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The Kindness of Strangers. Saturday March 19, 2016

I have been reading Moodscope since 2012 when someone forwarded a post to me and I actually read it.

Back then I didn't record my scores. But I was reading the blog with enough regularity to be a bit miffed when Jon left. He was an excellent writer and a philosopher and his posts were tidy, with a beginning, middle and an end.

But the new bloggers were different. Their posts were open ended. I found them messy, poignant, funny, sad, beautiful, disturbing. In short, they were like my moods. My unpredictable, complicated moods.

I was just on the cusp of the most major breakdown of my life when the bloggers changed. I was recently married and had a young daughter and I had quit my career and started my own company. We bought a house.

Then I crashed. I hated being married. I felt claustrophobic. I loved my daughter but I had postpartum depression that didn't reveal itself until years later. I was feeling financial strain. Everyone around me seemed to be doing great. But I was imploding.

What the hell was wrong with me? I yelled. A lot. I threw things. A lot. My husband would hold our daughter while I raged. I couldn't believe he was more concerned about her than with my despair (so it seemed at the time). I would say awful things to him. I was convinced that no one could understand.

How can you articulate the feeling of drowning? How can you describe feeling out of your body, watching others as if they were on a different plane? I contemplated suicide. I thought about how I would do it. I would think about how my daughter would get on. I thought she would be much happier without a crazy, enraged mother who couldn't do anything except lie in a dark room for days on end.

I didn't talk to my friends for weeks. Then I couldn't believe that no one cared enough to check in on me. Now I know they were terrified and didn't know how to help.

But through it all I kept reading. I started to recognize some of the bloggers' names and I even posted a comment or two. People would respond with such love. There is something so powerful about hearing kind words from a stranger when you aren't able to hear it from your own loved ones.

It didn't matter that the bloggers were thousands of miles away. I started to feel part of something, so that when my mother in law said to me (probably for the 100th time) "You don't need to suffer like this" I was finally able to hear it. I called my doctor and got medication. I found an amazing therapist.

I never thought I would write about my experience. But this community is one of the ways I stay healthy and helped save my life. So here's to throwing it all out there!

A Moodscope member

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

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Ange Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 5:32am

I really enjoyed your blog post today Lexi, it was so honest and reading your description of feeling 'out of your body' reminded me that I'm not alone in this, that there are others out there who feel similar. But your post also gave me hope and inspiration, as whenever I read about someone getting through depression and emerging on the other side it reminds me to keep going. Thank you for sharing x

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:50am

If there is one thing I realized through this is that we're not alone Ange. Keep going - you will get to the other side. xo.

Hopeful One Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 6:42am

Hi Lexi- a powerful blog displaying your courage and thanks for sharing your journey with us. ' A problem shared is a problem halved'. What's more you also 'found yourself '.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:51am

Thanks HO! Your blogs and your own courage have helped me so much.

Zareen Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:31am

Thanks for sharing your story Lexi. Some of it resonated with me very distinctly!

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:45pm

Im so glad I helped in any way Zareen.

Suzanne Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:33am

Great blog post - thank you x x x

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:45pm

Thank you for your support Suzanne!

Lex Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:45am

What a powerful blog, Lexi. What an enormous encouragement for us all to keep blogging - including you more often! Who knows what stranger you will have touched today with your authentic, genuine, compassionate kindness? I thank you for your kindness to me today, Lex

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:56am

Thank you Lex. Thank you for all your wonderful, beautiful blogs throughout the years that have kept me going. If i have helped just one person in the way that you and others have helped me I would be so internally grateful.

Tiago Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:45am

I haven't recorded my score for many, many months now (years?), but I've always refrained myself, for some reason, from unsubscribing to the mail list.

I think today I understood why I have done so.

I have recently been debating with myself the virtues of honesty and sincerity: "The Truth shall set you free"... I think I'm coming to see in what ways this is very, very true, and I think today's blog post helped me to see how that is so.

More than recording my score, keeping a numeric reference for how I felt (which, like I said, I haven't done in a long while), I feel it really helped me reading others' testimonies. Being able to look at the World through their eyes. Having, through their generosity and courage, the ability to see I was not alone, in how I saw things and felt myself.

In thanking Lexi, for the bravery to be True and to set an example of how it is possible to open ourselves and be vulnerable and survive and be better for it, I wish also to thank the many others who have inspired me all this time. Or frustrated me. Those I felt were writing my own thoughts and those I didn't relate to. Those I understood and those who left me with a blank expression. Even those whose post I haven't even read, having deleted the email without second thought, for feeling too miserable, impacient, angry, busy, fake busy, etc., to read it.

