Sunday, 31 January 2016

Fantasy v Reality.

In my fantasy world, I am very organized and have all my papers and belongings so organised I know where everything is.

I read widely, watch only documentaries on television.

Confident in my abilities, I relax when having visitors and giving parties. I am known for my patience and my positive nature. My moods are very stable and people remark on my calm nature.

You have probably guessed my reality. I am totally disorganized can never find anything.

I used to read widely but now I am so tired after a day in my shop. I barely have the energy to use the remote. I watch television to relax so just fun shows.

I find having guests to stay and giving small parties for friends very stressful and cope by making endless lists about the most trivial of things. I am very impatient and can be very negative, even grumpy. Sad but true. I can have five different moods in one day and people always tell me to relax!!

My fantasy life is not just what I want to be, it is how I see  myself. So why this chasm between what I want to be/think I am and what I really am? The real me is who I am no matter how much I try to change, I come back to being disorganized and moody. I am not the only one with a different fantasy self and real self. A friend said her fantasy self sets the alarm every night for an early start to go to the gym, but her real self hits the snooze button every morning!

Why do we have a need to be something we are not, a better version of ourselves, to make us more likeable? Or is it because we say what we think others want to hear or maybe we make up a version of ourselves that we prefer to the real us.

What do you think? Do you have a fantasy version of yourself?

A Moodscope member.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The path to serenity.

"You always sound so calm and serene; tell me the essence I need for that." So wrote another member in reply to my blog "Wisdom received from Moodscopers Part 1 (20th October 2015).

Well here goes...

Ironically, the October "Wisdom" blog was published the day after a particularly depressing departmental meeting at work with my lovely team of caring, supportive colleagues, all of whom (me included) were experiencing stress, loss of sleep, loss of family time and frustration at the unreasonable deadlines we were being asked to meet. (So, Frankie, you should be working not writing a Moodscope blog!!!). Even our normally grounded Head of Department was experiencing physical signs of stress (heart palpitations) and our superbly efficient Second in Department was uncharacteristically near to tears.

In the past I too would have had the same feelings, but I don't – how come?

I have learnt that the only thing I can change is my response to this situation. I recognise that it is the situation which is unreasonable, not me so I don't feel guilty.

If I do start feeling stressed, then I acknowledge that it is a perfectly reasonable response given the unreasonable demands being made.

Re-reading the above makes it sound so simple, but it isn't; I know that, and it hasn't been easy to reach this point of acceptance. It has taken time, determination and constant repetitions (said aloud) of affirmations, such as:

"All things pass and this too shall pass."
"I am doing my best in a tough situation."
"These dead-lines are unreasonable, my response to them is reasonable."
"I am not alone in feeling this way; I am supported and understood."
And my favourite when with my colleagues "It was ever thus." To remind us all that we DO cope under pressure and that the deadlines do come and go.

And when I say it has taken time, it has, a long time; this new found serenity and acceptance did not happen overnight but over a period of months and was a gradual process with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

I once did some "silly" research to see how long it would take to change a habit. I decided to change the hand I use to hold a toothbrush and clean my teeth. I arrogantly thought that it would take me a week... it took six. Now, if it takes six weeks to change a simple thing like that, then think just how much longer it takes to change long-held (perhaps from childhood) thought patterns, responses and behaviours...

It brings me back time and time again to the Serenity Prayer:

(God), Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

What thought patterns and responses do you want to change?  Are you ready to do so?

A Moodscope member.

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

Friday, 29 January 2016

Connecting with Your Inner Sunflower.

I want you to look up from your screen now and see where the light is. Go on... Was it out of the window? Was it the bulb hanging from the ceiling? Or perhaps the only light in your room right now is the one emanating from this screen.

The very presence of light in our lives, whether it be natural or man made, is fundamental to human existence. Although we can survive for long periods of time without it, there is an atavistic core of our being which longs for light because we know it is responsible for giving us life. We know that we need it for warmth, sustenance and, of course, for seeing.

Without light we are blind.

Seasonal Affective Disorder aside, we all suffer in some way from a lack of light during the winter. In my tool box of anti-depressant gems which I have been gathering for myself over the years, light has been one of my life savers: to turn to it when it's there; to create it when it's not there.

When the sun comes out, tilt your face towards it and close your eyes. You'll be surprised how quickly it will lift your mood. And when that light has gone, create your own. I've strung fairy lights from my walls and planted candles around my room which I light religiously at nightfall. They warm my soul when it's dark. They make me feel brighter. I believe that in these moments we are actually collecting light – like a human solar panel – storing it up so that our life-force level doesn't drop too low. So away you go and collect yourself some light! Turn your face towards it like a sunflower. Let it shine on you and keep you alive.

A Moodscope member.

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

Thursday, 28 January 2016

What we look for, we find...

"Beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith that springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best." R. Turnbull

I have always loved this quote for many reasons.

Firstly I think it provides hope (see Lex's blog on Monday) and if there is no hope – there is nothing.

No matter how many times we have been depressed or manic – those reading this are still here. And intellectually we know, we can survive, although we don't feel we can if our minds go dark – again. What is it this time that will allow us to emerge back into that beautiful light?

One thing is for sure, it's supportive friends and family – along with possibly a mixture of pills, distractions and a desire to go on, even from minute to minute.

I also see the benefits I have felt as I have survived years of depression. I am more understanding of others and thus more able to sympathise as well as even empathise.

I take more time when feeling OK to see the beauty in everything around me – the clouds, the sunsets, the flowers and many more, along with helping others to more fully understand themselves.

We can only truly serve ourselves by serving others.

It also makes me think of the best relationships that I have. They are usually there due to one or both of us forgiving the other for some form of behaviour. (See January 15th's blog – forgiveness.)

That relationship is usually stronger if it has almost ended. That look into the darkness and contemplating it ending and then realising there is more to lose by ending it – allows us to explore even further why 'we' are there and find that forgiveness for certain behaviour. After all, who are we to judge, when our behaviour could be going up and down like a yoyo?

There is also the word 'faith' in the quote.

It kinda goes with 'hope'... that faith (which of course is blind) tells you that there is something ahead, or it may be 'faith' in one of the many 'Gods' that inhabit the lives of many, or even in the faith of others in you, when you have lost yours.

So wherever you are mentally just now, what are you looking for? Are you looking for good things – because if you are, you will most likely find them. Or are you looking for negative things, because, guess what, you'll just as easily find them.

If you are now driven to write a comment about how your life is all bad right now... that's because you only see it that way and yet unlike many, you are still here.

