The Moodscope Blog



Have you noticed how often we are told what to do?  When we explain something in our lives, whether it be a good thing or a problem, we are often met with responses like “You should…” and an explanation of what that person thinks would be good and effective. This is great if you have asked for support or advice, or if it is from a good friend who understands you (I get lots of support on here and it’s none of you I’m referring to). It’s not so great if you are simply having general conversation. It makes the difference between somebody who hears what you are saying and somebody who hears words and is formulating their response as you speak.  The former takes no energy, the latter depletes it.   
Yesterday, I knew I would encounter a lady who does something like this and much more.  (I had no choice; she was donating something for a collection I’m doing, and it was very kind of her.)  She asked me three questions and each time answered them for me. I had a little conversation with myself in my head as, for my own sanity, I counselled myself through it.  It was a funny situation and yet exhausting. Today I still feel it - 53 minutes of being spoken at. Like walking through a wind tunnel fighting to get out. 
I can’t complain (I just have!), she was being kind at the root. But I need to protect myself from this kind of behaviour. The right thing to do would have been to sweep in, announce I was in a terrible rush, and sweep away, but it makes me uncomfortable being somebody I’m not. And she is a force of nature. A tornado. I felt squashed against a wall as I tried to survive. 
Does this type of thing bring down your mental health? Overload you? Give you resentment? I suspect I need a new tool specifically for building resilience for these situations. My youngest daughter has a ring shaped like a little snake and over the last year, to help her deal with a toxic ‘friend’ at school, she would roll it around her finger to give herself just a little distance and remind her that the person is a snake. Maybe I need something like this. Ear defenders. Or maybe a bodyguard. Oh yes, a bodyguard.
Food for thought. 
Love from

The room above the gara

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



It’s all too beautiful

Saturday May 7, 2022

Today I am writing about pure unadulterated joy. It is beautiful. I am not joking (do I ever?).
If you are of a certain vintage you may remember a sixties song by the ‘Small Faces’ group called ‘Itchycoo Park’. A strange title but there was one phrase in the lyrics that was repeated several times. It was “It’s all too beautiful”.
This phrase came into my conscious thoughts earlier today.

As usual I set out on my early morning walk choosing to go on the route that includes both local waterways. It takes me close to both the local stream and canal. As I started the early spring sunshine forced its way through the high white clouds.
After about 5 minutes I was crossing the bridge over the babbling stream. I turned along the footpath running parallel with the stream about 12 feet away. At irregular intervals there are worn earthen paths leading from the footpath  to the waters edge. I decided to be brave and descended one of the steeper paths for the first time. When I arrived at the streams edge I was delighted. I could see both upstream and downstream. The flowing water followed a letter “S”  shape. I could clearly hear the rippling water. No other noise was audible. It was beautiful!
After scaling back up the slope to the footpath I ambled around the next corner and the canal came into view. I quickly saw 2 ducks swimming gracefully through the water. I wondered whether any ducklings would be nearby. And there they were! Three furry bundles scurrying around on the surface of the water. They could not have been more than 14 days old and looked so vulnerable. But mother duck was keeping a watchful eye from close by. It was beautiful!
Finally I returned home. I sat on the swinging seat in the back garden. I gazed across and my eyes alighted on the Acer tree about 10 feet away. It is really a large bush measuring around 6 feet wide and 5 feet in height. It’s crimson leaves shimmered in the morning sunlight, illuminating the surrounding area. It was beautiful!
It’s all too beautiful and I was filled with joy.
Have you had similar beautiful experiences?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Tick all the boxes

Friday May 6, 2022

There is a lifestyle show on tv that offers people a chance to look at real estate in the country, near the coast or in another country.

People have certain criteria they want, and many seem quite fussy and not prepared to compromise. They want a place that ticks all their boxes, and this is not always feasible in the location or on their budget.

Sometimes in life when making choices about places to live, jobs, and partners among other choices, one may have to leave a few boxes unticked or be prepared to choose something not on the list that they had not considered.

