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Train of Thoughts. Sunday December 27, 2015

I am still struggling, as I indicated last week.

And having just completed my mindfulness session, I am very aware of some aspects of my life, which at present with the darker lens I view it through, that I blame myself for.

I have maybe said before, that I believe for many (including myself) self-hate is a real source of depression.

I find that there are so many things I could/should do each day to seek to lift the gloom and yet I seem to lack the energy or desire to do so, which draws from and also amplifies those negative thoughts about myself.

I can then hear a trusted friend say "Les, I wish you could be more kind to yourself."

Then the phrase 'Love what is' comes in to view as I return to the wisdom of the mindfulness track that I have been using – which offers the thought that of course our mind will 'see' certain things which take us away from the focus on our inner self and the body scan that I follow.

The real wisdom, for me, is the statement that we should simply notice these thoughts (good or bad) and then return to focus on becoming more self-aware of our body and to a place where we focus on our inner selves and 'love what is'.

When I am in this difficult place, the tendency is to move away from this inner journey as I can start comparing myself with others and constantly seeing them as somehow better or happier. This makes me more uncomfortable as I judge myself harshly.

Although we all make judgements, (it's what we as humans do) I know that we should simply let go... especially those self judgements when we are low.

So once again I focus inward and become more self-aware of what my body is saying and to 'work' on quieting the mind which is so bombarded with images and inputs; learning that, at the end of the day, my world is inside my head (unique to me, as yours is to you).
Crucially I look for trusted friends to help me through my 'trough' once more.

The key is to find those trusted compassionate friends – where we can speak without judgement – truly authentically as we show our weakness, and it is in that place from which we can gain strength at last.

To go anywhere worthwhile – we will always go together.

A Moodscope member.

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

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LillyPet Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 6:06am

Morning Les,
When we find ourselves struggling with low mood you have given us two simple ways to help shift ourselves forwards, mindfulness and the support of a friend.
With mindfulness, simply noticing what it is in each moment without following a train of thought, but if one comes into our awaeness to acknowlege it without judgement and gently returning to what is in the now, is a helpful way of letting go of and giving ourselves a breakfrom worries and other unhelpful thinking that drains us.
Turning to a friend who understands and is "there for us" is a choice that we sometimes resist or feel isnt an option for us. Challenging those thoughts and reaching out may be just what we need to break us out of theplace we have ourselves struggling in. The beauty of Moodscope is that there are friendly people who undertand and whose ideas can take us to places other than where we might find ourselves stuck.

I'm inspired by your blog Les and look forward to being mindful with my friends for back up as I am for them should they reach out to me. Wishing mindfullness and friendship to all :) LP xx

Leah Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 6:12am

Despite or inspite of your won struggles you manage to think of a way to help others. Thank you. I find when I am struggling I want to be alone and do not want to burden my friends even my close ones who know me very well.So I usually avoid them as they would pick in an instant my despair.

It is something I need to work on- will ad it to my list.

I hope your own advice is helping you .

Sally Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 8:03am

So sorry to hear you are struggling, Les. And especially at Christmas when everyone appears to be jovial. Not that that is the reality, of course. Is this usually a bad time for you? Do you experience pain or regrets at this time of year? All I can say is, WE on Moodscope appreciate you, Les, and your many valid contributions. I sincerely hope your mood will lift quickly. Sending you big virtual hugs and wishes for speedy recovery, so that you too can feel the happiness of this ( potentially ) spiritually enriching time. Go easy on yourself and record little successes.

the room above the garage Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 10:43am

"...record little successes..." Very good advice to us all. Thank you.

