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Thank You Ola! Wednesday November 16, 2016

Do you know what it's like to have a thousand crickets under your skin; all dancing a tarantella and climbing over each other to get out through your dermis?

Do you know what it's like to have a whirlpool in your stomach; roiling and churning, greedy to grasp all ships passing and suck them down to a watery grave?

Do you know what it's like to feel that Edvard Munch's The Scream was painted after a visit to the inside your head?

Well, I guess you do. You're reading this in Moodscope, after all.

Yes – welcome to my world; or maybe to your world too.

So, how do you deal with it?

Last Wednesday I had two health appointments, back to back. One was with a psychiatric nurse; a charming gentleman with whom I had an intelligent conversation about ancient choral music, and a counsellor.

The nurse mainly wanted to establish what was going on with me. Yup – those three statements above. Good for his notes and maybe my future treatment, but not exactly helpful right now.

The counsellor wanted to work through some strategies.

So we worked out some things I could do to manage myself and feel better. I may still need the drugs; we're clear on that, but these activities help.

• Gentle exercise. You know I swim – I've blogged about it. I try to swim every morning. About half a mile in thirty minutes or so. I don't push it – it's important the exercise is gentle and meditative. If I start the attempt to swim further in the same time, or to beat the person swimming next to me, then the adrenaline starts pumping again. Walking is good too; watching the changes of the seasons; smelling the air, breathing deep.

• Words. Oh my darlings – you can have no idea how much it helps me, being able to write honestly into this non-judgemental and understanding place. I write other words too, but this blog is literally a life-saver for me: it gives me purpose and, even on my darkest days, prevents despair.

• Art. I would never claim to be a great artist, but I love my painting, my zentangling, and my card making. I love the precision and detail in creating a small piece of art intended to give joy to the person who receives it.

• Music. When well enough, I love singing in a choir. When I am not well - well, I love listening to choral music. My constant accompaniment these days is the contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. He writes about the beauty of his native country and his mesmeric compositions bring me peace. I am so grateful to him and the choirs which have recoreded his work.

Your therapeutic activities may be different. The important thing is to recognise them as treatment and not to feel guilty or self-indulgent when taking the time to actually do them. This is your medicine.

So, thank you Ola – your medicine is delicious!

A Moodscope member

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

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J Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:49am

Thank you Mary. Beautiful words, as ever, and an introduction to some new and beautiful music.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:39pm

Glad you like it!

L J Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 7:07am

Thanks a million dear soul. What you have written here resonates completely... & has really helped me RIGHT NOW. Sitting up in bed. Head banging..gazing at the beautiful moon. Thinking about too much.
Trying to unentangle all the threads... Seems like an impossible thing to
So I really thank. You. Mary. For making me feel less demented & hopeless! :)
Head-ache be gone.. Anxiety.. Leave me in peace. & as for the world at large... Currently.. Comprised of far too much insanity. In so many different ways.. On so many different levels..?-___-.... It just makes me want to run away., to the outer Hebrides.. And hide. Throw all my contact with it. Away.. & live on shellfish..& whatever I can forage..
Like you.
Am completely.. Reliant on my resources as an artist & poet. If I was unable to express nyself in this way? I don't think I'd be here.
As for swimming?
I've lived in Cornwall for 15 years.. A most beautiful part of this fair Isle.. But due to my inner shit. & awful events from my past.. Am unable to even dip a toe in the big drink.. Let alone.. Swim.
Haven't swam for at least 25 years... :( ... & would so love to.
One day.
Anyways - just wanted to say Howdy'.
Your words here. Mean alot. & are deeply appreciated. ;) x x x x
Have a good day.
Filled with spinning leaves.. & unexpected... Moments of joy...
LJ Sunray... Sometimes.

Tutti Frutti Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 8:09am

LJ Sunray Sometimes - I don't think I have seen you commenting on here before. So just to say welcome, thanks for sharing with us and I hope you will continue to find the moodscope community helpful. I agree it's a first class blog from Mary today. Love TF x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:01pm

Oh LJ.... yes, completely. For me it would be a rocky cave on a deserted Northumrian beach with a driftwood fire and unassailible cliff at my back. But I totally understand. And thank you for telling the time to comment. I really appreciate all of you who do.

Orangeblossom Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 7:16am

Thanks Mary, great blog as ever, & thought provoking. Next stage applying your suggestions to my own life. Look forward to your next blog!

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:06pm

Hmmmm. The next few are a bit dark, I'm afraid. But - I hope they will still speak to some of you.

Lou Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 8:24am

Another thought provoking blog Mary. And such visceral descriptions, some of which were very familiar. Excellent point about what is therapeutic for you and making time for it, something I have been very bad at recently (too much to do!). I will make time to do at least one thing today. Thank you and good luck with your ongoing recovery work.

