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The ladder. Sunday September 27, 2015

I've been reflecting on Mary's amazing blog from a couple of days ago and the sense of kidnap that takes place for many of us. I too was happily skipping along, creating my life, writing blogs, supporting people around me, being a bright light for my son and an inspiration to my friends when WHAM. BAM. Thank you mam. Here I go, down the hole.

It could be a hormonal issue, it could be weather, it could be a thought that popped up that I mistakenly followed and it led me down a dead end. I don't know. Right now, I don't care I just want to get out!

Mary got it spot on when she said she knows what she needs at times like this, she knows her own strategies of self-care. And I thought: what are mine? So I created a list and am acting on it; little steps of action through the pain.

My ladder:

· Get outside. Every day. Run if I can.
· Eat well: no sugar, alcohol or caffeine.
· See (a carefully selected!) set of friends. One a day. Or call someone if going out is too much. Social contact is so important.
· Write, write and write.
· Meditate or do some gentle yoga.
· Help someone. Do a nice thing for another person.
· Learning. I read/listen to a lot of self-help and inspiring books.
· Write my Proud List – even the tiny things count – the brain needs five positive thoughts for every negative one to even things out.
· Write a gratitude list – as long as possible and even if it feels forced it's training my brain to swing towards the positive.
· Care for myself – have a bath, gets lots of sleep, be gentle and kind and treat myself like I would a treasured friend.

I hope some of these help you too and I'd love to hear what's on your ladder. Even if you can't get up every rung today which are the ones at the bottom that can help you to start the climb?

With love and light

Debs xxxx
A Moodscope member.

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

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Hopeful One Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 7:29am

Hi Debs- thanks for a pretty comprehensive list of things to do which I reckon should help one to cope. I might add - recognise and accept that one has fallen down a hole and as a first step stop digging.

Paul Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 7:58am

Another great post today Debbs,
lots of good tips
I keep falling in the hole too, but I am pleased with myself as I am currently getting out of the hole fairly quick, days instead of weeks.
I don't know if it helps but it have been drinking more water and recently drinking probiotic drinks and a spoonful of manuka honey every day.
I keep reading articles that associate depression with the stomach. I also try to read a few jokes every day and laugh when I can.
In my case I have awful night mares which really affect my mood the following day . I am often up at 4 am. As I awake in a kind of panic
My joke for today , I took my dog for a walk today wearing my Wellington boots, never again he kept falling over
It's a lovely morning here today so I hope it is nice where you are today.


the room above the garage Mon, Sep 28th 2015 @ 8:26am

Loving the jokes from you and HO. The dafter the better in my humble opinion. Love ratg x.

Nikki Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 8:46am

Hi Debbs

Your post has reminded me of all the things that help me feel better that I often forget about when in a fog. Thank you for the reminder and inspiration.

Have a lovely day xx

Debs Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 8:55am

HO - that is a really great reminder, I want to get better at recognising when I've slipped because I know I definitely 'think' myself deeper! Thanks.
Paul - humour is so important isn't it. I love watching Louie CK (an American comedian) - his stuff is pretty close to the bone but it does make me laugh out loud and forget myself. I too have been reading about depression and a link to the stomach. Apparently there is more serotonin produced in the stomach than the brain... Who knew?!
Nikki - I'm glad it helped. I'm going to print it put and stick it somewhere so it's easy to find. Often in the hole I sink too far to remember there are things I need to do.
Enjoy the sunshine everyone xx

Anonymous Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 9:34am

Oh Debs, your post arrives like water in the desert...
I am sliding down the hole right now, and generally I can't put my thoughts together until I've reached the bottom... I too have made lists, they're in my drawer, a simple movement away, but even that seems too much these days.
So thanks for posting this lovely and helpful list, which I guess has lots of common points for all of us, it might help us to stop midway the ladder, and start climbing again, instead of going all the way down, for a change!
If I may add my penny here, I find music and singing so helpful - you just have to force yourself to start, as with anything else, but we can try this one too, can't we?
Thank you Debs! and thanks Ratg, now when I see a free seat on the bench, I join in
x P