Hopeful One Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 8:23am

Hi Les - thank you for that. Self hate , self condemnation and self loathing are of course our arch NUTS( negative unconscious thoughts) amplifying and making any depression worse. There is a mindfulness/ meditation exercise one can do which I find helpful if those NUTS become bothersome. The idea comes from Buddhism( one does not need to become a Buddist to practice them). The Buddha identified four meditative states which he called boundary less I e they have no limits namely compassion , loving kindness, loving friendliness , and equanimity . He explained them thus . When a child is born the mother usually but both parents have compassion for it and nurse the child unconditionally. Later as the child grows they treat it with a loving kindness nursing it's cuts and bruises . Later the child joins the adult world and has its ups and downs and the parents have loving friendliness being ready to support but also allowing the child the space to grow. Later still as the child becomes an adult the parents look at it with equanimity having done the best they could for it. So in this meditation one attempts to abandon all thoughts of self hate , self condemnation or self hatred by saying something like '" May I be held in compassion, loving kindness and loving friendliness '. May my pain and sorrow cease. May I go in peace ". Try to generate these feelings towards oneself and feel them flowing through ones mind and body, There will be resistance initially but gradually these ideas take hold rewiring the brain circuits which sustain those NUT brain circuits. Try it.

Mrs Jul A Non Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 9:06am

Hello Les. Hate is a very strong word to use and self hate even stronger. Do you think that because you give advice and help to others professionally and personally, you think you ought to be super perfect and strong yourself? That you are extra hard and analytical on yourself? You don't seem happy; you are struggling but isn't that a pattern? Did you expect your recovery to last and that you would never feel low again? I don't know if anyone actually recovers from their depression as part of it is due to our own personalities which we can rarely shake off. And anyway why should we? Hopeful One is right. All we need to survive peacefully with ourselves is compassion, kindness and love. Do you not think you have those three qualities in abundance? You wrote in a poem once that maybe you are or have been too rough. I think you should look at your words, "self hate" and "rough" which you have applied to yourself, think about why you use these words and then try to eliminate them from your thoughts. They are destructive words when applied to oneself. Be kinder, gentler with yourself. Mindfulness is useful sometimes but you have the answers inside you Les. Good luck along your path. Please don't be so very hard on yourself. Julia x

Frankie Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 1:10pm

Very well said Julia - thank-you! Frankie x

Mrs Jul A Non Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 2:02pm

xxx See below

the room above the garage Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 10:19am

Hello Les, three things that stand out to me from your writing today...(1) you rarely write this way, very personally, I notice when you are extremely low you 'hide' your pain in poem. So it leads me to think you are different this time...that's good! Don't hide. (2) you don't seem to have pride that you do what you do AND have depression. That's ok because none of us do when we are in this place, but do you feel pride in yourself when you are well? Proud that you carry this huge, invisible, thing and live and work? (3) do you expect to beat depression? I do. I will. But like an alcoholic, I think that demon will always lurk nearby and so you must not feel you have failed if it knocks you. If someone bumps in to you as they rush by you, it is not your fault if they do not have good manners to apologise. It's no different.
I've written more than I meant, it's too hard to take in when we're low and I can't get any paragraph spacing to break it up. You are a good person. You've just been tripped up. Please let us brush you down X.

MsP Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 10:58am

Thank you, Les, for writing to us, and thinking of positive ways to help, although you're struggling yourself. I haven't written a comment before although I've used Moodscope for a few years, but you were an inspiration to me today. Wishing you all the best and hope little rays of happiness begin to shine through for you :)

The Gardener Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 11:15am

Sorry you are in a 'dark' place again, Les. I don't hate myself, but yesterday and this morning are pure hell - and I keep castigating myself - I MUST do more, I MUST stay kind. Now, an awful stream of thoughfulness. My mother died 15 years ago, aged nearly 100. She gave me hell the last few years (luckily we lived in another country, and she was beautifully looked after). When she died, the staff said 'We don't know how you've stood it'. During the six years I made friends with all the staff, and got to know many of the residents. Coming from France, I was a bit exotic - I was always doing creative knitting, everyone wanted a look. Mummy was jealous of everybody I spoke to. She disapproved utterly of making clothes for grandchildren, even more for charity, educating Indian girls in refuges. She'd had an awful marriage, split just before I was 16. In her last few years she almost treated me like the 'woman in the case'. She did not have dementia, but she was convinced that I broke up her marriage - she was pretty anti-social, and Daddy took me to his high level social events instead. Now my husband has started this awful jealousy - if I'm on the phone or chatting to someone (although he is never 'cold-shouldered') he uses every ruse in his power (and he has loads) to embarrass people into leaving or making the phone call impossible. Lots of it down to Alzheimer, but, like Mummy, he wants to 'possess' me. They've both used almost identical words - they want me to sit next to them all the time. EVERYBODY I know, friends and professionals, say I can do no more. But they both (and it's only 15 years since one stopped and the other started) can make me feel guilty, inhuman and thoughtless. This morning Mr TG did the 'poor old man' stunt to such an extent that I threw a saucepan I was washing up - not at him, but I've severely dented the saucepan. Another Mummy thing, every week I sent a fax of our doings to the home, and they read them to her. They said they would really miss the faxes when she died - because at that time we travelled a lot, so they were travelogues as well. She never had a good word to me when I was there - then the staff said she was always on about 'my daughter in France, my daughter who writes'. I would love some help from any of you on how to tell oneself 'I've done my best, be content with that'.