Years ago, I thought the ideal job for me would be a few days a week, local and would involve children. I would never have thought of owning and running my own shop 7 days a week, I am so glad I took the risk and tried it.

A friend told me she was looking for a partner that had a steady job, no children, lived nearby and no beard. She ended up in love with a bearded father of two who was a struggling artist. So far, she has been married for 30 years.

Why do many of us feel we must tick the boxes to be happy and are not prepared to take a chance on something different.

Can you tell me If you have had an experience where ticking the boxes worked for you?

If you took a chance and did not tick all the boxes how did that work for you?

A Moodscope member.

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The small things…

Thursday May 5, 2022

Today the small things matter. I had a cup of tea in bed… (something only available at weekends), I took the dog up to the Lickey Hills with a lovely view of Birmingham, I did the crossword in the sunshine and I planted spinach seeds in a tub. These are in stark contrast to the rest of my time: my Mum has just had a hip replacement, which has required a huge amount of care from myself and my sister. 

Easter holidays were dominated by this operation. I have seen my fiercely independent Mum become quite vulnerable and the stark contrast has been a challenge for me to take on board. But today I have a day off… and I am eating pizza made in the pizza oven my newly employed daughter bought for her Dad.

So what little thing has brightened your day?

A Moodscope member.

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Let them Go!

Wednesday May 4, 2022

For the last couple of weekends, my husband and I have been packing up books.

As I have mentioned before – so many times you must be tired of reading about it – my parents-in-law moved into care just before Christmas, and we are selling their house. Although my mother-in-law died a month ago, my father-in-law is still very much with us.

And he loves his books. He has over five thousand books. I don’t think there is a single room in the house without books. There are books on everything! There are books on gardening; on science; on philosophy. There are books on Chinese ceramics; on art; on world history and on wildlife. There are books of poetry and plays. There are novels ranging through Defoe; Jane Austen; Trollope; Dickens and up to the latest Booker prize-winner. He loves classic crime, and so there are shelves and shelves of Margery Allingham; Agatha Christie; Dorothy L Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. Inevitably, there are books about books. So far, I have not come across a book on books about books, but we have another four rooms to go, so I have not given up hope.

He has resigned himself to the loss of the house but has not resigned himself to the loss of his books. As he worked in the British Library and is an author himself, I suppose we should not be surprised.

We are therefore packing up books and transporting them to a storage unit near the care home. We hope, when he asks for “Chemical Elements and Their Compounds,” as he did last week, we can find it.

“Um – which bookcase is it in?”

“The back bedroom, left of the bed, bottom shelf, right hand side.”

We can go to that box, rummage through and find the book he wants. At least, that is the idea. There is no way we have time to catalogue them all.

Inevitably, this has caused some heart-searching for my husband and me. I think, with some apprehension, of my own book collection. I have just done a rough count and I have – gulp – well over three thousand books myself! In twenty or thirty years’ time, it will be our daughters who must dispose of my books and, indeed, all the other detritus of our lives.

We do intend to downsize – eventually – but this has made me think I should start the process of shedding my books – and other collections – sooner rather than later.

It will be as hard for me as for my Father-in-law. For those of us who love books, it seems they become a part of us. E-books are just not the same.

Maybe I could start with just one shelf?

But perhaps I’ll read a few of my father-in-law’s books first: I’ve never read the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott – and he has the whole collection.

Oops! I think I may be reading, rather than clearing; adding more books, rather than letting them go…

A Moodscope member.

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There’s a short animation on the BBC website about the difference between larks and owls; those early risers who bounce out of bed trilling against those who need an electronic cattle prod to get them up. Scientific research shows that owls have higher rates of depression and anxiety (me!) and less likely to marry (me again!).  Society is structured around early starts so being a minority owl is a bit of a handicap.

