Saturday, 31 October 2015

Lifting the lid...

Sometimes I think my brain is going to explode. As if the top is going to come off and the previously packed-in contents are going to burst out all over the house. Little bits of thought splatting onto walls and floors, getting caught in the curtains, stuck in the cobwebs and captured in the crevices.

My thoughts are so fierce sometimes it's like they have a life of their own. I imagine once they've made the emergency exit from my brain, I will be finding them for weeks. Half-thought ideas stuffed down the side of the sofa, judgements kicked under the table, and over worked self-doubts buried in the corners of the carpet where the hoover doesn't quite reach.

My over-thinking brain is never busier than when I'm stressed. The stress stews away in my head like a bubbling saucepan and the more it builds the higher the temperature gets. And if I don't do something to lift the lid, I boil over. I've kicked things (inanimate objects luckily!), shouted at people (not so lucky), and broken cheap plates.

Recently I've been playing with the idea that stress and depression go hand in hand. I really didn't twig until now how closely they live. It's like they're brother and sister; two peas in a pod; a down-beat, dead-end double act.

It's clear to me I need to start turning down the heat. Every day. I can't wait until the lid is tipping and clacking off the pan. So I'm getting strict about my self-care; I'm switching on my switching off.

Sometimes it doesn't take long: I can lie in the bath and feel the temperature dropping or climb a hill and breathe in the view. I can lose myself in art or a book or a long hug from a friend. Other times I need a day... a week... a month.

My commitment is to small moments of mindfulness and relaxation every single day. To turn down the dial one notch at a time. Come join me and maybe together we can turn off the cooker ;-)

Debs xxx
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/lifting-the-lid


Friday, 30 October 2015

Witty Woo!

Leah wrote a really helpful blog on throwing out her 30 year old frock, and how doing the same with our stored emotions may be needed. She asked us are we hanging on to anger, resentment and bitterness that is, at best, not helpful and at worst, harmful.

It made me want to share a technique I've used to help me move on from things that are no longer useful. It made a big difference in how my relationship with the father of my children went forward and is now healthy. It was key in helping me conquer my unhealthy dance with alcohol. Maybe you already use it. It's called re-framing. It is simply looking at something from another direction but this can be a hard thing to do and we can often be quickly pulled back into our usual way of seeing things. Try this:

Think of the thing that is troubling. Think of the emotion which accompanies it for you. Now re-frame it by putting it into the past tense.

"I'm so angry at him for not caring."
"I used to feel angry at him."

"I love having a glass of wine as I make dinner."
"I used to need a glass of wine as I made dinner."

It may only be a subtle change but its simplicity is its success. If you keep doing it you will nudge yourself into a shift of thinking. And it will also become second nature to talk of the past as the past and talk of your emotion at that time. It then has no hold over now. Now is a new time.

Imagine being a tiler, they use spacers to keep a distance for grout between the tiles. Re-framing gives you that small but vitally important space. Suddenly you can see your situation from a new perspective. Let's be tilers today. I reckon that means we can also drink copious quantities of builder's tea and eat biscuits galore and maybe even wolf whistle at Leah in that 30 year old frock! Builders used to wolf whistle...

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/witty-woo

Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Road Less Travelled - again.

People are so deep,
And we rarely see,
What's in you,
And what's in me?

So much
Pain.
So much
Hurt.

So much surface,
We let others see.
Yet what's in you,
And what's in me?

Do we even know,
Why we do what we do?
Why we get into,
So many stews.

Subconscious life,
Will lead to strife.
The road less travelled,
Like a clinician's knife.

The inner cut,
Has to be done.
The inner soul,
Has to be won.

You can only love others,
As much as you love you.
The road less travelled,
Is for so few.

Les
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-road-less-travelled-again

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Let's All Be Sad Together.

So it's a murder of crows, a parliament of owls. What do you call us? A gloom of depressives? A melancholy? A darkness?

Well, I recently met up with a group of Moodscope administrators, writers and users. My husband and children were rather anxious that this would be one of those meetings where we would all sit around in a circle heaving deep sighs and like Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, say things like "Life! Don't talk to me about life. Oh god, I'm so depressed!"

And of course it wasn't like that at all.

I think we were all rather nervous beforehand. After all, everyone knows that writers aren't in the least like their words; we're always a terrible let-down in real life. And most of us can't quite understand why anyone would ever want to read anything we've written anyway. I mean, honestly, why would you? (Don't answer that, please!)

But thirty seconds, a few hugs and half a glass of Prosecco were enough to get us all comfortable with each other, followed by the best chips (home fries) I've ever tasted. So it ended up being one of the most upbeat, positive, creative and potentially productive meetings I've ever attended.

We don't necessary believe in ourselves, but we believe in each other, and oh boy, do we believe in the power of Moodscope to help others in this same boat we're all sailing.

So the ideas flowed, or rather gushed like a torrent. The teasing began, the smiles and laughter injected the atmosphere with more bubbles than the Prosecco.

"You're more emotionally robust than I thought you would be," was one comment. Well, damn right we are! You think it's easy, living with depression? We're tough; we have to be.

So it was a fabulous few hours. It was great.

And as usual it exacted a price. So that meant exhaustion afterwards, yawning to the point of tears on the train home (apologies to my lovely fellow travellers), a grateful kiss to my husband who had cooked the kids macaroni cheese for tea (oh how I love that man) and straight to bed for fourteen hours' sleep.

Take heart fellow depressives. We are not always melancholy; darkness does not inevitably stalk our every step. We're good for a time (and we can be very good, baby!). We just don't have that much juice in the batteries. The Energiser Bunny we are not (well, not unless we're in the "up" part of a bi-polar cycle, that is).

The best thing to come out of that meeting was realising how much we have to give, to contribute. Realising our passion is as good as and maybe better than that of anyone else.

That's a good feeling, you know?

And not at all sad.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/lets-all-be-sad-together

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Good Enough.

There came a time in my life when I wondered whether what was missing was some spiritual guidance. I thought maybe that was why I found it so hard to enjoy life.

Coincidentally a family friend was talking about travelling and meeting buddhists who all seemed so happy and kind. She had joined a local group and was learning to chant.