Debs Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 10:08am

Hi anon! Yes, music helps me too... I'm adding an extra rung ;-) In fact anything that moves the body is good as depression is so often a condition of stillness x

susan Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 11:16am

Hi Debs, there are many of us down that hole with you today. So good that we're not alone, athough noone would wish this on anyone else. Your list is pretty comprehensive and i would only add that if you can do one thing on your procrastination list--no matter how small--it can help. Even something that takes 2 minutes will lift the spirits a little, and may be an incentive to keep going. Anon, i love the idea of force-singing. I've just pretended to be Maria Callas and it helped. Thank you everyone, and especially you, Debs. susan xx

Rachel Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 1:52pm

Thank you for your post Debs:-D x

The Gardener Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 3:25pm

Debs, thanks - I do that sort of thing fairly regular - did a blog, I think, on 'The balance sheet of life'. First 'rung' today was getting on the ladder at all. Husband woke, calling me by a daughter's name, announced he was miserable and going to stay that way - he has, it's been a crazily awful day, question, how long can I cope? Anyway, the ladder. Get outside - I did everything I possibly could in the brilliant sun, knit, clean brass, listen to music, garden, of course. Running is off, age and bad back - but as my gardens are an assault course it probably counts. Eat well - we do - one of my passions is catering, from stuffing carbs into huge teen-agers and satisfying the very different needs of the elderly, Can't pass on alcohol, need the prop, and nicer than sedatives - nor can I pass on the early morning coffee. Seen the baker, and the organist - nobody else as husband is having a 'limpet' day. Meditate - 10 minutes quiet with music. Help someone - neighbours, aged 90, away on convalescence. Their gardener, of course, has not turned up. I don't want them to see a jungle when they open the bathroom window on Thursday, so I've dealt with it. Taken delivery of 45 posters from our organist to distribute for a concert. Praised him on his elegance - he was in the 'rag' trade, and we are elegance freaks. Learning - vital - to control my voice. I have to shout at my husband, but in the last few weeks voice has taken on an 'Oh, what NOW'. I hate it, and must learn to stop. Proud, my gardens, knitting designs, my books, last weeks exhibition (still up) refraining from giving son what for after last terrible week - only start a slanging match. Gratitude - I lean on the doorway of the conservatory, looking at a juxtaposition of sunflowers and black-eyed Susans - perfect colour and beauty - and give heartfelt thanks for my physical and mental strength. Care for myself is a 'must do' I am a scruffy wreck - never any time. This lot are only achievable due to Mary's timely remark to 'keep alive that spark of courage'. It nearly went out.

Frankie Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 4:19pm

Great blog Debs, thank-you; for me, looking at the sky is essential and helps hugely get things in perspective.

And Gardener; I am sure I speak for many when I say:
I salute your courage, tenacity and determination.
We are here; hope it helps a bit ...
What you are going through sounds horrendous - can you get any help? (professional if necessary)

Wishing everyone peace of mind and heart, as always

The Gardener Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 4:45pm

Thanks Frankie - I get two days 'off' a week, and support from a psychiatric nurse - plus a GP who says never hesitate to come and see me. But anyone in a 'caring' situation, Alzheimer, handicapped, accident victim - knows that it's the 'crescendo' of events - one machine breakdown at the end of a difficult day will have you in a heap of tears. Alzheimer probably worse, because the person you know has gone, you are caring for a stranger. I'm into illogicality, sudden anger, obsessions, paranoia at going out, awful childishness at bedtime (when I'm dead beat too) and the knowledge (where all your courage is needed) that it can only get worse.

Frankie Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 8:10pm

Hello Gardener; good to hear that you do have support and an understanding GP - and how tough, having to grieve for your husband whilst still having a huge and challenging caring role ... illogicality, sudden anger and the rest sound perfectly normal to me for your situation; thought of you this evening in church and held you and yours up in prayer ... Frankie

Petal Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 5:19pm

A really helpful and timely list Debs. I try most of those things too. This site helps with the social contact, as that's the one I dont go for when I feel low.
I'd add a good sleep routine if you can. If you're a carer or have wakeful children it's tough, but sleep is so important and a run of a few earlier nights helps me alot. I've been looking out for jokes more since joining the Moodscope bloggers, will share if I find one that cracks me up! :))
After many years of suffering huge hormonal mood swings, I have found two natural supplements that seem to help alot. PMS Relief and Hormonal Balance... not sure if I can name the brand? :)
It's been a beautiful day and I've been out to see deer in Richmond park. Stunning. Highly reccomended.
Thank you so much for such an uplifting blog! Love to all. X