I’ve always been envious of larks and also bewildered. How can a person run a 5k, bake a cake and still be at their desks at 8am while I’m struggling to throw off the duvet. I once attempted to join a friend for a weekly 7 am swim which I only managed twice and it felt like torture. I would rather take out a high-interest loan for a midday flight than book a cheap ‘red-eye’ and catching the dawn chorus is a no-no.

It's only since retiring that I’ve come to fully appreciate my own body clock. I often wake with a big smile knowing I don’t have to force myself up for the commute to work. I take my time getting stuck into tasks at around 12 noon usually wrapping things up between 7 and 8pm.

But this isn’t the whole story because when I’m sliding into depression, or in the depths of it, I wake feeling utterly wretched, hopeless and desperate. Getting up is a major challenge. Even if I’ve gone to bed happy and contented I know there’s a chance I will wake up in the grimmest of moods. Despite knowing it will pass once the cortisol kicks in it takes all my willpower to rise.

A lifetime of this and I’m only just learning that this is my genetic chronotype and things aren’t likely to change. I’m a little old owl in a forest of smart larks and even though I do give a hoot I’m stuck with it.

What about you?

A Moodscope member.

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Blank Holiday

Monday May 2, 2022

Have you experienced the tyranny of the blank page? My strongest memory was of the need to write about my Summer Holiday Break when I returned from school. I think the teacher thought she was being kind – after all, there would be plenty to write about, wouldn’t there? I remember falling into deep friendship with the word ‘and’!

When you read this, it will be a Bank Holiday in the UK. I’ve had several ideas for an upbeat blog to share this week but the truth is, I think I’ve said it all before… I’ve been writing for Moodscope for a long time. In case you feel like you, too, have nothing to say, I wondered if you’d find this process interesting…

I remembered staring at a blank page, then I remembered the strategy we used to use with a jigsaw. We would start with the edges and the corners. My page has a ‘North’ and ‘South’, an ‘East’ and a ‘West’. These are interesting places to start with.

North is where I’m headed in life guided by my ‘true North’ values. In a word, this is ‘transformation’ for me through ‘new ideas’. My life’s quest has been to find better patterns of thinking to influence my behaviours and thus my results. Moodscope is a mine of good ideas.

My East and West are how I start and end the day respectively. Currently, coffee in the morning and Netflix with wine at night. I think I need to work on this! What’s your rhythm of the day? Can you share a better pattern?

In the South lie my roots – what I’m connected to: Moodscopers, family, friends, Nature – especially woods and water. The roots feed the fruits. If I don’t get enough time with my roots, my fruits fail.

What are your Norths, your Souths, your Easts, your Wests? I’m sure this creative exercise will work for you too.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



How do you do?  

Sunday May 1, 2022

Your comments on the ‘anxiety’ blog last Sunday were fascinating to me and I’ve re-read them throughout this week, absorbing them all. I never did reply to the comments last Sunday, I do apologise. That day I hosted for a charity I regularly hosted for before the pandemic. Afterward, I needed to clear and clean up, then practice good self-care before I exhausted myself.  
My anxiety levels were high in the lead up (all settled once I’d started), and yet it was a situation I’ve been in many times. I imagined I’d be able to simply roll it out. But we have all changed and for me to expect to click back into something was my failing. Why did I expect to feel the same? Two and a half years had passed! 
So, I will look at my anxiety with fresh eyes. I’ll take on board all your valuable experience, pointers and comments and I’ll try to welcome in this acquaintance in order that I might keep some control. If I resist, I cannot win. Instead, I’ll become wiser and show it where it can sit.  Thank you for helping. 
Sending best to you from

Me in the room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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Maybe it’s in my make up

Saturday April 30, 2022

No, I don’t mean mascara or lipstick - the last time I wore those was when my daughter got married in 2008.

I mean, that which makes me ‘me’.  I suppose each of us is on some sort of spectrum and entirely different in what makes us tick.

It took over 30 years for my married daughter to get a diagnosis of autism, though she always felt ‘different’.  Now I can recognise some of myself in her. A tendency to personal clutter, but a compulsion to pick up litter. Needing quiet space away from the children (don’t we all?). Relaxed with people who know me and reticent in a larger group.