To cut a long story short, I liked the ideas but I wasn't dedicated enough to learn to become a buddhist. For a start I eat meat! I can be loving and giving to most people most of the time, but not all people all of the time!

What I have settled for is being good enough. I may not have achieved enlightenment, but I'm already halfway there!

I may not be Super Mum, but I'm a good mum. Children are resilient and for every short coming there is a flip side. I have been able to reassure and teach them things that I wouldn't have learnt if I hadn't suffered from anxiety and depression. Things that have taken me decades to learn!

My house is small and cluttered, but it's a cosy and friendly place and my kids friends like it here.

I constantly feel like I am not good enough at work, always too much to do yet still having to justify my time, always worrying about making a mistake. But the people that I help like me, they value my help and appreciate that I give from my heart's perspective rather than from targets and finances.

I could eat better, drink gallons of water, exercise more, do more housework, learn to meditate and do it every day, go out and make more friends... But given the circumstances I'm in, what I'm able to manage is definitely good enough. People may want more from me, but what they're getting will have to do!

The real question is, am I good enough for me?

The truth is that I'm always striving to improve, to learn how to make things better.

No one is perfect, there is no end point to reach. I'm all for not being too hard on myself, just a little tweak here and there as I go! So yeah, I guess that on the whole, who I am and how I live is good enough for me!

If I had to pick one small random thing, that is positive about me I'd go for "fun loving", what would you go for?

LillyPet
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/good-enough

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sow before bedtime.

"Ah, the seeds of dreams!" I thought to myself as I laid there in the bed, exhausted. I had spent the night wandering through a distressing dreamscape disturbed by nightmares. Now, I was wondering why the unconscious mind seemed to fixate on so many negative imaginations - its creative genius perverted to divert me from a good night's sleep.

There was some comfort in tracing the seeds of those dreams back to the activities that had planted them that day. As I get older, hairs grow inside my ears - a ridiculous if somewhat bemusing state of affairs. I can perceive no purpose for them there. Penelope has a passion for removing them, so she had spent a happy ten minutes deforesting my own miniature Eden project biomes! This seed became a dream about going deaf - very unpleasant, but I could see the link. The other nightmare was about my studio burning down - guilt, I think, because I hadn't checked on it when I was down in the town that day. Clearly, I sowed the seeds. My unconscious was the gardener. And emotion played her or his part in the direction of growth.

I don't like nights like that. So I revisited an age old question: can we direct our destiny? Even if this is only partially true, it offers hope. Here, I had the 'evidence' that my own activities, emotions and thoughts had played their part in the drama that had developed.

So before bedtime: sow before bedtime. I will deliberately seek a happy emotion to be my resting state before sleep (and, believe me, I know how hard that will be at times - but I will 'seek' it.) I will load some wholesome thoughts that I purposefully choose - perhaps through reading some poetry or inspirational quotes. And I shall act as Director even if I cannot play the full role as Producer. I shall be very direct with my inner Producer and suggest that he should create a pleasant masterpiece in the Theatre of the Night!

Dream on!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/sow-before-bedtime

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A clean sheet.

When the seams of your life are a wilting
When you just wanna turn yourself downside up and outside in?
Do you sabotage your now
With the mirrors of your past?

What do you do?
What do you do?

Do you live your life through pages of a novel?
Watch the latest Scandi noir?
Gather all those posh paper bags?
From boutiques and chocolate boudoirs.

What do you do?
What do you do?

Do you wander John Lewis like a ghost drifting in cellophane silence?
Are those glass lifts funnel vacuums of your soul?
Do you paint a wall?

Don't you fit in with where you used to be?
Have your eyes widened?
Wings burnt but not clipped.
You wish they had been
So you don't have to choose.

Who told you when you were little
That you had to find your way?
No signposts when you needed them.
You have your wigwam.

Why take the exit?
Those brutal steps so cold and bare.

Why do you fear the choice to honour your whole being?
Must you run away to seek that truth?

Or do you find it here, this moment?
When you open your heart,
To clover on the lawn,
To the squirrel up the tree,
To the loud and plump lady
Whose jam jars sit on her doorstep
Filled with coloured water
Just because they can.
Why not?

Sunshine in the rain.
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/a-clean-sheet

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The hokey cokey.

You put your right leg in...

In between his Catholic preaching and stories about his six children (and the 'one-on-the-way', there was always 'one-on-the-way'), my English teacher, Mr Garvey, used to drum into us the difference between a noun: 'a person place or thing' and a verb: 'a doing word'.

A noun always sounded very still to me, it was a solid object rooted in position. A thing. A stationary lump. Like banana, bin-bag, or Basingstoke. Whereas a verb was in-flight; it was moving, active, floating around in the atmosphere. Running, playing, singing and dancing.

When I'm depressed I am a noun. Flat, motionless and heavy, like a stone. It's a lazy, lethargic lump of a condition that digs its heels in and makes me want to lie down. It convinces me that I can't move, that I am a fixed object and must stop.

But one thing depression hates is to see a verb coming... Uh oh.

'Dancing?!' it cries; 'movement?! Are you crazy??! I'm depression and my job is to keep you small and quiet and still. Stop wriggling and jiggling at once!!'

In a recent study (Peper & Lin (2012) if you're so inclined) tested 110 participants for depression and then made them partake in one minute of opposite arm and leg skipping (No, I'm not sure what that is either but I reckon any type of random arm and leg flapping will do!) The results were increases in energy and better mood. The theory being that sitting still allows easier access to hopelessness, helplessness and negative thoughts.

As you know by now I'm on a mission to outwit this sneaky friend of mine so I am determined to keep moving... and in moving I hope to literally shake him off my back. I will run, I will dance. I will walk, I will climb, jump and fling. And I will put my right leg in, my right leg out, in, out, in, out, shake it all about...

Go on, I dare you... do the hokey cokey and turn around. Cos that's what it's all about ;-)

Debs xxx
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-hokey-cokey

Friday, 23 October 2015

Say after me: I BELIEVE...

I came across this again recently, after all the great conversations about personal responsibility to sit, settle or soar...

