Saturday, 30 April 2016

You don't have to be a streaker, a flasher will do.

Did you remember to have a head holiday?
I didn't.
I haven't.
And I am paying the price.

I've been trundling along with weighty thoughts holding my body down. I have actually wished to become (more) ill for that would bring me Rock Bottom and from there, there is but one path. But the path I am on is neither one thing nor another. I am too busy to be achieving things that matter to me, which would bring me up a little. And I am too low to see the wood for the trees. So I must be kind to myself and make little shifts to coax my head somewhere else, thus giving it a head holiday.

It's a phrase I struggle with "be kind to yourself". How? How can we be kind to ourselves? I'll show you mine (woohoo!) and perhaps you will show me yours (chortle!):

I can have that bath.
I can stop putting the TV on late at night and falling asleep upright.
I can get a sheet of paper and I can write out everything that is bothering me, in scribbles or a list, it matters not as nobody will see it.
I can look at the words and phrases and imagine my child had written it. And I can decide upon my reply and remember that I should receive that response.
I can stop playing music at every opportunity and allow my head some space to vomit out its thoughts.
I can start meditating again. It worked for me and I should not have stopped.
I can wear clothes that make me feel loved and held on to.
I can remember that engaging with my Moodscope friends allows me to rise up.

Being kind to ourselves comes in all manner of ways. My most favourite is sneaking to the cinema for a morning showing. There is just enough naughtiness in there to spur me on the day before and after. I haven't done that for over a year. It's time for a head holiday.

OK, I'm practically naked (brrr), now show me yours, embrace your inner flasher!

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/you-dont-have-to-be-a-streaker-a-flasher-will-do

Friday, 29 April 2016

Friends.

I have been a member of Moodscope for a number of years now and feel very keenly that sense of knowing it is a safe community to be amongst and also to know that there are many members who comment regularly.

When these people don't comment for a while we miss them; I sometimes contact Caroline at Moodscope and ask where is so and so and often the realisation that someone hasn't appeared on the blog page for a while, is commented on by others.

We each of us need time to reflect, time out from regular commitments and the space to deal with crises and just life basically.

So although we all realise this need, we still miss our friends and worry about their welfare.

This morning on my bike ride, I thought of

Bear (please Bear, give us a little growl).

Norman. (Norman I just loved your joke about the Irish guy being offered a drink before the pub was allowed to sell drink notwithstanding Hopeful's daily jokes so no competition here).

Ratg seems back in the fold, albeit a little quieter than before.

Les is still out there thank goodness. You are a survivor Les.

Rupert? How are you?

Lex..I was sorry to hear you are exhausted and not your usual ebullient self. Please bounce back in your own time.

Debs? Well, I have seen your name recently so will try not to worry.

Di, I hope you are well, I miss your calming words.

And Suzy, I hope you'll be coming back soon.

I am sure you can think of others we are missing. I may have forgotten some and I am sorry but rest assured I am thinking of you.

Julia
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/friends

Thursday, 28 April 2016

What we look for we find...

I noticed in a comment in one of this week's blogs, that a person used that is what I would call 'away from' language.

This is where someone will say or write something like 'I strive to avoid x' or 'I never want to do y'.

The brain of course does not compute the 'negative'.

It's like my ex-wife saying to the kids as they walk along a narrow wall – "Now watch and not fall off" seeking to protect them, which was more about her own protection of insecurity.

All she did though, is place into their heads the thought of falling off (thus ensuring they continue to 'carry' her own insecure life).

They then fall off – and she says "Told you so" and the child's self-esteem takes another tumble!

In the same situation I would probably say "Now keep your focus, look at the end of the wall and you'll make it."

The child then usually completes the wall walk and grows in self-esteem and self-belief.

So what do you want to move towards – not what do you want to move away from?

If you place in your mind the 'move towards', your subconscious will seek that out and you will more than likely then succeed.

If you place into your mind what you want to move away from – what are you thinking about? The very thing you want to move away from!!! (Don't think about the pink elephant...)

If you want to alter your life or habits more effectively – focus on what you want and NOT what you do not want.

What we look for – we find.

It's how our brain works, and the beauty is, you ARE the programmer.

If you want to see joy – look for it - don't look for less pain - or you'll find more pain.

Don't - want to lose weight - want to be slimmer.

WE create the world's WE live in.

What 'filter' are you putting in the front of your mind today which means it's the same for your eyes and thus your life?

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/what-we-look-for-we-find-1

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Holding on... And letting go.

"Life's too short..."

How many times have we heard that one? Life's too short to stuff a mushroom. Life's too short to carry grudges. Life's too short to drink bad wine. (I like that one).

I don't hold grudges, but I do hold onto other things. Sometimes I hold on for too long.

I have a birthday next week. For those who are interested in such things, you will know that makes me a Taurean. Those born under the sign of the bull are notorious for their stubborn natures. Hmm - I like to think rather that I demonstrate the virtue of tenacity.

But it can go too far. I spent fifteen years as a chartered accountant – a role utterly unsuited to my creative nature, because I was too stubborn to give up. I spent twelve years in an unhappy marriage because – well – ditto. And there might be some pride in there too. If you don't give up then you have not failed. The moment you give up, then the final score is tallied and – you've fallen short yet again.

The trouble is that holding onto things, whether material things, relationships or jobs when there is no joy remaining, not only sentences us to a pretty grim life, but also prevents us from embracing anything new.

Yes – change is scary, and none of us like to admit defeat, but if we lift our eyes from the thing we are clinging onto, with metaphorical clenched hands and straining fingers, we may see other opportunities ready and waiting to fly straight into our arms.

Please – I am not encouraging any of you to resign from your job right now, or to go home and pack your bags; sometimes holding on is rewarded. But it has to be an active embracing and an openness to change within the existing framework. Change is a constant, we cannot hold on to sameness. If something does not change then it is dead, and even then there will be the inevitable change of decay.

And sometimes change can be in the smallest of things. I finally opened a bag of coffee that has been sitting in my cupboard waiting for the perfect moment. I realised last week that there never will be the perfect moment. So I opened it, and drank it with breakfast. It was good coffee. It would probably have been better coffee had I used it before its best before date – which was 2008...

