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October


Tickets please! Friday October 16, 2015

I was sitting on the bus when a man, his wife and a friend got on. They bustled into their seats and I heard the man say "these machines make a big difference to your psychology - how long you have to wait". He was referring to the digital reading on the bus stop which shows how many minutes before each bus arrives. There followed a display of fireworks inside my head. How amazing if we had this device in many areas of life. Can you imagine someone telling you how long your last, current or next low was going to take? I would approach that low so very differently.

I've been slipping for a few weeks. For me it feels like a comedy sketch. Let's picture someone like Les Dawson dressed as a woman, being sultry and undressing for bed. Removing his blouse to reveal just one shoulder and pouting (many laughs), removing his skirt to reveal thick and wrinkled stockings (many laughs), removing a wig, teeth, maybe a false leg. At this point, if it were a comedy it would still be funny for the audience but in reality by this point I feel hollow and humiliated.

If I knew how long the depression would take to navigate its tour, I would nestle in. I'd say "Oh it's you" and sit with it in its ugly attack, enduring it with much more grace than I currently manage.

But I don't. We don't. We cannot predict. And so how can we find this comfort? How can we bring the steadiness of a timetable into our depressions?

By applying the sticky balm of expectation. Expect the low to come. Expect it to be a master of trickery. Expect it to trip you up. Perhaps dive to the floor one time and say "Ha! Too slow!".

Expect it. The bus will come and it will go. Expect both. Stay open.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


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Comments

LillyPet Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 5:21am

Morning Ratg, what a great idea! Thank you so much for helping us even when you're feeling low.
I am hormonal (pms) at the moment and it's all getting too much. The things and 2 people who drag me down are magnified in weight. Their unwanted intrusions on my life that I normally brush away, stuff into the back of the wardrobe have come bursting out, wham! Knocked me for six. Major meltdown yesterday. Yet when I'm feeling ok, I even wonder if I'm ill at all!
At least I know how long my pms will last and when it's due. ( I just never expect the bus to knock me down! ). My daughter has an app that tracks her cycle with a simple mood log, I use an old school calendar and Moodscope graphs! At least I know it'll be over for another month and one day for good. I can accept that and feel blessed for the good health that I do have.
Although I feel like the Les ready for bed, having flipped on the phone to a family member (who just kept repeating that they couldnt understand my issue, no acknowlegement of how I was feeling and no support) I just let rip! I know that they care and just have a lousy way of showing it.

I'll heed my body's warning that I'm over tired, over stretched, over doing it, over thinking and I just need to rest, look after me, have a brain holiday I'm running on empty and getting a cold, but I know that I'll, what I call get back on track and next month it will come back, I just might be more prepared and have taken better care of myself. It's when I'm frantically trying to keep on top of everything that I let things like running out of vitamin supplements happen when I need them most! Put work and feeding kids first, when I know I need my own oxygen mask on first...
Your blog couldn't have come at a better time Ratg. l'm sending healing hugs to you. Thank you so much. LP Xxx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:44pm

Yes overdoing it...my nemesis too. Ignoring the signs is my party piece. Back to you it must be xx.

Leah Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 5:44am

Ratg,
You are doing my head in.
Firstly your blog is on twice so I have to decide which one I reply to!( I know that it was so good it was put up twice or maybe it is just my screen)
Secondly your culturally specific references to Les Dawson(which saw me rushing to Google. We know about the two Ronnies here.) and to the machines that have a digital reading at a bus stop.
We have nothing so fancy here only things called timetable-on paper- remember that!

Ok concentrate Leah and stop getting distracted.
Unlike you, I would not like to know when low moods were coming. I like the idea of expecting the unexpected.

Thanks so much for writing the blog even though you have been slipping. I so much admire this.

I think I will write a letter to someone in transport and tell them about your machines. You can download an app(always sounds painful) here but I like the idea of the digital readings on machines available to all. Hugs and smiles

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:47pm

I'm an old fashioned player and prefer paper timetables but it seems we all want now, now, now. I ignored them until that man made me look at them differently. Made me laugh that I was 'doing your head in'!

