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Three Days of My Life. Sunday July 3, 2016

One of the most significant things I've done as part of my recovery from depression is attend a course called the Landmark Forum. It was so amazing I have become a little evangelical about it, especially with the people I care about most in the world. I honestly think everyone should do it and that it should be taught to our kids. I feel like I have learnt to be a human being all over again, something our current education system fails at.

Just to be clear, the Landmark Forum is not a course designed for depression, it's a 'personal development programme', but for me (and most other people I know who have done the Forum) it is much much more than that. In summary you sit in a room with around 150 other people while a course leader stands at the front and talks. At certain points throughout the three days people get up to share what they are getting out of what they are hearing and that for me is where the power is.

The course teaches that at some point in our childhood all of us hear or encounter something that makes us feel 'there's something wrong', 'I don't belong' and I'm not good enough'. I don't know about you but these thoughts have been my constant companions for a long time, so to see 150 other people all nodding and recounting how they feel these things too is totally life enhancing. Suddenly I got how all humans are the same, we share the same struggles, the same pains and the same joys. For some of us these thoughts are reinforced continuously over time and (in some cases) depression is the result.

Without a doubt the three days I spent seeing humanity laid bare were three of the best days of my life. It wasn't easy, and at times I was very confronted, but that's all part of it. I got to see what a victim I had been in life, how I'd resented people, isolated myself and then played the 'poor me' act with almost everyone I knew. After the Forum I have worked hard to use the distinctions they gave me to clear up my life – relationships, friendships, career, health. A life overhaul if you like. And I am now finally becoming the person I knew I was under all the layers I had constructed around me.

I would recommend doing the Forum to anyone (and frequently do!) so if it's something you're interested in do feel free to contact me through Moodscope - just email If in doubt just do it, it may just be the three days that change your life ;-)

With huge love,

Debs xxx
A Moodscope member

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

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Hopeful One Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 7:21am

Hi Debs- The Landmark Forum has been a transforming life changing force in your life and has had such a positive influence on you that one can understand your passion for it .I had not heard of it before your blog so thanks for the information. Your blog has certainly encouraged me to look it up. Those negative stream of thoughts after a childhood event that you appreciated were also identified by Albert Ellis and later by Aron Beck in the 1960's in his depressed patients and lead to the development of one of the most important psychological theories called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). But it need not be a childhood event as the same can be applied to any event in our lives with similar transforming results.

Now for the daily laugh- The Joke Squdron wonders if can incorporate laughter in CBT and call it LCBT?

"Michelle," a teacher reprimanded the teenager in the hall, "do you mind telling me whose class you're avoiding this time?" "Like," the young teen replied, "uh, see, okay, like it's like I really don't like think like that's really important, y'know, like because I'm y'know, like I don't get anything out of it." So the teacher says with a smile " Oh I see it's the English class, isn't it?"

the room above the garage Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 7:25am

Brilliant! :-)

Debs Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 8:31am

I definitely think CBT is a great tool for lots of people but for me it just didn't do it. I chased thoughts round like a demented chicken and then told myself I wasn't doing it right and wasn't good enough! Ha. Having a coach and doing Landmark has been much more powerful because you hit the issue right at the core, rather than sticking a plaster over it. I acknowledge that everyone finds their own way though. And it doesn't matter what that is - only that it works and people get to live lives they deserve xxx

Hopeful One Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 8:59am

Hi Debs- I agree with you - CBT is not everybody's cup of tea . Many of these therapies are very therapist dependent and there is no 'one size fits all' . The main thing is the Landmark Forum worked for you and ,in the final analysis ,that's all that matters.

I love fresh ground coffee Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 9:17pm

I've heard one person speak very positively of the Landmark Forum and also read some less positive reviews. My impression is that the courses are very long days with few breaks, almost designed to 'break' the attendees. There are positive results from this process but I question the idea that the means justifies the end. I'd echo the caution for anyone who feels fragile. I would echo Debs' recommendation of coaching though - as a way of getting another perspective , when thoughts are stuck in negative. I'd recommend trying lots of things if you're stuck - medication, counselling, exercise, coaching, prayer, meditation, fresh air, alternative therapies - different things work for different people.