I  believe...
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe...
That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe...
That just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I believe...
That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe...
That you can keep going, long after you think you can't.

I believe...
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe...
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe...
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe...
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe...
That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe...
That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe...
That two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different... including Moodscope blogs :-)

I believe...
That even when you think you have no more to give, when someone cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

So, what do you believe that will make your world a better place, and are you going to do it?

Les 
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/say-after-me-i-believe

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Respect is two way.

It had not been a good day. I had used every last bit of energy to drag myself out of bed, shower, and walk downstairs to open my shop. In between customers I had been crying behind the counter only to rise up with my happy face to serve customers. I wished the hours away so I could close up.

I crawled up stairs sat and collapsed on the bed. My partner stared at me and said 'Can you at least make more of an effort?' I was about to shout at him about him being insensitive until I loooked into his eyes and saw how tired and frustrated he was. I didn't like being and dealing with me and my irritablity, so I could only imagine how difficult it was for him.

I think when I am having a bad day I am so focused on myself that I forget how hard it must be for others who feel they have to tippy toe around me.

Instead of reacting and shouting, I explained how hard the day must have been for him and if he could just wait about ten minutes I would help him. I fell alseep and woke up a few hours later.

I want everyone to respect my moods and my limitations.

I even have a list of do's or don'ts:

Don't ask me anything that requires a decision.
Don't tell me there are so many people worse off than me.
Don't try to cheer me up by telling me jokes or being funny.
Do be there whenever I need a hug.
Do listen but do refrain from trying to fix me.

Lots more but you get the idea. (sounds very demanding when written down!!)

Sometimes I forget that I need to repect loved ones and understand how exhausting it must be to cope with me.

I am sure my loved ones lists of things they want me to do or not do when feeling low, would fill a large book!!

To be clear, I am not saying I don't want special attention and attention when depressed, of course I do, but I also want to consider the effect I may have on others.

How do you balance your own needs when you are very needy and those of others who are close to you. I would really like to read your ideas.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/respect-is-two-way

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Carrion Comfort.

Let's be clear about one thing: none of us chose this.

None of us stuck our hand up and said "Oh yes, I choose to be abandoned, abused, betrayed, bereaved, crushed and to have cruelty inflicted upon me."

And that's just the words up to C. I could go on. Hey – we could all go on, couldn't we?

We did not choose to suffer, yet we do suffer.

None of us chose depression to be a constant visitor in our lives. Yet here we are, reading this (oh – I'm writing this, so yeah, me too - even more so).

But there are still choices available to us.

We can choose not to go on to D.

Oh, yes, we get the depression. We don't have a choice about that. But, we can refuse to help ourselves to its traditional accompaniments of desolation, despondency and despair. We can choose not to give up.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Victorian poet and Jesuit priest was no stranger to depression. He was no stranger to suffering. His religious choices estranged him from the family he loved. That same religious vocation forced him into a career for which he was unsuited. His health broke down. That same vocation denied him the comfort of marriage and children. His faith, if it did not actually desert him, often seemed ephemeral. There were many times when it was tempting just to give up. It was tough hanging on. He wrote about it in his desolation sonnets.

Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

(Carrion Comfort 1885)

Yes, depression weighs heavy on us, so at times we feel first cousin to Atlas. Depression is the thief that takes away our light, takes away our joy; it takes away our love.

Depression can take away everything.

Except our choice not to let it take away ourselves. We can decide not to despair. We can choose to hang on for just one more minute, one more hour, one more day.

We can choose to hold onto our faith that, one day, the depression will lift. Light, joy and love will be restored.

Oh, they won't look the same as they did before. Life moves on. We can't turn back the clock, bring back those who have left us, reverse the damage done.

But we can choose to move forward, to face that light. We can refuse to drown in past miseries. We can choose to be open to new joys and new loves.

Now is our night of darkest sorrows. But, if we allow it, joy and light and hope will come in the morning.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/carrion-comfort

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Wisdom received from Moodscopers - Part 1.

Following my previous blog "Thank-you Moodscope" (29 September) here is the first part of what I have learnt since joining Moodscope.
 
I have learnt...

1. To "be" more... and to 'do' less. To be more accepting of myself and of my situation,
to be more open to the future and to be more confident that I will deal with whatever comes, to be more rooted in the present moment, and not reliving past conversations or events, to 'do' everything less frantically and to go with the flow, to 'do' things less perfectly. (I know, either something is perfect or it isn't, but you get my drift. After all, a Grade A is usually 80% or above – so that allows me 20% mistakes!)

2. To savour small pleasures daily. The shared joke with a colleague, the smile from a stranger, an interesting programme, turning the radio up and dancing whilst singing at the top of my voice, a lovely cuppa (actually, make that three lovely cuppas!)

3. To live more fully in the moment (which allows my intuition and creativity to flourish). Watching the clouds floating by, the raindrops on the window, the flickering candle flame, the different flight patterns of birds, enjoying the feel of the sun, the sound of children playing.

4. That quality relaxation is essential for my well-being (and that of those around me!) and any associated guilt is not helpful to me or to my nearest and dearest. I am more effective after a good rest, or after a quality break (no, I don't like the term 'quality time' but agree with the concept!)

5. That any exercise, however gentle and brief, will improve my mood. A few gentle stretches whilst listening to a piece of soothing music, a stroll to the corner shop, a walk in the park, a bike ride, a swim or an aqua fit class, a yoga session.

I can now change "I have learnt..." to "Today I choose (to accept)..."

Frankie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/wisdom-received-from-moodscopers-part-1

Monday, 19 October 2015

Admit, Emit or Omit?

[If you'd like to listen to Lex's audio version of this blog please click here.]

"How are you?" The truth is not always welcome here.

For many people, asking, "How are you?" is mere punctuation to aid the flow of conversation. There are certain phrases that are like warm up shots in a game of tennis. They are not the real thing.

