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Turn round 180 degrees. Saturday April 25, 2015

I started this piece a while back, inspired by the following comment written by Lex (To exercise or exorcise, 9th February).

"Last week I misread a friend's comment – and jumped to a conclusion – the wrong one. In fact it was so wrong, it was 180 degrees opposite to their intention."

Usual Sunday walk with my beloved – which I use to measure my limited energy levels due to a chronic medical condition and which helps to lift my resulting low mood; on our customary mid-way stop to admire the view over the river estuary we were faced with thunderous black clouds, advancing swiftly towards us (would we get back to the car without getting wet?). Yet when we turned 180 degrees and looked! What a change! Blue, blue skies stretching away to the horizon and bright, shining sunlight dancing on a sparkling blue sea...

Which reminds me of my own mind set and moods; too often I waste time looking at the worst possible scenario; Oh I am really, really good at playing these out; dialogues, actions, the lot, with me in the starring role of course! Yet I seem completely unable to accept even the possibility of any positive scenarios and outcomes. Even when my nearest and dearest patiently try to point out possible alternative outcomes, I am still so quick to dismiss their assessment of my situation because they just don't "get it". In fact they nearly always do "get it" spot on – but for some reason I can't or won't hear that message.

So, I need to listen properly to their comments and simply accept that they could be right; I need to turn round 180 degrees and look in a completely different direction; I need to focus on the more positive scenario and "act as if" that is the more likely outcome – because, do you know what, if I "act as if" things will go well, then they stand a much better chance of doing so.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 6:59am

Hi Frankie- Great to read a post from you.You are absolutely right in that we need to shift our vision and make a deliberate attempt to turn 180 degrees and look for alternatives to our negative world view. The first thought pattern is called 'discounting the positive' in CBT -ese and a thought distortion induced by a low mood.It has to be actively recognised for what it is to facilitate the 180 degree turn.

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 7:46am

It can be really hard to interpret sometimes, when my Dad was in hospital, the consultants and nurses told us the likely outcomes and what had happened and what was going on, but in someway because we were so stressed and running on adrenaline for such a long time (months) and not knowing how long we would be in this position, I somehow didn't interpret/take these in in quite the manner I think they were meant to be received as in straight forward facts, and felt as though we somehow were missing vital bits of information that they weren't telling us. Its only on reflection afterwards that we realised they gave us all the information that they could. I don't know if this was just because of our emotional charge, or because we don't have a medical background, or maybe a bit of both. It doesn't matter much now. But looking back its interesting to look at the communication and how it is given and received. Eve

Victoria Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 8:50am

It takes up so much mental and emotional energy to run the stories in my head. 10mins on the tube and I've already gone through in detail how I will react when the train crashes. Pass CEO in hall and spend 20mins running through the exact wording of how he shouted at me in front of everyone. None of these happy. Are not likely to happen. Exhausting. My tiredness and mood decide how quickly I become conscious of what I'm doing and try to divert my brain.
It takes consciousness and energy to knock your brain off track, let alone 180, and those things are in short supply when you're down. But like anything else, if you keep doing it, the positive view will be more of a habit.
In that vein I will think about the fact that I'm heading to the sea for the weekend, rather than the fact that it's raining ????

Sarah Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 8:56am

Hi Eve, I had a similar situation when told my Mother had a secondary brain tumour. They said they didn't know the primary, I became obsessed and wouldn't believe they didn't know, I could go on but the point is that it was my shock and grief. I still think the medical profession could handles these things better though.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 9:03am

Oh Frankie - so true! Thank you for this. I will concentrate on the blue skies. and as Hopeful one says - so good to see a post from you.

Julia Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 10:22am

You are so right Frankie. I have only recently started to consider seriously what my husband says by way of helping me. After goodness knows how many years of being together, dismissing alot of what he has advised on the grounds that he didn't really understand how I felt, how could he . I don't know why the change in me. It could be practising mindfulness. Maybe it has calmed me so that I am more open to considering rather than instantly dismissing.

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:18am

Thank-you Hopeful One;

and thank-you for reminding me about "discounting the positive" - I find it so much easier to tackle once I have articulated what is going on - it's the recognition, or self-awareness to quote Les, that I find hard.

For me your use of the word "could" yesterday to replace the "musts, shoulds, ought tos" is also hugely helpful and enabling - thank-you.