Debs Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 7:00am

Thank you RATG, I'm where you are at the moment, I've been teetering up and down the past few weeks so am right with you. And now I've got PMT so it feels like there's a conspiracy!

Like Leah I wouldn't want the machine - it puts depression out of my control, turns it into something that's happening 'to' me over which I have no influence. I prefer to see the signs when they start to appear, notice what might have contributed to the decline and start putting things in place to counterbalance the sinking. A big part of my recovery is always the thought 'what can I do?' and then taking the appropriate actions. Depression is such a helpless condition that it always serves me best to move out of victim mode as quickly as possible and back in the (bus!) drivers seat.

Sending huge hugs for a speedy recovery, I hope you don't have to wait too long xxxx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:48pm

Thank you Debs, you too, here's to better days.

Hopeful One Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 8:37am

Hi RATG- soooo sorry to hear you are slipping but hopefully( never lose Hope) it will be not long before you head for the sunny uplands.

See if this helps,even if temporarily ,as I know you like a laugh..

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. When he came closer, he realized it was a group of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end to shield themselves. One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave! "The old man frowned and replied, "That's OK with me I'm only here to feed the alligators."

Moral of the story? Old men may move slowly but they can think fast.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 8:57am

Tee hee!

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:49pm

HO I love it! Xx

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 8:57am

Dearest RATG, it's been sad to watch you slip sliding away...you know we've been thinking about you though :)

Like the bus that didn't stop the other day...you passed me on the way down. But am here - along with the outstretched arms of others - to pull you back up.

To all the gentlemen out there....I think this is one time I definitely wish I was a man: it's hard enough to go through depression...but then nature decided we have to be hormonal every month too!

big Bear hugs x x x

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:05am

In the spirit of making us laugh - and in the alligator theme:

Q What do you call an alligator that sneaks up and bites you from behind?
A: A tail-gater
(Soz)
(Tell your children when they get home from school!)

And a good Les Dawson joke of the mother-in-law variety:

Les: Doctor, can you give me some sleeping tablets for the mother-in-law?

Doc: Why - is she having trouble sleeping?

Les: No, she keeps waking up!

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:54pm

Bear, thank you, I'm touched that you've been there for me. I'm having a truly horrible day, picking through, not knowing how to make it ok but it will sort. It will. Your joke...brilliant!

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 4:11pm

Always here, dear friend, always here x

Debs Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:23am

Ha!!! I just laughed out loud at the MIL one!! (I'm so mean!)

Kaye Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:40am

I wanted to send a virtual hug as I was so touched by the image of you slipping down and not being able to stop it. And you had reached out to me a few weeks ago when I commented on your blog post for the very first time. So, please, know that you are helping others. You are reaching out, taking courage, facing your demons and giving others inspiration to do the same.

I have recently found that the slip sliding down isn't inevitable. for me, sometimes the smallest thing can stop me in my tracks. I look to the horizon and breathe and that helps.

Yesterday, a friend who recently lost his father quoted one of his old man's pearls of wisdom on Facebook: any day above ground is a good one. That's what is in my mind today and has got me up and out of the door and on the 7am train to London despite being awake until 4 this morning worrying. I hope you find a mantra to get you through this.

Xx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:58pm

Kaye, that is so kind. You had a meeting and replied from the library...you were anxious. I'm encouraged by thinking down doesn't have to be fully down. It certainly gone that way but I will open myself to thinking that it could be up again just as soon. Here's to that!