For these types, it is best to omit the truth. However, you can tell a truth without compromise. Instead of saying, "I'm fine" (which for me means, "I'm about as low as I can get!") or the even worse, "Not too bad" (very English), I say the honest, "I'm doing good, thank you!" This wonderfully ambiguous phrase is my truth. Every day, even the worst days, I still seek to do a little bit of good for some other soul. (Yes, I'm a righteous dude, I know!!!) Of course, the listener reads this as I'm OK, but that's OK, isn't it?

For others, they need you to play a role. Some are not ready for the truth. They need you to be amazing or at least OK. A good example is children. So the, "I'm doing good, thank you!" answer works well for them too, but needs a little extra magic. This is where I think we need to emit the 'truth'. Emit means to discharge something, especially radiation. My children and my grandchildren, and my listeners to my radio shows, need me to emit positivity, hope, sparkle. While this hasn't always been my practice and sometimes seems impossible, it is always my intention. Like a cheetah running, I can usually manage short bursts before needing to recharge!

And then there are the rare few who welcome the truth. When I ask you, "How are you?" I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I want you to put your hand on a metaphorical bible and in the court of love, tell me how you really are. Why? Because I am genuinely interested in your well-being.

And by "I" I mean "Moodscope" - we are genuinely interested in your well-being. That's what our blog support structure is for - to help you deal with your truth.

In this small, safe environment, it is safe to admit the truth - it's welcome here because you are welcome here.

So, how are you today?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/admit-emit-or-omit

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Gollum in the Kitchen.

There are consolations to insomnia.

I think many of us will recognise that feeling. You go to bed dead tired, drop off and then wake an hour or two hours later with a start, adrenaline racing and the absolute knowledge you won't be able to go back to sleep for hours, even if you lie there and count all the sheep in New Zealand (39,124,367, the last time I tried).

So, if you're like me, you get up and potter. You make a cup of tea, eat some toast (hoping the delicious smell won't sneak its way up the stairs and wake your loved ones). You sit at the kitchen table and read, a purring cat on your lap. The cats are always thrilled when I can't sleep.

The kitchen at 2.30am is a comforting place. The clock on the wall ticks reassurance and every few seconds the 23 litre vat of apple juice in the corner gulps as it goes about its slow and steady metamorphosis into cider.

I've written before about Apple Day, how five families all get together with every single apple we can beg or scrump or forage, how we chop and press from mid-morning to early evening, sharing food and dividing up the spoils of juice. This year I could only chop for an hour before taking an hour's nap. I chopped for another hour and then had to be taken home, leaving my husband and children to carry our family's share of the load. Everyone knows about the depression; they all look after me, making sure I don't do too much; they're good friends.

But what wonderful stuff that juice is. You don't need to do anything to it, other than to pop it into a fermentation vat. All by itself it turns into cider. It's like magic.

It's a slow process. You can't hurry it – not if you want the smooth, naturally fermented taste. The first lot might be ready by Christmas. Or it might go on until Easter. My husband might decide to bottle it and add sugar to get a secondary and sparkling fermentation.

But at the end there is bottle upon bottle of thin golden sunshine, gleaming in the corner of the dining room, ready to dance on our taste buds like falling leaves. It's the taste of autumn and the warm spice of friendship.

But for now, the steady puh-lopp keeps me company in the kitchen, soothing me as I drink camomile tea, as I read a favourite book, as I wait for sleep to approach once again.
The sound is comforting, a reminder of that ring of friends and a promise for the future.
Infinitely precious.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/gollum-in-the-kitchen

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Towards or Away From?

One thing which is certain in our lives is that there are only ever 24 hours in a day! We cannot extend or reduce them, no matter how hard we may want to try.

I was once made aware of focussing on the things I want more of in my life and to move towards them – think of them, do them, rehearse them, whatever.

The alternative is to focus on what we want to move away from, thus we keep thinking of the things that we do not want.

Why would we want to do that?

It's a bit like the kid walking along the wall and one parent states 'Be careful or you will fall off' and of course with that 'in mind' the child falls off and the parent says 'I told you so'! Negative spiral begins.

The other parent could offer – 'Now focus on the end and balance well and you'll make it'. The child inevitably makes it and we say 'Well done'.

A bit like life really?

We may want to 'move away' from falling off the wall and even by thinking about it, we thus fall off.

So while we may not want to be; depressed, in an unhappy relationship, in a tired state, in the job we are in, the more we say we do not want that and want to move away from it,  we inevitably feel worse simply by thinking about it and mouthing our concerns.

If however we focus on how we wish our lives to change – move towards - our subconscious will get on with making that happen.

Move away from people who are energy leaners. I will not be around them,they make me feel awful.

Move towards people are energy lifters. I always want to be in their company, they make me feel great.

Now, imagine a circle containing the days 24 hours. Inside that circle is another circle. Within the smaller circle you have all the things you can influence in life (Circle of Influence) and between that circle and the limit of the bigger circle of 24hrs you have all the things you are concerned about (Circle of Concern).

If we focus on everything that concerns us, what happens to the time we spend focussing on the things we can influence? Yup, it gets smaller, so life gets smaller and 'darker'.

Now switch that and focus on all the things we can influence – the Circle of Concern gets smaller and thus life and our circle of influence gets bigger and life becomes more positive.

Do you have the necessary desire to move towards what makes you feel good about yourself (physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health) and focus on things you can influence, or are you going to sit there and moan to others about why you cannot do 'stuff' and thus continually focus on what you would like to move away from?

Our life is what we make it... isn't it?

Les
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/towards-or-away-from

Friday, 16 October 2015

Tickets please!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/tickets-please

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Do I exist?

No room! No room! They cried out when they saw Alice coming. 'There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm chair at one end of the table.

How well I know how she felt, but could I be wrong?

Clearly those around in the table acted as though they did not need or want her presence. And how did that make her feel? Not good, but was their reaction 'reactive'? As in, had no one before ever made that contact with them - that they felt threatened? Or, not withstanding their negativity, was she cheeky to go where she was not invited?

Whatever was going on here, what you and I have to think about is how we react to the world around us:

Is the world so against us that we come out in anger... that someone has threatened us?

Are we not sure anyone is talking to us because we don't think we exist and so don't respond to anything or anyone?

Carefully conscious that we may not be welcome?