I told you – I hang onto things too long.

The one thing I've been able to change successfully is that I no longer continue to struggle with books I don't enjoy. Reading is my greatest pleasure. Life's too short to read a book that does not give me that pleasure. Even if it did win the Booker prize last year.

But I will continue to hold onto friends, because friendship is too precious to let go.

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/holding-on-and-letting-go

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Is happiness always the answer?

My grandfather told me when we he was in his early 90s that he had never been asked if he was happy. He explained he was too busy living to be worried about wondering if he was happy. That was over 35 years ago, so I wonder what he would think about all the books, blogs, websites, conferences, workshops about happiness.

What is this ever increasing emphasis on happiness. There seems to be pressure to be happy, even if something tragic happens we are being told, encouraged to look for the bright side. A recent survey explained that every person surveyed when asked what they want out of life for themselves and their loved ones, answered they wanted to be happy. I was not asked and if I had been I would have answered that I want myself and my loved ones to live a peaceful life.

If people are always questioning if they are happy or not, this can lead people to think they are not trying hard enough and even to feel guilty. A few years ago my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said she could cope with the cancer but what really made her feel guilty and depressed was all the pressure she felt from the medical profession, well-meaning family members and friends, and the growing number of articles on the internet and books about how she should be positive and see the bright side of her illness.

I think other generations did not have so much time to focus on and examine if they were happy.

I do worry that when happiness is the only objective, people who don't achieve it in spite of reading books attending workshops and following advice from friends and internet, may end up more unhappy than before they made choices that they were told would make them happy.

Just in case people think I am becoming a grumpy old woman, I do like to be happy but all the emphasis on it lately as being the only goal makes me feel uneasy. To me being happy is a by-product of being at peace.

What do you think? Do you think there is an over emphasis on happiness or do you think happiness is the goal we should be aiming for in life?

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/is-happiness-always-the-answer

Monday, 25 April 2016

R for Resillience.

In our A to Z Guide to Life, we've got to the letter 'R'.  I have many blogs beginning with 'R' but I also have the privilege of knowing an expert in Resilience. So it is my pleasure to hand over to Vanda North today, to share some of her insights into this vital aspect of positive psychology.  Kindest Regards to all, Lex.

8 ways to boost the resilient warrior inside you!

1. Shift negative to positive speech patterns. 
If someone says 'How are you?' How do you answer?  'Not bad!' or 'Hanging in there'?
Whenever possible, respond in the positive way because speaking this is resilience boosting.

2. Go with the flow.
Change is all about you all the time so resisting it will be reducing your resilience. Brace yourself and say, 'Go with the flow' and just for a while see what happens -  it might be better than it was before!

3. Select being a victor (not a victim)
'It ALWAYS happens to me!' Just for a day try on a victor mentality. You could say 'I am becoming a victor (or victorious)' because as long as you are still giving it a go, that is the possibility.

4. Leave the (particularly negative) past in the past.
You cannot change the past, so, if there is a lesson to be learned, take it and move on! That builds your resilience.

5. Banish apathy.
The black fog of apathy drags you down with force. Notice how a relatively small burst of doing or being involved is self-motivating, rejuvenating and resilience assisting.

6. Boost your self-confidence.
Speak as encouragingly to yourself as you might to a four year old! 'Come on, let's have one more go – look you are closer than before!' With this strategy you will be more resilient for any of life's happenings.

7. Resist absolutes.
Substitute 'never' and 'always' with 'often', 'frequently' or 'sometimes' as this may be more accurate. Further this will enhance communication and relationships with the receiver - and that builds your resilience.

8. Cultivate coping strategies.
Mind Chi has 8 simple steps which take just 8 minutes and done every day will dramatically increase your resilience and make you a true resilient warrior. (http://bit.ly/1SG9IG3).

Vanda North
A friend of Moodscope

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/r-for-resillience

Sunday, 24 April 2016

In Darkness.

Self-help books on dusty shelves,
Sitting alone to retreat and hide.
Pots and pans dirty in the sink,
Thinking of Canute and the incoming tide.

We cannot change the course of nature,
We cannot undo the pain.
We cannot fake what's in our hearts,
We can only work to stay sane.

We can seek the light in the dark,
We can step into the discomfort to talk.
We can crawl and fall out of that bed,
We can feel the sun outside for a walk.

We may suffer shorter this time,
We may ride with suicide for a while.
We may retreat more than before,
We may avoid that self-harm style.

We might write a comment on Moodscope,
We might even write a blog.
We might then connect to others,
We might avoid this black dog slog.

We must put one foot in front of the other,
We must continue to eat.
We must wash and shower each day,
We must look up and not down at our feet.

We are not alone in this hell,
We are all hurting inside.
We are all simply seeking to breathe,
We are all seeking the upside.

An upside which is sunny,
An upside which is funny.
An upside where there is enough money,
An upside which tatses like honey.

We will now believe it will end,
We will now seek out our friends.
We will now stop that pretend,
We will now seek that colourful lens.

We cannot
We can
We may
We might
We must
We are
We will...

Until we are better.

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/in-darkness

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Becoming a "BUT" Watcher.

Susan Scott in her book, "Fierce Conversations" suggests that "Our work, our relationships, our lives, succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time".

This is a conversation that by definition we need to have with ourselves first, before we take it to the world.

The inner critic may be holding us back from having a real conversation that builds a good, compassionate, mindful, kindly relationship with ourselves. Fear is what constrains us for the most part from taking this conversation to the world.

Language is the only thing we humans have to create our own reality. John. B. Keane, a famous Irish playwright once said that "Words have personalities". So often one word can at best limit and at worst completely close down possibilities and lock us in. "I know I should BUT...", "I know it makes sense BUT..."  and so on. The current story goes "You're right BUT..."

Today, just try a little experiment. Today, become a "BUT" watcher. Notice how your "BUT" might be getting in the way, and holding you back from exploring the unique richness of your own potential, your own life, your own world.

Beginning to develop the skills of conversation could be as simple as replacing that one word with "AND"

The NEW story goes - "I know I should AND...", "I know it makes sense AND...", "You're right AND..." and so on.