What I think I have a problem with, is being able to look inside myself and understand what I am feeling. Most of the time I score a 0 on all the blue Moodscope cards, they don’t seem to have labels that I am experiencing. I am able to recognise a bit better when I am anxious, as I bite my lip - sometimes till it is sore. 

When I had some horrid news last year I lowered the score on the red cards and ticked 1 or even 2 on the blue cards - feeling ‘sad and troubled’ or ‘jittery’.

I still can’t make out if I am avoiding experiencing my feelings or if I just don’t feel the way that others seem to me.

I seem to have come to the end of what I composed to write. Talking of composed, I think that maybe I have not been overwhelmed with grief at times of bereavement, because I had family members who needed my support. Then when life had moved on, the moment for personal grieving seemed to have passed and I just had to get on with day to day life. I wonder if this makes sense to anyone out there?

Wishing you all well.

Another Sally xx
A Moodscope member.

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Are your emotions in control?

Friday April 29, 2022

Do you ever feel like me that your emotions have a mind of their own?

I would like to not be always reacting emotionally to things external to me. I think it is healthy to display emotions, but I notice there are those who seem to be able to manage their responses better than others.

I read an article that explained there are habits to help you manage awkward situations and difficult emotions.

Metacognition means thinking about your thinking. For over-thinkers like me it’s something we do a lot but sometimes with little self-awareness. It is the ability to examine objectively things including emotions, values, moods, anticipations, thoughts self-talk.

There are times we when we just react impulsively without thinking things through clearly. The following has happened to me, can you relate?

- Someone you know seems to ignore you when you say hello, so you feel sad.
- Someone on a forum on the internet, not this one, misinterprets your comment and criticises you so you spiral down for the rest of day
- A memory that hurts from the past drags you back into a dark place full of regrets and guilt.

The more we disregard our brain the more our actions become responses rather than choices. This may lead to the following:

- If you automatically think the worst of a situation, you may be nervous a lot.
- If you automatically criticise someone when they complain about you, you feel anger or guilt.
- If you, like me, turn negative situations into self-blame you will feel guilty and have little self-esteem.
The aim is that you can change by giving yourself some time so you have the chance to respond deliberately and intentionally.

I wonder if there has been a time you have responded and behaved impulsively and later wished you had acted differently. Can you tell us about the experience? Can you explain about the time when you stopped and thought to stop behaving like you normally would?

Maybe you are happy reacting the way you do and you do not get upset when people upset you and you feel in control of your emotions. Could you share what works for you?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Anger and me 

Thursday April 28, 2022

I want to talk about anger and why I feel like this. 

I’m in my 40s now. I’ve been ashamed of my anger for a long time and angry for a long time. I’m working with a therapist to untangle this, and I’m beginning to understand it. 

I grew up with a mother who belittled me and made me feel like I was rotten to the core. My father told me to be good and not upset my mother. He made some awful comments about not being a slut with boys when I was 13-years old. 

I was shy, awkward and ashamed of myself. Talking to boys was the last thing on my mind!  I lacked boundaries, so when I did fall in love with a boy at 18-years of age - I fell into a controlling and abusive relationship for 13-years. I was sexually assaulted after this, and I didn’t tell anyone for five years. Recently my husband had an 18-month affair with a work colleague. I don’t want this to be triggering for any of you. But, I want to share because this is CPTSD. It’s caused by what happens to us, not because we are terrible human beings. 

I’ve blamed myself for everything that’s happened to me for a long, long time. I’ve lived with misplaced guilt and shame. And the resulting anger. 

My anger is about past complex trauma and becoming a mother. But, a lot is also due to being a woman and the societal pressure and limitations this brings.

As women, we’re expected to be nice, quiet, and compliant. In a world that favours and prioritises men, we’re stripped of our rights, disparaged for our contributions, and groped, cat-called, and killed. We must do it all, be it all, and smile brightly as we struggle, our relationships struggle, we burn out and give up.