Alice Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:46pm

I want to hug you both. Love that goodness of spirit. Xxxx

Debs Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 10:06am

Hi RATG, I've just created the possibility of a recovery bus, I've taken out the seats and filled it with squishy sofas, fat cushions, beautiful candles, soft dressing gowns and endless hugs. I've bought you a ticket so come on board and let's see where it takes us xxxx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:59pm

I'm so keen for that bus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <faint>

susan Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 10:35am

“Sometimes I just think depression's one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there's so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.” (Ned Vizzini "It's Kind of a Funny Story"). Hi RATG. Just sending this quote. Not exactly sure why though....but it made me smile. Hugs. xx

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 3:01pm

My daughter is reading that book at the moment...keep hearing about it and it's one of those coincidences that makes me wonder if it's something I should be looking at. Thanks Susan X.

Lucas Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 11:47am

I really appreciate this post. With both my depression and my chronic physical conditions, I expect to have flare ups again and again. I have said things like this to people (sometimes with the depression in a negative, "it's just gonna happen again") and usually get a confused or negative response. I'm told I need to be more optimistic, sometimes even that by expecting that I will have a problem again, I'm going to bring it on.

For me, I do hope for the best, but I prepare for the worst. It's easier to take things with the expectation that I'll be depressed again or have another migraine or land in the hospital from Crohn's disease again (and probably need surgery in the next few years). Maybe something will clear up or go into remission or what have you, but in the meantime I'm prepared and more accepting of what comes my way.

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 3:04pm

Hello Lucas, I had that once...that by expecting it I could make depression come. I put on the invisible ear protectors right then and there. Nuts!!!! Crohns is cruel.

Ruth Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 12:37pm

Hi RATG. I send you healing love and trust that, as before, you will mend. I hope it's of help to you to know you do help others.
I had such a strange experience last night. I was walking in the dark. Such was the way the light was cast that in the shadows first I saw a huge me, then a small me, then a huge me etc, etc.
At the end the shadows came together to be me sized. It struck me that this seemed to mirror my bipolar self although I, like buses or hormones, am not predictably one thing or another.
I think what my experience is is that when my shadows do come together into one whole me i try to cherish those moments because they are shadows which sometimes go as soon as they've arrived.
Not sure I've captured what I wanted to say .
Ruth

Mary Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 1:38pm

I got it. Great comment Ruth.

LillyPet Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 1:47pm

Hi Ruth, I cherish the times when I feel "back on track" too. Your big and small shadows reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, growing and shrinking from eat me and drink me or just being Alice sized! When she was a little smaller, go through the door. When taller, reach the key. Life isn't as predictable or easily controlled, but I guess each experience, such as the one you had with shadows, helps us learn a little more about ourselves. Like another Moodscoper, I'd like to get an old copy of Alice in Wonderland too. I was put off by the unfamilar language as a child. LP :)

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 3:05pm

I love the picture in my head when you describe that Ruth. I got it. Wonderful thank you x.

Alice Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:51pm

You have said it all.........

Mary Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 1:38pm

Oh yes. Given that I know the cycle will come round again, knowing when would enable me to plan far more efficiently. This condition is life sentence. Sometimes it's in remission and I'm grateful. Other times I'm on the roller coaster, but it's a different one every time. It would be wonderful to have the design blue-prints. Just at the moment I am praying I pop up out of this depression by the time I fly to the States next weekend. Rest, rest and more rest is what I'm doing at the moment.Everyone cross your fingers for me! Wishing you all the best, TG. Wonderful post as always.

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 3:10pm

I do wish you much luck Mary, what an achievement to make the plane after being felled. I think we have had a mirror felling. Full empathy...I have upset the apple cart by being unwell as we were to be away on holiday too. I'm currently in bits trying to work out how to fix it all. But of course my brain is porridge and trying to make thoughts and plans through porridge is...yep.

Alice Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 9:53pm

Fingers crosses Mary and much love going out to you xx

Leah Sat, Oct 17th 2015 @ 2:17am

Mary Just curious is the trip business, pleasure, writing related or none of my business?? Hope you are at the top of the ladder and out of the dudgeon by the time you pack the bags.

