Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Let's get the show on the road.

I'm sure that we all have our favourite sayings for getting us going on those difficult days. I would like to introduce you to one of mine – 'Let's get the show on the road!'

This originates from the US at the turn of the 19th century when circuses were touring around. I guess it has stayed in our language with the showing of movies and the continued popularity of the circus and of shows. I remember my mum using it too.

So for me, the show that I must get on the road is that of me, my two teenagers and, of course, the cat.

On mornings with a little flourish I throw back the duvet and get my feet on the ground. From here there is a dressing gown and slippers to negotiate. By this point though I am up, and I am sure many of you will understand how difficult that can be. I am still muttering 'Show on the road' as I make my way to the kitchen, maneuvering teenagers and cat, and setting everyone up so that they can get their shows on the road too. My road is now set up. It may only take me as far as the sofa and then the school run (in the car but I do change my dressing gown to a cardigan and slippers to wellingtons!) but I am on it.

I doubt if the acrobats, clowns and lion tamers of the 19th century circuses thought their rousing call would eventually end up being muttered in a 21st century bungalow by a middle aged woman with an interesting mental health condition. I am thankful to them however for creating it and hope this blog may encourage you to add it to your helpful sayings.

Right, off to keep on my road for today.

A Moodscope member.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Keeping It Short and Simple.

I am grateful to my three sons for teaching me so much about success. Each one of them is unique. When they were small, they were so cute, engaging and witty – individually! But stick them together and a different chemistry began. To use street language, they "did my head in!"

Balancing the often conflicting needs of three young children in the same time-space was too much for my mind and my attention. Confusion and chaos followed rapidly!

When trying to befriend our brains, the same is true. Sometimes our goals are like three children going in different directions. This makes life confusing and too complex. Your brain will thank you for presenting one idea or demand on its attention at a time. Yes, I know female wired brains can cope with more, but the preference still remains for one-thought-at-a-time.

Some people confuse their dreams and goals by blending two or more ideas together. For example, if your desire is to be fit and healthy, it's easy to think about those two discrete goals in the same sentence. Like my sons, they are similar and belong to the same 'family' of ideas. However, "fit" is not quite the same as "healthy". Is it possible to be fit but not healthy? Is it possible to be healthy but not fit? I look forward to your comments!

Just imagine expanding those two desired states into the steps it would take to create them. A fitness regime is a lot about exercise. Being healthy includes exercise but it is frequently more about diet. And, yes, I do realise they overlap. My point, however, is that the brain works on each of them far more effectively if they are treated as unique goals.

When they are given their own unique time and attention, they will respond just like my lovely sons did when they were little: they will thrive!

Keep It Short and Simple!

A Moodscope member.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Would you like to write a blog for Moodscope?

We've had some great blogs recently from our Moodscope members which have certainly given us all food for thought.

It's heartwarming to see how the Moodscope community has grown and how it seems, whatever troubles each of us is going through, we still have time to help one another.

Well, if you've been thinking about writing a blog, now's your chance. You can write about your experiences, books you've read, therapy you may have had, poems that you like - anything really that might uplift or inspire our other members. It should be around 300 words.

Just send your blog to support@moodscope.com for our editorial team to take a look at.

Caroline, Adrian and Stephen
The Moodscope Team

Saturday, 28 March 2015


I went to grammar school - one of the 'elite' 5% just after the war. The village kids gave me hell. You were destined for great things and your parents had to 'sign you on' till you were eighteen, presumably university headed.

When I was sixteen my father wheedled me out of school on the pretext that I was to get practical experience before going to agricultural college. Rubbish. He promptly left me in charge of his business and went abroad with his latest mistress.
All school leavers got a little 'homily' from the headmistress. "I see you" said she judicially "as working with people."  Me, "but I hate people" (at that time I had good reason to). Then she said 'you can't fall in love with a horse'. She was wrong. My current love weighs half a ton, and burnishing her massive hind quarters is super therapy. When I went to exercise my horses before school they were often lying comfortably in the early summer sunshine. I would curl up in the curve of their head and neck, and doze with them.

Our daughters in their early teens would erupt into the garden, tearful and hating the parents, getting as far as the latest Labrador, fall round his huge neck and tell him all.  That dog worked harder than the Samaritans. Our current cat, so beautiful, often has her coat washed by my tears of despair late at night, and she always has a sympathetic lick for me.

At the orphanage we supported in a poor village in India, the most joyful welcome was the day they could have animals in the new building. Those hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs were almost literally 'loved to bits'. The brand new building where my husband goes for respite has marvellous facilities - one thing missing - rabbits and chickens are to be introduced in the large grounds.

And, greatest joy after the massacre of my birds last year, I have an abandoned garden to rescue. I'd hardly put my tools down, when there was a 'Tsk, tsk' above me. The resident robin, 'Well, get digging, then'. A bird table will go in before the fertiliser.

The Gardener.
A Moodscope member.

Friday, 27 March 2015

As I began to love myself.

A very insightful poem. Written by Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday:

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this
connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born.Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

Charlie Chaplin
Not a Moodscope member.
(But probably would have been!)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

We Find What We Look For.

Following last week's blog on 'How Do You Receive the World' and the thought that 'we find what we look for', the words of a song resonated with me.

It's Fred Eaglesmith's 'I'm dangerous' where he continually 'sees' someone who has left him in other people and in his mind.

This is the same as we suddenly start to 'see' the new type of car we are thinking about buying everywhere, the day after we decide that is the one!

I'm Dangerous

Thought I saw you at an unmarked crossing,
Picking flowers at the edge of a lane.
There was dust on my windshield,
I was looking in the mirror,
I was almost hit by a train.
Later on at a four-way stop,
I forgot to take my turn,
I was thinking you were right,
And we had nothing left,
Somebody blew their horn.

I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
To myself.

Yesterday I was out on the bluffs,
Over the ocean blue.
There was a girl swimming,
Splashing in the water,
She sure did look like you.
Before I knew it I was over the edge,
Somebody threw me a line,
Pulled me to safety,
Said, "Man are you crazy?"
I said, "No, I've lost my mind".