Thank you for suplying me with a constant, if many times unconscious, reminder to be True. To come to terms with how things are. 'Cause it's ok. It can always be better, and that's how I want it to be, but it's also always ok. Like the bible -- and I'm not a christian -- says: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good". Very good. Not perfect. And that's ok.

Thank you.

Mary Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:06am

Tiago - Wow! You say you're not a Christian - but you have just written a better sermon than many I have read. Your last line hit me so hard (in a good way). Thank you so very, very much.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:04pm

Tiago, the truth will indeed set you free. Or maybe we set our own Truths free? For me it was about wanting to run away from myself. I had the same reaction to the blog posts. Sometimes they would really hit a chord and I would turn them off and busy myself with something else. But once I stopped running and let the breakdown begin the truth emerged - that we are perfect in our own messy ways. We don't need to do anything else except accept that into hearts and minds. It's a lifelong struggle for me but the only one that's worth it. Thank you for your brave words.

Frankie Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 4:43pm

Yes Tiago - WOW! "Very good - not perfect"; SO liberating - thank-you! Frankie

Melanie Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:50am

Dear Lexi, Thank you! You have moved me to tears and put me in touch with myself so I feel real again this morning. Wow - how powerful. I so agree with all that Tiago says too. Love to all.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:07pm

Yay Melanie! I am humbled that my words have touched so many but I am again reminded of how much strength we can draw from being a part of this community.

Annette Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:56am

Dear Lexi what a brilliant post.I can relate to how you felt .All so frustrating with loss of control.You sound like a strong amazing person with a very supportive family also moodscope family.The daily blogs make me smile and cry at times.Keep up the good work

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:17pm

Thank you Annette! This blog also makes me laugh out loud some days and feel very sad on others. But feeling all of it has helped me come through to the other side.

ulrika Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:00am

I have never thanked someone as I always get stuck when I try to log in and feel it is too much and give up or just say 'can't be bothered'. Today I managed to log in because I felt so strongly that I really wanted to thank you for sharing your dearness and also for all the blogs you write that really help me and so many others. So, thank you.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:18pm

I'm so glad you didn't give up Ulrika. Thank you for your kind words. - lexi

ulrika Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:01am

Dearness should be darkness

LillyPet Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:03am

Morning Lexi, thank you for sharing your inspiring story, how amazing and fortunate it is for us to be a part of this gently yet powerful community it truly is a gift that keeps on giving in abundance. Thank you for sharing that there is always hope. Love and light to all LPxx

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:20pm

Morning LP! You give me hope. Your comments and posts have made me laugh and cry. Thank you for helping me feel part of something bigger.

the room above the garage Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:17am

Hello Lexi, what a brilliant post! This is how I feel about life...that sometimes someone does such a small thing and it means so much to me that, without knowing it, they have saved me. An old lady in a supermarket long, long ago... Thank you Lexi, its wonderful to hear progress and makes my heart smile. Love ratg xx.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:24pm

HI RATG! I know, it's funny that we hear something at just the right moment, when we are ready to, and the source can come from anywhere. You have been an inspiration to me. xo.

the room above the garage Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:33am

Norman, if you are in here today...I was late to reply and have left you messages on your marshmallow blog and my rugby one. Apologies for throwing this in here Lexi.

Michelle Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:34am

For me such a powerful post and I can so relate to your experience and suffering.
I wish you well in your life journey and hope you future brings all you wish for.
This is the first time I have commented on the blog. Maybe I should participate more often
Best wishes and hope to all xxx

Leah Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 9:57am

Welcome Michelle and congratulations on posting. I do hope you participate when you can.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:27pm

Hi Michelle, I am so glad you commented. This Moodscope community did help save my life so I am glad that something I said resonated with your own experience. I do hope we see your name again soon!

Terence Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:45am

Thank you, many miles from home this morning I am so glad I read your blog, now connected x

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:28pm

I am so glad to hear that you feel connected. We are never far from our Moodscope family are we? Safe travels Terence.

Salt Water Mum Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:52am

Thank you so much Lexi, you touched my heart this morning with your honesty and warmth,
(And Tiago too)


Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:34pm

What an amazing community we have. Thank you SWM for your posts - I always love to see your name and read your words. I feel at home with them.