I know that for any men reading this - you don’t have it easy under this patriarchy either. You are told to get brave, not be emotional, and not tell others how you feel. 

What I have learnt is that anger is often a secondary emotion. When we become angry, we feel marginalised, hurt, unheard, disrespected, vulnerable, or neglected. It’s not the true emotion we're struggling with. Anger is a group of feelings.

If this resonates with you, then you’re not alone. I have cried with anger because I held it in for so long, turning inwards to ongoing depression. Meds and years of therapy have helped me realise that none of this is my fault and there is hope for the future. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to be angry, that I can sit with this and tell others this is how I feel.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Look at You Now

Wednesday April 27, 2022

I wasn’t going to write this today; I was going to write on overwhelm and how to deal with it. Then, this came up on my Facebook feed, and it seemed appropriate. Here’s the meme:

If the version of you from five years ago could see you now, they’d be so proud!

What were you doing five years ago? Where were you? What have you gone through since?

The first thing that occurs to me is we’ve all come through lockdown. Covid has not gone away; many people are still catching it and are very ill, despite the triple vaccinations. But we’re no longer confined to our homes. That was a tough time, and you’ve come through it: fantastically well done!

For some of us, our illness is such that it’s a huge achievement to still be here. You got through the darkness, isolation and desolation. Well done!

Nobody gets through five years without trauma. Your circumstances may have changed: you may have lost loved ones, had relationships go sour, lost or changed jobs, lost your home or moved, been through illness – mental or physical. You’re still here, reading this. Well done!

Hopefully, you learned lessons in the last five years. You may have learned new coping strategies, ways of managing your life and your illness; you may have learnt a new skill. Congratulate yourself for that. Well done!

I’m not saying this in a patronising way, because I’m here with you. When I look back five years, I am so grateful to still be here, writing this.

These are my achievements:

I’m still married. When children move out and circumstances change, marriages come under strain. I have seen too many friends get divorced when this happens. My husband and I have intentionally become closer as the children gained independence. I’m proud of that.

I’m sober. Five years ago, I knew I had a problem with alcohol; I knew I had to do something about it. It took, however, another four years (two months and 24 days) before I stopped drinking for good. I’m proud of that.

I can’t remember my weight back in April 2017, but I was clinically obese. In April 2019, I discovered a way of eating that suits me and my body and keeps me at my right weight without effort. I’m proud of staying on track with it.

I have a great relationship with my daughters. Keeping on good terms with your children throughout their teenage years is an achievement I am proud of – even if it was just luck because they’re naturally good natured.

Most of all – I’m still here. I haven’t thought seriously about suicide since January 2017. I’ve learned coping mechanisms; I’ve learned about self-care: I’ve worked responsibly with health professionals. I’m proud of staying alive.

I hope you can be proud of yourself – and that you will feel able to share in the comments.

There are two more words to that meme I saw today:

Keep Going!

A Moodscope member.

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We would really like to thank all the members that upgraded or contributed following our recent plea for help! We had a great response and raised over £4.5k in contributions which will keep us afloat for the foreseeable future. Thank you all so much.
We also received some very kind offers of advice and help with various aspects of the site and this got us thinking… we don’t really have the manpower to do Moodscope justice and maybe we do need some help. Knowing what a valuable resource it is for so many people, it could really take off with a little help and who better to help us than those that understand and use Moodscope. 
So, we thought it would be worth asking our members if you have any skills/contacts/ideas, advice that may help Moodscope become even better.
Our most urgent requirement is for help with the programming and design. If you know of any agencies that do pro bono work for social enterprises or a programmer/s that would be able to help in return for shares perhaps please let us know.
Other areas we would appreciate help in is PR, social media, sponsorship/partnerships and ideas for promoting Moodscope.
So, we have a new brand and overall branding guidelines and new copy and ideas for an exciting new web site which is a move in the right direction. We just now need to get it all implemented!
We’d really love to hear from you. If you’d like to help, please email us at [email protected] If you’d like to talk to us, please include your phone number in your message.
Once again, thank you for all your support.
Kind regards.
Caroline and Adrian
The Moodscope Team

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The Master Thatcher

Monday April 25, 2022

‘Time in Nature’ is cited as a regular source of comfort and refreshment for most of us. Most often, I prefer to share a walk with someone else. We don’t need to talk but it’s nice to experience the peace of Nature with another soul.