So out of our darkness, what 'beautiful light' can you see right now?

Write from your heart what are you looking for and what can you therefore see?

A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Tidying Up.

Oh, I have the soul of a minimalist, but the habits and outlook of a hoarder.

My house is cluttered; strewn and littered with papers, miscellanea, objects trouvé; I like to think it's the sign of a creative mind with many interests...

When I am well, this clutter amuses me, or at least does not bother me enough to do more than occasionally tidy up. Just sometimes I will decide that enough is enough and declutter using Marie Kondo's excellent methodology from her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying (I'll come back to that later).

When I'm ill however, then all this clutter is just one more reminder, or rather ten thousand individual reminders, of what a useless person I am. I am messy, untidy, cluttered and unclean. It's as if the disordered state of my home reflects the disorder and dysfunctionality of my mind and I desire nothing more than to make a clean sweep.

And this is where I have some hard won advice for you all.

Never, but never, declutter when you're depressed!

The reason for this is very simple and where I come back to Marie Kondo.

The basis of her philosophy is simple in the extreme. Only keep those items which bring you joy, or which you may not dispose of for legal or practical reasons. You may be sure that my tax records for the past seven years do not bring me joy, but I am required to keep them for that long.

It's easy to know if an item brings you joy: you look at it or touch it, and listen to your feelings.

When you're keeping things "just in case" then the emotion attached to those items is a sort of low grade anxiety. When you're keeping something because "It was a gift and I feel I can't get rid of it," then the feeling is one of nebulous guilt. Books you "ought" to have on your bookshelves ooze tension and that dress you bought in the sale because "it was a bargain," but which you've never worn, emits shame.

None of these items actually have a place in our lives or our homes and yes, they should go, so that we are left only with those possessions that bring us joy.

So why not do this when depressed? Surely it would make us feel better.

Because when we are depressed, even if we have the energy to declutter, we cannot feel our emotions accurately. We are often unable to distinguish the joy.

I have decluttered when well, and decluttered (twice) when ill. I have never missed one item I discarded when well. But I have made emotional (and financial) costly mistakes when decluttering while ill.

So live with the mess if you're ill at present. Wait until you're really well and you can feel properly again. And then look up Marie Kondo. You'll be glad you did.

A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

We are all Students of Life.

I saw this quote below earlier today and kept thinking about it long after I'd seen it.

"Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on."

It was said by Samuel Butler in 1895. He was an English novelist.

It strikes me that he is so right.

We are all learning to live our lives. Not just us in Moodscope but every citizen of the globe whether depressed, bipolar, totally free of mental health or physical issues, the physically ill, children, everyone.

We too are putting ourselves out there like the person playing the violin in public who hasn't a clue how to play it.

This picture is the stuff of nightmares (playing or doing anything in public without practice beforehand.)

But we do it every day!

We go out there on a daily basis and do normal things not really having been taught how to do them perfectly so we make mistakes, we mess up, we feel bad about ourselves, we get into difficulties at work, in conversations etc. But so does everyone, not just us who struggle with our health.

We are our own teachers and us in the Moodscope community are very harsh teachers and mark our own selves down with every tiny mistake we make.

So, life is a daily learning process, and no one can ever teach us or anyone how to lead a 100% perfect life, yet still we leave the house each day and subject ourselves to life with a capital L, shouldn't we be proud of our little achievements? Instead of self critical and always urging our inner selves to do better?

I realise blogs have been written before about little achievements but Samuel Butler's quote seemed to me to explain why everyone and especially us should be so pleased about them.

A Moodscope member

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

Monday, 25 January 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life – H is for Hope.

Moods move.
They shift.
They swing.
They undulate.

And if you measure them with Moodscope, you’ll see they flow up and down, and down and up again. They rise and fall like an equally exhilarating yet hazardous trip along an undulating Mountain road. In profile, they look like the edge of a Yale Key... and hope is the key to unlocking that difference between exhilaration and danger.

With all this movement, we each need some stability. This stability is called ‘Hope’ – with a  Capital ‘H’. Not the current common understanding of ‘hope’ – that’s just wishful thinking, but rather the original Greek meaning: a sure and certain, positive expectation to do with the future and the unseen.

This kind of hope is an anchor for the soul – the psyche – keeping us connected when all else is tossed by the storm. The metaphor for modern Hope is the gimbal. This is the clever balancing device that keeps your camera’s vision steady when everything else is chaotic and moving. You may have seen one in action on one of the helicopter drones that are currently all the rage.

This ability to stay stable is why I think Hope is essential for Moodscopers.

Hope is only ever future and unseen – who hopes for what they see? Most English speaking people would understand it more as ‘faith’ – but it isn’t. It’s different. ‘Faith’ is ‘now’. ‘Hope’ is ‘then’.

It is not wishy-washy, as in the English “I hope so”. It’s rock steady. So, given this definition, what do you Hope for?

What’s the rock steady vision to do with the future and the unseen that keeps your course straight in the midst of the storm?

Some examples may help our discussion. I ‘know’ that the amazing upbringing my eldest son and daughter-in-law are giving my grand-daughters will set them up for success in life. This is Hope.

What do you Hope for?

I have a sure and certain expectation that passing on my learning to my three sons and their partners will give them an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and my successes, and offer them an accelerated path to future success and joy.

Sound like ‘Legacy’ thinking, doesn’t it?

I Sure Hope So...
[and this keeps me going]

A Moodscope member.

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

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Going Steady.

I'm in a good place at the moment. Not up, not down, just steady.

My relationship with my moods has been rocky for most of my life. That's all I have to say about that right now, I'm too thankful to be in a good place to even think about it!

It would be wonderful to remain like this. Comfortable with things, nothing to rattle me. No pressure. Able to get on with my life as I choose with an underlying feeling of peace.

There will be challenges, that's life. It would be great to deal with them as best I can, but allow them to come and go knowing that I'm steady.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to confidently say that it used to be an ongoing battle, grateful to just wake up feeling ok, but now it's the norm.

My Moodscope scores are in the low 60s above what was my average and wouldn't it be nice not to stray too far from that? To feel secure.

Is it possible I wonder, to have found peace?

I've worked hard at it, pushing forwards, to make things better, pushing for what I want my life to be like, resisting the things, people and situations that are not good for me. Searching for the things, people and activities that are.

And now on this day in this moment, I can say that I am happy to be going steady.

What would things be like for you, to be able to say that you are in a good place?

A Moodscope member.