I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
To myself.

So darling if you're thinking you need a project,
You might want to lend a hand.
I'm living on the corner,
Of Stupidity and Recklessness,
I'm a dangerous man.

I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
I'm dangerous,
To myself.

How do we stay balanced enough to ensure we actually 'see' what is truly there in front of us and not still in the back of our minds?

How do we avoid the danger zones and stay safe and in the moment Maybe 'mindful' and not 'mindless'.

Have a listen – it's on his 2012 CD '6 Volts'. A wonderful storyteller of pain and loss.

A Moodscope member.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Frozen Treacle.

So today has been difficult.

Difficult for all sorts of reasons. From nowhere a cold precipitating a streaming nose, sinus headache and the feeling that my brain has been sucked out and replaced by porridge. The discovery that there is yet more administration to do as the executor of my late uncle's estate. Oh, and that I've made a pretty big error as a Trustee on something else and have to put that right. Then, my latest and most respected beta-reader has suggested that I re-write the first four chapters of my novel (at least she didn't suggest I re-write the whole thing). Three people I care about haven't answered my emails. (They're trying to drop the friendship. I just know they are.)

And then my youngest didn't like the delicious supper I'd cooked and wouldn't eat it and I had to give it to the cats (they loved it!)

I mean, it's nothing major. I'm not coping with serious illness, with poverty, crippling debt, broken relationships; it's just normal life.

But – it's the end of March, going into April and – oops – having a little dip here. So it feels as if the lovely golden world of spring (hey - just allow me a little poetic leeway here, will you?) has crystallised in the cold March wind and has suddenly turned solid around me so that I can barely move, much less make progress to anywhere or towards anything.

It's temporary; I know it's temporary. And just at the moment I don't believe it's temporary because that's one of the things that depression does – yeah, it really screws with your brain.

Right now it feels as if I've wading through treacle for the last twenty years. Even though, when I look at my Moodscope graph I see I was fine only three days ago.

So these times are when we need that solid evidence around us to let us know that things have been good before, that they will be good again. We don't need generalities, we need specifics: "Remember that day we took your dog to the beach? That was a good day." "Remember your sister's party? That was a good time." "Remember the day you spent just painting? You had fun that day."

So my challenge to myself is to make more notes on my Moodscope graph. Not just explanations for the low scores (today's will be long. Serves me right for not doing it first thing), but notes on the good times too.

April might be grim. It normally is. But May is just round the corner, and sun will get warm enough to melt this treacle again. I'll see you (stickily) on the other side.

A Moodscope member.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sling your hook.

Depression frustrates the life out of me. Tolerating its hideous and monstrous form, skulking around behind me makes me shudder. I am haunted into silence by its threat. Held hostage by its vice. Bruised and frightened. I wake and feel its blade against my throat and I am terrified to move. I feel if I do not move carefully, picking my way through the day it will smash me in one final giant body blow. It hurts to live this way. Physically hurts. Mentally hurts. It is not living.

How do I live again?

How do I pick up the shards it has left me with and piece them together into a form resembling something good, something pretty, something worth something to someone?

By recognising that I have been here before.

It's a path that already holds my footprints, all I have to do is press my feet into the prints I left myself. I must follow me, follow me, follow me. Endeavour to step quicker this time so that I might leave just one more print. Just keep looking forward. Do not look behind. Do not ask why.  Look to the sun. Look to the sky. Just look. Do not hide.

It has no body. It cannot touch me. It is only me that gives it life.

Love from

The room above the garage 
(Whose smile is temporarily out to lunch.)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Faith – The Final Frontier

If you're going to take a leap of faith, you need to leap boldly. It may be argued that climbing has been transformed by bold people like S├ębastien Foucan who is famous for Parkour and Free Running. These disciplines combine as much momentum as possible to get from A to B as efficiently as they can. This may mean seeming to 'run' up a cliff-face.

The difference from traditional climbing is stark. Safe climbing demands keeping one foot and one hand in position at any time. You scale whatever challenge you're facing in a lizard-like movement. Not so with free running. With Parkour and Free Running the momentum and the jumps are key parts of getting you to the summit. Mindset, according to Daniel Ilabaca, another star of the discipline, is also vital. If you think you'll fall, you're more likely to fall.

It seems then that this revolution in climbing to the summit requires a leap or two of faith. Faith is a sure and certain expectation to do with the future and the unseen. Like free running, I think it is a tough discipline. It requires a revolutionary kind of commitment – a commitment to propelling oneself towards a future that is just that little bit out of reach.

Fear, on the other hand (and foot) is a sure and certain understanding to do with the present and the seen. It helps us cling safely to where we are. And that's its purpose – keeping us safe. I'm not down on fear – fear is good when it serves a survival purpose. It keeps us safely in the comfort zone.

But creating an extraordinary future requires change, momentum, a positive mindset and faith. It requires courage and daring, and, dare I say it, a little bit of craziness?

If we keep on doing what we've always been doing, we will continue to get what we've always been getting. If you and I want something different, something more, something better, we need to do something different. Is it time for a leap of faith?

If it is, you'll need to fuel your faith. Those who engage in Parkour and Free Running do a lot of practice. Developing faith takes practice too. Faith comes from hearing words and stories of those who have successfully dared to cross a new frontier. If you surround yourself with naysayers – your faith will dissipate. If you surround yourself with accounts of the bold and courageous, you will find your courage and faith rising.

OK, I'm off to play some Van Halen!  Might as well...

A Moodscope member.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Just imagine.

This blog is fully inspired by my children. I have 3 young children that all love imaginary play...and they all love mum to be involved. They each have their own specific favourites they like to play so I am kept very busy in various different roles. This week I have been, in no particular order, a mummy tiger, baby tiger, dog, puppy, school pupil, black pig (a very frequent and specific requirement by the 2 year old!) a monster, pop star, restaurant customer, cat, dog rescue person, doctor, super hero and a horse!!

I have always engaged in this type of play with them but over the past few months I have noticed that my ability to actually be present in mind, not just in body, has increased.