Sally Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 5:49pm

Hello Bloggers,
I like the idea of a ladder. Thankfully my hole is not too deep but I have a major problem with step three.
I cannot say that I have no friends but I do feel isolated from friends and family. Two close friends now live quite far away and are not into phone calls or emails in a big way.
I do have a friend whom I try to see weekly but it seems a marathon to match up our diaries.
I see some lovely people when walking the dog, but always return home alone.

My husband has a gang of mates who exercise together every week, play golf together and seem to be forever emailing each other. I heard from virtually no one and seem to find myself "alone again naturally".

Can anyone help me to understand how to make friends and spend time with people. I'm lonely.

Isolated Sal

Lynn Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 9:07pm

Be who you are because you never know who would love the person you hide... Love

Lynn Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 7:18pm

If I don't want to isolate but there's no one to meet for coffee or tea when I call, I go to the mall, get a beverage, sit down and people-watch. In addition, I got a pretty journal and began to collect poems, sayings, etc. that touch me. I've been making entries in it for several years and pull it out, leaf through it, reading the entries when I need a lift in spirits. I also read poetry by someone like Billy Collins or Mary Oliver, gentle and thoughtful. Recently I've discovered adult coloring books. They relax me and seem to pull me out of myself. I thank everyone who posted ideas here... more things for me to try. These posts are so helpful, reminding me that we're in this together. Love to you all!

Lynn Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 7:41pm

Dear Sal, I've made myself talk to strangers, like the people in the line at the grocery store, waiting for the bus or seated next to me, at a bookstore or some other place that reflects my interests(more likely to have common interests) and invite them to coffee (as you can tell, I'm from the U.S.). I've also found friends in joining groups (sewing, church, book clubs... our library has those...). Volunteering is another way, working together for a common goal. There are classes too, maybe painting or drawing or doing anything in a theatre.. there are lots of different ways to help there. Maybe your paper has a section on groups or volunteer opportunities. Hang in there. I've been there, too. It takes a lot of courage to reach out, especially if you're shy, but the rewards of stepping out of your comfort zone are worth it, and so are you!!!

Debs Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 7:58pm

Hey lovely Sal, sending so much love out to you. All of us are only ever one step away from a friend ;-) The other day I felt low but I made myself talk to the person next to me on the train, we had such a lovely connection - I didn't feel inclined to but if I'd wanted I could have swapped numbers and met up for a coffee. I think the biggest thing that stops us is that voice in our heads that tells us we're somehow 'less than' or different to others. I struggle when I'm in the hole to pick up the phone or reach out but I always feel glad when I do. Like Lynn says hobbies and volunteering are both great ways to meet people. And my top tip is not to be scared to be vulnerable - it's who we all are under our skin. Be courageous hun, we're all right there with you xxxx

Rebecca Sun, Sep 27th 2015 @ 8:48pm

I am just coming up after a bad drop down. It's funny how you can be going along fine and thinking everything is OK and suddenly something small throws you down and I forget to do all the sensible things on the list. I think I should start trying to do some of them now I feel better, maybe I wouldn't go down so low then. Thanks Debs.x

the room above the garage Mon, Sep 28th 2015 @ 8:29am

Never got a chance to comment yesterday Debs. I think like you, my way of approaching my les are very similar. I've been slipping for a week or two so I need to work hard now. Will use your guide! Thank you, love ratg x.

Sally Mon, Sep 28th 2015 @ 7:36pm

Hi Debs,
I omitted to thank you for your blog yesterday. I like the list and will refer to it more often.
Thanks too to Lynn and you for kind replies to my comment. Will endeavour to get out and make contact with the outside world in a more meaningful way.
Feeling less isolated Sal.

Mary Tue, Sep 29th 2015 @ 8:57pm

Hi Debs. So sorry - I have been offline for a couple of days. I am so touched that my blog helped you. And your list is brilliant. We are such a lovely community. bless you!

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