LP Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 8:27am

Hi Mary, thank you for sharing the things that are dear to you, confirming how these things can bring peace if we allow them to. Wishing you and all wellness. LP xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:06pm

Ah , thank you.

Tutti Frutti Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 8:29am

Mary Another great blog. Thanks.
Two things struck me. The first is that it's so nice when mental health professionals treat you like an intelligent person. I've had a mix between those that are deeply patronising or those who go through every question on the list despite the fact that it must be immediately clear as you walk in that some questions just aren't relevant and my last psychiatrist who was great and happy to have an intelligent discussion on half lives of drugs with me. (The one with the list also failed to give a decent explanation of the medical terms so I gave him the wrong answer to the anhedonia question!)

Secondly the more I hear about you, the more I realise we have in common - except for the writing which I admit is a very big difference. But the swimming and walking, the choral music, the bits and bobs of art and your literary tastes (at least in kids books as revealed the other day) are all right up my street. I am not familiar with any contemporary Norwegian composers but will have to look it up when I am on a computer rather than my mobile phone.

I hope that the strategies you worked out help you back to a better place and that you can give yourself the time to do them. Enjoy your therapy times.

Love TF x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:13pm

I think it was the Scottish writer Iain Banks, in his novel The Wasp Factory, who pointed out that mad does not mean unintelligent. I certainly do not think of myself as mad although I have a mental health condition and, as a fellow bi-polar friend said the other day, if my educational path had followed a different route, it could be you sitting in that psychiatrist's chair.

Sally Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 9:06am

Thank you Mary. As the others said, a belter! Super music, relaxing & soothing.
Well written and informative too, your blog. I shall keep it for when I need it again.
Go well, Mary, and know what a treasure you are to us on Moodscope. :-) Sally xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:41pm

Sally - thank you just so much. You are all so lovely here.

Anghared Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 9:17am

How beautiful and such a powerful way of describing those feelings that we all here seem to sadly experience from time to time. Waking up this morning, I could identify with most of them.
I live by the sea, so after my porridge, I am going to wrap up and walk for an hour slowly by the sea, and then catch the bus home. I love embroidery and have currently left off doing my lovely project, due to my shaky hands, but last night I contacted my embroidery guru for help, and help us coming my way, as she is coming over, so that was a positive.
Have listened to the music beautiful.
Thank you so much for you piece of writing, I have saved it, so that when I sadly experience those feelings I will read your piece of work, and feel safe and cared for because I know somewhere out there is you, who also has to deal with the hideousness. Thank you

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:43pm

Dear Anghared, I shall think of you, the sea and your beautiful embroidery. I hope the shaking reduces enough so you can continue with your project.

Hopeful One Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 9:27am

Hi Mary- great inspiring blog with useful therapeutic options that work for you. Many of them work for me too painting, writing,walking, Would you mind if I substituted singing for swimming as I never really enjoyed it? You say you do the swimming in a meditative way.Could you tell me how that works without actually sitting down and meditating to acquire the skill? I realised that they these activities had become so routine for me that it was worth being reminded how and why they all began.

Laughter without question. I am afraid lawyers have moved into the frame again when I heard on the radio this morning that another crop of them have abandoned ship on the historical sex abuse inquiry as the going started getting tough and the days of easy money were over.

An engineer died and reported to the pearly gates. An newly annointed angel, filling in for St. Peter, checked his dossier and grimly said, "Ah, you're an engineer; you're in the wrong place." So the engineer was cast down to the gates of hell and was let in. Pretty soon, the engineer became gravely dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and began designing and building improvements. After a while, the underworld had air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators, and the engineer was becoming a pretty popular guy among the demons. One day, God called Satan up on the telephone and asked with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?" Satan laughed and replied, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next." God's face clouded over and he exploded, "What? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake; he should never have gotten down there; send him up here." Satan shook his head, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him." God was as mad as he had ever been, "This is not the way things are supposed to work and you know it. Send him back up here or I'll sue." Satan laughed uproariously, "Oh yes.. And just where are YOU going to get the lawyer?"