The conversation is about the words you choose. You can always change those words and change the conversation, even learn a new conversation. The conversation is also about the relationship you choose with yourself, the world and those in it.

SLOW DOWN today and choose your words carefully and mindfully, because the conversation you choose is the relationship.

Hugh
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/becoming-a-but-watcher

Friday, 22 April 2016

Trying to make sense of it.

Although rather sad, the lady who wrote this poem hopes it may help anyone else in the same position. Caroline, The Moodscope Team.

Myself and my daughter are at a funeral.
A school friend died
The same age as my little girl
We sit, huddled and cuddled together
On a wooden pew
Mourning the death of a little princess.

My daughter asks me how and why
I have no answers.
I have hugs and tears and words of comfort
But the truth is -

What is the truth?

The truth is -
There is no place for empty words here
This is not a time to say 'she is in a better place'
This was an innocent child
Taken too soon.

Where is she, mum? Where has she gone?

I envy those around me with faith
A faith that allows them talk of god
Talk of heaven, talk of angels.
I wish I had their words, their beads, their beliefs.
I do find comfort in the religious rituals,
I do enjoy the theatricality of the ceremonies
But that's as far as I go.

I hold my daughter tight
I say I love her
I say life is precious
Sad and difficult -
especially for those who grieve for their children -
But precious.

My daughter says she's sad
I say sadness is part of life.
My daughter says she's angry
I say anger is okay.
It's the first time I've said that to my children
The first time I have acknowledged anger is okay
To them
To me.

I have always equated anger with rage and cruelty.
But now, on this sad of saddest of days,
I say we need our anger
We need to embrace it and use it
In a positive way
To push our little fragile selves through life
To live each day as best we can.

It's okay to be sad and angry I say to my little girl
It's human,
It means we're alive and kicking.
She bites her lip
What about laughing, mum?
Is it okay to laugh, even though my friend is dead?
Yes, it's okay to laugh
It's vital to laugh
That's why we're here

To feel
To be
To love
To live.

But, right now, we stand. Because today, we are here to mourn.

Salt Water Mum
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/trying-to-make-sense-of-it

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Being The Problem.

I was watching a program on television about a family being helped by a pyschologist. Most members of the family felt one person, the teenage son, was causing all the problems due to his behaviour.

Instead of identifying with the parents I found myself sympathising with the the son, the one whose disruptive behaviour made it hard for everyone.

That was a long time ago, but as I watched more, I found myself back in time when no one wanted to invite me anywhere as they didn't know who would turn up - silent sad Leah who would sit like a lump of lead and mope or wild Leah who was so unpredictable and talked so fast and so much that it was exhausting just listening to her. My family would feel like they were walking on eggshells if manic Leah turned up and even though sad Leah was like a damp cloth to any party, she was far preferable to tornado Leah.

When I was high I thought I brightened up family gatherings with my witty conversation and my engaging stories, I had no comprehension that no one could understand half of what I said and they found my behaviour very strange, frustrating and at times confronting. I could go from being sweet to being so argumentative and hostile, that my family thought I may hurt someone.

The program made me cry because I thought of the discomfort and emotional agony I put my family through nearly 40 years ago. I wanted to hug both the parents and the son because I could feel the pain and frustration of both.

At the time I had no idea of what my family was feeling or coping with. Even if I did know I would have had no understanding. I would have found their concerns so simple and petty as I felt so superior.

I was sick but I chose to be in denial. I was reminded of how much chaos my behaviour caused my family and friends.

I am proud I have come a long way since then. I know I should not dwell on the difficult past, but by exploring past actions it is possible to see how changes in behaviour have had a positive effect on relationships.

What is one thing you have changed in your behaviour that has resulted in positive results?

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/being-the-problem

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

It's a lonely place, space.

I'm not sure which is worse; calling out in pain to the universe only to have the universe ignore you, or to be calling out to a stricken fellow ship, knowing your communication is bouncing off the hull – its occupants unaware of your desire to comfort and to help.

Each of us seems to be at times an isolated craft, drifting helplessly in the blackness of infinity. We can see other spaceships out there. We can see populated planets. Sometimes it seems that we are the only ones with non-functioning communication equipment. We are alone. So alone. Everyone and everything has deserted us – even God Himself (for those of us who would claim a religious faith).

Then again, sometimes we refuse to listen.

Those of us who have pets know that if our beloved cat or dog feels unwell, they will hide away with their pain. We have to physically drag them out from under the bed or from behind the sofa and force them to the vet. Their instinct is to retreat from the world with just their pain for company.

And – I sometimes do that myself. I retreat to my writing and my books. I have friends who do just that too. I send words of hope and comfort but those words are rejected with a snarl. Just like my cat when he is ill, my friends spit and claw at me when I try to help. Except they use words, which hurt more. And their withdrawal is much further and more complete than to a hiding place on top of the kitchen cupboard. It feels as if they have withdrawn to the Garnet Star in Cassiopeia, about 5,000 light years away.

It hurts me that they are dealing with their pain alone when they don't have to.

"But I don't want you to suffer too," said one such friend recently.

"Too late. When you hurt, I hurt.  Please let me help."

"You can't help. No one can help. Go away."

It has taken me many, many years to stop withdrawing when I hurt; when the blackness comes. It has taken time after time of going through the pain to understand that my friends actually want to stand by me. It has taken courage to open up and accept help. And it has taken a lot of understanding to realise that I need to train my friends in the way they can help.

Everyone is different. My friend on Garnet Star needs to train me. And they can't train me while they are hurting. I must be patient and wait for their return to earth.

In the meantime I will continue to send messages of love and support.

And hope that some of them at least, get through.

And – for those of you who now have the title of this blog as your earworm for the day – here is the glorious voice of Karen Carpenter for you – the extended mix as it was the inspiration for this blog: http://bit.ly/15spvBs 

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/calling-occupants-of-interplanetary-craft

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Seven words for Love.

What if you had to choose between romantic love and avoiding severe, mental ill health? At the moment I'm choosing the latter, which so far is surprisingly easy.