Before, whilst crawling round the house (with a lead attached to me) and barking periodically, I would be thinking of the washing up that needs doing, the tumble dryer that needs emptying, the ironing pile that's spilling over the basket etc. So whilst I was there with them, at their very mercy and complying with their strange requests, I wasn't mentally there and therefore was just going through the motions to keep them happy.

However, in a bid to resurrect my ability to experience my "free child" I have started to approach this creative play with a different mindset and allow myself to be fully present in the moment and embrace the acting requirements. And I have had so much fun and received so much satisfaction from doing so.

My stint as a popstar however, provided me with the inspiration to tackle an issue I have with listening to music. I love music but for a few years now I have struggled with being able to listen to it because I just find it too painful. Either a specific song or just lyrics in general will trigger a memory, a thought or emotion and I kind of gave up listening to anything because my mood would just plummet.

I miss music though and would love to be able to just turn on the radio without being so negatively effected. So spurred on by pretending to be Katy Perry with my daughter, I have resorted to driving to work, music full blast and imagining myself on stage singing and owning the emotion. And I have to say it's working. I have been able to drive to work, playing a CD that I love but would previously have me in floods of tears.

I have taken it a step further and, if the song is something to do with love or healing, I imagine that I'm singing to my inner child. Now, my singing skills are not good at all and unfortunately no amount of pretending is going to improve this. So for now, my inner musical goddess is confined to the boundaries of the car, but I am hoping that in time music may be able to re-enter my life without my need to screech along with it!

A Moodscope member.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Keeping the lid on.

It is now obvious that my father was bi-polar. In those days it was put down to moodiness, and if it went too far you had a 'voluntary' session in the local 'loony' bin (I spent my childhood very near one, the patients  who were 'allowed out' my mates and I found hilarious – even flashers did not cause us much alarm).

In my thirties I seemed to be going the same way, was carted into a London Hospital with ambulance bells jangling and let out with a 'discharge' card: 'suffering from mania'. My husband was then told to keep me asleep for a week, throwing a couple of Mogadon when I woke up. All through this scary time I had one thought, I must not harm my children, and I would walk away up the field when I felt my control slipping.

Now I am coping with a husband with Alzheimer's disease – nothing unique, hundreds of thousands of us are 'coping' until we don't. Despite every strategy, my 'lid' flies off more than Stevenson's watched kettle.

When it all started our charming GP, a Korean who came here with his parents, said 'Be kind'. I printed the nicest picture of my garden, and wrote 'Be kind, stay positive, keep cool'. As a mantra it's been binned – I have a picture of a most beautiful mosque (no significance) with 'I will live' scrawled across it.

Keep cool? Joke. I'm not hysterical, but I have hysterics. I used to despise tearful women, but I am too often in tears. My pride is in tatters, it must be possible to manage this scenario, deflect rows, reason kindly when the fifth pair of shoes is rejected, gently suggest that if the room is baking you turn the electric fire off. Those who are in the same position will know the value of the word 'respite'. Not just a lazy Sunday morning to do what you like, but a day to be savoured, to be normal, and 'keep your hair (lid) on'.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Let's spread a little happiness.

Today is the International Day of Happiness and people all over the world are doing something to try and cheer everyone up.

What are you going to do?

I know it's probably not the best place to be talking about happiness and helping others as I know many of you would give anything to be happy and for some, the thought of being happy is way in the distant past or feels like an impossibility for the future.

But perhaps, if, just for one day, with lots of effort, we could all do a little something that might cheer someone else up. The thing is, it will not only help others, but it will help you too.

I'm going to call a couple of friends that I know aren't feeling that great at the moment just to say hello. I'm also going to take a bunch of daffodils to the lady that lives next door to a friend of mine. She has altzheimer's and doesn't get out of the house very often, so a bunch of daffodils might brighten her day. And do you know what, I know it's going to cheer them up but not as much as it will cheer me up to have done it.

So what are you going to do? It can be absolutely anything - see www.dayofhappiness.net for ideas. If there's someone you care about and would like to send them an e-card to celebrate just go to www.moodnudges.com. Or why not just leave a message on our blog for another Moodscoper to lift their spirits.

Let us know what you're doing today by telling us in the comments below.

And don't forget, spread the word using #InternationalDayOfHappiness

Happy International Day of Happiness from the Moodscope Team.

Kind regards.

The Moodscope Team

Thursday, 19 March 2015

How do you receive the world?

"Every square centimetre of your skin contains around 15 receptors for pressure. There are six sensors for cold and one for warmth. But one square centimetre of skin has 200 receptors for pain."

What can we take from these facts? - That we are hard wired for 'pain' and feel the cold more! Not a great thing for humans with mental health challenges!

To balance our 'senses' and also do more 'inscaping' rather than escaping, what are we doing to care for, have compassion for and nurture ourselves?

Have you reached the point where you know that it is no longer 'selfish' to care for yourself – simply to ensure you have enough resilience (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) to live your own life. It then can be possible to serve other people's lives living interdependently and thus serving each other when required.

How many of us still feel it is selfish to take time out for ourselves, to be mindful, to soak in a bath, to receive a massage, to sit on a beach/mountain, to read without need, to walk and talk, or to simply listen to the birds?

How many of us are lost in the 'busyness' of life, which often masquerades as business, addicted to 'doing', rather than 'being'. We almost forget about ourselves and thus avoid the challenges that sit in our subconscious and drain us? We even do it purposefully to 'escape' our own lives, keeping our time and attention fully occupied which can feel even worse when we come back home and know it's still the same!

How receptive is your mind (your aerial of life) for what you need and want in life? Is it 'open/tuned' for positivity?

I know when my depression bites my view of the world alters dramatically, yet the world is the same as it was yesterday or last week.

It is certainly true that what we look for we find.

What do you look for in people or within yourself?

If you look for trust – you'll find it.

If you look for mistrust – you'll find it.

If you are struggling now, you may find that choosing to be aware of some positive small thing today about your life, being kind to yourself and looking for the good, may help the climb out of darkness.

