The Moodscope Blog



My body and mind conversation

Saturday April 16, 2022

Good Morning.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the new Mind I was building. You may be wondering how it is progressing. To give you some idea I have written below a copy of a recent conversation between my Mind(M) and my Body(B).
M:    Good morning B, I am awake, it’s 7.30.
B:     Good morning M, how are you?
M:    Feeling a bit low and a little anxious. How about you?
B:     Lethargic, and my leg muscles are aching.
M:    I think you need some fresh air.
B:     Not walking in the cold again!
M:    Yes, and it’s good for both of us. Just put one foot in front of the other.
B:     I know, but my body parts are getting older.
M:    Yes, but you know it’s good for my mental health.
B:     Okay but don’t forget my drink of water. I am dehydrated first thing in the morning.
M:    What route shall we take today?
B:     I don’t care as long as it is not more than 30 minutes. 
M:    Stop moaning. I need to see all the daffodils by the stream.
B:     Why?
M:    Because I can practice my Mindfulness. I can lose myself in their colour and form.
B:     Will that help with your anxiety feeling?
M:    Yes, it should do.
B:     Good, that should reduce the aching feeling in the pit of my stomach.
M:    I was thinking of also walking along the canal towpath.
B:     I hope it isn’t muddy because it rained last night.
M:    What difference does that make?
B:     12 months ago I broke my right fibula after slipping in the mud on the towpath.
M:     Don’t worry I will take care of our path.
B:      I am glad we are home, I’m tired and my head aches.
M:     Do you want a couple of paracetamol?
B:      No, it might pass when we start doing something else.
B:     I suppose you want to look at the Moodscope blog now.
M:    Yes, I know it’s a daily ritual, but I need to make contact with my friends.
B:    Why do you call them your friends?
M:    Because a lot of them have similar minds to mine.
B:     Do they also have similar bodies?
M:    I don’t think so, but I have never seen them!
B:    Mind, we haven’t argued much today, do you think we are getting better?
M:   Yes, I think we will be okay. On one condition.
B:    What’s that?
M:   We must continue to tell each other how we feel. Then we can help each other.
B:     Sometimes you make sense Mind and I love you.
M:    I love you too, even though sometimes you are a

A Moodscope member.

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



Sharing Pleasant Memories

Friday April 15, 2022

Sometimes in a world full of sadness and tragedy, I can only think of sad thoughts. It is hard to remember a time when life was happier and everything seemed rosy.

So I decided it would be helpful for us to share a memory here that still brings us joy.

A memory would be anything big or small, recent or a long time ago. We can share our memories. If you find it hard to think of something to write about that will make you smile, think about the last time you smiled or felt happy.

My thought are with all those struggling today.

My memory is about when I was about 6 years old and my parents were breeding Siamese cats, I know one cat was having kittens and I was to go and look for the kittens.

I came and told my parents there were no kittens only balls of fur. They laughed and kindly explained the balls were tiny kittens. I like this memory as it reminds me of a simpler time.

What memory will you share?

A Moodscope member.

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



Taking a "Me" Day

Thursday April 14, 2022

I don't suffer from insanity I quite enjoy it with a twist of crazy and lite sprinkle of nuts. Ha ha.

And although I don't mean to brag; it seems once you have an alphabetical disorder:"a.d.d," "o.c.d," or in my case "c.p.t.s.d," it knocks the entire rest of the alphabetical off the shelf and you accumulate a few more consonants of a condition. I swear p.t.s.d has brought on a.d.h.d; the trauma damage has me in need to keep moving.

In spite of having been diagnosed with a serious mental illness (BPD) and having been approved of a disability pension, I am forced to work to supplement it. That leads to some interesting adventures trying to navigate a workplace and space among "normal," people. I have learned to look for equal opportunity employers and that has bridged the gap between my fitting in as an average Jill and standing out as a handicapped citizen. 

