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Second Year Running. Friday January 27, 2017

January for me since being diagnosed 30 years ago with a form of M.E. and chronic fatigue syndrome is a month I became to loath. Every January for the past twenty years was the trigger for oppressive feelings and dark places. Ridiculous some friends would say as its all in the mind. Well that's a statement in itself because it's definitely in my mind.

However my January's have improved and for the past two years I've been managing them differently. Getting through this January 2017, I realise, at last, I may have conquered the rather large wall that stood between a cold dark place of negativity and the sunnier climates of positivity and prosperity. (I am sure there was a large wall in Games of Thrones).

So what changed? Last year I was fairly new into a job so I believe that kept me busy and focused and took my mind away from the thoughts of being negative. All I remember is that I got through it and in to February with a large cheer. This year I remain in the same job and doing ok. However, I was worried that being a single guy once again after 30 years having been attached admittedly with different women I would somehow become morose and down. Nope, I decided not let this happen as life was actually better than ever before. I have fantastic relationships with my children who deserve a Dad who is positive and upbeat as they themselves have challenges in their career choices. One is a Doctor, o'ne is a trainee Commercial Pilot and the other studies at LSE. Its impossible not to be proud of such wonderful young people I helped raise. These relationships keep me aware of life's best things and something else I took on was my love of lawn bowls and now play at least three times per week always meeting new people. I am also learning Chinese Mandarin, practising my memory tricks and picking up on Quantum Computing.

So basically I have had no time to be concerned about negative things or even the association of January with a bad time.

My message to all you wonderful Moodscope members is - If you have a bad feel month or day then find something new of interest to watch or partake in and live each moment as though it counts. Remember if you walk with a dog your brain may be full of thoughts ranging from shopping to sorting out bills to what to wear that evening, but a dog is just looking at the wonderful landscape in front of him/her and being ready for the next opportunity of food and that's it. Animals live in the moment and so should humans.

Take action today and find that one thing that will make the difference and feedback to the group such as learning Piano, watching only factual programmes on TV, walking to the shops, playing a new sport (Lawn Bowls), cooking something new, visit a new place and many more.

Kind regards

Frank from the Quayside
A Moodscope member.

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

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Anne Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 5:11am

I enjoyed reading your blog Frank and found myself smiling - I want to be a dog!!

When I get out of my own way & live in the now (& not my head!) my life is better.....

The other thing your blog reminded me of was that I have choices (& choosing not to choose is still a choice)...

I awoke and felt low/rough & in pain...I chose to check my emails and now, feel grateful I did! I now choose to get up, walk the dog and see things that they see, by being in the moment

Thank you :-)

Jane Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 5:57am

Sorry to hear you woke in pain Anne. I hope it eases throughout the day. Enjoy your dog! x

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:29pm

You are welcome and hope the sun came out as you walked the dog and shined light on new things to admire.

Susan Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 5:46am

Thank you for your blog - what an inspiration!

I too was diagnosed over 30 years ago not with M.E. but M.D. (manic-depression).

30 odd years down the line I strive to be in the positive position that you are in and like Ann, after reading your blog this morning I too wish I had the emotions of a dog.

Just for today ... I will reflect back on what I wanted to achieve this year, this January - the gym opens at 6.30am so I am off to the gym for some exercise and a swim.

I shall spend the day recovering from the dentist with a good book and an evening eating out with a friend and I am sure we will spend some of the evening discussing your blog which has helped me and I hope will help her.

Thank you and have a nice February.


Tutti Frutti Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:41am

All this talk of mindfulness and dogs reminds me how much JK Rowling understands in the Potter books. Fans may appreciate the following observation (and if you've not read the Potter books yet I would urge you to since as well as showing a clear understanding of mental health the books are very easy reading and will give you a laugh. If this is too light for you and you want to take Frank's advice and learn something new as you are going along, you could always try reading them in another language!) Anyway, The way to get through being subjected to the dementors of Azkaban without going mad is to spend as much time as possible transformed into a dog. Apologies if this makes no sense but I suspect at least Mary will appreciate it. Love TF x

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:31pm

You have put a smile on my face as going to the dentist followed by something to eat in the evening. I do hope you have recovered from the pain of someone messing about in your mouth and can go for a nice soft Italian pasta :)

Mary Wednesday Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 4:33pm

Hello TF and yes, what a brilliant observation. When I am in the company of dementors then yes, the only way to survive is minute by minute and hour by hour. This is indeed the doggish way: to live only in the moment. One endures what that moment brings and takes what joy it offers. If one exists only in that moment then the Dementors can only torture that moment; one's past is denied to them and one's future locked to both of you. An excellent analogy. I would however, disagree that the books are light reading. They start out that way and become progressively darker and more complex. They have in common with Pratchett, however, the ability to wrap fundamental philosophy in easily accessible wrapping paper.