At other times, I must be alone.

Last week, I craved some peace, solitude, and quiet (externally – I’ve never learned how to turn off the noise in my head.) Off I went to a National Trust garden called, “Kingston Lacy,” forgetting it was the Easter Holidays and that it would be anything other than quiet.

With quiet off the menu, I resigned myself to keeping a distance from the others enjoying the parkland. I found an isolated bench and discovered I was in earshot of a sublime storyteller. A Master Thatcher was rebuilding one of the shelters around the Estate, and many passers-by found him fascinating to watch. Often, they would ask questions. Every question would draw on a fountain of knowledge and experience woven into anecdotes that kept them engaged and enthralled.

I thought this a strange combination. He was a free-spirit who enjoyed working with his hands, and, surely, in isolation most of the time. Yet, whenever the opportunity arose, his interpersonal skills were superlative.

When I finally broke my own silence, I shared with him how wonderfully engaging he was and how he could have a great video channel telling his stories. He confided in me that most of the conversations came down to one of the same 15 questions he’d been asked in 25 years of thatching. The answers had been rehearsed and refined so many times that they now flowed.

I pointed out to him that he poured his passion into his answers – which is what added panache to his storytelling. I think he was pleased with this recognition of his mastery.

I left him feeling wistful myself. Here was an artisan who had found tranquillity in manual work. He radiated health and happiness. What a joy to find a profession that fits one’s character, skills, and nature.

My lesson was that storytellers engage! Am I really that interested in thatching? Yes and no! Like a teacher at school who transformed our interest in a subject because of their passion, my Master Thatcher had make thatching fascinating.

Thus, I wonder what your best stories are and if you could say that your own profession comes down to 15 questions!

A Moodscope member.

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The anxiety machine  

Sunday April 24, 2022

Running the gauntlet of anxiety has become my thing. As hard depression lessened over the years, anxiety sidled in, then waved like the kid in school who knew you were last to be picked for the team. 
I can keep it in check if I stay at home all the time, keep fully on top of workload and avoid too many people interactions and/or social gatherings. So that would be rarely, if ever. I know I am not the only one, many of us in here know it all too well.   
I am interested today to hear about your physical symptoms of anxiety. For me, its shallow breathing, being unaware of holding my breath, and a subtle but never shifting internal rumble, like the beginning of a jitter if it was allowed to grow up. 
Running has been helping me with some of the physical symptoms but the best thing by far for me is lying down at night, in bed, in silence, and in the dark, soothing it away completely. For some, I know night time can be the worst time, for me it’s a chance to let go of the overload of the day. 
Maybe if we can tend to the physical side, we can lessen the other part. 
Love from

The room above the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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Magical Mantras

Saturday April 23, 2022

Why  am I writing about mantras? 
Because I believe they can be useful when managing our MH problems.
What is a mantra? It is derived from 2 Sanskrit words. “Manas” meaning “mind” and “tra” meaning “tool”. So literally “tool of the mind”.
In our everyday language it can be described as an often repeated word, formula or phrase. Some say it can boost awareness and improve concentration.
My investigation into the subject suggests Mantras are good for the brain and the primary effect of chanting them is on our mind and nervous system. Scientists also believe they can bring peace to the mind. Reciting mantras reduces the stress in your mind by eliminating negativity. Daily repetition is usually recommended.
Mantras are mentioned regularly on the Moodscope blog. Mantras can be very personal words but I feel, if we are able, we may help someone else by bringing our favourite ones into the public domain.
Obviously a single mantra can be “owned “ by more than one person. And one person may use more than one.
So what do they look like and how can they be used? I know there are several Moodscopers (including me) who particularly like “Don’t believe all you think”. This is very useful if you trying to manage unhelpful or negative thoughts. The more you think about it, the more you realise it is true.
Someone who is finding it difficult to take breaks may find “I give myself permission to rest” useful. It helps reduce guilty feelings for not being “productive” all the time.
If you are looking for one that helps with anxiety this might be worth using “I am conquering my fears and becoming stronger every day”
Over the last few weeks I have used:

 “Don’t panic, stay calm, take rest, and it will pass”
I have found it very useful when random unpleasant thoughts or feelings come into my conscious.
I have just adopted “Not every day is good but there is good in every day”. It was our “thought for the day” on 24 March.

It brings me two realisations. Firstly, our lives consist of good and bad spells. It is totally unrealistic to expect no set backs. Secondly, even really bad events pass and a much better time will arrive.
Some others that I have found:
Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.                                  
It’s not what you cannot do, but what  you can do.   
I am enough. I do not need to prove anything to anybody.
Be curious, not judgemental.
Perseverance not perfection is the key to success.
Work smarter not harder
Every journey starts with a single step. 
It might be worth adopting one or two of these if you think it would be helpful.

Or do you want to find some yourself?

Have you any unusual ones you wish to share?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Healthy relationships

Friday April 22, 2022

I have often read blogs and comments on Moodscope about people who have lovely supportive and understanding relationships with their doctors, counsellors and other health professionals.
Alas, I have tried hard to develop such a relationship and did so once for a few months, but I had to move due to covid.

In the last two years I have tried so hard to have a relationship with any doctor who would give an appointment. Today was the worst of the three times I have seen her. She was efficient but abrupt and her tone made me want to cry. I know I am very sensitive.

I realise that not everyone will connect to their doctor, but I know I need some form of understanding and connection.

I would like to know how long it took you to get on well with your health professional. What did you do that made the relationship a positive one? What qualities do you look for in a supportive doctor? How long does it take to build up a rapport with your doctor?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Thinkers, Talkers & Tattoos

Thursday April 21, 2022

My friend is getting a tattoo. We are the same age, we have similar-ish careers, we are mothers, we swim in the sea, we are good storytellers and we both have been talking about getting a tattoo for the past four years. The difference is - she has booked her appointment, picked her design and her bodily location (!) and has paid her deposit. I have done none of these things. I am merely (still) talking about getting one.

This has got me wondering about a few things:
1 Do I really want a tattoo?
2 Am I someone who likes the notion of things but not the reality?
3 Am I someone who talks to think rather than thinks first and then talks?

My honest answers:

1 I am not sure if I really and truly want a tattoo.

2 I do like the thought of doing something completely new, the notion of an adventure, but often the reality doesn’t live up to my fantasy and I end up disappointed. For example: I thought I would love paddle boarding. I love swimming in the sea so why wouldn’t I? I was sure that I would desire nothing more than to be standing on a paddle board, out at sea, in my wetsuit, swishing my paddle back and forth with great skill and confidence. Aha but the reality was very different. The sea was far too wavy and I fell in many times and I had to drag my sorry self up onto the board each time and start again, balancing for a little bit and just when I felt I was doing a half-decent job, off I fell and… SPLASH… back into the sea. And repeat! And while I spat out sea water and smiled and said to anyone who would listen ‘isn’t this great fun altogether?’ what I actually was thinking was: ‘What the hell am I doing? This is not pleasurable. I want to swim in the sea, not balance on top of it!’ Plus… I felt rather nauseous which, on reflection, may or may not have been sea sickness! 