Find some of that self-love to lessen the pain today.

A Moodscope member.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


This last Christmas saw two intrepid climbers, Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell, ascend El Capitan in Yosemite without using ropes (other than safety harnesses). We all thought "how brave" and admired their courage, their strength and their skill. None of us (unless we are climbers ourselves) would think to put ourselves in their position.

But perhaps we are more like them than we know.

On Monday Lex talked about the three Rs; Resources, Resourcefulness and Resilience.

It was the last that grabbed me. Resilience is getting up when we've been pushed down, coming back after we've been defeated and the ability to spring back into shape after we've been squashed.

For those of us who suffer with depression we are most familiar with that state of down, defeat and squashedness (and no – I don't think that's a word either) and when we are there it seems impossible that we will ever be able to bounce back. But let's think about it as climbing the biggest granite monolith in the world.

Kevin and Tommy did not scamper lightly up that rock face. They did not grow wings and soar effortlessly to the top. Instead, the BBC says: "During their climb up the notoriously difficult Dawn Wall route, both took rest days to wait for their skin to heal and used tape and even superglue to speed the process.

"At one point it seemed unlikely that they would make it to the top.

"The pair suffered bruising falls, when their grip slipped, and they would bounce off the mountain face.

"Only their safety ropes saved them from further harm.

"As disappointing as this is, I'm learning new levels of patience, perseverance and desire,'' Jorgeson posted online at one point.

"I'm not giving up. I will rest. I will try again. I will succeed."

So we, climbing our own personal El Capitan, need rest days. We need to give ourselves time to heal, and to use whatever helps us heal – whether that is conventional medicines or the superglue of alternative therapies.

We will inevitably fall down and hurt ourselves and we need to make sure we have a support harness of friends and family to catch us when we do.

We need to learn patience, perseverance and if not desire, then resilience or faith to know that we can keep on climbing. Let's not give up. Let's rest up and try again.

The great thing about Moodscope, if we are faithful and do it every day, is that we know there are good days when we make good progress, as well as bad days. On the bad days it's hard to remember that, but they are there.

And no – I have no idea what's at the summit for us, or even if the summit is in this life or the next. I just know, that in this analogy, we're on the rock face and the only way is up.

A Moodscope member.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Dear Bipolar...

Recently I read letters to people who were writing to their illness or their loved one's illness. I decided to write to mine.

Dear bipolar,

I do not feel like saying dear to you or being at all kind or friendly to you. Why should I when you have robbed me of the best years of my life? What did I ever do to you? Do I sound angry and bitter, well I was for many years.

You do not have a good media image, your PR could definitely do with lots of help and accurate information. You mightn't know this, but having a mental illness 40 years was seen as something shameful. My mother would whisper about me to friends and family. Telling people you had bipolar could mean being dismissed from some jobs or prevented from starting others. Now things have changed but it isn't easy.

I have so many questions. Why oh why did you pick the age of 16 just as I was in my second to last year at high school to really introduce yourself to me. I was on the brink of a promising academic career and just starting to mature into a young woman. Instead, most of my academic dreams were taken away and I spent the next 6 years spiralling from mania to depression causing chaos in my life and shattering any plans I had of a peaceful life.

 I know I am lucky, because everyone tells me, that I didn't have some terminal or chronic disease. I know this, but that doesn't mean that you have not had a negative effect on my life.

I will admit from you I learned compassion, patience and never to judge people by what they look like or how they behave. I also learned to be humble, grateful and appreciate even the very small changes in life.

Okay, maybe I am responsible for some of my bad decisions and that I shouldn't be so hard and always eager to blame you for everything that has gone wrong in my life.

I think I will always wonder what if you had never come into my life, what if, I had been able to pursue my dreams, what if I did not have to worry every day about what mood I am in and how it will effect everyone and everything.

I know we can never be friends but I am tired of battling you, blaming you for everthing that has gone wrong in my life and being angry so maybe we can have a truce.

I know I am who I am today because of you and for that I thank you.

I am curious to see what role you will play in the senior years of my life. I feel I deserve a break and a peaceful time - do you agree?

Look forward to your reply,


This was  just a writing exercise, but I was surprised what emotions came out.

Will you to write to your illness an what will you say?

A Moodscope user.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Road from Hope.

"Hope" is a magnificent state of mind. It reaches forward into the future and the unseen.  Our task, is to trace the route back from the future to our present position and to work out the simple first steps. This can be a long journey, but it is rarely, if ever, a passive journey. We need to take action.

Today, I'd like to think about three "R"s that will most influence the effectiveness of our actions.  They are "Resources", "Resourcefulness" and "Resilience".  Most goal-setting guides talk about the importance of resources.  To achieve goals we are likely to need the resources of time, money, people and the right skills.  This much is rather obvious.  But the key resource is resourcefulness.

I grew up as one of the "Blue Peter" generations.  On every programme, there was guidance on how to create amazing gifts with little more than a washing-up liquid bottle, some tubes from toilet rolls and the ubiquitous "sticky back plastic".  Of course, the key ingredient was imagination!  The programme encouraged us to take what we had to hand and create something amazing with it.  What a great lesson for life.

Rather than focus on what we don't have, perhaps it is time to look around and become more resourceful with what we do have.

And then there's resilience.  The attitude that keeps us going when we want to quit.  Resilience is a fruit of hope and faith.  If we have a compelling vision of where we want to get to, we can often find the strength to keep going.  If we believe that what we seek is good or meaningful or worthwhile, we can often tap into those inner resources that give use the strength to persevere.

So, as is so often the case, the question is, "where is our focus?"  If our focus is on the problems (as I understand it needs to be sometimes), the result after a while is draining.  If our focus is on the end result – what we hope for – our brain can often work on the unseen in the unseen!  Magic can happen.

Let me close with words often attributed to the great Author, Goethe…

Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

A Moodscope member.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

International Day of Happiness 2015

Once again, this year Moodscope are partnering with Action for Happiness to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on 20 March, 2015.

The theme for the day is "Your happiness is part of something bigger" and is all about the importance of our connections with others - particularly at a time when loneliness and isolation are reaching epidemic proportions.