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago, my tales of romantic relationship turmoil were listed as one of the many diagnostic indicators of my condition.

In forty years I reckon I've been in love about nine times. Each time was beautiful, ecstatic, destructive and excruciating. I don't regret any one of those relationships but each one of them scarred me and at times made me despise myself. Five of them led to thoroughly planned suicides; one of which was attempted and failed, another foiled by a friend at the last minute. The combined effect has cumulatively chipped away at my belief that I might ever be capable of a nurturing, healthy relationship in the classical sense of what I imagine that to be.

So this year I've been actively avoiding a new relationship as a kind of experiment, and it feels good. Empowering even. I'm lucky enough to live an amazing, varied and fulfilling life which is often bursting with love of almost every kind other than that we call romantic love.

For such a rich language I often find it strange that English is so poor at describing all the different kinds of love that one can give and receive in life.

The ancient Greeks had seven words for it:

Eros: Passionate, sexual love
Philia: The deep love of friendship
Ludus: Playful, flirtatious love
Storge: Familial love
Pragma: Long standing, married love
Philautia: Love of self
Agape: Love for humanity

If I can experience five out of seven different kinds of love in my life then surely I am blessed?

I don't know how long I shall last in this strange, yet peculiarly stable period of romancelessness, but for the moment it seems to be the medicine I need.

What have you had to sacrifice for your mental health?

Anna
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/seven-words-for-love

Monday, 18 April 2016

Ebb and Flow, For and Against, To and Fro.





As we seek to grow, to mature, to bear good fruit and to find our flow – there are always factors that will support our good intent and factors that will resist our progress.

10 of our Moodscope states support us, 10 resist.

Kurt Lewin developed a wonderful simple yet profound tool called Force-Field Analysis. In it you have a movement towards a desired change (usually in an arrow going left to right).  Then you draw smaller arrows going in the same direction for every force that supports that movement towards what you want.

Equally, you draw arrows in the opposite direction for the forces that slow, block or stop the change.

The exciting news is that you don't have to work on all the factors. Weakening just one of the resisting forces can be enough to release the flow in your chosen direction... the tide changes.

I think it is great to strengthen all 10 positive Moodscope states: proud, active, attentive, determined, enthusiastic, excited, interested, strong, inspired, alert – hey, it even feels good just typing them here.

But then, adding a bit of force to weakening just one of the unresourceful states could turn the tide.

When I am faced with evidence that life is unfair, I often max out on the "hostile" score on Moodscope. But I can weaken this hostile force by listening to Andy Williams and watching the birds getting busy for Spring. Within minutes, I'm grinning, I'm winning.

Action for today then, if you're up for it, is to think of an action you could take to strengthen 3 of the positive states – 1 action for each, and an action to weaken just 1 of the negative states. Keep that up and I promise you the tide will turn in your favour.

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/ebb-and-flow-for-and-against-to-and-fro

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Hot Coals.

Anger has always been behind my lows but I've been consciously determined to remain aware, alert, mindful and maintain my steadiness, allowing for small fluctuations.

Here are some of my more recent thoughts about anger.

Its natural to have feelings and to feel angry. I acknowledge it, but dont dwell on it.
When things went wrong for me in the past, I did dwell on it, always directed towards someone and eventually acted on it, usually when hormonal and stressed. A flash point where I expressed it, bluntly, damaging relationships in one way or another.

Anger is natural.

Responding angrily has never led to anything good for me. Using the energy to take positive action has, but often it hasn't been the deep personal anger that I can do that with.

Expressing anger in a safe and healthy way brings relief. If you are creative, musical or write, a trusted person who wont judge you, expressing it helps. I remain cautious though, about dwelling. Writing works for me. I blogged my rage in a Volcano metaphor on Moodscope as I thought there must be others who struggle with anger too. It was cathartic. It took me a while to get the courage to publish it. It was too raw at first. It was when I realised that it didn't define me, that I got some distance from it and let it go (to be published that is... maybe that was the point that I did "let it go") something that I'd been determined to hold on to as my only rock since childhood.

One of the recent thought for the day quotes "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." Buddha couldn't be more true! It was not a rock, the "rock" was a burning hot coal. So the volcano blog helped me to drop that hot coal. It's as if my brain knew it was burning me, I felt the pain, but somehow the message "Drop it it's hot!" Couldn't be told to me, it had to be experienced and processed somehow before it registered.

I only very recently discovered that feelings come from thoughts. I am more mindful when thoughts arise and its not that I sweep them under the carpet, I just recognise them as being negative and unhelpful and choose not to repeat an old pattern. As Bear (x :)) once said when we are well these things are easier and a backup plan must be there for incase we're not.

By acknowleging the negative, repeated, 'hot' thoughts, which are there for a good reason and not my fault, I can PREVENT the thought from leading to the emotion.

Makes sense to me.

Is there a repeated hot thought pattern that you could drop "hot potato" style?

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/hot-coals

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Courage - Self defence or expediency?

People on Moodscope and those I meet in my home town emphasize how 'courageous' I am.

It really puzzles me because I have no choice of action. (My husband is suffering with Dementia). I struggle to get my husband in the car or I don't go out. I have to look after him because his current behavior does not merit a care home and we don't have the money to pay for private care.

So what is real courage?

I would call what I do management of a life full of adversity.

My mother was totally deficient in any courage. She would issue dire warnings if I went out of the door. When our first Jack Russell terrier was dying of distemper she went and hid in the hall in order not to see her die. Daddy and I sat and nursed this suffering animal until she died.

I don't know whether my father had courage – he looked after his very sick mother as his drunken father did nothing. My father was in the marines in WW2, but at his age never went near any combat zone. He never went to a dentist as he was terrified.

I have assisted at three road accidents – onlookers said I was very 'brave'. But at the time, I did not think about it – one, where two elderly ladies had knocked an old man off his bike I leapt out of our car, stopped the traffic, stopped the bleeding and got help. Can't see the bravery.

I can only claim one act of REAL courage. In Albany, Western Australia, I was walking up to a museum with my 5 year old grandson, a snake crossed our path. Paranoia is not strong enough a word to describe me and snakes. But I would NOT show fear to the little boy. I said 'It's only a carpet python (only!), it won't hurt us, he's going away through the fence' and on we went.

