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Pride Comes After a Fall. Wednesday May 3, 2017

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

I was wondering what to write this morning. Not so much grasping into thin air, but choosing from the myriad of confused ideas in my mind, wondering which one to take in hand, untangle, and wrestle with my trusty keyboard into some kind of coherent shape.

But reading the Librarian's excellent post today has decided me: today needs to be about pride.

Yesterday, the Librarian recommended being compassionate with ourselves, recognising that we have done our best and saying "well done" to ourselves at the end of each day.

Well, until recently, I could never do that. Even when flying high; impatient with everyone around me because they were just so stupid, so slow, so unimaginative; I could never mark that "pride" card at more than a measly 1. As for the bad times, pride was the first to drop to zero, and the very last to come up again.

I would berate myself for not having done more, achieved better, obtained higher. I would look at my (perceived) potential and castigate myself for not having fulfilled even half of it.

I was never, but never, proud of myself.

What changed? The medication: simply the medication. Oh, what a difference the right drug makes!

It took a while for me to notice it, because I was consistently scoring a "good for me" number. But eventually, it dawned that there were never any 3s. So, if there were no 3s, what else had changed to bring the score up?

Well, there was nothing on jittery, irritable or hostile – that was one thing. But the most significant change was the pride score.

It seems, every morning, I can look back on the previous day and find at least one thing I am proud of. Today I look back and I am proud of myself for saying no to someone. Saying no was incredibly difficult for a people pleaser like me, but absolutely the right thing to do in those circumstances.

I don't think I am doing anything differently, but I am viewing it differently. And it's most unexpected.

The drive and ambition has not disappeared; I am not inhabiting some mental island of lotus-eaters, but I am much more relaxed about almost everything.

It's much nicer for the family. Rather than having a wife and mother who is upset because the cake is slightly burned on one side (because it's got to be perfect), I'm pleased I managed to bake a cake at all. Rather than having to cope with someone who is stressed at not having finished her "to do" list, they have a family member who is happy at having achieved at least something with her day. I deep-cleaned the bathroom on Sunday; I was dead chuffed with myself for that!

So, if you find you're beating yourself up over something, just take a moment to consider – is it you, or is it the depression talking?

That black dog is a miserable cur. I bet he's only proud of having dragged you down.

A Moodscope member.

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

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LP Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 7:53am

Hi Mary,
Your blog has made me think again about scoring the proud card. It tends to be about getting things done or coping in a difficult situation.

Perhaps if I start with "Considering how I was feeling...." It'd be more realistic scoring!
I really liked your "I'm not doing anything differently, I'm viewing it differently". That says alot to me.
Perhaps I've been focusing alot on changing what I have done and less about how I've been viewing things. Just that in itself may help me to question what is going on when my scores are lower than usual.
Thanks Mary, good wishes to you and all. LPxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 6:28pm

I read somewhere that, if you have a difficult situation, try bending down and viewing it through your legs, upside down. No idea if it works, and you might look silly doing it - but it's worth a go! I think almost everything depends on your point of view, and a good mental excercise is to try to look at everything from everyone's and everything's point of view.

Eva Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 7:57am

Spooky, I'm reading the Lotus Eaters currently! I usually mark proud as 1 if I have managed to achieve, that can be anything from I managed to get out for a walk to I managed 4 hours of painting. I don't know if I have different levels of pride... Can I be more proud?

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 6:31pm

Interesting and what a coincidence (there are no coincidences!). The cards measure how we are feeling about what we have achieved, rather than what we have done. So it is possible for someone who managed to get out of bed, shower and eat to put a 3, while someone who has just signed a world peace treaty to score a zero. It has nothing to do with accomplishment and everything to do with the way we relate to that accomplishment. So - could you feel more proud? And why and what about? Interesting questions.

Eva Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 10:48pm

Interesting, I will try and work out how I relate to the things I have done, rather than just noting them and see if that makes a difference when I'm scoring. I also find it hard to score more than 1 for attentive and alert... Maybe I need to look at these aspects again too.

Hopeful One Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 8:22am

Hi Mary- pride is of course an important ingredient of our self esteem and self worth and so needs to be nurtured.As long as its not of the 'I am the greatest kind' the chance of a downfall should not be high.

Some headlines from the world press.

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 6:32pm

Yup - it's sometimes about "taking a pride in ourselves" - and back to my blog of last week.

Sally Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 8:45am

Hi Mary, well done for the blog, a very interesting read
Where do you think this need to be perfect comes come? To push yourself, etc
In my case, I can trace it back to a demanding father who expected the impossible , without a thought often for our emotions... I've often thought that that had affected generations to come, and created a climate of fear ( of failure, of not being good enough)
Be kind to yourself . Tough but pays dividends. Virtual hugs. Glad too to hear that the meds work!