As Action for Happiness explain:

After years of happiness research, one thing has proved fundamental - the importance of our connections with other people.

But modern societies are built as if the opposite was true. We are surrounded by people, yet we feel genuinely connected to almost none of them. The effects are devastating. 

Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking; and the epidemic of loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.

We could change this in a day if we all reached out and made at least one positive connection. For the International Day of Happiness, that's exactly what we're going to do.

There are lots of ways you can get involved, just go to www.dayofhappiness.net to find out more. Maybe you could join in with the various Positive Message Flash Mobs in cities around the world, or even organise one yourself.

Let's all try to join in in some way and let the world know we have. Spread the word using #InternationalDayOfHappiness.

On Friday we'll be asking you to let us know on the Moodscope blog what you've been up to and what positive connections you have made.

In the meantime, start spreading the word!

Kind regards.

Caroline Ashcroft
The Moodscope Team

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Playing with Time.

Do you remember how time seemed to work differently when we were children? When we were having fun we felt we had played all afternoon and yet the adults claimed only an hour had passed. I think we knew how to disregard time, bend time, play with time.

Why not do it again? As adults! What is stopping us? Thinking that it is impossible? So let's think it is possible - as it used to be when we were small.

Recently I had a 30 minute break at home between meetings. I set the alarm 15 minutes ahead. I lay down on my spike mat, hands on my heart to slow my beating heart and soon felt myself nod off and dream. After a while I surfaced as the pictures slowed down and noticed myself thinking: "I'm so rested now it must be way past 12.30." Opening my eyes the clock showed 12.27.

My shut-eyes exercise had lasted 12 minutes in "real" time. But in terms of energy-recovery it had lasted a long time. I felt calm and fully present, energized, all throughout the afternoon. In my family we have a saying when we go to bed late that "We'd better sleep five quarters per hour". This may not be as impossible as it sounds.

Recently I've started to ask as a kind of prayer that the time I have to do something – like write a certain piece – will be sufficient and ample for me to do it in a harmonious way and be happy and satisfied with the result. I believe actively choosing to do something and asking to have fun whilst doing it, focusing on that, serves as an anti-dote to stress.

In a way I'm asking not to feel stressed while doing something. But asking in those words wouldn't give me the magic I'm after. I believe in focusing on what I want, now that I know it is possible. Time is not a fixed item.

I'll keep experimenting with asking for the feeling of flow and of having ample time and to succeed with my task satisfactorily within the time given and see what happens. Let's enter the mindset of playing with time as a possibility. I'm fascinated to see what creations may come out of it.

All the best,

A Moodscope member

Friday, 13 March 2015

5 Easy Ways to Boost Confidence Levels.

You may have been there. Those Grey-Sky Days when you feel unable to raise your head because you feel too unworthy to make eye contact with the world.
Here are five things that help me on such days.

Polish Your Boots!

When our confidence takes a slump we may struggle to raise our heads and we have eyes for our shoes only. I realised at the beginning of the winter what a difference it makes on such days to at least have polished (and re-heeled) boots. It may not quite impact our Moodscope score but it definitely lifts something inside. Even the regular polishing of your boots and shoes can be uplifting. Line them all up, turn up the music or catch up on a Radio 4 podcast and get polishing. On your next "shoe fixation" day you'll be glad you did.

Open Wide.

No, not quite like at the dentist but often when our confidence ups and leaves, clear speech is the next to follow as we resort to mumblings and mutterings. And is there anything more humiliating, when already feeling wobbly, than to be told to, "Speak up please, I can't understand you!"

Open your mouth slightly wider than you may feel comfortable with. Aim to speak with clarity. It may not cause the sun to shine but good enunciation and a taking of pride in our voice/speech can help to keep our dignity when we may otherwise feel wholly negative about ourselves.

Glossy Locks. 

The first thing I lose when my confidence takes a crash is the ability to put together an outfit that I love - a daily ritual I enjoy when I'm "well" (although spending a few minutes before bed to lay out an outfit for the following day, even if you don't intend leaving the house, definitely helps!). If my hair is as clean and shiny as I like my boots to be, however, even if I'm on the rather crumpled-looking side, glossy locks will reflect otherwise.


Yes, I'm all for being tender to oneself and listening to the feelings; no one likes to feel like an organ grinder's monkey. But a smile, even if only to yourself, is such an attractive thing. Finding yourself to be the recipient of someone else's smile can make our heart soar. So go on, it may not quite reach the eyes today but be the first to smile.

Stand Tall.

Perhaps the quickest, easiest way to boost our confidence is to adjust our posture.  For some reason, I never notice this more than when at a hospital - either visiting or attending an appointment. Maybe it is because hospitals and doctor's surgeries can feel like such grim places. Walking tall and with confidence may not necessarily alter our mood but we will surely feel better able to 'handle it' and all that blows our way.

What do you do to assist floundering confidence?

A Moodscope member. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Did You Take Time Today - To Be Truly Human.

Did you take time today,
To look and wonder why there was a snowline on the grass,
And slowly 'discover' in your mind that that was how high the sun reached over the hedge?

Did you take time today,
To think back and wonder how things used to be,
Things when your heart felt free and your legs used to wonder wherever they felt like going and you had that space?

Did you take time today,
To catch that piece of emotion in the office,
And then go back and 'offer' listening talk and slowly, easily, calmly, ask if things were all right and if there was anything you could do?

Did you take time today,
To watch the joy of the birds in flight and chatter,
To appreciate the wisdom of the animals who can live in the now and cannot 'see' happiness as they are always in it?

Did you have time today,
To stand back from all the busyness of life,
And feel what it is again to observe the observer and watch what feelings open as your then free mind drifts through emotional paths forever locked in that ever moving mind?

Did you have time today,
To catch yourself 'doing' ego,
And judging someone else, as they did the best they could do with what they had – not even affecting you?

Did you have time today,
To forgive another for what they had done,
And more importantly to forgive yourself for being human and flawed as you walk this challenging oft alone, journey of life?