With the past triggers of other people in the vicinity, darkness, loud noises, and small enclosed spaces, workplace success and options has been greatly narrowed down.

Today I simply took a Me day. I had been training for a possible job in a chaotic hotel and the clamor and disorganization alone sunk me. I thanked the manager for giving me a chance but I will need to find something more solitaire. 

A me day means putting worries and concerns aside, not beating myself up, and just relaxing in bed in between walking my dog and caring for the cats.  Nothing will get done today... nothing but the basics of living. And that is okay. Resting is key for me to preserve my mental health, and health is wealth. 

A Moodscope member. 

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Age Brings Wisdom?

Wednesday April 13, 2022

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…

This is often the reason given when something goes disastrously wrong; something that was obviously a stupid idea in the first place.

Except, we didn’t see it for the stupidity it was. To us, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

For some of us, looking back on our first marriage, we can see how it was never going to work out. Our friends and family members could see it, but we were blind. Having said that, sometimes things do work, and everyone is surprised fifty years later as the couple celebrate their golden wedding with love and laughter.

We make mistakes in our exam subjects; in our location; our clothing styles; our careers and employment.

We make mistakes in the way we work - my children study far harder than I ever did and have the results to reward them; in the way we conduct our relationships; in the way we manage money.

What really matters is not that we make mistakes, which are inevitable, but whether we learn from them.

A friend of mine says, “Life repeats its lessons until you know them.”
What lessons have you learned, and which are you repeating for the sixtieth time?

I think I have learned to be realistic in my expectations of people, so I am not constantly disappointed. I have learned, in my good times, not to overcommit, so the bad times don’t cause such disruption to others. I have learned to say, “I love you,” and to appreciate that for some people it needs to be said in ways other than words. I have learned that alcohol is not my friend.

I still struggle with self-care, and end up exhausting myself. I still struggle with managing my diary, so frequently double and even treble book myself. I still hurt others when I don’t listen. Those are the repeating lessons.

So, I love this poem; I think it expresses it perfectly.
Autobiography in Five short Chapters.

Chapter I
I walk down the street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in,
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hold in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit… but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hold in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.
                                                Portia Nelson

A Moodscope member.

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Morbid Birthday Reflections

Tuesday April 12, 2022

As I write this, it's my birthday. I've always had some trouble with birthdays; for a long time I had an aversion to celebrating on that day. It always made me uncomfortable to be the centre of attention, and a lot of that came from how hard I was on myself in all other aspects of my life. It was very difficult to feel like I deserved to be celebrated.

While I'm still considered rather young (I haven't yet reached 40), I've found some motivation in my birthday celebrations, though maybe not in the way you might think. My father died early, and I've lost uncles and great uncles at an early age, too. So it's been an easy transition to using my birthday to remember mortality and the limits of the time we have. Perhaps that's more than a bit morbid, but I've found it to focus my efforts in all the things I do.

I only have a certain number of years to be who I am meant to be. My birthday is a great reminder that I have a finite span, and I find a measure of comfort in the fact that everybody has that span as well. Life is short, and we never know how much longer we have. It's too short to spend my time beating myself up mentally and emotionally. It also helps get me out of my own thoughts and do things outside of myself. Caring for loved ones, serving those in need, and trying to make a positive impact with the time I have left to me.

So many of my past birthdays depressed me, and I wallowed in self-pity and remorse. But now I focus on the time left, and what I want to accomplish, and the opportunities that I may have.

Do you find any solace, focus, or motivation in your finite time? Am I being too morbid? Let me know in the comments. I'm always interested to see what others may think.

John C
A Moodscope Member.

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Angel’s Advocate

Monday April 11, 2022

You’ve heard of the devil’s advocate? This is the person who deliberately takes a position in opposition to a favoured path or perspective. The idea is that the devil’s advocate will make us think more deeply about a choice to be made or shift our perception of a situation in a beneficial manner.

