 hours in the mornign and afternoon of mindfulness and loving kindness meditaiton, walking or sitting, with dharma talks in the evenings when people can speak and ask questions, listen to advice on meditation, all vegetarian meals. Im so excited. I know I will come up against the busy thoughts and the urge to run away from my thoughts or emotions and give up, but I am prepared for that and determined to stay and transcend that into a higher state of consciousness. I dont know what the outcome will be, but I know it will be positive. As my thoughts and ego mind drift to the bottom of the sea like sand I will be hopefully able to access my higher consciousness and perhaps process repressed emotions I didnt even know I had. It is in Aldergrove BC at the Laoation Temple!

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 8:21am

This sounds absolutely wonderful. To be in a situation where you are "forced" to meditate is my ideal.You will realise the benefits and then will be confident that it is doing you good when you get home and will be eager to meditate alone. I need discipline to meditate which I just do not have when doing it on my own. I give up after a while. A short while. Have a wonderful time. What a very brave decision to go to this retreat. I am sure it will be well worth it in it terms of money and time.I was particularly moved by your words..loving kindness meditation. We all need that.

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 8:24am

Hi again. Will you contact Caroline do you think? About your ideas for Moodscope? you can find her contact details on the home page of he Moodscope website. I think her name doesn't appear. I will find it for you. Julia (Mistake about the julonna name!)

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 8:32am

Hello again Bill. I have read the link about sleep and dreaming, REM sleep etc on the understanding depression website you gave us. I found it fascinating and want to know more but photos of those two happy clappy ,"I get on the treadmill at 5am each morning men" appear and I have to pay for a video to know how to overcome the excess of REM sleep. I know this applies to me and at last I am learning about why regular deep sleep éludes me. I would like to email you and Caroline has my email address if you care to ask her for it. If not (you are probably a very busy man) perhaps you would tell me by this method how I can find out (without having to pay) how to cure this over adrenaline activated sleep. I am asking a lot of you. Sorry. But it's like finding the pot of gold at the end of the tunnel for me as I have been trying to find out for years why my sleep is so disturbed, why my body and mind will not wind down at night.

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 9:22am

Hi there, there have been two pieces of research which may be of interest. These can be found by following these links:

Anonymous Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 1:41pm

thank you very much for your support. I am the same as you. I know it works, i know i need to do it, i know it is the key to coming out of my depression, i realise the benefits-but somehow i am not motivated to do it! so as you say i think this forced retreat-well i chose it so its not forced, but you know what i mean, will act as a kick start-i hope so-and if it doesnt thats ok. part of being in the moment is not having expectations and part of mindfulness is not being attached to outcomes-so i know something will change, i know it will be positive, but i dont know exactly what the outcome will be and i am okay with that. I did a little meditaiton before bed night before last, about 5 mins, and it was very relaxing , i fell asleep, then the next day at work i ahd these ''bouts'' of peace come over me-for seemingly no reason. Meditation , for me, follows me into the next day. i was really suprised that it was following me that much after just a short meditation. I guess im more motivated now because of the upcoming retreat, 3hrs in the morning and 3 hours in the evening at teh im doing a lil practising right now. I will be eating totally vegetarian-new-for 4 days, plus i will be on the nicotiene patch along with the meditation sessions, it is goign to be challenging but im not putting judgments on it prior-maybe it wont be that challenging after all, maybe it will feel natural for me-i never know and best presume for the most positive outcome! I have done a lot of work-getting of toxic ssri antidepressants, and eating a more balanced protein infused diet via naturopath advice, plus taking fish oils the last year. I lost 14 pounds since february as a result-which i didnt even try to do-wow. Next I will be taking a zinc test, as the naturopath says zinc is a common defficiency and about 15mg or mcg per day is optimal for those with mood disorders as it directly affects neurotransmitters responsible for moods. Also b6 complex. Very super cheap supplements. thank you again for your feedback! good luck with your meditation journey! When the student is ready the teacher will come! i found out about this retreat through I think it is north american wide...

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 1:48pm

Interesting about Zinc. Thanks for that tip.It's also good to hear that you fell asleep and had a good sleep after only a short meditation and it affected you positively the following day. Maybe I will give Mindfulness and meditation another go! I live in the UK and will try a day. Thank for the website link though.

TonyP Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 5:19pm

Got on MS Plus now and can see the dotted line limits. There could be two pairs of lines. One pair indicates top and bottom score since beginning of using MS. Other pair of dotted lines may indicate top and bottom scores for the current month.

The limit lines as presented are similar to statistical upper & lower bounds (S U&L Bs) but do not have the utility of the latter.

On my full-time chart, which now dates back 30 months, there are just two days when I would have gone outside the "S U&L Bs". (Fortunate I guess to have experienced such relative stability over that long time.)

The utility for "S U&L Bs" comes when they are applied to different chunks of time. For example, those limits will be different for
* the current month
* the last 3 months
* the last 6 months
* the past year, etc.

Since MS plus permits the viewing of charts for all those chunks of time, it would be a simple matter of computing to display the appropriate "S U&L Bs" when the user wishes to look at his/her chart for any given chunk of time.

If the mood of a person with, e.g., a bipolar diagnosis, was drifting higher or lower, then the "S U&L Bs" could provide the best 'early' warning to that person.

Of course it can be argued that every person, particularly MoodScope users, ought to know where they stand re: mood level. And thus don't need what may sound like a complicated statistical add-on to tell them what they already know.

But that gets us back to the original argument- it's a preventer of the knee-jerk reaction to changes that are may seem significant but are actually not.

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 6:13pm

Oh I see. You are saying that we may be worrying unnecessarily about daily fluctuations. That they may scare us into thinking we are over the top or really depressed in our mood. Whereas your suggested changes on the graph ,would allow us to see that in fact we needn't worry or have that alarming knee jerk reaction as we would be able to see that over a longer period, those ups and downs occurred in our charts but they weren't as significant overall as we may have thought at the time of experiencing the high or the low. Caroline's email is You may already have contacted her. I do think your suggestions are interesting, helpful and definitely worth considering but it's not up to me!

Julia Tue, Sep 24th 2013 @ 6:29pm

Sorry, correct address for Moodscope is;

TonyP Sun, Sep 29th 2013 @ 2:44pm

Thanks for those links. From the second it seems clear the Buddy 'talk/discussion' is of assistance. And just measuring mood is.

Please see Sept 29th email to the support address.


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