susan Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 11:29am

"Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart." (Swami Kripalvanandaji) I believe that this statement is correct, TG. And surely you do not need any more heartbreak in your life. It is plainly obvious to all of us that you are constantly doing your best. I hope you might mend your own heart today and see and accept this. xx

Frankie Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 1:21pm

Hello dear Gardener; something I am using with my own mother is to refer to her by her Christian name since it feels as if I have become the parent in this relationship and she is the stroppy teenager, and sometimes even the tantrum-throwing toddler. I wonder if you can refer to yourself in the third person and take on the role of detached, caring bystander and advise yourself ... for me this would be along the lines of "Frankie feels guilty about not doing more for her mother - but realistically, there isn't much more that she can do; she has done the best she can, which is already plenty; it is her mother's choice whether to accept or reject the support which Frankie offers. Frankie must also remember that we all deal with difficult situations in different ways, and Frankie's way is not her mother's way ..." This current strategy is getting me through Christmas at the moment ... You really are doing the best you can and you have done the best you can, dear Gardener ... I think I grieve for not being super-woman/fairy godmother/guardian angel for my nearest and dearest; all they want is for me to be Frankie ... x

susan Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 11:23am

Hi Les. You have reminded me that the escape from the self-loathing and all the negative thinking that goes with it is to travel inwards, into the body. I used to believe that my spiritual self could only be accessed from an ethereal place, in abstract ventures. I was shocked to learn that it resides in the body as well (perhaps the inner and outer meet up at some point, completing a circle). In any case, anything that brings one's awareness into the body is a huge help with depression. Often for me it is a case of sitting quietly and really focussing on my arms. On my legs. What is going on there? Is there tingling, or a heaviness, is there movement, what colour would describe them? Can I feel them on the seat and arms of the chair, etc. Stay with it. After a few minutes of this, my mind is clearing, shifting, and a softening has happened. The biggest annoyance though is why I don't automatically think to do this! Is the self-hatred addictive, or is there perhaps comfort in what we know best? It's good to see you here today, Les. You are thought of often. I agree with ratg that this blog feels different. You have instructed us on IQ/EQ so well in the past, and your poetry has been good to read. This blog marks a change. I so hope it is a positive shift. Thanks for everything. xx

Terence Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 12:46pm

Hello Les, I agree with you that “The real wisdom is the statement that we should simply notice these thoughts (good or bad) and then return to focus on becoming more self-aware of our body and to a place where we focus on our inner selves and 'love what is'.”
I realised a ‘safe place’ to combat extensive self-knocking while on a Compassionate Mind course. My safe place is filled with blue and orange.
First is the orange from the sun, in light and shade like Californian poppies with the power to reflect on all around them. The lifejacket I wear is this colour orange, it radiates, communicates, it is uninhibited. Years of sanding, varnishing and sun have given the gunwales and thwarts a deeper orange. And in the bottom is the rich yellow fish bucket.
Second is the deep, deep blue of the sky and the sea on which we rise and fall, climb and slide. Follow the fishing line and, gazing below, imagine all that lives there.
My thoughts may take me down through colder water, green and grey to places with very little light.
Toc toc toc is the sound of the engine, bringing me back to the orange and blue, rising and falling.
The same course/reading encouraged me then to retrain the ‘inner self’ that I would keep floating myself back to, to practise change and assume characteristics much as an actor does. What surprised me was that many of those new, positive characteristics were actually familiar and natural, which then can lead to the 'love what is'.
Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not x

Mj Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 1:13pm

You have really hit on something here Les. I have been inspired by you to accept the inevitable dark depression this one of year. I have at seen the self-condemnation thought come and let them go with a reminder I have survived this year after year. So I have rested when fatigue overwhelmed me, exercised just a little bit when I could, ate fruits and vegetable in whatever form I could tolerate them. The thing that's gone is the self-contempt. It has been liberating. Thank you so much for sharing.