Or

Is everyone our friend so we smile at them without knowing their value?

Extreme - ok - but what is in our heads is how we react. The message for me is that if I am strong in my head, I can be strong in my actions/reactions. I might feel weak - but why? Someone has to be brave or we are always at odds! When I am really brave I don't get knocked back many times!

It's not all about us as individuals! Wow. Big thinking! Any interaction, any perception involves two people (minimum) and is a two way street, in what we perceive and what the other person also perceives.

Alice saw seats and was not invited to join but chose to do so, to her chagrin in the end. Maybe she should not have done so... But it was important to the storyteller that she did and the purpose of the story was to draw attention to some of the oddities of life, many and various as they are. And irrelevant as they ultimately are too. After all this is just a kiddie bedtime story...

My message is not kiddie time, it's for all of us struggling to live a proper life, not one dictated by outside influences but led by our hearts and our heads.

We have a habit of making more of things that hit us than we should. I know I need to lighten up, stay in the moment, be grateful for what I am/have, serve others and generally "get over myself" and if I came across such a table. What would I do or you?

Alice
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/do-i-exist

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tell Me Your Story.

I was recently at my company's annual conference. As usual we had a motivational speaker. And, as so often, it was someone we've seen before; we knew we were getting value from him.

"Tell me your story," he said. "Tell me your story as a tragedy."

Well, that's easy, isn't it? Suicide of my father when I was four years old, brought up in poverty within the household of an austere and puritanical grandfather, a temporary escape to university only to fall into marriage at twenty to an equally puritanical and emotionally abusive man. A painful divorce twelve years later, a career hounded by failure, a second and happy marriage blighted by miscarriage and then, the devastating diagnosis of bipolar...

Hey, wait a minute! Wait just one minute here! This is getting depressing…

"So, tell me your story as a series of parties."

Oh, I love parties. I remember the Christmas party held by the wealthy grandfather of my cousins. There was an enormous Christmas tree with a present for everyone: it was magical. I was four and I fell in love with the cousin of my cousins. I stayed in love with him for the next seven years, but he never loved me back (whoops – that's the tragedy story – sorry!). My sister's birthday is at the end of October and we had a fabulous Halloween party for her once, with a cauldron on the floor and black paper cats and bats all over the windows. The police stormed the Iranian Embassy on my seventeenth birthday (a party to remember as we were all glued to the live coverage on the TV) and I had a brilliant fancy dress party for my eighteenth. In my twenties I started writing murder mystery dinner parties and those were simply wonderful, and instead of a 50th celebration I did a 49th party with a theme of the 1849 California Gold Rush – fancy dress again. Oh yes, I do adore parties!

"Tell me your story from a romantic point of view."

"Tell me your story as a journey of faith."

"Tell me your story how your friends' might see it."

Then – when we thought he had moved on he asked us to look around the room and make a note of everything we could see that was red, and then close our eyes.

"Tell me what you remember that is green," he said.

"Um..."

You see, we have a very limited amount of brain processing power. If we concentrate on the parties, we can't focus on the tragedies. If we focus on the lost loves (oh my dears, I have many) then we cannot see the friendships.

I've made a discipline of focussing on and remembering the positives. It's purely selfish, I admit. You see, I want to be happy.

And I am happy. Even at the bottom of the bipolar cycle, in the middle of depression, fundamentally, I'm happy.

It's not an accident, it's a choice. Make it yours too. Go on, I dare you!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/tell-me-your-story

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

To hold on or to let go.

It was that time of year. My annual (ok sometimes every 2 or 3 years!) clearing through my clothes, discarding excess clothes and giving them to a local charity.

So I put all the clothes that are too tight and all the clothes I haven't managed to wear for ages and packed them into a large bag. I felt good. I can let go.

Then I remembered the dress. It is 4 years older than my oldest child. (My children find it incredible that their fashion challenged mum has clothes older than them!!)

I have not worn in it for over 30 years. It has no real sentimental or fashion value. It is not well made, or even made out of quality material, it was not my wedding dress, it was not worn to my 21st.

So why do I hold onto this dress. There are no significant memories attached to it. Is it because it is from my past that I find it hard to give away. I have tried. I once put it into a bag for charity but retrieved as I was putting it into the charity bin. Pathetic I know.

I decided now was the time. It didn't fit and I hadn't worn it for years, It had to go. I did not feel sad or proud. It was not a big thing. I put it into the bag and watched as my partner drove to the store.

So why did I hold on to that dress for so long. Who knows? Sometimes the thought of letting go is harder than the letting go. I thought about how I also hold on to resentment, anger, and other unhelpful emotions memories and thoughts. What if I applied the same criteria for letting go of my clothes to my thoughts. Of course I can't give them to the charity shop but I can throw them out in the metaphorical garbage.

So how about an annual cleansing of our emotional wardrobe? Put them out on show and get rid of those that don't fit who we are now, and we haven't used/needed for ages.

What would you throw out and what would you keep? Can be real items or abstract ones?

Is there one item, emotion or behaviour you find hard to let go? Why?

Please discuss (sorry can't let go of the teacher in me!)

Leah 
A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/to-hold-on-or-to-let-go

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Three Gifts.

[Audio version: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/blog-the-three-gifts]

I address you today as if you were the richest person in the whole wide World.

I share with you today as if you are the luckiest person in the Universe.

I stand in awe of you today because of the phenomenal power you shall possess.

I believe you are the richest person I know because you have 168 hours to spend every week. No one can take that away from you. Oh, of course, you can trade it to spend on others but it is always yours - and always will be.

You are the luckiest person in the Universe because you have the gift of consciousness. You have self-awareness. You have self-identity. You have self-knowledge.

And the power you have that I stand in awe of is the phenomenal power of choice. With it you can change your future.

You can choose how to use the gift of consciousness today in the abundant time you have that no one can take from you.

What will you do with these three gifts?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-three-gifts

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Darth Vader does Charlotte's Web, a true story.

Me: It's rainy and cold. What the...? Walk?! IN it?! Today?! I'm broken!!!

Other me: Yes rainy, so what. You need it. How else will you fix this? Get. Out. Side.