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

Saturday, 23 January 2016

"My name is Lauren and..."

I am an introvert. This means that I am energised by time spent alone rather than with others. It does not mean that I cannot talk to other people.

I am prone to depression. This means that given the (right) set of circumstances, I will become depressed, and it may last the length of my menstrual cycle, or it could last an entire year. For me (and I want to stress that this is personal and not meant as advice for anyone else) it does not mean that I always need therapy or medication, but it does require that I manage my life in a very particular way.

Five years ago I met my now-husband, who was shortly afterwards diagnosed Bipolar Type II, then Type I. For the length of our relationship and into our marriage, I have had to come to terms with his diagnosis, my position in his life as not only his wife but his supporter and I have to admit it hasn't been easy. It's been damn hard at times.

However, I always like to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. Being with him has made me realise the power of choice. By choosing to stick with him, despite what our families may have thought, I learnt the power of such a simple thing as choice. I've been forced to (but not necessarily against my will) look at the aspects of myself that I'd rather have left unseen. I've been forced to acknowledge that my drinking habits actually exacerbate my depression, anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other issues. I've been forced to admit that the very power of choice is what I needed to exercise when I had to admit I needed help.

I need help. And it starts with me being kind to myself.

A Moodscope member.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Hang in there.

I would like to share my three tips for the darkest of moments:

1) I absolutely swear by the mantra 'this too shall pass' - for me depression feels like waves are crashing over my head, sometimes they are small enough to fight off and sometimes they are absolutely crushing and try to sweep me out to sea. But they are always transient. They always pass, sometimes an even bigger one will rear up in its place, but it will ALWAYS pass. One day the waters will be still once more.

2) Don't buy in to your own mind. One of the things about an illness in the brain is that it has an ability to LIE TO YOU. You know why? Because it's sick! It doesn't know what's best for it! When people are suffering from Hypothermia they feel like they are burning and so remove all their clothes, it felt like the right thing to do at the time but actually made it so much worse. Depression does this in many ways, don't trust your thoughts - always get an outsiders (trusted) opinion.

3) Remind yourself constantly of your solid reasons for staying on this planet. This can be as big as the people in your life that love you or as small as you really are curious about what happens in the next episode of your favourite TV series. Think of all the people you have yet to meet, the kindness you have yet to give and receive and the beauty that you will once again witness that is so abundant in this world - Keep a list of the things you are grateful for and try to add a new one every day.

Hang in there.

A Moodscope member.

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

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Living in the Now – the Mental Health Challenge?

Here are my thoughts which have emerged after some excellent Moodscope blogs this week, where people have shown their weakness and hopefully gained strength; through personally opening up and receiving through their 'giving' (as Lex would say) without any need to receive.

I love the phrase, 'You can only ever live happily ever after, on a day to day basis'.

When I am down, I can only feel the past (successes) now gone, or fear the future (failures) as I see it and have a real challenge in living in the 'now'.

What I find is that I have to work very hard to find a distraction to keep me in the moment. The common behaviours leading to some progress that were over weeks or months, can be as follows:

1) Getting up usually has to be pre-arranged through a prior promise or a phone call, (my God mother would say, 'I can't hear the shower yet'), because I live on my own.

2) I need to ensure that I don't rush into the kitchen, boil the kettle, grab my muesli and spill milk while running into the living room.

3) Next, is to find is a good storyline on TV to keep my mind steady. Even then I have to record it, to be able to fast forward any adverts, or my mind can drop straight into negative thoughts and I may run back to bed.

4) Once my mood improves a bit (weeks/months), I can possibly read some fiction which keeps me turning the page. The danger is that I get depressed as I near the end and panic what next!

5) As my upward movement continues, I'd probably be able to look at emails that I may have been avoiding, as I struggle to communicate with anyone outside my living room.

6) I then may be able to read professional documents and make appointments that would force me to not only go out of the house but also meet with people.

7) I'd now be forcing myself to move, pushing myself to go back into that outside world.

8) The desired destination? To get up without any thought of not getting up.

Watching my Moodscope scores and talking to trusted friends about decisions I am making also helps, which would also be good for those with bi-polar or bi-polar 2, so that they don't go 'high'. Because if it does, they'll likely crash again, as Dave highlighted in his first excellent blog this week.

Also I find that my mindfulness practice would also move from escape and chaos, to become deeply intuitive during this journey. All of which takes me back to 'living in the now', living minute by minute and day by day.

In writing this, I was in the now, and I continue to seek those happy feelings.

What keeps you in the now?

A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Home Decoration.

I think it was William Morris who said, "Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Wise words indeed, but I have before me on my windowsill three items which are certainly not useful and (whisper it) I don't actually believe to be beautiful either.

Let me tell you why they are here and why I love looking at them.

The first is an artificial orchid, given to me by my parents-in-law. They are keen gardeners themselves and used to give me plants – which I would pass onto my husband as quickly as possible. I have a black thumb and kill plants. Not intentionally – but they just take one look at me, shrivel up and die. Once my dear in-laws understood this, they gave me a plant which I could not kill. I have never had the heart to tell them that I don't much like artificial plants either, because they gave it to me in love.

The second is a stuffed grey squirrel. Yes, a real one. He sits on his haunches holding a walnut between his paws. He was bought by my late uncle in 1939 for the princely sum of sixpence (his pocket money) in a local Estate sale. For as long as I knew my uncle, this squirrel sat on the desk by the side of his bed. When my uncle died and we were clearing out his cottage, I asked if I could take it. Every time I look at it I remember my uncle with love.

The third is the most recent. This Christmas my son Tom and his girlfriend Jenny gave me a pair of plaster bookends after the style of Beatrix Potter. One end features a mother rabbit in a rocking chair with a pair of baby rabbits and the other has a bonneted mother duck pushing a perambulator, a toddler duck alongside. They are not my style at all. Apparently Jenny said to Tom "Those are hideous! We can't give them to your Mum. She has much better taste than that!" To which he replied, "Trust me. She'll love them!"

And they were both right. When I unwrapped these bookends my eyes filled with tears because I understood what they meant. Tom had picked them out because they signified motherhood for him. He wanted to say thank you to me for becoming his mother.

I cherish these ugly things because they represent love. Not only love, but acceptance.

My in-laws have accepted me with all my problems, with love and without reservations.
My uncle loved me just as I am. He never complained that I was too unstable or asked why I couldn't just balance out on a more even keel.

My son and his girl adore me, just as I am.