Faced with a crisis, what do you do? Are you courageous? Does adrenalin overcome fear?

The Gardener
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/courage-self-defence-or-expediency

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Cycle of Change – Part 2

Following my blog 'The cycle of change' 8 April 2016.

So, how have I reached Lasting Change, the final stage in the Cycle of Change?

Firstly I decided that I wanted to reach Lasting Change. I was determined. I just kept on; I refused to give up. I wouldn't even consider the possibility of not reaching my goal.

Secondly, I forced myself to be brutally honest with myself about where I was in the Cycle. This meant coming to terms with the woman I had become. And it was tough. It took me a long time. It was also tough having to revisit time and again earlier stages. But I came to recognise more quickly when I was slipping back, and gradually it meant that I could move through the stages more quickly.

Thirdly I found Louise Hay's work on affirmations really helpful.
(I used her book 'You can heal your body' – it's challenging stuff.)

Fourthly, annotating my Moodscope graph helped me become more objective about my low moods, and highlighted for me when they were down to simple fatigue, or to over-doing things.

So this process has taken me months, in fact well over two years. And the most important part of reaching Lasting Change has been the change in my thought patterns, and my new-found ability to accept myself as I am, here and now, in this moment, on this day...

For me, the key to reaching Lasting Change has been the affirmation "I choose to accept myself as I am just for today". This particular affirmation came about following a physiotherapy session; my lovely, gentle physiotherapist talked about hearing a holocaust survivor explaining that they chose to forgive the Nazis a day at a time – some days they could forgive, some days they couldn't forgive. This meant that they became empowered by the knowledge that they could choose to offer or to deny forgiveness and in doing this they ceased being a victim.

I have found this 'just for today' phrase incredibly liberating, since it allows me the option of choosing NOT to accept my condition sometimes. I can rage against it (and I do, believe me!) I can cry about it. I can and do have days when I need to stop and rest for longer periods. And I have begun to accept that thanks (yes, thanks) to my condition, I have become much more accepting of myself and of life in general; I have also learnt so much thanks to this wonderful Moodscope community, which has been a HUGE help to me in coming this far, in reaching Lasting Change. Actually, shouldn't that be "in reaching Acceptance"?

Thank-you, one and all.

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/the-cycle-of-change-part-2

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Can I Show and Be Me?

Another week over,
Another day through.
How did I do,
Have I been true?

Did I weaken and follow,
The crowd on the street.
Did I loose me,
Was I simply discrete?

Did I fear losing,
The support that I have,
By being authentic.
Did I cut me in half?

Did I fear falling,
Back down again,
After getting up,
And feeling sane?

Did I fear stumbling,
Over my own thoughts.
To lose myself,
In a whole bunch of oughts?

Yet for me to be 'whole',
I need to be me.
I need courage to see,
How I can be free.

Free of these thoughts,
That endlessly flow,
Round my mind,
And fill me with woe.

Free of the stigma,
That I may feel,
From society around,
That looks may reveal.

Can I accept,
that I simply have an illness,
Like so many others,
And life is just thus?

If I try and hide it away,
It will likely stay.
Like the secrets we have,
That hold our feet in clay.

I need the courage,
To show the real me.
Not drift through life,
Like a bottle in the sea.

Then people can see,
And feel who I am.
And I'll not be closed,
Tight as a clam.

I can only love others,
As much as I love myself.
Can I love me,
Hidden up on the shelf?

We want the world to be real,
We want people to be true,
How can I help,
If I keep me out of view?

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/can-i-show-and-be-me

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Cupboard Under The Stairs.

"This is not how I imagined it!"

"I don't want that thing there!"

"I want it got rid of!"

What I was talking about was an unwanted cupboard under the stairs.

You see, we're just rebuilding our house.

The problem was the kitchen area. It was never going to be large, but I had envisaged walking under the stairs through the back of the kitchen to the bunk room at the back of the house.

The fact that the builder had enclosed the stairs totally and created a cupboard big enough to sleep another person (wizards need not apply), meant that the already small kitchen became micro-sized.

"How am I supposed to cook for ten in that space?"

Oh, you can tell the builder is not a man who cooks!

But we couldn't take out the cupboard. One of its walls is the supporting pillar which holds up the entire place.

Huh! That wasn't shown on the plans.

"Um – I thought we could put shelves in it..." suggested my husband, in placating accents, waving his hands to indicate entirely useless and inaccessible shelves.

"Huh!"

I stood and stared at the cupboard.

It really was a ridiculously large cupboard. And I needed it gone so I could have its space for my kitchen...

And then I had my brainwave.

What if, instead of deep shelves across it, I put narrow shelves on each side of it? I could then walk into it – right to the back... I could keep all the non-perishable food in it... It could be a larder (I've always wanted a larder)... Which would mean the micro-kitchen would work because I wouldn't need any food storage... Because the cupboard itself would be part of the kitchen...

BRILLIANT!

I was still on crutches, so I couldn't dance a gig. But I wanted to.

And we were all happy. The builder was happy because he didn't have to reconfigure the structural support of the building. My husband was happy because he didn't have to think of a way to pay for the refiguring of the structural support of the building. I was happy because I have a larder and had found a way to make something work.

Just by looking at it from a different point of view.

We can't solve all our problems just by looking at them from a different angle – but just occasionally – we can solve some of them.

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/the-cupboard-under-the-stairs


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Can you help? We think you can...

...We'd like you to contribute to our new help and advice section of the web site.

Time and time again we have been told by our members that the reason they get so much out of the Moodscope daily emails is because they are written by Moodscope members - people who understand as they are going through similar experiences - and that the help and support provided by the blogs and comments is invaluable.

We've published lots of really great blogs, and comments, where people have shared their inner thoughts, strategies for coping, what's worked for them and what hasn't etc.

Well, we'd really like to pull together all these wonderful nuggets of wisdom and publish them in a section on the web site so that everyone can access them and benefit from them.

We'll be placing them in various categories so they're easy for people to find and we're also going to compile a 'top tips' page that everyone can vote on.