In my experience, most people who say they’d like to play devil’s advocate rather enjoy being in opposition! It often seems to be the perfect excuse to be critical and abrasive. That’s the last thing I need, and I probably speak for you too. I need comfort, hope, reassurance.

I’d like to propose the role of, “Angel’s Advocate.” The Angel’s Advocate deliberately looks for how matters and perspectives can be improved. The Angel’s Advocate also looks for the Truth. The Angel looks for what is good.

I’m a Moodscope Member because I need to be. When I spiral down into the depths of despair (which, alas, is increasingly frequently), I need angelic support. Angel means ‘Messenger’ and thus you Moodscopers are often my Angels – bringing messages of hope and support to all of us. Thank you, you’re an angel.

The concept of the Angel’s Advocate arose when I tracked some of my inner thoughts whilst in the depths of hopelessness. Here’s the truth: my assessments of my situation aren’t true. When low, my inner-dialogue highlights the worst-case scenario in ‘everything’. ‘Everything’ feels terrible, hopeless, impossible. And that, dear friends, is rubbish. It is so far from the truth, it’s almost laughable (even if laughter also feels impossible!)

This is where my Angel’s Advocate jumps into the fray. Like an expert coach, the Angel’s Advocate gently points out that Life is pretty good on many, many levels. Often, it is enough to remind myself of the principle of an Angel’s Advocate. Once I remember to check for the truth and the good, other possibilities emerge.

Next time you find your thoughts spiralling down into doom and gloom. Call upon your Angel. Let your Angelic Advocate shine light into the situation and reveal more of the truth, give you options, possibilities, alternatives, comfort.

A Moodscope member.

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Sunday April 10, 2022

I’m outside, on the bench, it’s still cold but I’m very warm from a slow run.  The air is still reasonably undisturbed. Far away a dog barks angrily, birds near me seem to respond with irritation. They give way to birdsong from birds who are less bothered by the dog. Then starts a series of chattering. I do not know which song belongs to which bird, but I do know that their morning chatter impresses me. Do they sing to each other? Do they call only to their own, or do they say hello to birds of all kinds?  

The morning cars have left, but the air is far from empty. I’m told I could see snow flutters this week and yet here and now it is blue-sky sunshine. It is abundant with bees, butterflies, my friend the blackbird, squirrels, even a morning fox considered my open door until she noticed me on the bench. I’m trying couch to 5k. I think I might die but I’ll give it a whirl!  Interestingly, the day I didn’t run on the treadmill was the day I felt overwhelmed and defeated. Onwards.  

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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“Am I worth it, really?”

Saturday April 9, 2022

“Would you take credit for anything wonderful he has done in this past year”

She shook her head.

“And yet you think it is your fault if he does something bad.”

A quotation from a novel “The Long Way Home” by Louise Penny.

As I read it, I was struck forcibly. It describes me and how I react and respond perfectly.

I wouldn’t dream of claiming credit for anything that has gone right or has been a success; but I would always assume it is my fault if things have gone wrong.

I wonder how common that assumption is? I have honestly never considered it before.

Accepting blame, seeking blame even, knowing that the bad things are a result of my actions or inactions, are so deeply ingrained I have absolutely no idea how to deal with it. And until reading this novel, had never considered it a possibility because I had not even thought of it as a “thing” to be considered.

I suppose the closest I can get to explaining more clearly is that old advertising slogan: “Because I’m worth it”

While I can understand the sentiment, and the reasoning behind it, cashing in on the feminist movement which in 1971 when this phrase was coined, was particularly militant – as indeed was I. And I remain an old-fashioned militant feminist to my core… and yet I never ever believed this phrase included me. Certainly, I have never related to it.

I have never loved myself enough to feel I could accept credit; I have always considered myself worthy only of accepting blame.

These last few months I have been more depressed - and even suicidal - than I have ever been. Although I read the blogs daily, I hardly ever read or add to the comments. Why? Well, it is obvious to me - I’m not worth it.