Ann Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:57am

Hi Lexi, Hi All,
I started coming here about the time you did, with some similar things going on...

Not the darkened room (sometimes I think I've missed out on a phase, it doesn't sound pleasant, but I wonder if it serves a healing purpose, slowing down the sufferer, instead of the busy and 'fake busy' I do, as an escape, but which often ends in a crash & burn of rage or just muddled exhaustion. Thanks Tiago for 'fake busy', I will adopt that phrase, if I may.)

The rage very familiar. And the husband, coping as best he can - as you say "I couldn't believe he was more concerned about [darling son] than with my despair (so it seemed at the time)". Glad he doesn't seem to suffer, but he also doesn't seem to be able to understand it... and I find that fuels my rage - very loveable, obviously ;-)

Coming back to the blog every few days, and often catching up on two or three at a time, i've been inspired again, and I've started a new phase of scoring... I've done 10days straight!! My very dear buddy is prob a little worried, after months of nothing, but I'm bobbing along, and trying to let her know about what's on my personal rollercoaster that's triggering... and it all feels understandable, (for me at the mo),rather than something inexplicable to struggle with. (And coming here reminds me i'm fortunate not to be in a darkened room phase or my previous frequent-rage phase, I've got some physical medical stuff to see through, no need to add the depression label to my load at the mo...

I'm dabbling again with mindfulness, too (thanks Les and co for recent blog & comments).

So, thanks Lexi! You've got lots of us logged in to comment this morning already!
And thanks to all of you bloggers and commenters, "my" community who understand what poor hubby can't! It helps so much everyday to know I'm not on my own!
Wishing you all a few moments of peace on a Saturday. Xx

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:49pm

HI Ann! My husband could not understand it. He never experienced anything like it in his life until he met me. Depression and rage and anxiety were just not part of his makeup (lucky bastard). But even though he didn't understand he was there for when I raged and then he was there when I started to climb out of the hole. My experience helped him start thinking about his own needs and we talk about this experience made us closer. He still doesn't understand it all and will mockingly roll his eyes if I go on and on about how wonderful a Moodscope post was that day. But I don't need him to understand all of it - I have my Moodscope family for that.

Anonymous Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 9:15am

H Lexi. What a wonderful bog this morning. Thank you! Of course to be honest each and every blog is a wonder for me ever since I joined Moodscope years ago. Yes when Jon Cousins was at the helm. I have benefited so much from knowing you all. Moodscope has become part of my daily life. The help and support I have received is beyond what I thought was possible years ago. No therapy, medication has helped me as much. I am so glad Lexi that you are in a better place these days.The great thing, one of the great things about Moodscope and the community is that we understand. We can feel great one day or for weeks and then suddenly feel gloom but many of us will have been there and will always offer the support that we need. And of course Caroline is there in the background mostly, helping us all by her kindness and hard work. Jul xx

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:53pm

"We can feel great one day or for weeks and then suddenly feel gloom but many of us will have been there and will always offer the support that we need." Absolutely. It is indeed the great thing about this community. Thank you Jul!

Carol Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 9:15am

Hi lexi , your post was very moving. Been doing my mood chart for nearly two weeks and reading the blogs. Am not experiencing the rage you describe but feel utterly alone and slowly drowning. Am holding onto the hope that you and other bloggers have described. So thank you.x

Leah Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:10am

Carol Glad you are holding on- there are many hands reaching out to hold your hands. Keep charting and keep posting. We will try to keep you above water.You are not alone. Leah

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:01pm

Carol - do hold on. Like Leah said, you are not alone. In my darkest moments I would pray for help (and I'm not religious) and the answers came in the form of blog posts, words from strangers, a text from my MIL 1,000 miles away. You are not alone even though you may not be physically next to people. So hang on and know that we are here.

jen Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 9:46am

HI Lexi, I have not completed my scores for a while, nor commented, but have always read the blogs. Like all other moodscopers, not all of the blogs resonate, but some just hit you in the guts and prompt an immediate emotional response. Yours did that for me, and I knew it would prompt more than the regular, lovely, contributers to respond. I will complete my scores today as I have logged on and add my thanks to the moodscope community for helping me to keep fighting, with hope. Please keep writing Lexi when you feel like it,and best wishes to you and your family.Does anyone know how Jon is? He started something truly wonderful and I hope he knows how grateful we are.