So, please, please share your knowledge, tips, insights or thoughts – anything you think someone else may benefit from. It can be one or a few, the more the merrier.

Please email them to support@moodscope.com and please add your permission for us to publish them on the Moodscope web site.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards.

The Moodscope team.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/can-you-help-we-think-you-can

Monday, 11 April 2016

Yours, Unconditionally.

People speak of 'Unconditional Love' – an attractive concept that seems far from my grasp.
Or is it?

The ideal is for Mum and Dad to love us unconditionally in those first few months. We don't all get that, but that's the plan!

Eventually, however, conditions begin to be applied. Rules are laid down. Rules are broken. Consequences emerge!

"Be quiet in the restaurant!"  "Don't run!"  "Hold Mummy's hand!"  "Stop showing off!"  "Be brave!"

Little by little the vital 'Rules of the Game' are taught to us so that we can become valuable members of Society. I get that. It's good. It's important. And yet it's very harmful. Life can become too conditional.

I am a human being, not a human doing.

One day, I will reach a point where I can no longer contribute 'value' to Society. My 'doing' will cease to be useful. But my being will endure – and hold enduring value. That's unconditional – it has to be.

Whilst I may feel Unconditional Love is an experience far away, Unconditional Living is within my grasp.

I can choose to tip the waitress or the waiter in the restaurant - not in line with the service they've given, nor even in line with the service I'd like to get. That's way too conditional. I can choose to tip them as a fellow human being – someone I value unconditionally.

I can choose to let people out in traffic whether or not they thank me. My gift of an opportunity to them doesn't have to be conditional on any reciprocal action whatsoever.

In fact, I can choose to thank people in general – unconditionally.
I can choose to hold open doors for people – regardless of age, gender or gratitude!
I can choose to phone those friends who forget to phone me.
I can choose to work without seeking financial reward – it's my choice. It's my art.
I can choose peace when others choose conflict.
I can choose hope when others opt for despair... and I can do this unconditionally – based on no evidence for hope whatsoever.
I can choose faith – to believe the best of others – even in spite of the evidence to the contrary.
I can choose love, even where others have decided to pull away, pull back, or put up barriers.

I am.
I am free.
I am, unconditionally yours.

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/yours-unconditionally

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Performance Related Happiness.

I've been aware for many years that there's a direct link between whether I have accomplished something and my moods.

The thought of tackling not just one 'to do' mountain, but several, (usually clothes and paper) all hangs over me like a too heavy, scruffy old coat. I feel guilty and unsettled, unable to shift nagging thoughts that there are 'so many huge things I need to tackle.' My scores dip below what's 'ok for me.'

Moodscopers have provided little nuggets of gold. Asking for help, though I often don't. Being more gentle with myself or just making a start on one thing. I know that it'll happen. I won't be able to ignore the mountains any longer!

The most productive times can be unplanned, "I'm just passing, not really going to stop to get stuck into this right now...". Before going away on holiday, "I want it to be nice/clear for when I get back".

The dreaded "By the way mum, someone's coming over" from the children (picture a blue arsed fly chasing a headless chicken around panic stations). Or even worse, after the horse has bolted, "That was embarrassing. I'll just put those away...".

Often I'll moan about it for ages, wait 'till I have time, procrastinate for a bit, then on a good day, I make a start. Sometimes that's all it is, a start, but the ball has been shifted.

Sometimes though, the action leads to more action - takes off and the momentum keeps me going, "Can't stop, I'm on a roll!" Waving merrily to passers by.

I'm now wary of those. I start to feel my back aching, I'm looking at socks and losing the will to wear any ever again. But I press on, push myself further than I know is good for any of us, "What's for dinner mum?" (owls hooting in the distance). They're 17 and 22!

I wring myself dry, "Make the most of this burst of energy while it lasts 'cos who knows when I'll get going again?". Or grim determination, "I've started so I'll finish".

This morning, it was lovely having breakfast cooked by a teenager on a clear dining table. I'd blitzed that one room enough for one afternoon and stopped.

Next, the spare room. The very costly computer may actually be in use for revision! Well that's what they call social networking these days I think.

Happy days, my score today just above what's ok for me. A good feeling, not too high and it's something I DO have some control over.

Why then do I get this monkey chatter that something's not quite right? Surely my happiness shouldn't rely on my performance? Yes I've been conditioned to feel good about 'being good', but is that what's going on? Am I just Pavlov's dog in a dress? Or am I simply happy to have something that I wanted come to fruition?

Does anyone else recognise Performance Related Happiness?

Lillipet :)
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/performance-related-happiness

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Do not apologise for crying.

"Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots."
- Elizabeth Gilbert

"We need never be ashamed of our tears." 
- Charles Dickens

Not only do we often apologise for crying but we are called names like cry baby, sook, waterworks, and told 'you act like s man/woman', 'pull yourself together',' stop being embarrassing'. Big boys/girls don't cry', 'don't be so sensitive' 'what have you got to cry about!'

Why does crying have so many taboos, so much criticism, so much negativity about it more than most other emotions? What are we so afraid of that instead of comforting someone who is crying we try to stop them and make them better?

However hard it is for women it is much more difficult for a man who cries especially in public unless they are famous. Many years ago our Prime Minister cried as he told an interviewer about how his daughter had a problem with drugs. People still talk about it. It is also acceptable for sportsmen to cry and show emotion especially if they win. Crying when one has lost is seen as weak.

Why do we have such a problem with ourselves crying or with watching others? Why are we so intolerant of tears? What are we afraid of?

Tears can be very cleansing, while the continual holding back of tears causes problems.

Some people find it easy to cry whether they are sad or happy. Others hardly ever cry.

Once when I had spent a week with my mum who had dementia, I was frustrated, I walked  outside into the garden and just started to cry. I must have cried for over 5 minutes, solid tears. I was crying for my mum, I was crying for who my mum used to be, I was crying for myself and many other reasons. The tears kept coming. When they stopped I actually felt lighter. Nothing had changed but I by crying I felt a little more in control.

What do you think? Should we apaologise for crying?

Are you someone who cries easily or do you rarely cry or somewhere in between?