Debs Mon, Jul 4th 2016 @ 12:29am

Totally agree. This worked for me but not in isolation. I meditate, exercise, eat well, see friends, do work that feeds my soul, spend time in nature, rest etc... It's a balance of lots of things xx

the room above the garage Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 7:23am

Hello Debs, i'm glad you've found something that made a difference. Sometimes we just need to hear certain words...for validation. Powerful stuff. Thank you, love ratg X.

Debs Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 8:09am

Glad you found it useful roomy! It's been the single most important thing I've done for my recovery. So much so I've disappeared from Moodscope and for that I apologise. I haven't been here to provide support which is something I love to do. I've been carried away creating my life anew - I've given up work to write full time, I've organised my first art exhibition and I've been reconnecting with friends (including my best mate from childhood who I haven't seen for 30 years!!)

So this blog has prompted me to come back. I have found tools through landmark to live my life and love it but to disappear like I did is not who I am so I promise I'm back now to share what I've learnt and provide love, encouragement and support where I can.

I love you all, you all deserve every ounce of happiness, peace of mind and love this life has to offer. And, having been severely depressed, anxious and suicidal for many years I'll now do whatever I can to support anyone who needs help to get to that kind of life xxxx

Debs Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 8:10am

Glad you found it useful roomy! It's been the single most important thing I've done for my recovery. So much so I've disappeared from Moodscope and for that I apologise. I haven't been here to provide support which is something I love to do. I've been carried away creating my life anew - I've given up work to write full time, I've organised my first art exhibition and I've been reconnecting with friends (including my best mate from childhood who I haven't seen for 30 years!!)

So this blog has prompted me to come back. I have found tools through landmark to live my life and love it but to disappear like I did is not who I am so I promise I'm back now to share what I've learnt and provide love, encouragement and support where I can.

I love you all, you all deserve every ounce of happiness, peace of mind and love this life has to offer. And, having been severely depressed, anxious and suicidal for many years I'll now do whatever I can to support anyone who needs help to get to that kind of life xxxx

Debs Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 8:10am

Sorry! Clearly I'm so passionate about this I said it twice!!

Jul Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 9:37am

Hi Debs. You sound transformed! Is the Landmark Forum suitable for everyone? Does it help people with all types of mental illness? Mild and severe? I have looked it up on Google and see it's not specifically for people with depression and am wondering how it can help us at Moodscope. You have made life changing decisions, giving up work etc. Does the Landmark Forum give grants to attend as it seems expensive for many who cannot work because of their mental health. But all credit to you Debs. I suspect you had it in you to make these changes without the forum actually. You have always seemed a very plucky full of life girl and I wish you every success with your art and writing. Go Girl! Julxx

g Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 10:05am

Hi Jul . Thank you for showing me how it is done . It is a pity that I have only seen your post after posting mine and I am not very diplomatic putting it mildly .Well rather than beating myself about it for the rest of the day I shall make a note and try to take a different approach in the future . Sorry Debs .

Jul Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 10:28am

Hi g. Please please do not worry. I too had my concerns re. Landmark. Promise me you are OK? Debs seems very strong and will be able to deal with our comments. She may even have been expecting such reactions. So over to Debs! xx

g Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 10:46am

wow ! I am having a real time conversation on moodscope for the first time. thank you Jul . I am fine ( my HP is looking after me ) wink wink . I have found more on LF. Secret seven The Landmark Forum's 'seven commandments' for being an extraordinary person: · Be Racket-Free: give up being right - even when you know you were. · Be Powerful: be straight in your communication and take what you get. · Be Courageous: acknowledge your fear (not necessarily get rid of it) and then act. · Be Peaceful: give up the interpretation that there's something wrong. · Be Charismatic: give up trying to get somewhere. Be entirely fulfilled in the present moment. · Be Enrolling: share your new possibilities in such a way that others are touched, moved and inspired. · Be Unreasonable: in expectations of yourself and others beyond what you would think they are capable of.