3 I do believe that I am a person who talks to think. I have an idea and I talk it through - aloud. Some people therefore presume that I am in the process of making a decision. But the truth is… I am playing with suggestions and notions and maybes and perhapses. For example: I have contemplated buying three different cars in the past month. All three are too expensive and impractical but… very cute. The likelihood of me trading in my sensible car for a jolly little convertible is slim to none. But here’s the thing… I like talking my thoughts aloud and creating fantasies and planning adventures. I like it - even if they never actually happen. 
So, I will cheer on my friend when she gets her tattoo. I bet it will be lovely on her. But, in all honesty, I probably will never get one.

I am going to buy myself a new colourful swimsuit though. Of that, I am sure…

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Dancing on the Edge of Uncertainty

Wednesday April 20, 2022

Seven years ago, we met Richard. A mutual acquaintance casually announced, “Oh, my young German friend is travelling around the UK, and I said you’d put him up for a couple of nights.”

Accordingly, I picked up this confident, assured eighteen-year-old, who spoke excellent English, at the station and brought him home. He’s been like a son to me ever since.

Last week he came to stay for a few days. He’s just finished his finals and is again travelling. This time it’s very different. Seven years ago, he had a plan; albeit a plan arranged by this mutual friend. This time he had no plan. He started his journey in different parts of Germany, travelled to France, then to Scandinavia and then on to Istanbul, finally arriving in the UK.  He stayed in hostels and moved on whenever he felt like it. He did give me a couple of days’ notice he was coming to stay, but I had plans and could not meet him at the airport; he caught a train and then a bus and made his own way here.

When he left us, he travelled to Oxford. When it came time to find a bed for the night, the hostel was full. He simply shrugged, caught a train to London, found a bed there, and, in the morning, continued on in his light-hearted way.

A concept I’ve come across in a self-help book – I read a lot of these books and find them, yes, helpful – is that the more comfortable you are with uncertainty, the happier you can be.

If you think about it, this makes sense. We know what has gone before, but we cannot know about tomorrow. We can plan, but, as one General famously said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Life is not the enemy – at least, I hope not – but our plans must always be flexible. Plans are subject to change. If we think about our last two years, it has been change, change and change again.

While he was here, Richard and I discussed the way the last seven years have changed us. His life experiences have enabled him to be much more flexible and confident with uncertainty. As my children have grown and become more independent, I have been able to be more spontaneous and am much happier without the restrictions a young family inevitably prescribes. Ironically, I plan more, but then change those plans with more joy and far less resentment.

I would be interested to know how much you plan your days, years and life, and how you react to the inevitable changes to those plans? Do you need a plan to give you stability and direction, or are you happy to just go with the flow and react to what comes next?

Another phrase I love is: Yesterday is history; tomorrow is mystery; today is a gift – which is why it is called the present.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Tell depression to p*ss off

Tuesday April 19, 2022

The title of this blog is taken from a useful self-help book “How To Tell Depression to P*ss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back” by James Withey. There are a lot of good tips in this book, I am going to focus on a small number of them
The first one is: celebrate your small steps. Write them down – maybe in your Moodscope “comments” after you’ve done your daily Test? I think this is so important: when I am in a really low mood, I often feel like I never achieve anything. It helps a lot to remind myself of the small achievements of the last day – I look at my calendar, my emails, the Things To Do list I keep next to the computer, and there’s almost always something positive to report. Try it – you might be surprised how much you’ve achieved in the last few days.
The second one is: “Ditch your crap friends” (Mr Withey does like to put things bluntly.) A good way to tell who these are is to see how they respond to you when you tell them you are depressed; replies like “I get depressed too – every Monday morning” or “Just snap out of it” are not helpful. Maybe this is a bit too black-and-white;  some friends can be good in many ways but have some real blind spots. Maybe “ditch your toxic ‘friends’” would be a better chapter title. And there may be some you need to distance yourself from, too.
It’s not always easy to dump old friends, or even distance yourself from them, especially those who you’ve known a long time, but sometimes you owe it to yourself.
Do you have any toxic friendships? People who make you feel depressed or inadequate every time you see them? If so, what are you going to do about it?
Best regards

Oldie But Goldie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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