Me: I can't. I'm almost dead. I have nothing to give.

Other me: You can. You must.

Me: Hang up. Other me: You hang up. Me: Hate you. Other me: Love you.

Thumped along the pavement. Two hoods up. Angry. Stompy. Wet legs. Cold legs. Huff. Puff.  Got to shop. Can't see out of wet glasses. Bought stuff. Paid. Wrong pin. Typical. Paid again. Left. Now, hot. Two hoods up again. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

This is daft. I'm roasting. Hoods down. Ah better. Cooler air on hot head. Lovely. Rain on cheeks, lovely. Oooh it's quite nice. The birds are singing their lungs out! Wow, I wonder what got them going? Look at that spider web suspended in the hedge... STUNNING.

Laden with rain, it reminds me of depressed people. Fragile and vulnerable, looking ready to break but holding firm, made of stronger cords than is ever thought. Had I not been ill, I would not have walked, not seen its wonder, not seen that there were tens of them, no scores of them. All along the hedges on my walk back were scores of the most beautiful sight I'd seen in days. Why would I deprive myself of this? Scores of webs, gracious and miraculous, swaying, dripping with droplets. It was as though they had heard my stomp as I passed by one way and had put on this art installation for my sore eyes on my return.  Each one greeted me, swayed for me, showed me beauty, bowing in greeting as I walked.  Thank you.

Nearly back. I am still feeling a little Darth Vader but my robes are now pale grey and definitely made of cashmere.

Go outside. Stomp for 30 minutes. Blog the result. Dare you. Go on...

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/darth-vader-does-charlottes-web-a-true-story

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Anxiousness...

The Meeting.

It was out there...some people would like to meet up, perhaps for a picnic, or at a pub, would I like to join in? Yes, pick me, please, yes, I would! And so it was arranged. Great! I had plenty of time to prepare... it was over a month away and I would be pleased to put faces to names of people I speak to online, at last!

Then the doubts started. Run, Bear, run... Why would anyone want to meet me? I'm not terribly clever, never sure I can contribute enough to help, oh dear, what had I done, why did I agree? Heart was racing, run, Bear, run!

A motiveless attack on me years ago, by a man high on drugs and alcohol, has made me more fearful and anxious about being out of my comfort zone, more wary to go on my own - to places I'm unsure about... run, Bear, run... but I'll be with others, I'll be ok, (hush now, chill, Bear, chill.)

Then the morning arrived, heart beat faster, run, Bear, run. Husband asked why I was so worried... what was the problem? Heart beating faster still, as I couldn't explain - run, Bear, run. I didn't know why.

I made it! Got on the right train, met the two lovely peeps at the next station and we chatted happily. Went to meet the others... what a lovely bunch they were: swapping stories, anecdotes, a liddle light lunch, more ideas and sharing email addresses - so now I have more friends. I shouldn't have worried, I know. These peeps, like most genuine peeps, didn't care what I looked like, and I didn't care what they looked like - we were all just happy to meet up.

What is it that gets me so worried and upset? I can normally reason with myself that things probably won't be as bad as I am fretting about, but the doubts are still there: never feeling quite good enough, self doubt, silly worries... and really, it's not as if I had walked in the room with my skirt tucked into my knickers and had everyone laughing at me! No, I didn't do that!

Depression does this to many of us and I know I have to learn to see that these challenges CAN be overcome, bit by bit. Even those unaffected by depression often find they don't look forward to an event, a speech, a party, or any gathering... the depression just magnifies the problem.

One challenge completed... many more to go, I'm sure - is there a challenge that you can take steps to overcome?

Love

Bearofliddlebrain (not running now!)
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/anxiousness

Friday, 9 October 2015

What recovery means to me.

Recovery, according to my dictionary ,"is a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength."

My problem with the word recovery and the definition is because it assumes there is a normal state of health to retrun to, but what does normal mean?

I have not had a major episode of depression or mania for many years (I don't think the actual number is relevant) – does that make me recovered? I dont think so because I have had times when I have struggled. I have learnt I always need to be careful that I keep physically well, eat healthily and do not exhaust myself or get too tired...

To some, I have not recovered because I take medication. I have well meaning friends say to me, you have probably out grown your bipolar. I am not hung up on the word recovery, I take each day as it comes.

The term recovery does not have any real meaning for me. I prefer the word resilience, because it is the tools we learn that enable us to pick ourselves up when we fall down that are crucial for us to maintain our health.

There are a lot of resources for people with a mental health issue, but as they get better there is often little help to help people stay well.

In my opinion people can still have times when they are unwell, but still be getting better. It is about control and knowledge. Taking control of your illness through knowledge and education is a major step in being responsible for your health.

Many Moodscopers are incredibly honest in their journey and while they may be experiencing a low mood they are always looking for ways to help them climb back out of the hole.

When the aim is for resilience and not recovery, there are no setbacks but opportunities to show the ability to recover from difficulties. There are always going to be obstacles placed in our way and if we can learn to develop strategies to cope with them, that will help us to maintain our health.

Online communities can help people learn from other's experience and stop people from feeling isolated. I was interested when Jenny posed a question to Lex about recovery and it made me think about what recovery means to me.

I would now like to hear what recovery means to you. It could be one word or a few paragraphs.

Does the word recovery have any meaning for you or do you have another word that suits you better?

Leah 
A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/what-recovery-means-to-me

Thursday, 8 October 2015

To be nobody but yourself...

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting" 
EE Cummings

This quote is one I regularly return to, when I find that I have said something and then thought - what was I doing?

How many of us behave differently (even tell lies to ingratiate ourselves) and then question ourselves after we have left a meeting/a coffee/a party/a conversation?

How many of us started this at school to 'try' to be liked by our peers – even the teacher? And are we still doing it with our 'boss'/our partner/our peers/even our children?

We are bombarded each and every day with adverts ('because your worth it'), news stories, conversations, politics (with a big and small Pp), which seek to live in a black & white, right & wrong, brittle, short term, ego driven, Newtonian world.