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:02pm

An interesting question. I have no idea, actually. Everyone around me has always said, "You drive yourself too hard" and "you do too much". I still feel I am lazy and don't do anything like enough. Unless I am being productive I cannot be easy. The thought of idleness fills me with panic! So - interesting indeed. Thank you for the question.

Eva Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 10:41pm

Interesting, my need to achieve and be busy comes from trying to get the attention of my parents in particular my dad, I felt that maybe if I worked really hard and made myself interesting through achievement he might want to spend time with me, but it didn't work. I've spent the last five or six years learning to not go at full tilt, if I hadn't had all the bereavement at once there is a chance I may have fashioned a more relaxed balanced lifestyle myself, instead I've been forced into it through fatigue , but I'm kind of relieved now that I have owed down. It's quite good.

Rupert Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:13am

Great blog Mary. Having woken up again feeling crushed and with all my work issues multiplying in my mind by the second I need someone to remind me that I am doing ok and that not everything can be perfect! Rupert

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:03pm

Just sending hugs, Rupert. So lovely to see you here, even if things are crushing for you at the moment. You have my best wishes.

The librarian Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 12:05pm

Great post, Mary! There's a big difference between a quiet internal pride and big noisy self-promoting pride, isn't there?

Especially well done on saying 'no' and the bathroom-cleaning!

I don't do the cards because my suspicions and fears of pride coming before a fall are just too great...

All the best

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:37pm

Many people say they don't do the cards. I need to, as that is my empirical evidence for how I am doing. If I can measure my mental health I can feel a bit more in control.

Orangeblossom Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 1:25pm

Hi Mary, thanks for the blog. I always enjoy reading yours and look forward to them every Wednesday. Hope that you continue to say no when you feel you reach your limits and won't be able to take anything else on. That is a growing strength for us people pleasers. Also for deep cleaning the bathroom which requires loads of energy for me. All Good Wishes

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:39pm

Lots of energy indeed. I did it in a state of nature too, as I needed to bleach it all because of mould (Any gentlemen reading this, please avert your (mental) eyes!) It smelled hideous, but the squeaky clean of it is lovely

The Gardener Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 1:34pm

Stimulating blog, Mary. I, like LP, have looked differently at the 'proud' card. Being British, pride was seen as 'showing off'. My gardening activities have pleased me, but less 'pride' than the joy of sharing what others see as a real talent. Now, the chips are down. My failure to put Mr G in a 'home' has been seen by some as 'stubbornness' of cowardice in not taking the emotional 'plunge'. But there are many factors. I am now very proud that with my 'team' I have applied 'techniques for solving difficulties'. The system of 1 week in 4 in hospital does not now work. As Mr G's state worsens, after a week of 'liberty' it is more and more difficult to go back to what is real captivity. He is now to have 4 days respite a week - so, if 2 of them are spent catching up on sleep, I can make real plans for the other two, even picking up on research. Librarian, I 'do' the cards, part habit, but a lot of analysis. I CANNOT score well on enthusiasm, so difficult to be positive and to plan - but hopeful (see above). What I cannot change is 'hostile' which remains extremely. Mr G has more than Alzheimers - 8 years ago he had Macular Degeneration in both eyes. He's had marvellous treatment. But because he could no longer drive nor read he became bitter against the world - people rushed to us with all sorts of aids - i organised (still am) a way of life to take account of all this. But he has sulked, taken it out on me, and refused all help and support - I CAN understand, and never do I stop giving thanks that I can still do things to make OUR life better. But I CANNOT cope with endless moaning and self-pity - sitting in a corner all rugged up this morning while loads of laughing, cheerful people came in - so, hostile I remain. Sally, my father was also tough, bi-polar - but he encouraged me in everything - the best, looking back, was that he did not know the words 'NO' and 'CANT'. Looking back, so sad he was such a difficult man, everything he did he would have scored 'top' for pride in achievement.

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:43pm

Feeling for you. I am having to deal with someone who is playing their "emotional blackmail violin" at a virtuoso level. Listening to those mournful notes is having a draining effect, yet I must continue to say "no". Every good wish for you. I am pleased Mr G is now getting 4 days respite a week. Sleep well on those days.

Lizzie Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 8:52pm

Thank you Mary, you've put a whole new perspective on the 'Pride' card for me. I usually automatically score it low, following low self esteem but you're right. I can probably find something to be proud of most days and could aim to score higher, feel a bit of self worth.
Today I worked a half day without suffering too much anxiety about it. I picked my child up from football despite my social anxiety being in a highso I can be proud of myself today ?. Thank you x

Mary Wednesday Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 9:41pm

You definitely can, Lizzie!

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