Frankie Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 1:25pm

Mrs Jul A Non has said it so well, dear Les - and lots of other really helpful comments here ... I do hope that you hear and feel the support, respect and love from fellow Moodscopers for we have benefitted so much from your wisdom over time. I hope you know that ... step by step, piece by peace ... Frankie x

Mrs Jul A Non Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 2:00pm

Thank you for saying this Frankie. I struggled a bit with my reply to Les. That's because he is the one always giving advice and suggestions, leading the way etc. It's like us giving advice to our CBT counselors (they definitely would not like what I have to say about CBT!) or our Mindfulness teachers. So Les, let us know if our advice comments and suggestions have been of any help. Not because we want to be the ones to heroically help you, to reap the kudos. Oh No! but because we care about you. But Frankie, you have made me feel better about "wot I wrote"! (PS.. Is Christmas over yet?) Love to you Frankie xxx

patricia Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 3:22pm

Hello Les
Oh! when one is depressed (or Bi Polar like me) everybody is different no one has the same problem, so one size doesn't fit all. In my case I also suffer from Tinnitus so sitting quietly for long is a no no. I've also tried CBT yes one to one with a counselor is fine but as soon as I've walked into the outside world got on the bus to go home my thinking goes back to how I've been thinking for the past 70 odd years, oh! yes am told practice practice, but it "aint" easy. When you think that the Monks practice for years and years (and are still practicing) not in our world how are we supposed to grasp something that has only been available to us for a short time. I do get annoyed at the "stars" who write how marvelous it is and they are "cured" wow what planet have they been on, not mine.
I have been seeing a lady (Hypnotherapy)privately, also a few weeks ago picked up a book at a coffee morning The Power by Rhonda Byrne (I expect quite a few people will have heard of it, I hadn't) reading it and seeing the lovely lady has helped me a great deal, this Christmas was the first I have actually looked forward to for 50 years. I finished the book and have started reading it again straight, has inspired me. My daughter has given me the DVD The Secret which is by Rhonda as well.
Les I pray 2016 will be better for you.
In my case I wished I was able to see "it" coming, but it seems to come for no reason at all, but "they" say you must know what has caused your mood to alter, yes at this precise moment my mood has altered you are annoying me.
Good luck Les, Bye for now.

The Gardener Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 5:00pm

Thanks Frankie, interesting ideas. Being a different generation, never could we have called our parents by christian names. Our children mostly called me by my christian name - particularly as three of us worked in our company at one time and 'Mummy' sounded a bit silly when instructing staff. Now, particularly when it seemed like nasty decisions were to be made re Mr TG it was 'it's Mamma's decision, but we're all behind her', nice. But on the no pleasing anybody line, this is symptomatic of my late mother's character. She lived in warden assisted accommodation in Basingstoke, excellently cared for. I went to take her for a full day out. She had a passion for 'chocolate' box scenes. I took her round every village in Hampshire with thatched rooves and roses round the door. She spent the whole time on the sins of the warden. A lovely pub provided her favourite fish and chips. More villages, more grumbles - then I found an 'Olde Tea Shoppe' for cream tea. Getting her home, I think I then did her garden and filled her freezer. Her farewell? 'Well, at least it didn't rain'. My father and I tried to make light of her behaviour, but it was hard going. Mr TG listening to Flanders and Swann, anybody remember them?

Peter Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 6:16pm

I do! Loved all their stuff, and the Armstrong and Miller affectionate spoof.