Leah 
A Moodscope member

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

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Cycle of change.

Five years ago, in my early fifties, I went from being a fit and very active healthy woman, to struggling to get through the day doing even the simplest of tasks. I ached all over. It hurt to turn over in bed. I could no longer run up the stairs. I had to rest for a good two hours every day.

So I adapted, as you do; I had no choice... I found out, the hard way, that I could do one, just one thing each day: e.g. a wash-load or a trip to the corner shop, not both. I learnt to pace myself.

Two years in, I was referred to a lovely physiotherapist. He encouraged me to persevere with gentle exercise (my weekly yoga class, a Sunday stroll, a gentle aqua-fit class). And we talked; we talked about my relationship with my condition. He taught me about the Cycle of Change. I stress the following is my interpretation of the different stages:

Denial (This isn't happening to me)
Ambivalence (Maybe there's a problem/no there isn't/yes there is)
Planning for change (What am I going to do about this?  Anything?)
Implementation of change
Maintenance of changed behaviour/thought patterns
Lapse/relapse
Lasting change

I confidently assured him that I was at "Maintenance"; I knew I had the condition; I had learnt the hard way not to overdo things; I was maintaining a sensibly paced approach with plenty of rest. My life was so very different from before the diagnosis that obviously I was at "Maintenance" ... or was I?

Gently, he questioned this and eventually helped me to see that I was not at "Maintenance" – oh no! I was right back at "Ambivalence"; I tolerated my condition, I had to, otherwise I was wiped out for several days. But I hadn't accepted it. I was grieving for the woman I had been and I was impatient to return to being her – I was looking backwards.

I found this SO hard to accept. I didn't want to look at myself as I had become. I was impatient to return to my former self. Yet I knew in my heart of hearts that he was right. I also knew that there IS no "going back"; which meant that I HAD to accept myself as I was, which I absolutely did NOT want to do – after all, if I accepted the condition, then IT had won and I would never change...

Now the thing about the Cycle of Change is that you can make progress, then suffer a lapse – and find yourself right back at Denial. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole process for me; recognising I was back at the beginning and having to work through all the stages again, and again...

I now use the Cycle of Change in other situations and it has become an invaluable tool for me. Challenging, definitely, but invaluable. Maybe it can help you too?

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/the-cycle-of-change

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Don't Blurt – Believe... in yourself.

Every single day is filled with numerous opportunities to respond to someone else's behaviour, to make decisions, to offer advice, to be of help to others and to give the world the best of who we are.

Yet in today's condensed 140-characters-culture, there's a certain amount of pressure to be able to have the answer, to 'know' what to do, to be the expert and appear all-knowing, FAST.

All too often we race to impress, obligated in fact and respond quickly out of what can be our limited view of the situation or is it our own ego to be 'better'.

Rarely do we take the time to even consider we may not have enough information, ask simple questions, or seek alternative and wiser perspectives. I'm sure we can all recall a recent situation when we felt compelled to respond in haste, only later to discover a different response may have been more appropriate. In fact the best response may have been to say 'I don't know', rather than feel the 'need' to appear knowledgeable.

It's sometimes easy to forget that taking a few moments to step back and reflect on the situation might bring about a better decision, more clarity, more balance and sense to the issue at hand. Or that maybe we don't need to have the answer at all and that our role is simply to coach and empower others to find their own answers. If only we took the time to serve others and not to 'sell' ourselves.

Part of the power of mindfulness or the use of HeartMath, is that they help us slow down and respond with a wiser, deeper intelligence, not a rapid-fire reaction to something we haven't allowed ourselves to consider more carefully.

Humans are the only anima on the planet to be able to have a gap between stimulus and response. We can create a gap and have that freedom to choose our response from all that makes us human.

Next time you're bombarded with information, or asked a question, take the extra minute and see what a difference it can make. Taking the time first, can save time and really demonstrate that you care, to ensure the best possible outcome and growth.

Others will appreciate 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/dont-blurt-believe-in-yourself

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Sometimes it's just days. Sometimes it's for weeks. Every so often I am incarcerated for months.

So far, thank goodness, my sentence has not been for years – unlike some people I know – poor souls.

I'm locked up now, in that foul place, chained in a corner and tormented by Dementors.

J K Rowling wrote this about the Dementors:

 "Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can't see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself — soul-less and evil. You'll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life." 

 ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Yes – even Muggles feel their presence although to them, Azkaban is invisible. My family and friends cannot see my cell and they cannot see my chains. I don't want them to see the Dementors either.

I can't give into those Dementors right now; I have too many people dependent on me. They need me strong and happy - so I will give them strong and happy. One friend in particular needs my light. I will keep that light burning if at all possible.

And I've got a few excuses racked up for the times the happiness slips and the light grows dim. My newly mended ankle hurts. I'm frustrated I can't do more. I'm worried about my friend who is going through a hard time. I'm concerned for my husband who has borne the burden for the past few weeks.

They're all excellent excuses and they're not the truth.

We all know the truth, because we're the ones who see and feel the Dementors. I guess it's a bit like seeing ghosts, but less glamorous – and actually a bit more scary. My buddies know the truth as they are the ones who see my scores and who question me when those scores drop into dungeon territory. They know that, once again, I'm in my prison rags and cut off from the light. They can't see the Dementors but they see the effects.

Usually I am fairly honest about where I am on my depression cycle, but this time I have to keep things to myself. My family cannot deal with anything more just at the moment.

I hope this sentence will be short. I hope the cell door will unlock soon. And I hope my release will be less melodramatic than that of Bellatrix Lestrange! (Cue manic laughter and the waving of wands...)

At least they let me have my quill and parchment to write this letter to you! I hope the owl delivered it on time.

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/the-prisoner-of-azkaban

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Concentration.

I am trying to write a blog. The trouble is I have so many ideas I do not know which one to choose. I start with one then get stuck so start on another and another but then decide they are all going nowhere.

You would think having lots of ideas is wonderful and is so creative. Having ideas without follow up is not helpful. Maybe it is not the having the ideas that is my problem but my short attention span. I also read a few books at once, I can never just read one book cover to cover, but I start one book then skim through another then read the last book one page a day.

