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Willful Blindness. Friday October 10, 2014

We looked recently how difficult it is for humans to come to terms with change - even though we intellectually know that it is the only constant in life.

The seven stages set out were; 1) Shock 2) Resistance 3) Worry 4) Loss of control 5) Depression 6) Exploration 7) Discovery 8) Adjustment (loosely based on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's work on grief and loss.)

Looking at the Moodscope blogs, many talk about or refer to something which we either took time to come to terms with or when we ignored something - until the 'pain' got too great. This is why many of us fall into depression; we are not prepared to 'see' what we need to see - some of us are 'stuck' in what is called 'Willful Blindness'.

This is when we are neither willing (or at times able) to 'see' what is really before us and is now a legal principle, which states that you are still responsible if 'you could have known, and should have known, something which instead, you strove not to see'.

This made me think of how many personal 'crimes' are committed, not in dark secretive criminal places, but in broad daylight, in full view of hundreds of thousands of people, especially our children.

Those I immediately thought of may be uncomfortable for some - sun tanning and obesity.

Everyone knows that sun tanning and over eating are dangerous and yet society, unlike smoking now and seat belts before, still accept such potentially disabling or even deadly behaviour. For example presently in Britain someone dies of skin cancer every four hours, yet sunbeds still increase in number - 30% since 1998!

Now why do I offer these uncomfortable thoughts?

Many of us, including myself, stay with something far longer than we need to do. The unhealthy familiar often makes us feel secure and comfortable.

Yet often that 'comfort' leads to a drip, drip, drip of discomfort, until we fall into that depression or angst.

As you can see from the eight stages above, we could be stuck at any of the earlier stages from shock to depression and the effort to move may have to be built up over a period of time to move into exploration and discovery and the desired adjustment.

This is why good friends and Moodscope buddies are often absolutely essential to recovery. On occasions we need such people to be our 'eyes' and tell us what they see that we do not and also provide energy to support (even push) us through each stage of recovery.

What are you 'willfully blind' to right now - and is it causing some of your mental challenges?

"Lie to me just a little bit longer.
Lie to me until I'm stronger...
I'm not ready yet,
To accept
The truth.
So lie to me."
(from Heartless - Ridley/Bicat)

A Moodscope user.

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Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 7:16am

Thank you Les. This is really good.
I'm guilty as charged and yet I am being willfully blind to being willfully blind!! I'm neither ready to confess and purge nor know who I would ever trust enough with the weight of truth (don't worry all...I promise I haven't killed anyone! :-)) but, for now, this new discovery will sit well in my mind and grow into what it needs to. It would be great to shortcut the rubbish...but I guess that is just not the nature of the beast. Much thanks for peeling open another layer of the onion for me. One day we will each get to the caramelised wisdom part instead of the bitter stuff but I suppose we need one to reach the other.
How's Moray life?
Love from the room above the garage. Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 7:36am

Thank you, my son is in the wrong school , you have inspired me to find one that meets his needs today.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 7:38am

Brilliant Les!! Very helpful! Thank you!

Mary Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 8:42am

Uncomfortable reading, Les, but extremely valuable. As a (clinically) obese person who drinks too much, but who fortunately doesn't sunbathe (by the way - I have recently learned that the very chemicals which they put into sun-tan lotion to give the SF factor are in fact carcinogenic!), I am just coming out of denial and preparing to lose weight and stop drinking. As always - easier said and resolved than actually done.

Les Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 8:49am

Good on ya RATG........

Life in Moray - just acclimatising again after being on the road for 4 weeks - 2 trips to wonderful Switzerland for some work - so life is flowing again - although divorce taking more money than I ever thought I would have to start with in 1976 when I started work :-(

I was Wilfully Blind for many years of that 'fact' - there are no eyes in that part of the body!

I hope you are avoiding the stage you spoke of....keep stepping forward....and AND how many photographs have you taken yesterday...???

Les Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 8:50am


Go do

Les Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 8:51am

Thank you............

Now what are you going to 'do'..........?

Action - the only branch that will provide fruit!

Les Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 8:53am

As always - you MUST be comfortable with discomfort.....

Or there is no learning, living or loving......there is only losing.

Charlie Bransden Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 10:07am

Hard hitting, inspirational, a more long-winded but very constructive way of advising one to pull one's socks up!

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 10:19am

Oh Mary, Mary....I have just made the uncomfortable decision to stop over eating and drinking mantra (as a bit of a joke) was 'I eat when I am sad, when I am happy and I only eat between meals'! Since Monday I have upped my morning dog walk to an hour and ten minutes, I have swum Monday and Wednesday and am just about to go now....can only do about ten lengths and have also cut down on food intake. It has taken me months to get this far because of depression and losing my Mum in June, but my head says Yes today! I know I should lose about four stone but we'll see! Every little helps! So, when your head is'll do it too x x x

Di Murphey Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 12:39pm

Dearest Les,
So lie to me. Yes. Sometimes people who love us aren't sure what to say.