Did you have time today,
To move closer to your values and what you believe,
Because if you did, those challenging decisions will be easier, the way you step forward will be clearer, people will feel your stronger spirit and you will not be so alone?

Did you have time today,
To assist the world become more coherent and peaceful by aligning yourself,
By journeying the farthest distance that mankind ever can – inside?
Did you take time today?

How many minutes were you in 'the present' today?
Can your do more tomorrow?

A Moodscope member.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Coming Out.

"Firstly, can I assure you all that I am completely normal and totally sane. It's just that, like twenty-five percent of us, I have a Mental Health condition."

That was the way I began my talk tonight. For the first time, I was talking about my bi-polar officially and in public. And it was scary.

It wasn't the public speaking that was scary: a lot of my job involves giving presentations around the county to various groups. Very few speaking engagements worry me now (apart from speaking to children: nine year olds are the hardest audience ever!) I'm happy speaking to twenty people or two hundred people and I honestly think twenty thousand would be a piece of cake – just as long as I was speaking with my Image Consultant hat on.

Because I'm pretty darn good at my job. And I know I'm pretty darn good at speaking about it too. I'm educational, engaging, informative and entertaining: when I'm talking about Clothes and Personal Style.

Speaking from the heart, with raw honesty, about the bi-polar I have lived with since I was seven years old; now this was something new.

I was so glad that the group of women I was talking to tonight had previously booked me (several times) to talk to them in my professional capacity. They know me as reliable, prepared, competent, consistent and – yes – professional. Tonight I was showing them the other Mary: the side they will never see normally, because only my family and closest friends see me when I'm going through the bad times. Oh – and you guys, of course!

And they were lovely! They were warm, accepting, understanding, compassionate….

They also asked some very challenging questions. They asked about what professional healthcare is available (very little beyond GPs and private therapists charging £100 plus an hour). They wanted to know how my condition affects my family (it still bothers me that my (now) twelve year old has been my intermittent caregiver since she was two and that my husband has had rather more than his share of the "in sickness" part of the marriage vows). They wanted to know if I watch my children for signs of mental health problems (like a hawk, my dears: like a hawk wearing infra-red goggles and through telescopic sights)!

So I've come home and immediately poured myself a very large glass of Chardonnay. And yes – I know I should be doing my EFT/tapping/mediation – but you know what: that glass of wine is both immediate and delicious. The second glass is even better.

Part of me wants to develop this talk; to polish it and to put myself on the speaker circuit with it – so that I can educate more people about depression, bipolar and to let them know about Moodscope, which has been a lifeline and more over the last three years and which would benefit so many more people if only they knew about it.

The other part is relieved that my husband and mother (who would infinitely prefer that this whole business is kept discreetly quiet and never mentioned) give me an excuse to wimp out of taking myself public.

I'd value your opinions and comments. Let me know what you think.

A Moodscope member.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Darwin Ate an Owl.

Einstein was a womaniser.

Edison electrocuted an elephant.

Christopher Columbus was terrible at maths and miscalculated the size of the earth.

Lincoln disapproved of the first amendment.

Isaac Newton was convinced he could make gold from base metals.

The Italian Artist Caravaggio murdered a man.

Alfred Nobel (of the Noble peace prize) invented Dynamite.

Edward Kennedy was suspended for cheating on an exam whilst at University.

Darwin was not averse to sampling the wildlife he found (including an owl).

No one is perfect, even the best of us make mistakes, it's what makes us human, however we generally remember these people not for their mistakes but for their achievements.

Next time you find yourself berating yourself for a mistake you made, stop and accept that it just what makes you another member of the human race. Celebrate the good things you have done and remember that at least you have not eaten an owl yet!(or have you??).

A Moodscope member.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Harbour Lights.

Many safe harbours around the World actually have challenges with accessing them. The channel into the harbour may be 'safe' only during certain tides, and the path is rarely straight. That sounds like many of my experiences of life's 'potential'! I know there's good stuff to reach – my safe harbour – but gaining safe access on the journey is a question of wise navigation around the many hazards.

When pursuing the path to my goal (my safe harbour) it's good to know about the Harbour Lights. Navigators have set up 'signs' to guide sailors along the best path. Sometimes this is a question of lining up three guide-lights to get the right bearing.

I have found this very helpful as a metaphor in life. For example, any matter, especially one affecting relationships, should be taken seriously only if three events seem to say the same thing. Otherwise it is too easy to misjudge people based on a single misunderstanding. If you think someone is being rude to you, three experiences of them being rude is a good foundation for this conclusion – one, isn't.

Achieving one's dreams also benefits from the support of threes. When you set yourself on a path to something, you need guidance that you're on the right track. Your most present guides are your five senses. Take the goal of deciding whether something is dangerous? Does it look dangerous? (Like a Tiger and its claws!) Does it sound dangerous? (Like a Tiger and its roar!!) Does it feel dangerous? (Like a Tiger getting too close!!!) If you get, "Yes!  Yes!  Yes!" it probably is dangerous!

In a more positive way, you can set yourself up for success by asking yourself, "What will I see, hear, feel, smell or taste that will give me evidence I am on the right path?" The more sensory sign-posts you can think of, the more your journey will make sense!

Psychologically, just thinking about the signs that will suggest you are getting what you desire 'sets' your brain to take more notice of them. You get more of what you pay attention to. Want a new car from a certain brand? I can guarantee you'll notice them 'everywhere'!

If your goal is to avoid a downer - the same principles apply. You'll have signs that you are beginning to progress down that path. Learning to define the signs and then read the signs can help you make better choices at the next junction.

A Moodscope member.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Pushing the Button.

You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand? ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Gratitude first: Thank You RLS for this clear call to action. And, high praise and gratitude to Helen Keller, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, David Pelzer, Karla McLaren, Temple Grandin, Wilma Rudolph, and Nick Vujicic for being my teachers in how to fight it out with weaknesses.

It's been a year of daily fighting against a weakness for me.  