So I keep their gifts where I can see them, so remind me that I am loved.

Even if the aesthetic taste of my loved ones does not quite march with my own!

A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Is It Time For An Emotional Tune-Up?

To all my friends on Moodscope, this is my first blog so bear with me.

As we all know, dealing with bi-polar is always difficult. Sometimes a little easier and other times so very challenging. It is particularly difficult when we are trying to rationalize or explain our own emotions and feelings to someone who asks how we are doing. This is especially true if the helping person has never dealt with the ups and downs of a mental illness.

Being a common sense person, I developed a technique which has helped me answer this difficult question not only to myself but also to others deeply concerned about my well being.

I look at my emotional state like one views an automobile. When it is tuned up with new plugs, fresh oil, good gas and correct tire pressure, the auto hits on all eight cylinders, cruising down the highway with ease.

As time goes on and mileage adds up however, one or two plugs will eventually start to foul and fail. At that point, instead of running smoothly on eight cylinders, the car is only running on six. It still runs smoothly for a while, but if not corrected, the six cylinders drop to four, and then two, barely even starting. Eventually, when those two cylinders give out, the car will not even start and it is time for another major tune up.

I look at my emotional state in much the same way. When I feel good I am confident and secure and know I can accomplish anything. As a result I often take on much more than I should. It looks good and actually feels good with my mind fueling my engine with positive thoughts of affirmation. It also deceives me and tells me to keep going and take on more and more. You are so worthwhile. Look at your accomplishments. More. More. More.

Over time, however, the pace and grind of the fast lane takes its toll. My energy level drops a little, but I keep trying to perform at an almost super human level. Slowly, I drop to six, four, and then two cylinders. Eventually, if I don't take care of myself, I won't even start, let alone cruise down the roadway of life. Then I realize I did it again and know it is time for a tune up to recharge my batteries.

In this regard I think many or us are our own worst enemies. We know what feeling good is like. But we also know the illness from which we cannot escape. So we fight hard to feel good, only leading us to find that we need that all important tune-up.

So I am asking you, how many cylinders are you hitting on today? Do you need that all important maintenance and tune-up in order to cruise down this highway of life?  

A Moodscope member.

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

Monday, 18 January 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life – Letter 'G'

'G' was a challenge. I know some really important insights on how to set "Goals" that will be realistic, things that could make your dreams come true - but my heart didn't resonate with the timing of that message. Instead, my heart said, "Give!"

This is particularly tough because I'm going to have to eat "Humble Pie"! Why? Well, I've been sharing a couple of key messages online:

1) don't teach wolves to chase sledges (i.e. Don't give stuff away; trade instead – as taught by Gavin Kennedy), and

2) don't be unequally yoked (i.e. don't stay in relationships where there isn't a balance of give and take.)

I have to say that I no longer believe either of those options are in the best interest of your higher self.

Instead, I have to say that giving without expecting anything in return is in your best interest. Giving is good for you. And if you can let go of any 'attachment' to the justice and fairness of those to whom you give paying you back in kind, you will be a very much happier person.

The Good Book suggests that God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, and that we are happiest when we show ourselves to be cut from the same cloth as God. I think this is true regardless of your spiritual beliefs. True liberty comes when you can give, caring not whether you get anything back or not. When you get to this point, it's all about your own freedom to love – unconditionally. It's a divine moment. You will be free yourself.

So, somewhat embarrassedly, I'm going to encourage you to give with shameless audacity – give desiring, expecting and demanding NOTHING in return. Just give. And as you do, I believe you will begin to live at a much more dynamic level. Of course, if you're peeking out of the corner of your eye, expecting something in return, the magic is broken. It really is about "Just Give!"

Dare you.

A Moodscope member.

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

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Ebb and Flow of Life.

LIFE never gives you warning of the directions it will flow;
Whether you will hit the rocks or sail on out to sea!
Life doesn't have an option to allow you to pick and choose!
Life's journey is one that can be either rough or smooth!

Will you miss the tide in life and never reach your 'Port of Call?'
Will your life be one of dreams or one that is a living hell?
Will you grow-up to be rich or poor or somewhere in between?
Your life could be a disaster, because you walked right into mine?

You could become a Rock Star, and end up doing drugs!
You could become a Movie Star, who lives life on the Silver Screen!
You could wake-up to find your life turned upside down!
Unknown to you, in life you've turned out to be a clown!

While you might give the appearance that you can walk on air,
Will you waltz through life, believing no one counts but you?
Will you claim without help, you climbed up the ladder of success,
When with every step you took, you stood on someone's head!

Will you lead the life of one, who never comes to know despair?
Or the one of many who wake up to find their loved ones gone?
Will you decide to standalone, or accept support from friends?
Will you find the strength in life, that will help you carry on?

Will you find that, someone; who will love you right on back?
Will your poor heart be broken and trampled underfoot?
Will you learn to trust and share, or will you be the one who takes?
Will you find a kindred soul, who will become your best friend?

Will you lead the way in life, or will you follow on from behind?
Will you reach out for the Stars and find you land on Mars!
Will you know the way to go, when faced with two or three?
Will you follow the path of God, or the foolishness of man?

Will you be the one with little and give to those with less?
Will you ask for nothing and expect something in return?
Will you seek the joys of life or spend a lifetime feeling blue?
Will you become a legend who is remembered throughout time?

Will you take a gamble on the cards that you are dealt face down?
Will you get through the moments; you have no influence on at all?
Will you find the answers, to the situations that you have to face?
Will you get to decide the outcome and go on to win the final race?

A Moodscope member.

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

Saturday, 16 January 2016

I did it! I went to the moon...

Well Iceland actually, in June last year. The country, not the shop.

There are times when even the shop would be impossible – I might get there but would probably have to leave halfway round and run for the safety of my car before the panic really set in.

But in June last year my daughter was graduating in Iceland the country. Bless her, she knows I rarely go out if I can avoid it, let alone actually travel abroad. So months before she tentatively mentioned it in passing 'Just in case mum, but it's ok if you don't, really, nobody else's parents are going, it's too far'.  Liar, liar, pants on fire!  Of course everyone else's parents were going. That's what proud parents do. And I am so proud of my daughter.

So I went to the doctor. Can you help me? I'm scared of anti-depressants (bad reaction in the past) but I need to go to Iceland. I might as well say I need to fly to the moon, it's that impossible. Is there something I can trial to see how they affect me? So she gave me some really mild pills that she promised weren't addictive, and some HRT for good measure and told me to let her know how the trip went.