Jane Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 6:01am

Hi Frank, this made me think as I tend to go too much the other way and cram my life full of things to try and offset the low moments and my overthinking. However it is normally the same stuff I do. I like your idea of trying something new. Maybe I will just read about something I know nothing about. I also think maybe it's time I 'picked up' the piano keys again. I've not played for 5 years since failing my grade 8. Time to rediscover lost parts of myself I think. Thanks Frank.

Tutti Frutti Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:50am

Jane There is amazing stuff you can play at grade 7 so I really urge you to get back to it and enjoy your playing. I understand where you are coming from though. There's a sonata I got a mental block about after a stressful experience in my O level music where I lost my place in the music in the middle and ground to a halt. You were allowed to rerecord the piece once at the time so it didn't affect anything but I didn't play the piece again until I was over 40. Hope you manage to get back into it but go gently on yourself if it takes a while. Love TF ( who never got to grade 8 either). Xoxo

Tutti Frutti Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:52am

Jane There is amazing stuff you can play at grade 7 so I really urge you to get back to it and enjoy your playing. I understand where you are coming from though. There's a sonata I got a mental block about after a stressful experience in my O level music where I lost my place in the music in the middle and ground to a halt. You were allowed to rerecord the piece once at the time so it didn't affect anything but I didn't play the piece again until I was over 40. Hope you manage to get back into it but go gently on yourself if it takes a while. Love TF ( who never got to grade 8 either). Xoxo

Tutti Frutti Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:54am

Oops too impatient with the mobile phone.

Jane Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 11:01am

Thank you Tutti Frutti! I sat down and played two scales - baby steps! I really appreciate you taking the time so send me this lovely encouraging message and to see it twice is a bonus! Thank you xxx

The Gardener Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 7:18am

Dear Frank - thanks - struggling to 'live for the minute'. Mr G woke in a foul mood - I just felt utterly weighed down at the thought of the day which will be nothing but moans, even insults, and the endless self-pit. I am lucky, I have so many interests - but Mr G is jealous of everything I do. Had a shower, made a 'cuppa', read Leah's flattering reply to my post yesterday - lovely nurses will turn up any moment - but life is like one of those army manoeuvres - you have to scale walls, climb nets and wriggle through tubes before you can 'start' life. I will start scrambling up that wall. Have a good day

Sally Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 9:52am

Deepest sympathy, TG. So hard! Try to remember his insults are not really meant, just an expression of his intense frustration. I wish I were nearer to help out. You are amazing. That respite can't be far off now?

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:35pm

You could always be on top of the wall looking down on top of Mr G and explaining that his comments are hurtful and being on top of the wall is where he used to see you and admire. Remind him to try and find a way through his own frustrations and not too mirror them onto you.

Isabella Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 7:55am

Hi Frank, I too find the winter months hard. We've had a good winter though with lots of sun (UK South Coast) and we bought a large 'sun' light for the bedroom. We have a great son whom we are extremely proud of - commercial Diver and he travels the world (only 20). We have a gorgeous dog who must be walked twice a day, so I have to go out whatever the weather - she makes us laugh too with her antics! About five years ago I decided I wanted to learn to sing - 'can't sing' they told me at school - I can! Now I sing with a wonderful group of people and we perform to crowds regularly - it's good fun and totally amazing and uplifting. Your blog made me realise I am pretty 'stable' most of the time, still on medication, but I'm good.

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:37pm

Hi Isabella, You are obviously a great Mum hence your son doing so well and be very proud. Singing is a fantastic social thing to do and you will have inspired many people through song to have a better life.

Hopeful One Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:36am

Hi Frank-thanks for reminding us that positivity requires maintenance and living in the moment gives it a greater chance. Martin Seligman one time president of the American Psychological Society ,after research done by his group, created the Happiness Equation where H= S+C+V where H =happiness,S=set point,C=circumstance and V=voluntary. The set point is inherited- one cannot make Miserable Michael into Sunny Jim.Our circumstances matter. People in better circumstances are more likely to be happy then people who cannot even access basic necessities. Any voluntary activity will always have a positive effect on the equation. The good news is that V may contribute up to 40% to H.You boosted V by voluntarily engaging in bowls,learning Mandarin,memory tricks and Quantum computing. My feedback? Learning to play the guitar having never played a musical instrument in my life.

Today's sortie uncovered this laugh.Warning: this joke has adult content which some may find offensive.