Peter Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 6:15pm

Hello Les - thank you for this typically eloquent and thoughtful post. Other friends have commented much more comprehensively than I can, above. Just to add that connection is just about the most important thing we have, isn't it? When we connect, we truly live. Your post helped me connect to you, to others and to myself today. Darkness always passes, even though it often feels like it never will. Health and happiness always.

Dawn Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 9:00pm

You're on a train? That's great Les. Just pop down to carriage ???? D. I'll be there serving cups of warm coffee ? and cupcakes, fruit loaves and chewy cookies. Oh and your favourite sweets. Soft jazz music in the background and comfy seats to lose yourself in :D
See you in 5! ????

Dawn Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 9:00pm

You're on a train? That's great Les. Just pop down to carriage ???? D. I'll be there serving cups of warm coffee ? and cupcakes, fruit loaves and chewy cookies. Oh and your favourite sweets. Soft jazz music in the background and comfy seats to lose yourself in :D
See you in 5! ????

Anonymous Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 9:48pm

Dear Les,

No poem? Words in sentences. You've done something different. Excellent! Poems worked for you and now expressing yourself in sentences will be a new approach.

Like you I have a life-long illness that I needed to get under control so that my illness did not run my life. Like you, I have support. Friends are there to support and self-reflection is helpful.

A problem that controls one's life requires the help of experts. We all need help from experts, people trained to help. The advice of medical experts allowed me to regain my life.

My life would have been destroyed as I was overtaken by illness. I refused to let that happen. I want my life and I want to control my life. I found the best, most informed expert to get my life back.

You can get your life back with time, support of friends, a means to communicate on Moodscope, AND experts. You chose to do something different on your entry today. Get your life back. You deserve it!

Les Sun, Dec 27th 2015 @ 11:11pm

Many thanks to you all //

The journey continues and as long as I keep working on my self-awareness which then leads to self-control then self-esteem and finally self-actualisation at this level I am presently at - as there will always be another level of the same learning cycle and yet another forever, as long as we live. //

The only person we can truly change is ourselves.....which may then affect others..... //

'You have to be the change you want to see in the world' Gandhi //

When we seek to change others without first changing ourselves - we move into ego. //

This week I am working with Crisis in London with the lonely and homeless.......another educational journey......we truly help ourselves by firstly helping others.//

Those trusted friends that fully emancipate us to be who we really are and show us forgiveness, patience and compassion by accepting us fully into their lives and listening / loving / accommodating us - are our they are changing for us...//

"When did you stop listening with your heart?"

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 28th 2015 @ 1:25am

Glad to see you Les. Love ratg X.

Danny Mon, Dec 28th 2015 @ 8:57am

Hi Les,
Firstly I want to acknowledge your courage and authenticity in articulating so lucidly what is gong in for you, at the moment. I really appreciate this, it is truly inspiring.

Secondly, I find it extraordinary how closely my experience resonates with yours. The shear volume and seemingly uncontrollable relentlesness of the negative self talk can be overwhelming; my last episode of anxiety induced low mood had this unpalletable flavour.

What I know is that I do prevail and am now in a better place, you will journey to your place of recovery too of course. I sense a conviction and determination to learn as much as you can as you travel that well worn track.

Mindfulness is a potent ally and brings an self empowering mode of mind. I find the trick is catching the self talk early enough and with compassion/self care. You talked about talking to a compassionate friend; interestingly there is a compassionate friend meditation, which forms part of the Mindful Self Compassion course I attended recently and find this helpful. The course was created by Christopher Germer and Kristen Neff and there is a website

My own mindful journey is 6 years in, having previously used another form of meditation. My understanding is that opening ourselves up to and moving toward our painful experiences, rather than resisting them is the way forward. This does however introduce the possibility of the fierce 'backdraft' similar to when firemen open the door on a roaring fire adding more oxygen to fuel the flames. For me this can contain a self loathing element and needs CARE-ful management. Maybe this is what you are experiencing, to some extent?

This post is longer than expected but hope it is of some use. In closing, I wish you warmth, strength and ease.

Go well


Les Mon, Dec 28th 2015 @ 6:32pm

Hi Dan Many thanks for that thought-full comment....appreciated......and I'll check the web site out. All the best to you.

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