I believe I became "stuck" in the Depression mode (#5) for a very long time over the death of my son (SIDS), thinking I failed him and was a worthless human being.

Only recently have I dared to tackle this state through EMDR therapy ~ which was difficult to find. It has been messy yet productive, and I can safely say that after 45 years of being in a stuck state, I have made it through the last 3 stages to a place of comfort.

Yes, I am finding that being blind did add to other mental challenges. It has been anguishing to peel the layers away. And in your words, "you must be comfortable with discomfort".

Well done, my friend. My heart thanks you and each Comment Writer.
Di Murphey

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 12:42pm

The love of my life abandoned me in June. We'd only been together a year, and I was ready for it to take a month or two to get over him. But I was still stuck in the shock phase after 3 months.

The shock has eased a bit over the last couple of weeks, but I'm still finding it so very difficult to accept we will never be together again. I'm sure I am so stuck because part of me is denying that he's gone, and every night in bed I'm imagining him holding me.

The idea of letting go of those memories and feelings breaks my heart, but it's like you say Les, I am being wilfully blind and refusing to face facts. Thank you for this blog - it's timely. It reminds me that I won't progress through those other stages to adjustment if I keep denying what's happened.

Trisha Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 2:53pm

Thank you Les you touched my soul yet again. Very timely for me as I am teetering on the brink again and have stepped back to take control of one thing today that my wilful blindness has stopped me seeing is wrong for me.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 3:34pm

Ah beautiful Di, what a huge pain you have suffered. So very sad to hear it, no pain can be worse. One day perhaps you will tell us more of your son and sharing him with us might open a new door. Love to you, ratg xx.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 3:40pm

Saying goodbye to a big relationship (regardless of how long you are in it) is an unknown length of time in my humble opinion. I had a very, very long relationship end over 3 years ago and I wouldn't say that I have moved on yet even though it was largely my choice. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that there are no rules...if you fall asleep imagining he's there, what harm? Time will do the work for you, love the ratg x.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 3:52pm

Hello Les, you've made huge leaps forward, great to hear you're working and able after the pause. How fab to work away sometimes, I hope you get decent amounts of time there rather than fly in and out with great time pressures?
I take photographs every single day! But not with the camera I should be using, the one which will expand my knowledge. I'm such a slow learner...
Last week I crashed and burned and that stage came...but this week I am at least functioning again. I have taken this as a huge positive as sometimes these spells can last weeks and months. Thanks for asking. It's hard to comment when I'm low (as I think it is for all of us?) but it's so very helpful and reassuring to know the virtual kettle is on here at Camp Moodscope. Love ratg.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 3:54pm

What I find very helpful is "what is this giving me?" and fast forwarding to the end result. Often helps a huge heap! Love ratg.

Julia Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 4:05pm

This is a very good blog Les. I can relate (in my past) to the sentences.". ....The unhealthy familiar often makes us feel secure and comfortable.Yet often that 'comfort' leads to a drip, drip, drip of discomfort, until we fall into that depression or angst"
It took someone close to me tell me to "stop right now". He took charge and how grateful I was (eventually) that he did. I would have not stopped my familiar unhealthy behaviour had not this person intervened in a very direct way. I had tried to for years. Your blog has made me see that whilst I am still capable of getting into situations which might drain me, I do have to power to stop in my tracks and see what needs to be seen.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 4:20pm

Hello Les - great to read you again;

I am working through the " cycle of change " (Miller and Rollnick: Resistance / ambivalence / planning for change / action / maintenance / realistic optimism) with regards to my chronic medical condition which leaves me very little energy and means that I have to work very hard on remaining positive. I become very impatient when I find myself revisiting an earlier stage for the umpteenth time ... there, I sound like a spoilt child "I want it now!" without going through each stage fully - so maybe that is where I am being "blind".

I am really glad to read you today as I am finding echos of your many words of wisdom in a brilliant book I am reading - "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle - for the first time ever, I am actually writing in the book and underlining parts that speak to me - and there is just so much in it; I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to live in the "now".


Anonymous Fri, Oct 10th 2014 @ 5:34pm

I like many of us I suspect am working thru the depression stage..I cannot specifically identify the cause or causes even though I surely would like to...but I do feel through alot of work, struggles, and faith that I am improving lil by lil and am so thankful for that "change". Dave

Di Murphey Sat, Oct 11th 2014 @ 5:56am

Dearest RoomAboveTheGarage,
You are so kind to speak of "one day" ~ I will surely keep this in my heart and pray for the opening of a new door as I share my experiences lumbering down this road we call life.
XXX Lovingly,

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