Jul Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 1:53pm

Any jokes about lawyers resonate with me, i.e make me laugh. An interesting take on why yet another one has left the sex abuse enquiry here in the UK. Never thought of that & actually you have a good point Hopeful One! Julxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:49pm

Loved that hole today. Thank you

Tutti Frutti Thu, Nov 17th 2016 @ 8:15am

HO If you swim on your front with your head in the water except when breathing in (the standard technique) then you have to concentrate on your breathing to make sure that you don't breathe in water. You also end up focusing on other things like the sound of the bubbles as you breathe out, the rhythm of your arms/legs and the patterns on the floor of the pool (especially when there's sunlight coming in). One way or another this ends up as a mindfulness exercise. Love TF x

Leah Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 9:38am

Thanks for your blog. The hard part is trying to find the activity/therapy that suits one mood. For some this isvery hard and frustrating. I am glad you find things that work.
For me books, buying, selling, reading or just smelling and admirong them works for me.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:51pm

Yup. Books always work. Real ones always better than e-books - although I totally adore being able to carry a whole library around with me in just one "book"

Lexi Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 1:51pm

My wellness program is the same yet different: exercises, reading, music (sometimes, but sometimes it evokes emotions I cannot handle at the moment), eating right, vitamins, long walks with the dog. Hmm. could be my dating profile...But I do feel guilty from time to time doing these things for myself - that is the struggle for me, as you mentioned at the end of your blog. I have to remind myself that if I didn't do these things I would be of no use to anyone. Actually I am getting better at not listening to the guilt. Now when the guilty thoughts arise I just treat them like a pest "oh yes, I am so bad for taking care of myself. I've heard you before. Now shoo." Thanks Mary xo Lexi

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 6:53pm

I love that! "Oh, I feel so bad for taking care of myself!" I shall try that one myself. Thank you.

Jul Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 1:56pm

Hello Mary. It is brave of you to seek help and I hope you are getting the help you deserve and need. Leonard Cohen is doing it for me right now but I can see I am in danger of wallowing in the nostalgia. Julxxx

Kirsty Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 4:17pm

I haven't read a Moodscope blogpost for months, if not years; what luck that the first one I tune back in for is by Mary. You are so right about not letting a competitive element creep in to your swimming. I walk, rather than swim, but I find it takes a huge amount of effort to not try and catch up with the next person on the pavement, or cross the road before the light changes. Although it's a bit easier when your walk follows hard on the heels of an anxiety episode which has left you drained and exhausted. I'm glad writing helps you Mary as it certainly helps me (and loads of others). I'm off now to follow your link to the Norwegian composer. Thank you. x

The Gardener Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 4:28pm

TF interested in your being pleased at being treated like an 'intelligent person'. I heard, yesterday, someone fairly famous talking to their therapist (Womans' Hour?) the client must have nearly driven the therapist mad - couldn't express herself, no positive or even pertinent questions, demands for help. Forget how it ended - dead-end I think, come back and spend another £100 next week. Forgive the cynicism, but it seems many Yanks are in perpetual therapy - do they need a perpetual prop? Or are therapists only people who will talk to them. One Samaritan client who we had to be pretty fierce with had alienated husband, family, friends, Her GP 'rationed' her severely, she'd run out of money for counselling. What is the solution? I try and apply my intelligence to my problems - no use at all - a stratagem for one evening will be useless the next. All I need is friends (lots this market morning) and all the respite I can get. Does the embroider have incipient Parkinson's. Friend just started, shattered. I like Mary's wise remark that gentle exercise is great, get competitive, with your own efforts or against someone else bang goes the relaxation

Hopeful One Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 5:48pm

Hi Gardener- there is undoubtedly a conflict of interest between the therapist's fiscal convenience versus their duty of care for the client. Another group in the same category- you guessed it - lawyers.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Nov 16th 2016 @ 9:04pm

As so often, it comes down to responsibility. We need to take on responsibility for our own condition.

the room above the garage Thu, Nov 17th 2016 @ 6:12am

Ah music, my constant companion. I hope you feel newly empowered after your appointments. Thank you for the blog, love ratg x.

Nicco Thu, Nov 17th 2016 @ 9:11am

Mary, I have never heard it described as well as you have - the crickets, the whirlpool, (mine were ants and a washing machine so very close, as you can see), and I haven't come across anyone who understands this so, although I wouldn't wish it on anyone, it's so good to know someone understands just what I mean. Yes, I swim (usually twice a week when I can but have damaged my neck, left shoulder and back so can't atm), and use my exercise cycle most days (same applies) and I don't know what I'd do without my craftwork - cards and zentangling, like you, and also 12th scale (dolls house) miniatures. I belong to a creative writing group which meats once a fortnight, and I too used to belong to choirs which, sadly, I can no longer commit to due to the state of my physical health, but I so enjoy singing and want to say a huge thank you for introducing me to the music of Ola Gjeilo through that wonderful link - how useful to have the music there to follow and sing with. I also found Eriks Esenwalds on the same site. Enjoyed the Dark Night of the Soul. I do hope the crickets and whirlpool settle soon for you. Sending gentle hugs. Nicco.

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