Mary Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:20am

Hello Jen. Jon is out in California and still working on helping folk living with depression. You can find him here.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:03pm

Jen - I am so glad my words resonated with you. Keep fighting the good fight! You will get to the other side.

Leah Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:03am

You have touched so many people with your honesty and authentic blog.
I too am thousands of miles but when I read or comment or people reply to me, I feel they are in my living room.
It is a wonderful caring community.
I look forward to reading more of your comments and blogs.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:04pm

Thank you Leah-I am so humbled by all the response from my blog. I wrote it as a thank you to this amazing community and in return so many have written that it has helped them. What an incredible community.

Mary Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:18am

Lexi - I am tears here. It is so affirming to hear just how Moodscope and we bloggers have helped someone. Each of we regular bloggers faithfully write something every week. Sometimes we feel we have something profound to say and sometimes we just sit at the keyboard, empty, and write what comes out, offering it up with an apology and feeling it is trite and meaningless. But the magic of it is that somehow, whatever we write, it always seems to touch someone somewhere. And every day there is a new moodscope blog. It's the consistency that helps the community to grow and flourish.
When we started we knew that Jon's shoes were giant-size ones to fill. I hope, instead of filling his shoes, we have fashioned our own. Thank you again Lexi for your courage and feedback. The warmest of hugs to you.

Lou Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:35am

"But the magic of it is that somehow, whatever we write, it always seems to touch someone somewhere." You absolutely do! thank you for keeping typing :)

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:11pm

Mary - yours was one of the names I started to recognize after Jon left. I was in my darkest hour, feeling like I was near the end. Then you wrote a post about cats in your garden - I'm not remembering it correctly - and I burst out laughing. Coffee spitting laughter. I hadn't laughed in days?Weeks? I think I was shocked that I actually still knew how to do it. Then you would write another, and then another and I so welcomed the laughter. It was such a mood shifter for me. Then you disappeared for a bit, then you came back and described your latest depression and I thought, aha. She is like me. She too suffers and her moods will ebb and flow, ebb some more. I never felt so connected.I know the writing must get to be a chore on some days but I can honestly tell you "Mary" and "trite" never came together in my mind. The warmest of hugs right back to you dear Mary! xoxo

Skyblue Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:12am

"How can you articulate the feeling of drowning?" The bloggers here...and the commenters...all, in their own way, articulate that horrid feeling so that we don't feel alone or 'wrong' or ashamed. And then they throw out life belts, rafts, ropes so that we can climb out and away from danger. Again and again and again. Your blog, Lexi, moved me so much this morning, not only because of your honesty and courage in sharing your own experience and your eventual return to health, but also in the way you brought the Moodscope community into focus. And look at all the lovely new commenters, too! Thank you so much. xx

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:24pm

Skyblue - I truly feel a part of something great with this community. There is always a life belt or rope here. Always. And I have never felt shame here. I have felt alot of crippling shame in my life, but here I have just felt so accepted. Thank you.

Lou Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 11:19am

Really great post Lexi and good to have you here. Moodscopers can be a lovely bunch and I am grateful for being allowed to take part.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:49pm

Lou-thank you for your kind words. I am so glad to be here and be a part.

Sheena Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:21pm

Thank you for such an open and refreshing post Lexi! You come across as a strong, competant and thoughtful woman. I can identify with some of your descriptions. Perhaps it is the being strong and competant that can sometimes disable us from even knowing how to ask for help?My late Mother in Law was wonderful - supportive, sensible (something new for me to receive then!) and now I am a MiL and hope I will be as useful!

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:54pm

Yay to MILs! I wholeheartedly agree with you - mine filled a spot that was void for a long time. I think I was such a master of hiding my pain from the outside world that when I did finally crash it was so shameful. I kept hearing "You? But you always seem so upbeat and happy!" But then people started to respond with such love and kindness and support. I still struggle on days when I have to be "on" and I feel like crawling back into bed, but now I know those days will pass. Thank you Sheena!

Andra Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 12:28pm

Lexi, this one hit home. I haven't written in a long time, but I had to thank you for there powerful words you put together for us.

I started on anti depressants when my son was young because, in my suffocating rage, I hurt him. I don't know if the guilt and pain of hurting my own child will ever completely disappear. But twenty years later I am able to reframe what I did in terms of how I responded to what I did. I got help.

Taking meds was so against my belief that I should be able to deal with anything myself. Not that I ever believed in doing it alone; I always believed in the power of therapy and friendship and beauty to heal. I saw meds as unnatural, I thought I wouldn't be me if I added chemicals to my system.