Well I took the pills, worked on my mindfulness, booked the tickets (amazing how brave and relaxed you can feel sitting on your living room sofa behind a computer isn't it?). The flight was on a Monday. I spent 2 days before in the loo with a nervous stomach. The trip was a mixture of nightmare and elation – nightmare because of the panic attacks I invariably suffered, but elation that I saw my daughter graduate in person. I was there for her and didn't have to hear about it second-hand later.

I was so proud of her. And she was proud of me. Because I did it, I went to the moon!!!

A Moodscope member.

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

Friday, 15 January 2016

Be the Change... forgive.

One of the first times I was depressed back in the early nineties, when days were very dark and full of self-harm thoughts, I sought many ways to attempt to 'move'.

One of those strategies was to consider; if I only had six months to live what three things would I do?

One of the three things I wrote down, was to call my father and tell him that I love him.

This is to a man whose harassment and physical abuse in my mind, pretty much killed my mother (she died of cancer when I was fifteen) as I now firmly believe that living a stressful life can at times cause such disease. He had also been physically violent to me and his fists were his 'words' when drunk and angry.

Some of you may remember I wrote a blog about my father 'The Gift of Darkness'

Now while I only came to that 'gift' a few years ago, I did make that call in 1993 and uttered those words.

He simply said "I've had to sit down, my whole scalp is tingling and I don't know what to say."

I simply replied, "You don't have to say anything, I've said what I wanted to say."

While we still didn't really converse much after that and he continued to live a kind of drunken and bullying life, where he could never touch or hug me, even if I asked; I did have the courage to tell him what I felt at that time.

It meant for me that I had moved on – that I had forgiven – that I had taken into account the life he himself had lived with two other siblings, each from a different father with a mother would have beaten him badly.

Who do you still need to forgive?

I believe that everyone is 'doing their best' with what they have (See Brene Brown's new book – Rising Strong). That may mean that there is still a requirement to realise that there are repercussions to behaviour and at times a requirement that it may change. For us, we at times need to make the effort to help and not 'hit'.

And as I said last week – 'If you don't have time, it's not important enough'.

Taking the time to do what came in response from my spirit, to the questions about having only 6 months to live, resulted in my world being kinder as I had just made it so.

Do you have the time and courage to make your world kinder today?

A Moodscope member.

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

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Love Smart, Not Hard.

How many of you have heard the expression "Work smart, not hard"?

I believe we can apply the same principals to those we love.

A friend (who was feeling unloved at the time) asked me the other day. "If you loved someone and you knew that by doing something you would make him happy, would you do it?"

It's tempting to answer with a quick "of course." But let's think about it for a moment. It may be that we assume the other person must know what we want and need. But they may not. Or if they do, they may not appreciate how important it is to us. Similarly we may not appreciate how important another's needs are to them.

On 4th January Lex wrote about emotional bank accounts and how we must protect ourselves from going overdrawn, allowing people to drain us. He mentioned that within the Moodscope community, giving emotionally rather than taking, is the norm.

As if to prove him right, one person immediately commented that they felt as if they were the ones doing the overdrawing. And oh, how I know that feeling.

When I am at the bottom of my cycle (and this time it was from September 8th to December 11th) I can physically do so little and am dependent upon my family and friends. They give so much to me. I can give so little.

But at least the little I can do can be intelligently directed. Because I know how all of them need to be loved. And it's not the way I need to be loved. It's as if our emotional bank accounts operate in different currencies.

We all need to be loved differently. There are five languages of love: Words, touch, deeds, time and gifts. I explained all these in more detail in my blog of July 13th 2013 (It's still on the system – you can look it up; it's what I just did!)

My son and daughters need touch and verbal affirmations. A simple hug and a "well done; thank you," goes a long way.

My husband is more difficult as his languages are deeds and time. When I'm ill I have little energy to do anything for him; but if all I do is make him his packed lunch to take to work, he really appreciates it and feels loved. If I make the effort to sit on the sofa with him and watch a documentary he feels validated. That's a huge thing for me, as I would far, far, far rather be reading/writing/painting/drawing all by myself in my study/sanctuary. But I do it. It's a small thing to do and it means he feels loved.

Most of my friends seem to need me to just listen to them! That's pretty easy – and then I use them in these blogs (I always ask first – don't worry)

And if you don't know what your loved ones need to feel loved by you, then ask! You both might have to think about it, but at least it's something really worth thinking about.

A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Man Who Fell From Earth.

And so we woke Monday morning to the shocking news that David Bowie has left the earth.  The Starman has travelled back up and into the sky.

It doesn't matter whether or not you are a fan, I think even those who have not counted him amongst their treasures are respectful of his legacy.  There are not many who can touch lives across a huge spectrum of generations, tastes and continents and be respected for that old fashioned thing of being a good, understated, dignified human.

And how does his untimely departure meet with our usual daily connection together?

Well, I find it's where social media comes into its own, grows up, and teaches us that people are loving.  Dipping into the tributes to hear individual stories from the everyday man and the everyday famous, brings a warmth and a kinship that can be lacking in daily life.

Even if Twitter or Facebook is not part of your life, you can still access these sites and the pages that are 'open', for example BBC Radio, or just search along the lines of "tributes to Bowie".  Having a shuffle around, you will find all manner of people saying all manner of things and supporting each other independently through stories, art, experiences.  I've seen slices of bread decorated with his face and 'that' zigzag in cream cheese (exceptionally good art too!), I've seen beautiful photographs old and new, I've seen concert tickets to see him costing £1.50 (oh how my purse laughed), I've read grown men expressing their shock at their own tears and I've read stories about the quiet man that have warmed my heart.

In essence, it tells us that the warmth and support we often believe only exists here in Moodscope Towers, also does really exist out there too.  And that is a great thing to see and learn from.

In this world where stories of sadness and suffering are frequent and can graze our sensitive souls, there is still much to be proud of in our fellow humans.  Never is it more evident than when a loss is shared by many.  And that is a great thing to see and learn from.  Much like our dearly departed good, respected, understated and dignified, David Jones.  Too good to keep to one galaxy.

Love from

The room above the garage (gazing up at the stars).
A Moodscope member.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Remake my beating heart.

Remake. I heard this word on the radio the other day and I fell in love all over again. I tend to fall in love with a word and then we are bound together until we need a divorce.

I am divorced from the word 'resolution'. We will never again attend the same party. It's dull. Full of tedium. Grey. Nagging. Lording. Waggy fingered. It's so "I told you so". Nope, not on my shift.