This was a world which emerged in the industrial revolution, when there were new and definite answers to everything and the proven processes kept us all 'right', through repeatable methodologies. Today, we realise that the old one simple solution, is totally unfit for purpose in our now modern, constantly changing, rapidly evolving, interdependent and complex world.

Today when I hear people talking about simple solutions, I often say 'there is a simple answer to every complex problem, and it's wrong!'

From invading Iraq – an endless stream of wrong 'outcomes' – just the same, but on a different 'scale', as invading someone else's privacy and social media… we can see that many people, even organisations and governments, have given up their moral compass, for short term gain.

Schools, colleges and universities, attempt to grow yet more competence (IQ - qualifications), when we actually require stronger characters (EQ - qualities) to help stabilise our families and societies.

To stand true to your own values – regardless of what anyone else states – is very challenging, as many of us seek friendship, or only feel good if we are liked by others.

That however, as I have said before is about doing the work through 'inscaping' not constantly escaping to get 'things' that supposedly make us confident or even worse, supposedly happy!

Mental health is often just about how we feel about ourselves.

Feelings are far more important than facts - our reality is emotional and subjective not rational and objective. We seek meaning before money...or do we?

So why do we let others have such an effect on us?

Can you be OK about yourself, whether someone praises or blames you?

Les
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/to-be-nobody-but-yourself

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Solitary Confinement.

I've never understood why solitary confinement is used as a punishment.*

It's that time of year when the parents of year six children troop around their local secondary schools assessing to which they should apply for their precious darlings.

There always seems to be an almost unhealthy glee in the voices of the teachers as they point out the isolation unit, where disruptive children are sent as a punishment. There those children have to do their school work, alone, and in absolute silence, under the strict eye of a member of staff to see that they don't just kick back in their chair and stare vacantly into space. Apparently it works very well.

When we visited one such unit with my eldest daughter, three years ago now, I could see the gleam in her eye. "Mummy," she whispered as we left, "Do you think they'd let me go to the isolation unit without me being naughty?"

You see for her, as for me, the concept of being left alone, in peace and quiet, to get on with our work, with the built-in discipline of a watcher, is alluring indeed.

Real people are scratchy, they are distracting and demanding, they are emotionally needy, they take our energy when we need all that energy for ourselves.

Not always of course. My daughter is socially poised and confident, she works well with others. Most people cannot possibly believe I am an introvert; the life and soul of the party is what they see. Most of the time we have energy enough to give away. We enjoy giving it away. We like being with others.

But, oh, we love to be alone. When I'm down at the bottom of my bi-polar cycle it's a necessity. I just can't cope with people.

I know I'm not alone (ha ha) in this. One of my friends likens her withdrawal to being in her fortress with the drawbridge up and the moat well stocked with piranha.

I would ideally stock my fortress with a computer and the internet and an e-reader. But just pencil and paper will do. Or even nothing at all.

Because whereas real people are a distraction, the people in my head are a delight.

You're never alone with a good book. Even if it's one you're writing yourself.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

*And please – yes, I know solitary confinement is a severe punishment for most people, that it is over-used in our prisons and causes psychological stress and damage and that the rates of recidivism are higher for prisoners subjected to this. This hopefully light-hearted post expresses my own very personal point of view only.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/solitary-confinement

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Here's to brighter mornings.

Having been brought up on a diet of fear and anger, I've been determined to balance work and raising a family in a loving and gentle way, whilst suffering with anxiety and depression. I've managed to raise two amazing young people who have beautiful souls and who make me feel proud and grateful for the joy that they have to share.

I have come a long way in finding ways to make myself feel well. Walking, yoga, sleeping enough, eating well and hormone balancing supplements have all helped. Not being hard on myself on bad days, is so important. Sometimes just to stop and rest or do what suits ME for a change is what I need.

Having a low feeling when I wake up has been a struggle though. I've tried slow release food at night and a healthy snack first thing to bring my blood sugar up, but thats not it. When I wake up and there's no special person there saying "Good morning gorgeous! Have a wonderful day!" (Ok so life isn't a Disney movie), but waking up alone and feeling low is tough sometimes. On a bad day, I almost choose to stay focussed on negatives. I put it down to loneliness and I kept repeating my focus on it.

Surprisingly my hairdresser described the same feeling and she's married! Her hubby's just sleeping! A friend of hers thought it was because as babies we woke up to having our main carer paying attention to us and suggested that distracting the brain with something uplifting makes a big difference. For my hairdresser it's comedy! For another friend it's music. I then stumbled across a combination if the two on you tube! Comedians being blown away by amazing singers! Uplifting and funny is a much nicer way to start the day and doesn't rely on me finding Prince Charming!

All it took was a shift from feeling powerless to hopeful. Just knowing that there is a way out seems to have done the trick.

It's first thing in the morning as I write this and I feel uplifted. I've always enjoyed writing. Maybe there's another bright path to follow!

Here's to brighter mornings.

Petal
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/heres-to-brighter-mornings

Monday, 5 October 2015

Ten Good Friends.

[If you'd like to hear an audio version of this blog please click here.]

I am active - feeling full of energy
I am enthusiastic - showing eagerness
I am alert - being quick to notice and act
I am interested - wanting to be involved in something
I am attentive - paying close attention
I am inspired - feeling the desire to do something
I am excited - looking forward to things
I am determined - being resolute, showing determination
I am strong - feeling able to cope with difficulties
I am proud - feeling a real sense of achievement today.

Saying these out loud simply feels good.

I am sure we all recognise these ten good friends. If you are a fan of practical psychological tips, you're likely to have come across several experiments where hearing positive words and phrases has improved the listeners' mood and state. When surrounded by positive words, there is a tendency for humans to behave more tolerantly and to be more generous.

I've been told, "Be careful what you wish for!" But far more fundamental is, "Be careful what you think about!" What we think about has a habit of expanding until it consumes our attention... and everything we think about has an emotional charge associated with it. Our ten good friends have a positive charge, and they work well together. They are worth thinking about often.

So I got thinking to myself, "What would have to happen for all ten good friends to join me today?" It will be different for all of us, but it's a fun exercise which I am recommending to you.