Hurting my son was so much more damaging to my sense of who I am that I HAD to get over my fear of the changes meds might cause. They did make me less reactive, so I could control my behaviour. Now he's 22 and taking the world by storm. I didn't permanently damage him or my sense of self.
Love, Andra

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 1:43pm

Andra - thank you for your courage. Your words resonate with me on so many levels. My daughter is still young so I am curious as to how the effect of my early behaviors on her will come out as she gets older. Someone once said to me"There are just as many people in therapy trying to learn how to get over knowing you, as you are trying to get over knowing them." I was not a good mom then. But you know what? She has a great mom now. And your son has an amazing mother. I am sure he would not be taking the world by storm had he not had a mother who was so insightful and loving as to take control of her anger and depression so that she could be present for him. Rather than permanently damaging him I think you taught him a very powerful lesson about love and self love. I too resisted taking drugs for a very long time. I thought if I meditated, ate right, limited alcohol that I could manage my moods. That somehow taking medication would be cheating and that I wouldn't be doing the work. Plus I was just angry. I felt so much shame for being the way I was. Scared that I couldn't fix it on my own. But through this community and my dear MIL I realized that me taking meds for my depression and anxiety is no different from someone taking her cancer meds or her meds for MS or diabetes. The meds helped me stabilize my moods so that I could work with a therapist and really get down to the heart of the matter - why was I so unhappy?

Anonymous Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 3:14pm

Andra. How brave of you to tell us about your son and what a great reply Lexi has written. She is so right. I would like to add that I often feel guilty about the way I brought up my children and look back with regret some days that I did it that way rather than another way. However a French colleague of mine at work once said to me that it's love that counts, overall, never ending love that we give to our children that overcomes everything. Jul x

Sami Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 4:34pm

Wow. That was so brave of you. It takes a lot of courage to open up, like you did with your blog. Proud of you. In vulnerability lies a great strength. I wish you love, light, kindness to yourself and a fullfulling life. Love, Sami

Frankie Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 4:42pm

Thank-you Lexi for sharing your story with us so honestly; I too go on (and on and on!) to anyone who will listen about how wonderful this community is - a little bit of paradise on earth ... it's knowing that I can be completely honest and find support here, not criticism, which has helped me through many a tough time. Wishing everyone peace of mind and heart, as ever; Frankie

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:00pm

xo Frankie! Thank you for making me feel so welcomed to this great community.

The Gardener Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 7:49pm

Lexi, you speak for so many of us. \Mr G is in respite - and as I am virtually 'free' people here are taking advantage for visits and chats, and endless encouragement, as has been given unstingintly on these pages over the long months as the state of Mr G has worsened.

The Gardener Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 8:08pm

Computer failure again - eldest son phoned - super party for b-in-law 90. I am in tears - not because we missed a big family party for the first time - it comes to all off us - but thinking of them all together crowded into two cottages - included our last child - adopted mixed race daughter - not talking to us, but still part of the family. 4 generations of them there.

Lexi Sat, Mar 19th 2016 @ 10:04pm

TG - sending you virtual hugs. Your words over the last few years have kept me going. I am sending tons of vibes for Mr G. to have a speedy recovery. I am so sorry that you missed the party. 4 generations is truly amazing. What a legacy!

Rachel Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 6:13am

Lexi, thanks for you honest refreshing email, I only read the emails every now and then and when I read this one I was like wow, it really spoke to me. I have been struggling with anxiety and feeling terrified after a few weeks after saying yes to my boyfriend that i would marry him. It has brought up a lot of issues and have been feeling lost with it all and wondering how i can have a normal life when my moods flucuate so much. It was amazing to read of someone else who had a simular expereince, thanks for being so honest . I'm glad that things have got a lot easier for you that you had the support of your mother inlaw and have found a great therapist.

Rachel Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 6:13am

Lexi, thanks for you honest refreshing email, I only read the emails every now and then and when I read this one I was like wow, it really spoke to me. I have been struggling with anxiety and feeling terrified after a few weeks after saying yes to my boyfriend that i would marry him. It has brought up a lot of issues and have been feeling lost with it all and wondering how i can have a normal life when my moods flucuate so much. It was amazing to read of someone else who had a simular expereince, thanks for being so honest . I'm glad that things have got a lot easier for you that you had the support of your mother inlaw and have found a great therapist.

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