A couple were having an argument at breakfast." You aren't so good in bed either" he shouted and stormed off to work.By mid morning he decided he better make amends and phoned home. After many rings his wife picked up the phone."What took you so long to answer?" She says" I was in bed"" what were you doing in bed this late" " Getting a second opinion"

Jane Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:04pm

Awesome Hopeful One. Good to have your jokes back! x

Jul Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 9:02am

Great blog Frank. It's so good that you are so much better these days and for you to experience two good Januarys in a row says a lot about how you are on the right track. What I took from your blog was that we must look at what we have achieved in our lives and actually when we see our children so successful and happy as far as we know, this should lift our spirits and give us self confidence that we have done something right. Focus on the good things. And try something new. I find the latter difficult as I am not sure what totally grabs my imagination to try but I will think about this today. Go well Frank. Julxx

Maurice Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 9:03am

I can see the parallels between ME and depression. When I'm depressed I find it hard to do anything, so trying to do something new is virtually impossible, requiring superhuman effort. But it is worth it. I'm guessing that this is similar for ME.
It doesn't have to be a really big thing either.
I've been down the last few days (not bad, but still noticable). I was out early this morning filling up the bird feeders, freezing my fingers off, annoyed at this chore before rushing to work. And then one of 'my' robins appeared next to me, looking hungry but grateful that I was putting out food. That cheered me up, seeing how I was making a difference. On the way into work I saw a flock of hungry fieldfares gorging on berries.
I'm not a dog person, so for me the birds are my equivalent, making me focus outwards, rather than inwards.
Result: I've gone from ~40% to ~80%. My fingers are still cold though!

Sally Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 9:59am

Our bird friends also give us a lot of pleasure. Yesterday, we witnessed two fat robins taking turns at the feeder, which they have to squeeze into as it is pigeon and squirrel proof ( well, supposedly!) One seemed also be the lookout, while the other fed. Utterly charming , and it put a smile on our faces.

Lex Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 10:21am

Great call to action, Frank. Today, I shall take a leaf out of the dog's wisdom.

The Gardener Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 11:26am

Thanks Sally - eldest son due Tuesday - and I have booked respite the day after he leaves - the sense of being utterly bereft when a visitor goes gets worse. Looking at Frank's blog - I WILL redo my shop window this afternoon. Usually, despite awful starts in the morning I shake myself like a dog coming out of the water and firmly get on. Suddenly (hell getting Mr G to bed last night as well) I feel physically, emotionally and mentally beaten into the ground. Must focus on my abilities, and use them

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:41pm

You are stronger than you ever can know coping in the way you do from the sounds of it. If you have a shop then this is where your beauty of life can also exist. Meeting people and having the one conversation that might change your outlook for the day to a positive one. You already have the abilities so dont over think them and just do it.

Rose Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 2:04pm


patricia Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:33pm

Hi Frank, liked your thought provoking blog. I went down at the beginning of December and have only just started to come out . Went to the doctor about something else mentioned I'd been down and said I wondered if the sun had helped me, he asked if I take Vitamin D, "yes" how large a dose, so he prescribed a very high dose for three weeks then back to my normal one (from Health Shop)I do use a light box, but my black dog had come into my house and decided to stay. My brother is a graphic artist he sent me Christmas card of an inn he had recently painted (thouht it was a phograph at first what was the inn called "The Black Dog) he had't done it intentionally, I did manage a smile
I've just been for my walk several dogs running around one thing a dog always does is go up to another dog and say hello. Don't think I'll try that as people will say "have you seen that batty old women she goes up to everyone and says hello.
Did enjoy bowls when I was feeling well, couldn't when down felt I was letting the side down, if I played a short bowl etc. Unfortunately had to give it up as my backs not good.
I wish you luck in all you do, I really admire you for what you do, your children sound incredible.
Bye for now.

Frank by the Quayside Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 12:44pm

If you do have the courage to visit a coffee shop and just say hello to the staff and chat or maybe someone in the queue and mention the food or anything that catches your eye to start a conversation you might be amazed. Bowls has become rather addictive to me and shame you cannot play anymore as a great sport for all ages and types of people. My children are all lovely and so long as they keep their feet on the ground I am happy. Might be more difficult for the pilot Ha Ha.

Rose Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 2:03pm

I had my first piano lesson yesterday! The last time I had one was when I was 5 (I'm now 44).