Remake! Re-make. Now we could be an item. It is full of promise. It says "I have fancied you for years but never before have I had the courage to walk inside your shadow... until now".

I will not resolve to do anything or be something. Yawn!

I will, however, be happy to remake myself. To return to me and look at me, treat me like a crumpled bed and remake myself with crisp sheets. (Is there anyone who does not find the ritual of a fresh bed thoroughly cathartic and giving?)

I usually turn my back on this time of year as its newness smacks of trying too hard, failing, falling and curling back inside the old sheets. But I feel strong enough to remake. I feel a freshness and a line in the sand and a gentle breath inside my ribs which is steady, not fast nor slow.

What might we remake?
What has lingered in the background patiently waiting for us to turn around?
Which mood has not been nurtured?
Why are we ignoring the thing that continues to appear?
How might we remake?

I'm very much looking forward to stepping stones with you all throughout 2016. I will stick out my hand to steady you as you have continued to stick out yours for me. I'll bring the peppermint creams.

Much 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:

Monday, 11 January 2016

A to Z Guide to Life – F is for 'Faith'

Well, that's a word that's likely to raise some eyebrows. Awesome architecture and adventures have been created as a result of people's faith, and equally awful atrocities have been committed!

There's no escaping the fact, though: faith moves us... perhaps even defines us.

What we believe changes how we behave, and how we assess how others behave.

So what is faith? It's a sure and certain conviction to do with the unseen, the unfelt, and the unmeasurable. Cross anyone's invisible line of conviction and you'll experience the person's commitment to their values. I believe in the primacy of good manners. Cross that line and I'll share some feedback!

Faith is to do with that which is not yet in the realm of the empirical. It gives substance that which has no tangible substance. 'Certainty' is a good synonym.

I think faith is essential. We must believe in something, value something, hold to something. And we all do. Declarations and Constitutions are made of such things!

Those of us who blog for Moodscope have a conviction and a certainty that what we write will at least touch one heart each time – and that one makes it worthwhile. Moodscope itself is founded on the faith that it can make a difference – and that faith is well founded. It's made a difference to me.

So, today, I'm going to invite us all to press pause and think about what we believe in that is good and pleasing and worthy of praise. The mistake that's too easy to make is to confuse faith with hope. Hope is always to do with the future and unseen, but faith lays hold of our 'truth' in the here and now.

What would you like to be certain of, right here, right now in 2016?

Let's trigger these beliefs by using the phrase, "I believe I am..."

... learning equally well from my successes and setbacks – both moving me forwards
... communicating ever more clearly my needs, feelings and mindset so that those who really care can understand and respond and support
... becoming more aware of how to cope.

Faith grows by listening to our inner-dialogue – the things we tell ourselves about ourselves and others.

Would you take some time to share a good line with us about what you'll believe about yourself and others this year? Let's share the good stuff.

Unless we stand for something, we'll fall for anything!

A Moodscope member.

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

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Up and Down.

I'm cooking tea and I'm a man. There are lots of levels. Turn them up, turn them down.

There is music, a good track, turn it up then an advert so turn it down.

Pour the rice in, turn it up, starting to boil over, turn it down. Throw the ginger and chilli and stuff into the oil, it sizzles, turn it down.

The telephone rings, one of the favourite daughters, they all are. She's walking through wet and noisy city streets on her way home from the tube. I can hardly hear, she sounds beautiful, turn it up and turn the music down.

I'm always pleased to talk, especially since their mother died. I'm not irritated, I'm smiling, turn it up, turn it down. Listen, listen, turn it down. Maybe five minutes and she's home, bye bye, turn it up.

Music up, gas up, start sizzling again, oyster sauce and kale. Eat, just eat, turn it down, but the music is so good. Where will the evening end, turn it up or turn it down? Did I eat? I want to go out.

I have pills, one to turn it up, one to turn it down.

I have a shed full of tools to make adjustments, gizmos to tighten up and loosen off, and libraries, yes a lifetime of learning. I have the great outdoors to climb up and slide down, to sweat and to chill, turn it up and turn it down.

I'll rest, honest I will. I won't go too far again, I'll turn it down, really I will... before it runs me down.

And I have Moodscope, the feeler gauge. What will my score be in the morning? In a week, in a month? Quiet, listen.

A Moodscope member

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

Saturday, 9 January 2016

A Survivor.

A few years ago when I was complaining, well explaining to my brother how I felt, about the fact that I had not achieved much in my life, he looked in me in the eye and said that he had always seen me as a survivor. This surprised me. Of course on one level I was a survivor as I was still around, but I suppose I interpreted the word survivor as being someone who was not merely here but had thrived against all odds. A survivor is someone who lives through a plane crash, a flood or fire, or some violent attack. Just getting through life, does that merit the word survivor?

My brother, bless him, saw me like this whereas I saw myself as a struggler, yes I was still here but not with a flourish, but with a constant one step in front of the other and with lots of effort and complaining.

It made me think. Should we all be celebrating the fact we have survived instead of listing like I tend to do all the things I wanted to achieve but never did? The academic career I never had, the award winning author I never became, the wonderful mother I wanted to be but never was: these were all visions I had of the fantasy me not the real me and were probably never attainable.

Why do we look at the things we have not done, the dreams we never fulfilled and not examine the things we have conquered, the people we have helped and the strong people we have become.

Realistically, I have survived and while I have not done anything that is noteworthy or would be considered famous. I have lived with a mental health label for over 40 years, I am still here to share my story and hopefully help others.

Everyone reading this has overcome obstacles, endured difficulties, and come through wiser and tougher.

Can we all be proud that we are survivors and tell our stories to inspire others?

What survival technique would you like to share?

A Moodscope member.

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

Friday, 8 January 2016

Time & Authenticity.

Last week I talked about how I believe we need to 'show weakness to gain strength'. When we have the courage to show weakness this can determine the nature of the relationship; whether it is safe or not, allowing us to be our true authentic selves.

I believe, that we are all predominately looking for contentment or happiness and this can only be achieved if we are firstly true to ourselves (often the hardest step) and then able to show that authentic self. This can then attract those who are 'kindred spirits' who accept all of us and of course, allows us to accept all of them.

At the root of much of this is the need for shared values. When there is no alignment of those in a relationship I see it a bit like a radio channel, very uncomfortable if not fully on the station, due to all the interference.

In this digital world of course, there is almost no tuning. Are our lives becoming the same? Instant access, instant answers, instant dating, and instant everything!