The Gardener Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 2:40pm

In my manic depression days a 'ticket' system would not have worked - life may have just been getting a bit difficult, then the slithery slope and life went black and hopeless. But mania you knew about, because, suddenly, you wanted to do things. You got off the black bus and got on the red one - it was spurious, of course, because it was going to hit the buffers anyway. Our UK doctor said one of his fellow students at a major London hospital would 'erupt' from his room yelling 'it's arrived, blessed mania'. The others presumably took cover. My eldest son thinks I am sinking into depression again - but it's NOT the real thing - just the desperation of trying to cope with a situation which has worsened very suddenly. Up to a week ago the clouds had a silver lining, I can't even dig up an anecdote to cheer us. To add to the 'fun' today I had a major 'scam', luckily it was so stupidly set up that it was obvious - but I was advised to go to the police about it anyway. Perhaps a little family joke. I am now seldom without hammer or screw-driver (renders my husband jealous of what he can't do, one of the crosses I bear). I swore I never would touch the things. My father seldom laughed. He was a brilliant carpenter. Aged 6 or so it would be 'Daddy, can I help?' He would provide me with odd bits of wood, saw, hammer and nails. Then he'd have to go down the garden so I could not see his mirth at my antics. I still cannot saw straight, and nails have a built-in bloody-mindedness. I can't make bread, eclairs or meringues either, but with 5 excellent bakers, why bother?

the room above the garage Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 3:14pm

You may just have hit my nail for me Gardener. I'm broken. So why should I try to fix it when I should just get really damn brave and ask for someone to help me fix it. I've always felt stronger in my silence...like I would stop trying if I took help. Maybe it's time.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 4:19pm

You must be brave to ask for help...for your own sake, RATG. Who is close to you for you to reach out to? Is there someone nearby who can actually, physically help you today RATG? I am afraid I think you live far away for me to reach...but I'll come if I can. Let Caroline know where you live...she knows where I am, so if you are near...I will be there. Probably won't be able to say the right things, but I'm quite practical and can clean and mend and 'do' if you need practical help. Or we could just sip tea and be....hugs x

the room above the garage Sat, Oct 17th 2015 @ 11:06am

You are the kindest girl Bear xxx.

The Gardener Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 5:09pm

Thank you bear - lovely offer. I thought it was obvious I live in France? A bit far. It seems ungrateful to say that practical help is not my need - beating up house, garden, even ironing (horrors) is movement, positive, doing something. I am hoping my new kitchen/dining room will be ready in a month - then, being on the road to the church, tea, coffee and something more will be permanent.It is the impossible evenings/week-ends/wet days. All my poor husband does is take clothes on/off, moan about the lights, also on/off - does not know if he's hot or cold, heats the place up until he's nearly sick - and although the medics are very sympathetic they say nothing but patience and hanging on - if his mind says he's cold, he'll pile the clothes on until, twice, he expires from heat exhaustion. Last night I ran screaming from the house - just air and get out. Very occasionally it gets through what he's doing to me, then, contrite, says it will never happen again. But, luckily (??) never remembers the bad times. He's exceedingly depressed - our excellent docs say the 'pathology' does not lend itself to the classic anti-depressant drugs which 'normal' people take. Caroline knows where I live, and has been helpful. Thank you again, it's not practical help, it's having one's 'own space',

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 5:55pm

Ah, soz pet...I was replying to Ratg...in her response to you! I know you live in la belle France...and if I could get to you I would, and we could sip tea or coffee and I could take a turn looking after Mr TG so you could have some of your own space...but I'm afraid I cannot get to you physically...but am more than pleased to see your replies here and marvel at your goings-on, dear TG :)....Bear x

Terence Fri, Oct 16th 2015 @ 6:08pm

Yes, please find help, go to that person (you know the one) who will take you by the arm and insist that you get what it takes to lift you out. Stay warm, switch the lights on and all that jazz x

LillyPet Sat, Oct 17th 2015 @ 12:01am

Dear Ratg, you have made the first step, your decision that it's time to make a start. That's one of the hardest. Do you know what the next step could be? Sending love, LP.

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