Jane Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 8:02pm

Wow - good for you Rose. Keep going! x

The Gardener Fri, Jan 27th 2017 @ 7:30pm

Thanks for the support above. Still exhausted but bouyed up by planning handicapped bathroom, doing shop window, and the organisation which supplies help 2 x 2 hours per week sent a super lady - 8 children! She usually reads, and I asked her 'can you trim beards? Of course. Saved me wheel-chairing Mr G down to the barbers. Rose, good luck with piano - stick at it. Had my piano moved one house to the other - now cannot afford the heating in the room where it is (feeble excuse). Reminded of my friend - super lady - disorganised, and always saying 'I wish I'd done that'. One of which was learning the piano. She had time, money, opportunity - but actually making herself make time was beyond her. I was listening to Musique classique yesterday, thought 'I know that piece so well, why was it different?' Mozart Sonata, which I know. Why was it different? Because the professional was playing at the correct tempo - me, I'm in the slow lane. Efforts will be made. And I've never managed to trill. So, Rose, progress reports please.

LP Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 12:01am

I totally agree. It's so easy to slip into a rut and all it takes sometimes is to shake things up a bit!
At other times more significant action is what it would take. The thought of stepping out of a comfort zone is so often worse than it is once we get there and how often do we love it once we're there?
Thanks for a great blog. LPxx

Molly Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 12:24am

Hi Frank, I enjoyed your blog, as it was so upbeat and positive, but I haven't been able to get on and enjoy these things, and I cannot help but question that if people can, then they don't need to be on here but that is probably just the way I am feeling right now in myself. The piano struck a chord with me as I had lessons as a teenager and have tried to get back into it (many years later), but have lost all enthusiasm to do so or to do much at all, and I don't mean to be gloomy when moodscopers are trying to be positive ! I wrote another blog last night but decided it was far too gloomy to send in, so I will try better next time.... maybe that will be the action I need to take xx

Isabella Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 7:42am

Dear Molly, just wanted to answer you, hope you see this. I had a really bad time three years ago, but my husband, bless him, made me go for a walk everyday and took me to singing. That is all I could do, but they were the small steps. I'm much better now, but the 'pit' still calls. I read Moodscope to keep on an even keel, but I do lots of other things too now - it's what keeps me healthy. Just take a very small step in a positive direction, just one thing. My mantra at low times is 'nothing bad is going to happen today'. Take care. Xxx

Molly Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 3:09am

Thank you Isabella. I really appreciate your response. My husband doesn't really know how to help me. He does try though. With the little things, that go a long way. But he's unwell himself, physically, so that's where all our energy is going, and everyone understands physical illness. I'm out of the depression that I was in, for now, at least, but strangely enough, I was telling myself earlier that nothing more bad was going to happen. And it does help. Thanks again xx

Isabella Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 7:30am

I really understand, my husband was diagnosed with cancer fourteen months ago - secondaries too. What a horrible journey we're on...he's being very strong and I'm just hanging on. It is emotionally draining and physically tiring. But we're learning how to look after ourselves, we know who are friends are now! Living each day as it comes - nothing bad is going to happen today - really helps (because 99% of the days nothing bad happens) - it's the dread that is so awful. That's why I loved Franks blog - so upbeat. Take care Molly. Xxx

Molly Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 1:35am

Oh Isabella, I am sorry to hear about your husband. You are right, it really is draining and oh yes you do find out who your friends are. And family for that matter. My husband doesn't have cancer but he is becoming increasingly immobile and we are waiting for a diagnosis, it has been suggested he might have motor neurone disease which has scared us but we still don't know. I'm planning on adaptations to the house now and know that life is going to be very limited from now on. I'm strong when the depression goes but when that re emerges (as it will) it magnifies everything. It's like being in a different body/different brain. Take care too xxx

Lacey Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 1:26pm

Hi Frank from the Quayside
i to feel like January is the most awful month
Why? Well all the fun and socialising of the season has faded into memories,the weather is usually bad; remember last year when it rained for the entire time?
Most folk are strapped for cash as overspending at Christmas
I could go on...and on ....and on.....however this year,like you,I decided to LIKE January and now I love this month.
I packed loads of stuff into the weeks as they slowly went by...
I went on a retreat in Norfolk with Mindfulness, yoga and silence on the menu.
The food was amazing and all vegan but so tasty, definately 5 star and the accomodation and site was nothing short of exquisite.No noise,people,cars,phones,ipads...just the sounds of birds,water and all in a tiny hamlet deep in the heart of Norfolk.
The folk on the course was small,12 of us in all nd we had free time to do what we wanted and all the classes could be attended or not- it was my choice.
I also took time out to visit friends and pals I had not seen for a while and now I see January as restorative and that is SO positive to have in my mind.
Don't be afraid of this month,it's a new year and will bring new challenges that we can all deal with by changing how we think about them
All the best to you FQ and all reding this blog;I hope it helps!!
By the way I have had bipolar disorder for 30+ years but I'm still here TG!!! ;-)

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