Research clearly shows that to live longer and happier, we need to live together. In one comment to last week's blog I stated – 'to go fast, go alone – to go far, go together'. This is at a time when more and more of us live alone, some out of choice and others due to relationship breakup or other circumstances.

There is therefore, for our own health, the need to spend time to truly get to know people, in whatever setting.

This is also the case at work, if the business is truly going to become sustainable. Only sustainable relationships (both internal and external), will create sustainable businesses.

We will only ever build true and sharing relationships with those we trust, those we can be vulnerable with. And at the root of trust, is taking the time to be able to listen, at times possibly without any response from your own 'view', unless asked for. So the phrase I offer this week is; 'If you do not have time, it is not important enough'.

When we say we don't have time it is almost always simply an excuse and to a high degree inauthentic. What might be more truthful is to offer that there are other things more important in the time you have. Or simply that you do not want to do it. This is one way of being vulnerable and open.

How courageous are we about not using time as an excuse and without angst possibly saying 'no' and happy to explain why? Are you prepared to take time, to build deep and meaningful relationships where vulnerable conversation is possible?

A Moodscope member

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

Thursday, 7 January 2016


I don't like cricket. So imagine my surprise when on New Year's Eve I was tucked under  my new fluffy sofa blanket watching (even enjoying?!) a documentary on it. Howzat?! I didn't have a clue what they were talking about mostly. But the mix of artwork, TV clips and player interviews had me. I also found one of the interviewees especially alluring as he spoke with such passion and knowledge.

I may not like cricket but my Dad loves it! At key times in the cricketing calendar, family find him by following the sounds of his portable radio. This he carries everywhere so as not to miss a second of commentary. An old bottle cork is jammed on top of the aerial. Added to protect family passing by from possible eye pokes! Aside from fans like my Dad, a Wiki search shows the game is played by 120 million people. It's the second most popular sport in the world.

On New Year's day I spent some time on my mobile reading about... cricket?! As a result I can now identify the lovely Stuart Broad, know how many balls in an over and that England are playing against South Africa in a test match. I've also exchanged some amusing texts with my Dad, the cricket guru.

My lovely Dad recently described his life as 'one big learning curve'. Sadly the conversation moved on before we got chance to really talk. But I know he's had some difficult and heartbreaking personal experiences over the years. No matter our circumstances, learning is a life long journey for all of us. Life is a learning journey.

Whose interest could you take more interest in? What might you learn? What might be the effect on your mental wellbeing? Best wishes to all Moodscopers for 2016.

Jennifer (formerly Jen!)
A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A different Perspective.

Christmas Eve and the carol service.

"Psst" says a voice beside me – at shoulder level. "Mummy, can you please not sing too loudly?"

This is an ongoing battle with my children. I love to sing. They find it excruciatingly embarrassing when I sing out, as apparently anything above a quiet mumble is socially unacceptable.

"It's Christmas," I said resolutely. "I am going to sing my heart out."

And so I did.

At the end of the carol service, just as I was about to join the queue for mince pies and mulled wine, my husband took me to one side.

"I need to get our little one home," he said. "She's not feeling well and she has a headache."

"... a headache from your singing!" said a grumpy voice pointedly. "And I don't want you coming home with us because I don't want people to know the loud and embarrassing woman singing is my mother!"

"Oh." (Guiltily.)

Just then I was tapped on the shoulder by the female half of the couple who had been seated next to us during the service.

"May I just say what a beautiful singing voice you have?" she said. "You absolutely made this carol service for us. It was such a pleasure to hear you. Do you sing professionally?"

Well, no, I don't. And my voice is nothing much really. It is my sister who sings with the Cathedral singers in her local Cathedral Town. It is she who has trained, who has sung in semi-professional operas. My voice is as nothing to hers. I mumbled something incoherent and fled in embarrassment.

Very few of us see ourselves as others do.

I have a dear physicist friend who is extremely accomplished academically. He seems to collect degrees in the same way other people collect china elephants or garden gnomes. He speaks four languages (at least) and is in demand across the world. He is equally at home in the fields of science and the arts, and he has achieved all this with a severe disability. Yet he does not rate his strengths as anything special and sees instead, all too clearly, his weaknesses and fallibilities.

Even my uncle, renowned in his own academic field – some would say the best in the world – says that he does not consider himself that intelligent. "I was just lucky," he says. "I was in the right place at the right time."

We see only our own dark side and, especially if we are sensitive and prone to depression, are less able to appreciate our own strengths. It is rare that we will garner appreciation from our near family either. They too are easily mired in our darkness.

So the next time someone praises you or expresses admiration for you, just take a moment to consider before you brush it off and dismiss their compliments. You never know, they might just be right.

A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Jane, Janus, January.

With all the 'jolly japes' of Christmas now o'er, the junction of one year with the next hoves into focus.

December has its Festival, be we Religious or Not. January portends only poorer weather; the prospect of a similar month of cold and damp (wet, if in Cumbria).

What to do?

My first 'chat' with a clinical psychiatrist, just before she prescribed 40-50 weeks of psychodynamic therapy, included her flagging up an unrequited affection I'd held in a girl throughout university and some years after. Jane.

Was this the seat of my depressions? It was hardly a unique experience, of hankering and yearning (but not crushing or defeating) though it was. I did spend unhealthy periods looking back, dwelling on past brushes with joy, through much of my twenties. Instead of reaching forward, to new, but frighteningly unknown, possibilities. Janus.

And so back here. January. Named after that eponymous two-faced god. We, too, are two-faced, if rather "lesser gods". We have our bright side and our dark side; our summer and our winter coats. Reversible coats (damn; the ideal pressie, if only I'd thought of them in time!)

But are we willing to share what the lining looks like when the weather changes - to MAKE the weather change - instead of always showing the same exterior to those around us, friend or stranger?

Maybe you carry a torch through the dark winter months, for your 'Jane'. Lay it down. If you can. You now have two hands free. Free to grasp new opportunities. Chances that you don't even have to manufacture. Just be free to notice opening up around you.

Look up. Look more than one way. Look backward, yes, occasionally, and with deepest affection. But mainly look forward. To a place unwritten.

Blank pages are scary to a writer. And yet the stuff of what they do. Of life, and not robotic repetition. Become an author. Write your own little story.

Jane is still a friend. Janus, I now see, offers a balanced view. January is a sturdy bridge, simply from the latest chapter to the next.

A Happy New Month to one and all!

A Moodscope member.