I read voraciously. Hide in the novels I read. Anything. Everything. Some are amazing. Most are not. But reading is so much safer than real life.

Then the words I read in the novel by Louise Penny have re-lit my fire. It is still spluttering; not a bright blaze, but there is some heat coming, some determination. Easy steps, small steps. I realise I do like myself. I am worth it. I can take credit for things I have done and what other people do is their responsibility; not mine.

This awareness of my own self worth, is my great leap forward; although only a quantum leap, it is nevertheless, real. The idea of me accepting praise or acknowledging that I have done well, is still rather odd… but I am on the right path after all this time.

And this is in no small part because of you, Moodscopers. You have been there every day, the Blogs are always heartfelt and worthy of much thought; which I grant them; your generosity of spirit has been there always; and you have brought me back from the absolute brink. Thank you.

A Moodscope member.

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



Physical and emotional scars

Friday April 8, 2022

I was with a group of adults who did not know each other. The topic was people talking about accidents they had in their life and the scars they left. People were enthusiastically showing stitches on legs, scars on hands, disfiguring scars on arm and face, burn marks on feet, it gave show and tell a new meaning. Luckily the person with scar on their stomach resisted the chance to show the scar but they did describe it in all its gory detail.
It made me think that while we are prepared to share our physical scars with strangers we find it hard to share our emotions. We each have our own story and many emotional scars have helped us to grow.
If the scar brings back too many emotional experiences it can be hard to share, I have written about some of my emotional  scars in my blogs. Writing about my scars has helped me  but I don’t want to expose my physical scars.
So do you show others your physical scars?

What about your emotional scars do you tell others about them?

A Moodscope member.

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



Last September I booked a hotel in England, first visit since lock-down. A friend who had gone back to the UK booked to join me. Scuppered, hotel taken over for Afghan refugees. I booked again in October, another hotel, friend again booked in. She had an awful accident, scuppered again. I claim not to be superstitious, but that wretched third time (lucky, in principle) rears its head. The dictionary says ‘Superstitious is believing that certain acts, or signs, in a way occult or automatic, can have good or bad consequences’.

You would think these ideas come from sorcerers, druids, pagans, those who live in the woods. My mother was superstitious to the nth degree. If you spilled salt,  you had to take a pinch and throw it over your left shoulder to ward off bad luck. Peacock feathers and hawthorne flowers were banned. Accidents (as above) arrive in three – the number 13 is to be avoided, and if the thirteenth falls on a Friday, stay in bed. Also on Friday, do not walk under a ladder. Break a mirror, seven years bad luck (never heard the antidote, stick the pieces back together again?)

There are varying stories about magpies. Seeing one is bad luck, seeing two brings joy. I often laugh, on the road, one magpie in front of you. Look out! You look in the rear mirror, its mate is behind you. Two is OK, I think of them saying ‘Got them worried that time’.

When you are planning things, and they look risky, do you touch wood (if you can find any, for many people their head will suffice). You cross your fingers, say ‘God willing’ or ‘If I’m spared’, in the hope of warding off evil. I’ve forgotten if black cats are good or bad news. If they try crossing the road around here it’s bad news for them.

I wrote this for French and UK church magazines in 2007. Beijing had opted for the opening of the Olympic Games on the 8th of the 8th 2008, being auspicious. One of my daughters and loads of others got married that day. Not too auspicious for my daughter, marriage only lasted 18 months. Moslems take a severe view of superstitions because it is virtually an insult to Allah, thinking there are exterior beliefs un-allied to the faith.

Choosing the ‘propitious’ day is most complicated on the island of Bali. You consult signs for a good day to plant rice. If you do not have enough money to have a funeral for a relative in a sacred spot, you give temporary burial, sometimes up to ten years, until you can afford to cremate the remains and scatter the ashes in a sacred place.