My teachers told me I was not good at concentrating, my family have told me I am impatient, but all the time I feel I am creative.

When I was manic, I was told I had what is called flight of ideas - which is a rapid shifting of ideas with only a very loose connection between them. This is expressed as a rambling from subject to subject.

I fear this is my normal mode of thinking just much faster when manic. Friends say it can be hard to keep up with my train of thought as I flit from one subject to the next while they are still pondering the first!

While I like having lots of ideas, I think it would be helpful if I could focus on one idea and not be distracted by other thoughts and knowledge.

I have tried meditation, mindfulness mind mapping but somehow my mind can not or has trouble thinking about, writing about one idea or reading one book at a time.

Do I just accept this as part of who I am or do I try to change.? Can anyone else relate to this?

 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/concentration

Monday, 4 April 2016

Crossed My Heart; Hoped To Die.

How can you start a blog that will bring hope with such a negative statement? Easy! I believe real truth sets you truly, really free! Truly, Really, Deeply!!!

So what's the real truth?

Well, it's a lesson we've heard about from ancient times, a fundamental truth of philosophy, which few of us get to 'know' about. Hearing and knowing are not the same.  Hearing is passive; knowing is experience. I want you and I to experience this truth.

And the truth is this: "To thine own self, be true..." (Hamlet, Act 1; Scene 3).

And older still: "Know thyself!" (This is used by Plato and other Greek Philosophers but no one is quite sure who was the original author.)

And from the Old Testament, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7 – and thus attributed to the wisest Earthman that ever lived, Solomon.)

And finally, from Roxette: "Listen to your heart!" (Swedish, must be true.)

So my point today is that your heart is the most important part of you. You and I need to be true to our hearts. My life is filled with chapter after unhappy chapter that have resulted from a decision where I crossed my heart – I went against what my heart wanted and did what I thought logically was the 'right' thing. All manner of misery has flowed from each of these choices. The result? I have hoped to die. I think that's called 'depression' isn't it?

The solution isn't simple. It takes courage. Massive courage. Benjamin Mee-type courage:
"You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." (from, "We Bought A Zoo.")

Your heart is saying something amazing to you today – something exciting – something daring. Don't cross your heart – don't go against it and hope to die. Listen to your heart, then make a bold choice and listen again to Benjamin's words, "And I promise you, something great will come of it."

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/crossed-my-heart-hoped-to-die

Sunday, 3 April 2016

How I wish you understood.

If you could see with my eyes would you understand?
If you could feel with my heart would you take my hand?
If you saw freedom as a need and giving was your creed, would you soften?
If you lowered your barrier and looked deep inside you
If you saw that was all you had ever had to do
If you talked in a currency that needed no guide
If I knew I could be me and not need to hide
Myself
If you stopped being afraid if you even knew you were
If you put down your wall and left it there
If you became free would you understand?
If you could feel with my heart would you take my hand?
How I wish you understood.

Love from 
The room above the garage.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/how-i-wish-you-understood

Saturday, 2 April 2016

My therapy journey – part two.

Therapy's a funny word. I noticed when I wrote the first part of this 'series'  (I say series in the loosest sense of the word given its taken me a month to write part two!) there were some comments from Moodscopers saying they weren't comfortable about sitting in a room and talking to a stranger. I wasn't sure I was at first; I thought having therapy meant I was a failure, a broken human. I thought my therapist was going to 'fix' me and after a few sessions I would rise like some kind of born-again being.

But that hasn't happened.

Instead what's come about during the past year of talking to an insightful, compassionate woman every week is that I've slowly taken apart a mismatching jigsaw and put the pieces back where they make more sense. Ditching some that didn't fit, cutting the bumpy bits off others and finding a few that were ok after all, I just needed to look at them with different eyes.

The word therapy comes from the Greek therapia which literally means healing. When I found that out it made me think differently about my own therapy. I realised the view of two people sitting in a room, one spilling their heart out whilst the other nods sympathetically, is outdated. In fact therapy, or healing, can be about talking, or it can be about anything else that brings relief: massage, walking, music, art, friendship, yoga, sport, love, sex, food, sleep, dancing, driving, volunteering... the list is endless.

My own healing process has been a meandering wander taking in lots of the above tools. I couldn't have come this far without the self-discovery of psychotherapy, and neither could I without having spent time listening to music, being loved by my son, climbing mountains and looking at the endless sky, or losing myself in a weekend of life drawing in the Welsh hills. Sometimes I didn't even know something was going to be 'therapy' until I'd done it and thought 'hmmm, that felt nice'.

The Buddhists talk about two strands on the path to enlightenment: wisdom and compassion. Maybe these strands are also the routes to mental wellbeing? The wisdom that comes from self-discovery, magically woven with tender self-care? Maybe therapy is as unique as we are? And maybe its time to write our own prescriptions.

With healing love,

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/my-therapy-journey-part-two

Friday, 1 April 2016

Health week.

Many countries have a Mental Health Week, and last year I was involved by sharing my story on a website and being interviewed on a local radio's breakfast show. These weeks are helpful in raising awareness, providing information and reducing stigma.

Of course, if you live with a mental illness you have had it for 52 weeks of the year not just for one week, as with any illness that has its own day or week for promoting understanding.

I feel that dividing health into physical and mental creates a division that leads to shame and unfair allocation of resources. Research has shown that mental illness leads to or can be caused by physical illness and physical illness can lead to mental illness, so much overlapping.

I think having a health week or month, when the focus is on our overall health like the old saying a healthy mind in a healthy body.

When depression anxiety and other mental health issues are isolated, it can lead to people feeling they do not belong.

Imagine if depression and other illnesses weren't separated into a mental health issue. Research would look at all areas of illness, people would not feel they were different because their illness affected their brain and thought process and not their heart or liver. Everyone would benefit as people would be treated as a whole and not fragmented into body parts. Researchers would share their knowledge.

What do you think? Maybe you disagree and you think this idea would not be helpful. Maybe you agree, maybe you have another idea. Please share any thoughts as I think this is an important discussion and I would be so interested to read all your comments.

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/health-week