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

Monday, 4 January 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life - Letter 'E'

'E' is for 'Emotional Bank Account'. It is also for 'Expectation' and sense of 'Entitlement'.

Last year was one of big learning for me. Especially in relationships. As a giver, I find many people are happy to take (some even say, "thank you!") but few are happy to give back when you ask for help beyond the trivial level. This is startlingly different in the Moodscope community where giving is the rule.

So how are we to deal with those outside the community who haven't learned the joy of giving?

Well, we need to gently teach them about accountancy, book-keeping and banking! How exciting is that? You see, we all keep emotional bank accounts. The research I've read differs from study to study but as a generalisation, young children receive 432 negative comments to every 32 positive ones. Another study clocked up 2000 compliance 'requests' in one day! If that was a shoulder see-saw, you can imagine children growing up with a chip on the shoulder!

If it happened for just one year, the maths is staggering: 157,680 negatives to 11,680 positives. Stick a £ sign on the beginning and you're heading for bankruptcy in a hurry.  No wonder we all have a few issues.

This explains one of the most bemusing aspects of relationships – why we sometimes get a negative response from those we are kind to. Imagine they have an emotional bank account that is so far in the red that it will take a lot of positivity to rebalance the books.

Those of us who have ever had a rescue cat or dog can see this in their behaviour. They may take a while to fully trust us, but once they do, they bond for life. However, that trust is often not extended to others. It's like they keep multiple accounts!

So, what am I saying?

Firstly, that we should be gentle with ourselves. It is highly likely that there is a huge deficit in our emotional bank accounts.

Secondly, that we should not be surprised when not everyone responds positively to our own positive overtures. They may be so in debt, it will take a long time to bring them back up.

Thirdly, that we sometimes need to have difficult conversations with 'friends'. Those who 'expect' to draw from emotional bank accounts into which they have deposited very little.  They have a false sense of entitlement. All relationships are a trade and if the partners are unequally yoked (as it says in the Good Book!) there comes a time where we have to say, "If you want something from me – emotionally or otherwise – you need to put something in." This is the state of mature relationships – give and take.

As we move into a New Year, I've let some 'friends' go. The door is always open for them to come back – and to make some emotional contribution to the relationship. For my part, I am committed to being generous in the deposits I intend to make in the emotional bank accounts of my friends and family this year.

Happy New Year and I wish you emotionally satisfying friendships!

A Moodscope member.

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

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Be the change you want to see revisited...

On New Year's Eve Les challenged us to be the change we want to see. In my last blog I asked "How do I respond as an adult when my heart is reacting like that of a child?" (24 December 2015) as I dreaded spending three days with my mum and my alcoholic sister, Nicky.

I am SO grateful for the lovely, supportive, wise replies I received which really buoyed me up prior to the visit.

So, how did I respond?

1. I used the strategy "act as if..." I played the role of a friendly, caring, supportive, professional; (i.e. not daughter/sister/child).

2. I used mantras "I am an adult; I respond as an adult; I treat everyone here as an adult" which I kept repeating;

3. I told myself that the best Christmas gift I could give everyone would be to remain calm and smiling.

4. I limited the amount of time I spent in the same room to just meal times.

5. I told myself that my feelings could wait until I got back home again (hence this blog!)

How did they respond?

1. My sister was drunk when we got there; she looked dreadful, and took herself off to bed for the rest of our first day there.
2. Mum defended Nicky ("she's ill").

3. Mum was also very angry with my younger sister and my brother in their absence. (They have both dared to challenge Mum about Nicky's alcoholism and have both refused to go to stay if Nicky is there).

My younger daughter (22) commented to darling hubby that I was not getting drawn into conversations or arguments but was managing to stay detached.
I wonder whether it was as a result of my behaviour that Nicky made a huge effort the following day to join us for dinner; maybe my behaving as an adult allowed her to respond as an adult and make the necessary effort so that we all had a lovely evening together.

I have come home changed. I have a better understanding of the battle Nicky fights, probably on a daily basis. I also see how my previous childish reactions were probably making the situation worse for everyone. I have found a certain peace of mind, though not yet peace of heart as I still have a way to go in grieving for Nicky. It is as it is.
How can you be the change you want to see today?          

A Moodscope member.

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

Saturday, 2 January 2016

January is the new April.

Well hello January! We have not often been friends but I am going to love you like never before. We will treat each other in a new way. We might date. We might see if we can find common ground. We will keep each other company in a civil and courteous way and you will then speak to February and ask if I might have time off for good behaviour. (February and I fell out badly and it may never be mended. February leaves incendiary devices around and it's time it ended.) How will this new relationship happen?

1. I will be walking along the beach once a week. Yes, it's a little further away than nearby but it's only once a week for 4 weeks, and the energy it gives me might just be the nectar that is needed. I might eat food there regardless of weather.

2. I will be on a 4 week schedule of sleep, early to bed, early to rise. The nervous system is replenished only between 10pm and 2am so I will need to be sending up big zeds BY 10pm.

3. There is no three. I am going to give all energy to just those two. I just like having a 3 item list.

Would anyone care to join me?

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:

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

We'd like to wish all of our members a happy New Year and really hope that 2016 will be a good year for you.

As we all know, this is the time for making those New Year Resolutions.

Well mine's a bit boring, but it will make me feel better.

I'm going to keep the new Moodscope Facebook page up to date and full of interesting posts for all of you. It's about time!

The funny thing is, that I was determined to do this as it's long overdue, but going back to Les's blog of yesterday about showing your weakness to gain strength - I wasn't really sure what I was doing so asked one of the Moodscope members for help. And so, what was, I have to say, a very well intentioned, but mediocre job, has turned in to something wonderful that I'd like to share with everyone.

The very creative and wonderful Lex has taken my initial work and produced a masterpiece that's live and changing daily thanks to his great work.

So, I took a small step towards my goal of creating the Facebook page, asked for help and now have something that has exceeded my expectations.

So much more can be achieved by working together towards a goal. What small step can you take towards one of your goals/resolutions for 2016 and who do you know who could help you achieve it?

Why not share your goal/resolution for 2016 on our new Facebook page or just post a New Year's message to your friends and other Moodscope members. Comments as usual are welcome on the Moodscope blog.

Before I go, I'd just like to say a big thank you to all of our members and especially those that write the daily blogs and those that provide support to all the other members on the blog. You are a very kind and creative bunch and it's a pleasure to know you.

Best wishes.

Caroline and the Moodscope Team.

PS. Don't forget to 'like' our Facebook page.