It all began with a swift and catastrophic mistake due to hypomania. Specifically, success-triggered mania. A unique form of mania that I didn't understand I suffered from until this loss. I called this manic aspect of my self Icarus after the Greek mythic figure. He was the son of Daedalus the Inventor. You may know the story: Icarus flew too close to the sun with wings made of wax and feathers and crashed to his death in the ocean.

My research led me to Stephen Fry's BBC documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive. As he interviewed people experiencing bipolar episodes he asked them if they could push a button and forever fix their mood swings, meaning they would forego ever feeling those crystalline highs again, and also never feel the devastating lows again either, would they push it? All except one person said "no."

What if Fry has posed that question to me? I thought long and carefully: no emotional flying, no severe crashes, no tedious recovery, ever again? I decided I would push that button.

I lit a candle. I imagined a ceremony to bury Icarus on the beach on the Isle of Icarus. In attendance were a life coach, Daedalus, my recovery personalities, and several new traits to take his place. We each spoke of our love of Icarus and how we will miss him. We each laid a feather on his chest. I laid my feather last. I blew the candle out.

At the end of this ceremony, my image of Icarus, which had begun the ritual 'alive,' lay still and … dead.  I had pushed the button. I cried real tears. I'm tearful now.

To Icarus: the highs were the greatest, but the repair of wreckages tedious and long and sad.

Rest in Peace.

A Moodscope member.

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Caught deep within the assiduous trap
Of life,
I crave a remedial slap,
To remind me not to 'Mind the Gap',
But delightfully relish the supposed mishap.

Of falling down onto truth's track,
Candidly facing all that I lack,
Inspecting each and every crack,
Acknowledging both my white and black.

For I am blessed with sheer free will
To pursue indulgently each cheap thrill,
That transports me far, far from this place.
Temporarily, at least, I can embrace.

The moment and all that it brings,
My heart it leaps, pulsates and sings.
Yet as it starts, it ends; this fling
My song is pierced, a bitter sting.

Reverberating throughout my soul,
Resigned, dejected, back into the hole
Of fear, doubt, insecurity,
Who can comprehend the enormity?

Of succumbing to conformity?

A Moodscope member.

Friday, 6 March 2015

A balance sheet for life.

For over three decades I have kept a personal diary. My husband now suffers from Alzheimer's, but he still really enjoys listening to the 'story' of our life. Some bits I 'skip', lots are horribly prophetical, and I confound people by correcting the deficiencies of their memories.

When the going got tough I would write a 'balance sheet' of the good and bad of the moment, the bottom line had to be accepted or acted upon. Blank spaces usually meant a 'down' time, because in 'good' times I never missed an entry - however hectic things were.

I have been doing Moodscope for over two years - some I print and refer back to. One was  Suzy's 'A few pretty things'. My 'balance sheet' now is that however bad things get I will find a pleasurable moment.

After a particularly harrowing time it is a cup of coffee with a Zelenka Mass, Mozart's Requiem – the Messiah (nearly worn out).
When going out, even in near despair, it is smart clothes, matching jewellery, high heels and head held high – one thing I have found being the 'carer' is that one 'slumps'. Meal times, such an event, being passionate about table linen and china, are nearly a thing of the past – but, still, a candle and a single rose/marigold/nasturtium will give some semblance of elegance.

The 'few pretty things' brings back so many memories – we made many visits to India – a woman living on the pavement, with cardboard boxes between her and her neighbour, cooking for her family in a pretty sari. In Kerala, along the water ways, a man came out of his hovel, swam half way across the backwater, picked a water hyacinth, then swam back and put it in his wife's hair.

Sadly, at the moment, there is a 'debit' for which I can find no 'credit'. Our neighbour's cats have destroyed all our birds except the sparrows and a few tits. At night I am kept awake by bitter regrets of a cavalcade - of robin (I swear he said 'Good Morning'), little dunnocks, who waited till Robin was out of the way – he was territorial. Fledgling sparrows who would squeak for mum to feed them until they realised it was feed themselves or die. I am really in mourning for my little friends, and during the empty mornings in the garden have trouble, like Polyanna, in finding something to be 'glad' about.

The Gardener.
A Moodscope member.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mind the Gap.

I am grateful to Frankie for the idea for this week's blog.

Frankie stated on Tuesday: "So, what can I do? Well lots of things really, if I choose to...and that is the point; I, and only I, can choose my response to my situation.

As I read that, I immediately thought of a model I use which could offer further clarity to that very point, that each one of us is responsible for our response to any situation.

Between stimulus and response there is a gap and in that gap (unlike any other animal on the planet) lies our unique human abilities that enable us to consider and respond appropriately.We have the power or wisdom, not simply to react like a knee jerk reaction – as all other animals do.

Humans have such a great ability to 'choose' their response.we are response-able, as well as responsible.

If we are however emotionally imbalanced, given that all 4 'qualities' that stem from the freedom to choose are emotionally based, we will simply react like animals, as our full cortical ability shuts down in states of anger or distress. Only when we are emotionally balanced can we truly use our full capacity to create a better future. This is where I find Heartmath useful and some may use other bio-feedback devices.

We can place ourselves in heartfelt balance before making any important decisions – if we have the desire to do so and use all our human abilities. I remind myself that I am responsible for my actions and I only 'lose' when I blame anyone else for my challenges or failures.

To Frankie again:  "For it is in changing my response to the situation AND in reminding myself daily of my choice that will enable me to challenge my feelings of inadequacy."

And when we are mentally ill, we may well rely on someone we trust, to use their unique human abilities to either help or even make some decisions for us.

Dare I say 'mind the gap'...or should that be 'mine the gap'?

A Moodscope member.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Biker Music.

Every weekday morning I walk my twelve year old daughter down the road to catch the school bus. I really enjoy the time with her (as long as we haven't left too late and are hurried) as we can have some interesting conversations on the way. I also enjoy the interactions with the people we tend to meet every day.

Standing at the bus stop at the same time every morning means that you often see the same vehicles passing. You get to know some of them. It gets to the point where the more friendly drivers will wave as they go past.