Many newspapers and magazines have a page of horoscopes. They really fascinate me – love life does not figure any more, but good days to travel, a financial wind-fall, imagine! Do you have, even if you think you are logical, a sneaking feeling you must touch wood, or read your horoscope knowing it’s rubbish?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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With the End in Mind

Wednesday April 6, 2022

I belong to a book club; in fact, I belong to two book clubs. In one club we read a variety of novels and have only once ventured into the world of non-fiction. The other book club is very different; it is a business book club. We read books on marketing, strategy, time management, decision-making and personal development.

One of the best books we have read – and we all agreed on this – is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. This book was first published in 1989, but is as relevant now as it was then. It would have been relevant had it been published in 1889, and I believe it will still be relevant in 2089.

Note the word “Effective.” Covey does not write about the habits of “successful” people: success, after all, depends on how you measure it, but effective people. His subtitle is “Restoring the Character Ethic.”

You may be wondering what the seven habits are, so here’s a quick overview:

1.     Be proactive
2.     Begin with the end in mind
3.     Put first things first
4.     Think win/win
5.     Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6.     Synergise (work effectively with others)
7.     Sharpen the saw (keep learning and refreshing that learning)

I wrote a bit about no. 3 in my blog published 9th February – New on the To Do, and today I’m writing about no. 2: begin with the end in mind.

We know all about goals; business goals of making so many sales or so much profit; personal goals about getting fit or saving for that special thing; or even just getting through today. We rarely think about the really long-term goals. I’m talking about who we want to be when we die.

End of life (as it’s euphemistically called in the caring professions) has been on my mind. My mother-in-law died on Friday, which was both a sadness and a relief. Our grief is complicated because of the kind of woman she was.

I have been thinking about the kind of person I want to be at the end of my life. I will be honest and say my greatest fear is dementia; so often it steals the person we are and want to be and leaves something unpleasant in its place. But, barring that theft of self, who do I want to be?

5th January this year, my blog was titled, “A New Year, a New Point of You.” In this I asked you to go through a list of good qualities you believe you can claim for yourself. I encourage you to revisit that list and refresh your memory.

We know the only certain thing in life is death, and we have no assurance of when that day will be. What do we want people to say of us after we have gone?

Let’s make that the end we have in mind. We cannot begin yesterday, so let’s start today.

A Moodscope member.

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



To see ourselves

Tuesday April 5, 2022

O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
(Robbie Burns, To A Louse)
A friend and blogger here, Mary Wednesday, really stumped me recently. We have some personal style work to do and as such she suggested I come up with twenty things that I bring to any situation.
Fine, I thought. Anger, dissatisfaction, inability to suffer fools gladly, impatience and so forth.
No, she said. Twenty positive things.
Positive? That’s a different kettle of fish. Twenty? I thought. TWENTY? I can’t think of any. She helped me out with one that came across as a complete surprise to me.
Loyalty is one. I am, apparently, loyal to an extraordinary degree. I have persevered with jobs that I didn’t like or that didn’t suit me for long periods. I had thought that was fear of change or managing with less money but apparently that can count as loyalty.
I also recall with shame the times I have not been loyal, have left friends in the lurch, have not done things I should. I don’t feel that loyalty is one of my strengths. I am sure I’m wrong but it doesn’t feel like it.
Also, if I am incredibly loyal then I hate to think what disloyal people look like.
I couldn’t think of other positive things, and still can’t (but don’t tell Mary).
So why can’t I see in me what others can? Why am I so self-negative? Are we all like this?
In my case, my upbringing was that first was acceptable, anything else not. Also, we should never brag. I remember (at age 9) saying that I was better at batting than bowling and my mother tearing me off a terrific strip saying I shouldn’t boast but say I preferred batting. I tried explaining with averages and so forth but to no avail. It was therefore easier for me to say nothing. So I didn’t. I’ve  drifted through life being surprised at the things I am ‘good’ at as to me they seem basic.
I hate the navel gazing that accompanies job interviews as I can’t appreciate the good stuff I’ve done. I still can’t.
And I have to give Mary twenty words. And I don’t know where to start.
Errr ….. help? Just between us? Please?
But shh. Not a word to her.