To feel full of energy, I certainly would have to have had a good night's sleep - one undisturbed by bad dreams or too many loo breaks! A good shower and an excellent coffee would allow my child-like curiosity and enthusiasm permission to emerge. I'd also be naturally alert - especially in the morning - my best time. So, assuming I wasn't aware of anything boring or horrible in the day ahead, I'd be off to a great start with at least three good friends. And knowing how positive friends, like birds of a feather, are likely to flock together, I'm sure the other magnificent seven would check-in somewhen during the day!

I wonder what would jump-start your day in a positive way?

Would you share?

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/ten-good-friends

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The visitor.

Sometime depression creeps into my house
Through the back door
Unannounced

Sometimes he arrives at the front door
With a fanfare
And a flounce

Sometimes he waits round the corner
Ready to jump out
And pounce

And sometimes he's in the bushes
Being quiet
As a mouse

I try not to fight his presence
Try not to shut the door
Try not to close the curtains
And try not to ignore

Because he always has a message
A letter to deliver
A hidden sign, a note, a card
Or a thought for me to consider

So next time he comes I'm ready
Ready to welcome him in
Ready to say come stay with me
Lets talk, shall I begin?

And in time he'll come less often
Of that I now am clear
As I get better at spotting the signs
That his visit is drawing near

I'll know he's bought his ticket
Or is looking up his route
I'll know he's packing a suitcase
And putting it in his boot

And I'll know that I can call him
Say thank you my old friend
I know you want to help me
And your help just has to end

I've found some better ways of coping
Of getting through the day
With friends, with walks, with nature
With love and purpose and play

You've taught me life
And shown the route
And for that I'm ever grateful

So now you can set your SatNav
To another destination

Debs
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-visitor

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Flaky time.

There's a little edge to the air. Some stunning sunsets. And just the beginning of leaves offering up their fire dance before they submit to winter. Hands up who adores and dreads Autumn? I adore its beauty and I am won over by nature's lesson in how to live healthily... be vibrant Spring to Autumn then go underground. I also dread what is coming next. Winter breaks me year upon year (yes, I do try all the SAD stuff) and, as we cannot go underground, we must find a way through.

How will it be?

Once again I encourage you to look through and beyond and decide in advance how you wish to emerge. I'm arming myself now with tools, physical and mental, so that I can expect the stormiest of days and welcome them. Say hello at the door and show depression how it will be handled whilst being my guest...

Hello depression, you may come with me on my walk but please walk behind me and do not obscure my eyes from seeing. Please loosen your grip at key points in the day, when I'm showering you must wait outside the door and allow me to be private. This will be called my Head Holiday and I will think only of the water: How does it sound?  How does it smell? How does it look? How does it taste? (Guaranteed to laugh at yourself trying to taste water in the shower, try it). How does it feel? You may sit beside me on the couch but you may not sit upon me. I need to move or parts of me will die. Be good now depression, be good.

And if you are rude, bad mannered or smelly I will open The Box of Photographs. It contains all manner of images showing happy stuff that you were not invited to. You wouldn't like me to open that box now would you?

Behave depression. Behave. We have a long list of tools in here.

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/flaky-time

Friday, 2 October 2015

Human Dis-Illusion.

Humans are imperfect beings,
The trouble is they so like 'doing'.
They so wish for such 'wrong' things,
It's that bloody head that they keep 'wooing'.

They 'do' more things,
And their mind takes 'wings'.
They lose themselves, 
In 'gold' that stings.

Cars and trinkets,
Fill their minds.
When hearts and souls,
Would be far more kind.

Things 'out there' never succeed,
And yet this life is full of greed.
Still there's hope in a little seed,
That says less is more, with less speed.

That escaping life to get away,
From 'normal' life that takes place each day.
By 'buying' more things that distract the mind,
Only prostitutes you and makes you 'blind'.

There's also work that always stops you,
From looking in to find the pain.
We fill our day with endless stuff,
And that's what drives anyone insane!

In doing so, we neglect to look,
Inside us, where all pain resides.
We think we'll avoid it by looking away,
But that is where all hope abides.

Some run faster until they die,
Thinking they can leave it all behind.
Some just run and fall each day,
Hoping sleep will wash it away.

But there's nowhere to go,
In this life of ours.
To avoid who we are,
We simply devour.
The truth inside,
The past in us.
The answer to,
Our human truss.

Humans are imperfect beings,
The trouble is they so like 'doing'.
They so wish for such wrong things,
It's the heart they need to now start 'wooing'.

What thoughts does this poem raise for you?

Les
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/human-dis-illusion

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Is colouring calming?

"What do you call that?" Mrs P, my second class teacher bellowed at me, as she lent over my work, her silver snake bangle banging on my desk.

I tried so hard not to cry and said it was my colouring-in.

She then marched me down to the kindergarten class where she told the class I should stay there until I could learn how to colour in like someone in second class.

I can still here the laughter of the kindergarten students mocking me. How I wished I could colour in neatly. I tried so hard to be like my friend Belinda whose work was always neat and whose colouring in always perfect.

Somehow my coloured pencils, (not Derwents like Belinda's ), had a mind of their own and always messed up my colouring-in by forcing my hand to colour outside the lines.

I felt so humiliated that day, not only did I have to spend all day in kindergarten, I had to spend lunch time with them too where I was bullied by 5 year olds jeering - "You are a baby, you can't colour in!"

So fast forward 50 years, imagine my surprise that the latest publishing fad is colouring books for adults to promote calmness and mindfulness.

As you can imagine colouring-in is still stressful for me so the thought of using it as a way to destress really confused me.

Some people do find colouring in very therapeutic and research shows it does help people to zone out and relax.

One customer (I saw the trend and stocked up with adult colouring books) was going into hospital where she found colouring-in helped her to cope with all the waiting and the stress.

There is a theory too that as adults we want to go back to a child-like activity because we find it reassuring.

I assume that most people reading this will find colouring-in relaxing and maybe I am the only one who finds colouring-in brings back memories of inadequacy.

Is there anything you find relaxing but stressful too?

Leah
A Moodscope Member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope website:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/is-colouring-calming