The biker doesn't wave, but he smiles. He rides a really big motorbike, one with panniers at the side to make it even burlier. The bike is black as liquorice and its engine sounds like the purr of a cream sated tiger. Over the top of this morning rumble can clearly be heard the sound of the biker's chosen music. Not heavy metal, or rock or rap; this biker listens to mellow jazz and big band swing as he rides to work every day. You can hear the happy sound coming down the street. It makes us smile at him and he smiles back at us; it's a point of connection.

Then there's the small child in her ridiculously oversized school blazer (bought to have lots of room to grow into); we meet at the crossing on my way back. A very smartly dressed older lady with immaculate silver hair catches one particular bus into Cambridge where she works for the university. We often stop for a chat while she waits for her bus.

Another girl in a stripy purple blazer, always accompanied by mum or dad, got a puppy at Christmas. I have no idea of the names of any of the humans, but the little Westie is Lily, and she recognises me now and always wants to say hello. Oh, and there's Jack at the next bus stop, nearest our house; we go to the same church and so that's another "hello, how are you, lovely day isn't it?"

So the morning walk to the bus stop and back is punctuated by small points of human contact. If I don't see any of them for a couple of days I miss them. When I was ill for a week recently and my husband did the bus stop walk, he was asked where I was. If we don't get our morning snippet of jazz it's a loss to the day.

None of these points of contact are very profound, I know none of these people intimately, but they make my day brighter.
I like to think that I make their day brighter too. And that's what it's all about really, isn't it?

A Moodscope member.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

What do I choose today?

I am currently struggling to deal with overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and sadness.
Now, the sadness is understandable as I and the family go through the various stages of bereavement; the helplessness is also understandable given the latest management decision at work to set targets which my team and I know we cannot hope to meet; but the inadequacy? Why do I always assume that I am inadequate? Why can I only see the stuff I am failing to do (oh yes, there is plenty of that) and yet not see what I am achieving? And my nearest and dearest patiently and persistently try to highlight my achievements but I dismiss their efforts since they "...really don't understand the (work) situation". It has got to such a pitch that yesterday I announced (thankfully only at home) that I am resigning. (I haven't - so far!)

So, what can I do? Well lots of things really, if I choose to...and that is the point;
I, and only I, can choose my response to my situation. I can stay put and bemoan my lot, which only serves to make me feel more wretched so I don't want to do that. I can leave, feeling a failure, and resentful; I certainly don't want to do that. I can stay, and do my best to change my response to the situation, by recognising that the targets set are ridiculous, by remembering that everyone in my team recognises how ridiculous the targets are so I am not alone; by remembering that I am grieving, so I need to cut myself some slack and by reminding myself every day of the choice I have made.

For it is in changing my response to the situation AND in reminding myself daily of my choice that will enable me to challenge my feelings of inadequacy.

It reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:
(God) Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,                                              
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

A Moodscope member.  

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Means, Opportunity, Motive.

...So is the suggested trinity for any crime. I think the three points are also really valuable for understanding why goals go often unfulfilled. Yes, we can be positive – making sure we focus on what we really want. Again, we can make sure that the goal is really something we can influence – that it is under our own-control. But sometimes it still doesn't happen.

I believe we live in an age where many have the means and the opportunities to make a difference. The whole process falls down when we don't have a strong enough motive. This, for me, is having a big enough "Win".

I'd love to learn the piano. My excuses are impressive. Usually around time. However, I have a beautiful piano and I have as much time as the next person. So the next excuse becomes learning to read music. It seems like a barrier.

I know this is an illusion. I learned to touch-type, and this has been one of the most valuable skills in my life. I know I can learn to play piano, and I can learn to read music – even at my age. So what stops me? Simply that the "Win" is not big enough yet.

So here is today's useful question: "What would this do for me?"

Learning to read music would open a new world to me – a new world where music is the language and learning to read music would be to open the libraries of wonderful tunes recorded there throughout the ages. Learning to play the piano would help me relax. I could compose – which I love doing on the guitar. I could entertain my nearest and dearest...

Already, I'm seeing a bigger win!

I'm sure you're just like thousands of other people with frustrated ambitions. Perhaps this one simple question will move you towards a big enough win to add "motive" to your "opportunity” and your “means”!

A Moodscope member.

Don't just sit there do something!

As I write this I have a lot on this week. I move house in 5 days and I still have to:

• Finish packing
• Clear out my fathers old workshop
• Clear out the garage
• Organise the keys
• Wash woodwork and walls where required
• Check the removal company really will turn up (OK I am being a bit paranoid now)
• Sort out accommodation for the pets during the move
• Write notes for everyone in my road to warn them the road will be blocked for the day
• Take another car load of stuff to the charity shop
• Bag up the rubbish for hubby to take to the tip when he comes home at the weekend.

I am in my final year of my degree so I also need to:

• See my tutor about the end of year art piece I am working on
• Submit some documents to another tutor for his feedback
• Write a presentation to be delivered next week
• Do an online application for consideration in a prestigious exhibition
• Finish the drawing for the above exhibition
• Contact a local venue about hiring for an exhibition for me and my classmates.

Of course there is all the usual stuff as well so I need to:

• Shower and dress
• Do the washing
• Sort out the recycling for collection tomorrow
• Feed the pets
• Walk the dog
• Fit in coffee with friends
• Transport my son to and from his bus stop in town.

Some people have said to me write it all down in a list but even putting it down here seems really daunting. I look at this list and get a almost irresistible urge to get back into bed, pull the duvet over my head and pretend that it will all go away.

A couple of years ago a psychologist said to me "don't expect to start with motivation, motivation will come later, just try to do something." One of the "nice" things about there being so much to do and it all being equally important is that it does not matter what I do as long as I do something! I only have 16 awake hours in a day I cant make anymore. So I flit away like a butterfly doing bits here and there, I may pack some stuff for 10 minutes, then put the washing on, maybe make a cup of tea and whilst the kettle is boiling pack a bit more. I try not to beat myself up about the list as long as I am doing SOMETHING we are getting closer to the end. The hardest bit is getting off the sofa and doing something once I start it gets easier to keep going.

A Moodscope member.