A Moodscope member.

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Three Friends of Friendship

Monday April 4, 2022

It’s a little after 6am. A friend comes to mind who I haven’t spoken to for months. I finish the morning rituals and power up the computer. There, from 6.30am is a message from my friend saying it would be great to catch up. Spooky.

One of my favourite concepts are the three forces that live forever: faith, hope, and love. Surely, these are three friends of friendship?

When you and I can convince a friend that we truly believe in them – especially at times when they may be doubting themselves – we can give them an enduring gift and lift. “I have every confidence in you,” is a powerful sentence when delivered with conviction.

To paint a positive picture of the future that exceeds a friend’s own vision (good or bad) is a second gift – one that can open possibilities that would otherwise remain closed. Everyone has unrealised potential. I’ve never met anyone who had exhausted their storehouse of potential, even if their potential is changing over the years. When Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, “I have a dream,” his dream was for generations and gave hope to multitudes. Hope is planting seeds for the future.

“What the World needs now…” Love fixes everything. Love takes the pain away. Love heals the past. Love enriches the present. To persuade your friends that you love them – and that you love them unconditionally – not based on how they ‘perform’ – is the greatest gift. Love says, “I’m glad you’re in my life.” Love says, “You matter to me.” Love declares, “The World is a better place because you are in it.”

Could what I’ve said act as a gentle nudge for us all? Is today the day to pick up the phone, or fire up Zoom, or get on a bus, in a car, on a train and to go and strengthen a friendship? Is today the day to send a card of appreciation and write words of kindness about how you believe in your friend, how you have high hopes for their future, and how you love them at all times?

I hope so. I believe it is. I’d love us to take action. These three last forever: faith, hope, and love… but the greatest of these is love.

A Moodscope member.

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



Unmute yourself  

Sunday April 3, 2022

Far too comfortable being confined in the last year, I recognise there has been a detrimental effect on my body and mind. So, I have done what all sensible people do, I have invested in a gadget which will surely change my life! I bought a treadmill.   
I know that ‘outside’ inside the garage isn’t exactly throwing myself out there, but I thought I’d cut a corner and see if I could reset my motor with regular movement. Unpacking the treadmill, building it, and collapsing the packaging, was enough exercise for a month. 
Arming myself with all the ways I could think of has been key to not allowing avoidance to kick in. Some of these ways are a bit ridiculous (who needs lip balm to run? Who needs a Nordic crime drama on an iPad first thing in the morning to run?)  but they work for me. The Couch to 5K accompaniment brought me Sanjeev Kohli’s voice in my ear telling me when to walk, when to run. I made sure my run jacket was hung on a peg next to the treadmill as the garage is always freezing. I can’t reach the kettle until the run is done.  
I’m pleased to say I’ve stuck with a daily habit (one rest day a week) – I ‘run’ 3 times a week and I fast walk 3 times a week, 30 minutes each time. Sanjeev reminded me today that its not about anybody else, it’s about developing me at my pace, and if I need to repeat a run, then its ok. I didn’t expect to love it. I didn’t even expect to like it. I expected endurance and suffering.   
Despite my ex-partner telling me “remember what happened with the cross-trainer” (it sat in the shed for many years), I have refused to be put off. The cross-trainer attempt at staying fit was 17 years ago and I was trying to exercise with a 3 year old and 2 babies beside me. This time, I am more knowledgeable, more enthusiastic, more rested, better equipped, and I felt brilliant mental and physical benefits from the first ‘run’. Yes, I’m still inside the garage. But I don’t care, I’m moving, I’m sweating, and that is good enough. The best part is pretending I’m crossing the marathon finishing line each time. My kids are there screaming at me to finish and I’m winning! 
My message is this – keep changing things, however small, until something fits. It can be the lack of change which holds us mute. 
Love from

Shuffling along inside the garage 
A Moodscope member.