I didn't comment yesterday because, ironically, given yesterday's topic, I spent most of the day procrastinating (!), with the subsequent guilt, frustration, self-loathing, lack of quality sleep ...


Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:25am

Wise words, Frankie, thank you. When we've been in negative mode for a long time, it's difficult to shift to something positive without an overwhelm of some kind and then the subsequent adjustment. Life is a constant fluctuation of the positive and negative for everyone, but we who struggle have a hard time easily moving between the two. It can be exhausting and scary. But there is so much benefit if we can shift into the positive on a more regular basis. susan xx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:26am

That's a really positive development, Julia! Maybe you will start sleeping better, too. Fingers crossed. susan xx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:39am

Morning Eve and Sarah - thank-you for sharing.

I remember only too well feeling the same way, first when my father-in-law was dying, then two years later, when my own father became ill and died after only a few weeks ... both died in hospital.

For me the over-riding emotion was disbelief - "this can't be happening" which I think led to denial. When the situation goes on over a period of months, then you are also dealing with physical fatigue and stress, and the logistics of carrying on with normal life whilst this "abnormal" situation persists ... leading to a feeling of unreality or nightmare.

Yes, Eve, it's the not knowing how long the situation will last which for me was particularly difficult in my mother-in-law's case.
The professionals are speaking to us as adults - yet we (or at least I) were reacting like children ("I don't understand; this can't be true; surely you, the adult, can fix it for me, the child").

We were very lucky with the professionals we dealt with; all were extremely compassionate and patient when dealing with us. I think that in such situations caring professionals will answer the questions you ask; they try to gauge where you are "at" e.g. on the day which my father-in-law died they invited us to stay with him outside visiting hours since he was in the "final stages"; the question I asked was "are we talking weeks or days" - the reply: "days".
In retrospect I asked the wrong question; had I asked "days or hours?" then the reply would have been "hours" ...

For me grief is like waves - sometimes they lap gently at your feet, sometimes they persistently crash over you, but the old adage about time healing is true. I view my feelings of grief (my mother-in-law died a few months ago) as an expression of love for her.

Sorry, I seem to have gone on rather a lot (hopefully not too much!)

Wishing you both peace of mind and heart,
(and plenty of tissues and tea - an absolute must for me when grieving!)


Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:52am

Hello Victoria

Yes, I recognise that only too well; I used to drive to work rehearsing what I would say, to whom and how they would reply ... none of which happened.
Also very good at visualising the disasters, the aftermath, even the funerals (dare I say that?) See blog "Who's your friend" 20/4/14.
Nowadays, thanks to Louise Hay, I say affirmations on the way to work (I am safe, all is well; I am competent and caring). I also visualise my self and my loved-ones surrounded by a sphere of positive, golden light protecting us. Both affirmations and visualisations do need to be practised, and have helped me enormously.

Enjoy the sea, and the rain! (refreshing, cleansing, purifying, enabling growth ...)


Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:53am

Thank-you Mary - yes, I think things are on the up ... at last!

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:55am

Hello Julia
Snap! (though I find it hard to change long-standing habits ...)
Crossing my fingers too ...
Frankie xx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:58am

Thank you, Frankie, for a very inspiring and hopeful post. Victoria, I could relate SO much to what you replied! Mindfulness has really helped me with the awareness piece along with the realization that I expend way too much energy and unnecessary, anxiety-producing attachment to my "stories". Changing the story is challenging but little by little it does become more habitual. I wish you moments of joy and serenity by the sea!

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 12:00pm

Thank-you Susan; yes, exhausting and scary ... I think Julia is right; practising mindfulness can help break the circle of negativity. Maybe keeping a diary of (only) positive observations will help? E.g. just had an update from hubby re; bird life in the garden ...

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 12:03pm

Thank-you Kristen;
I really must (oops, sorry Hopeful One!) want to practise mindfulness ...

Anonymous Sat, Apr 25th 2015 @ 11:08pm

Hi Frankie, I needed this today, read it early then had to run and didn't comment. Fast forward to now... I'll be using this again tomorrow to remind me to stop and breathe. Thank you, love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Sun, Apr 26th 2015 @ 9:02am

Thanks Frankie
Love Eve

Anonymous Tue, Apr 28th 2015 @ 9:12am

Really love this Frankie. it's funny because the post that inspired you struck me too. I actually copied and pasted it into my notes. As I will this one. Thank you!

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