Jul Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 12:07pm

Interesting. As I hadn't heard of it before today, I am reluctant to judge. However from what I have read and when I see what it charges, I really think many Moodscopers ought to think long and hard about attending such a forum if they are considering it in order solely to address their depression, bi polar etc. I think Debs has benefitted more in her work sphere from what she says as she has made major changes in this part of her life and she does says Landmark is a course not designed for depression. I am sure Debs will allay our fears or give us some guidance as to its benefits or otherwise for the Moodscope community. Glad you are fine g! Thanks for replying, Jul xxx

Debs Mon, Jul 4th 2016 @ 12:25am

Hey G! Debs is fine ;-)) At one point in time I would have crumbled and taken things personally but (thankfully) I've travelled a long way since then. I've heard brainwashing before and it's an interesting theory. Gladly I'm not that gullible ;-)) And I actually think my brain needed a good shower! It had been filled with too much twaddle from school, society, family... which all served to keep my stuck. Now I feel pretty liberated from all that so I say bring on the shampoo ;-)

g Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 9:52am

quick search result : cult , another scientology , keep away , and from article in Huffington post about it : ""People are desperate, it seems, for any supportive positive value system to sustain them—for any peak experience to give them hope—which says less about the Forum than the communities we live in. The tenets of the Forum are those fundamental to any healthy close-knit community: work on your relationships, be positive, don’t dwell on the past and stop being a pill. Its own strong point is what was—and still is, in many parts of the world—the fabric for faith and celebration of life. Why the Landmark is so popular, attracting l million participants annually, with an 86 million dollar revenue and 3 million dollar profit (divided among only 400 employees, as the Landmark relies on obsessed volunteers to run it), why it inspires upper middle class people around the world (at 700 dollars a weekend, it is only for those with means) not only to enrol , but to continue taking classes (which oddly enough, get more expensive, as one gets more “advanced”) is that our industrialized societies have apparently led to a breakdown in values beyond individualism and capitalist gain. “There is no meaning but what you give to it,” explained Sophie for us, drawing a new empty circle. ..... "" Landmark Forum left France after documentary about it aired on TV , in Sweden it is regarded as the most dangerous cult ....

my conclusion : whatever works for you Debs but I have my faith , AL Anon family ( lots of ideas I find here seem to be borrowed by Landmark at a price , family , friends , community , GP , psychiatrist , Moodscope community and I believe that most of us are not that easily brainwashed ,

g Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 9:58am

wiki has some quotes from individuals who increased their productivity and profits by great margins due to LF but even they were very uncomfortable with great pressure put upon them and one does not know how vulnerable they were...

surprisingly or maybe not there are companies using LF for training in USA

Leah Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 11:05am

wow what a difference 3 days makes. It is great to see you so positive but I am concerned you have made many changes so quickly but I am sure you know what you are doing.
Do you have a freelance writing job or regular writing work organised?
The art exhibition sounds a lot of work and rewarding.
Are your family and friends excited as you are by this course and changes you have made?
Take care

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 12:21pm

Hi all, Debs obviously benefitted enormously from the Landmark Forum course she attended and we're extremely pleased for her. However, some of the feedback from other Moodscope members who have attended the course hasn't been as positive - in fact it's pretty negative. I've also heard from a member that the Forum does actually state on their site that it's not suitable for people with depression. So, although this was not endorsed by Moodscope and was just Debs personal opinion, we are asking you to please make sure you do your research before signing up if you feel this may be something you are interested in. Kind regards. Carolinex

Orangeblossom Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 2:44pm

Thanks for the signpost Debs. May prove very useful.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 9:45pm

Hello people - I came in late to this discussion. I have done the Forum (in 1996 - good grief, 20 years ago!). It was my first introduction to Personal Development and I continued on to do a number of additional courses with the organisation. While I would absolutely echo Caroline's comment that you must do your own research and that it may not be for you (it is certainly not suitable for everyone and may not be suitable for people with depression specifically), I would have to join forces with Deb and agree that it was three of the most life-changing days I have ever experienced. It introduced me to the concept of taking responsibility for not only my actions but my feelings. Because of this course I am able to step away from my upsets, analyse them and move on through them. Through another course with Landmark I was able to work the method that resulted in my very happy marriage. I certainly would not be where I am now if not for the Forum and in my opinion it is a very good thing indeed. Remember - I had a positive experience and this is just my opinion. I'm glad you did too, Debs.