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Anxiety Antidote

Saturday April 2, 2022

Good morning.

No, this is not a complex ramble about Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) but how a complicated emotion can be soothed by peaceful means.
First of all the narrative:
I woke a few weeks ago about 7.45 am feeling unsettled and a little anxious. You probably know the feeling. I followed my usual routine; loo, glass of water, dressed and out. In a few minutes I had gone from warm comfortable bed to cold bright daylight.
I went on one of my favourite local walks. Quietness reigned (it was school half term). During the next 20 minutes I met 2 other people. The first made no utterance, the second with dog exchanged brief   pleasantries.
I turned homewards to pass close to the local community building. I noticed a little way off a man cleaning the glass on the front of two outside notice boards. Shall I take a slight detour and approach him? Why not. The following conversation ensued;
 Me:   That looks like a dirty job.
 C*:    Oh, not too bad, all part of caretakers* duties.
 Me:    I’m visiting the hall tonight for the bowling clubs AGM.
 C:      Oh yes you are in room 16.
Me:    Is that the large room at the back?
C   :   Yes I will show you.
So we went into the building and I went into room 16. He explained the furniture would be rearranged before our meeting started. The room had been booked from 7pm to 10.15pm. I said I expected it would finish well before then.
I thanked the caretaker, said my farewells and left the building. He said I may see him later around 7pm.
How did I feel walking home? I felt a lot less anxious than when I woke about an hour earlier. I felt uplifted and ready to face the day. I had been reminded of two important lessons for people with poor MH.
1.  Go outside and be active. No need for strenuous exercise. Just walk and let your senses take over. See it, breath it, hear it and feel it.
2.  Make human connections. Extremely difficult to feel very low if you are engaging with others. I had never met this man before but he willingly made our connection possible and we enjoyed our brief time together.
What lessons have you learnt about successful management of MH issues?

A Moodscope member.

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Friday April 1, 2022

If I am not having the best of days and someone asks me how I am, I will say I am fragile or feeling fragile as I feel it explains a lot.

I am not saying I am broken or falling apart but I may need to be handled with care.

I often used to say I was ok when I obviously wasn’t. So now I say to people who I know will understand, I am fragile.

The word fragile can have a scale.

I can feel a bit fragile, up to extremely fragile where a word or a glance can make me burst into tears or think negative thoughts.

I realise not everyone would feel comfortable using this word. So what word do you use when you want to tell those people who get you how you are really feeling?

Is fragile a word you have ever used and does it feel appropriate to describe your emotional state?

A Moodscope member.

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There is hope

Thursday March 31, 2022

During a lifetime with bouts of depression and unhappiness, I raised two glorious children. It was tough to do, given I was already aware of my dysfunctional upbringing. As my children grew up, my daughter began displaying signs of trauma. She spent a lot of time trying to understand her condition and how to heal.

She looked at mental issues, for which she was given medication. She continued on her research and took some counselling. Her latest counsellor very quickly realised that daughter had PTSD and set about helping. Daughter was helped to understand her issues, and with that understanding came enlightenment as to where it came from. I had no idea that my issues had passed on to her and was devastated to learn that awful fact.

Fast forward to just under a year ago, when she persuaded her brother to suggest that I, her mum, might be co-dependent. I was horrified at first, but realised that that might be the reason I had been so unhappy and had periodic bouts of depression over the years. I had tried to get help because this deep unhappiness wasn’t, in my book, normal.

It seems that co-dependence stemmed from having to ‘keep my mother happy’ without any reference to my own needs or feelings. I contracted polio at age 5, and was sent away to a residential children’s hospital for 2 years while I had treatment. I also had other traumas happen to me during my childhood, which my mother more or less told me it was my problem. I grew up not recognising my feelings, totally unable to place boundaries down to
protect my own best interests. My dysfunctional childhood resulted in CPTSD. My husband hadn’t helped because he had been sent away to private school at age 6, and had had a bad time so he had the same condition.