Leah Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 11:06pm

Mary Wednesday, I am so glad that this course worked for you. I am not sure if it has changed in 20 years but I read a questionnaire from their own website that asked questions about people's mental health . It said if you had bipolar and other illnesses you are strongly advised against attending the course and if you take certain medication including the one I take. It also said that if you have a family member with a mental illness or taking medication you are advised against taking the course. I am not sure if you were asked such questions. I also think it excludes many people as it is expensive and one is encouraged to take more courses as you have and now days the courses become more expensive the more advanced they become. Thanks for giving us another positive experience but I would be excluded from attending.

Debs Mon, Jul 4th 2016 @ 12:16am

I'm so happy to hear that Mary!! It sounds like you got so much out of it. I credit my life to the courses and I thank my lucky stars I found it. Leah - I would assess for yourself what kind of place you're in, it's really a case of being mentally ok enough to take on seeing yourself and your actions for what they are. I know a lot of people who have done the courses while depressed and/or on meds. It's a case of judging where you're at. And you can just do one course if you want, no need to do more. The price increase is incorrect btw - that is not the case and in fact they go down. Landmark doesn't exist to make money - all the money generated is used to fund setting up courses in countries that really need it. Parts of Africa, the Middle East etc. Hope this helps! xxx

Leah Sun, Jul 3rd 2016 @ 11:07pm

I want to say thanks for sharing your experience and starting this discussion. I am so glad you are in such a good place. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more of your writing. Take care xx

Debs Mon, Jul 4th 2016 @ 12:06am

Hi all! Sorry for coming to the discussion late - busy day ;-) Thanks for your concerns about me Leah - I'm so touched. It sounds like I've made drastic knee-jerk changes but in reality it was more considered than that and I do have money in the bank to support me so I'm ok. My current writing project is called the Year of Crazy (you can find it on Facebook) and is a year of daring, soul-enriching acts to raise awareness and money for mental health issues. I'm incredibly passionate about it and feel like I'm finally authentically me, not an imposter!

In terms of the course itself, it is controversial and like anything that goes against the grain, it attracts negative press. It probably would be more weird if it didn't! It is true that you can't do it with deep depression and I did it when I was partly recovered. But I think many of us here fall into that camp. I can only talk about my experience and that is resoundingly positive. I got to see what a victim id been and take full responsibility for my life, I saw how resentful I could be and go and clear that up with people, I got to see how much unnecessary meaning I was adding to situations that didn't need to be there, and I am now able to pursue the things that are important without anxiety or not feeling good enough. Don't get me wrong, the thoughts don't magically stop, you just learn ways to let them go and not get tied up by them.

The courses do carry on past the Forum and I've chosen to stay and go right through to the leadership level. I do this because I've honestly never known anything as powerful. But unlike Scientology or a religion, it's not something you join and hand your life over to, it's just a course. Three days and one evening. No more, no less. People do get evangelical though! And I include myself in that! Because I've never encountered anything that has the potential to change the fundamental experience of the 'being' bit of human being as this. I've watched broken families come together, relationships heal, people give up waiting for 'someday' and go for what they want, and people just come to life. It's very moving to watch that all happen.

Maybe it's for you, maybe not. But I wouldn't feel I was contributing to you if I didn't raise it. I'm always very happy to chat about it more (bit like seeing a great film and wanting to share it with everyone!) and I can do this outside the scope of Moodscope. Caroline is right, they don't endorse the course in any way, it's up to us to judge for ourselves. So I'll leave it up to you guys, but I'm here if you want to get in touch.

Lots of love xxxx

Jul Mon, Jul 4th 2016 @ 11:35am

Debs. I really wish you all the best. You seem to have cracked it. Julxx

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