We’ve had a lot of therapy since this discovery, and have learned a whole lot about how to recover. I’ve learned about boundaries, I’ve taken a long hard look at myself and have taken an inventory of all that I’ve done wrong to my family and friends. I’ve learned that I need to embrace vulnerability and admit when I need support and to ask for it. I’ve learned to identify my emotions -to put a name to them, and that those bad feelings don’t last and to just ride them out and know that I’ll feel better in the morning.

The process of learning to be more self-aware has been difficult. I had felt that I was tossed about in a storm - crying a lot, feeling totally confused and bewildered at times, but the risk of losing my loving relationship with my children was worth it.

Now, with all the work I’ve done, I feel a great weight has lifted from me, and I’m daring to hope that there is hope for a happier future for me and my family. Daughter has learned enough about us both for us to have an equal and respectful relationship at last, which is huge progress for us both. My marriage is stronger than ever going into our 38th wedding anniversary
and we are both much calmer, happier and optimistic for our future.

I felt moved to share my tale, in the hopes that somebody might get some ideas/hope/inspiration that there is a way through to a happier life.

Best Regards

Mary D
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Understanding and Forgiveness

Wednesday March 30, 2022

My mother-in-law is dying. A few weeks ago, I mentioned she was refusing to leave her room in the care home; refusing to let in the light; sitting in the dark and engaging with nobody. Now she has given up eating, and she has an “End of Life” plan in place.

My mother-in-law is 95, so perhaps it is not surprising she has had enough, but we are still grieving as much for her lost opportunities in the care home as for her imminent departure from us.

It’s ironic that, in these past few months, I feel I have come to know her better than at any time in the past twenty years. She has never been an affectionate mother or grandmother; has always maintained an emotional distance - offering merely a courtesy cheek to kiss on our rare arrivals and departures. My father-in-law was always delighted to see us; she never was.

Control has always been vital to her: control over her environment and over any staff serving her needs. As the world became more complex, she retreated into her home and rarely left it. Her increasing physical frailty, and that of my father-in-law, meant she had to leave that home and enter residential care. In the care home she has had no control: the staff are not employed by her, and the rules are not made by her. I think she has felt powerless and helpless.

The care home is much nearer, and we have (subject to covid rules) been able to visit far more often. We have been overjoyed to see how Father has blossomed as he has joined in with the activities and trips out. With Mother it has been otherwise.

Seeing more of her has enabled me to understand her more. I can see how her fear of life drove her need for control; how her fear of rejection made her appear hard and cold. I wish, I wish very much, that I had understood this twenty years ago. I wish I could have said to her then, all the things I have been able to say to her now; although I don’t know if she would have been able to hear them.

Sunday was Mothers’ Day here in the UK. I took her a plant and some chocolates. She would not eat the chocolates, but she liked the plant. For the first time, I felt able to hold her in my arms and tell her she was loved. She is a difficult woman, but I have longed all these years to be able to love her; for my husband, it has been much longer. Now, at the end of her life, she has no energy to keep up her defences, and I hope our love is getting through.
It’s said that to understand all, is to forgive all. That understanding and forgiveness does not excuse hurtful behaviour, but it allows compassion in.

Understanding my mother-in-law allows me to let her go in peace.

A Moodscope member.

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On two wheels

Tuesday March 29, 2022

When I was nine or ten years old, and tall enough to reach the pedals, my mum let me have a go at riding her black bicycle. As we lived on a hill, getting started was a challenge, made worse by the fact it was an adult’s bike and a tad too big for me. Not unsurprisingly, I took a tumble and had to limp into school the next day with sore, scraped knees. Mrs Thomas, my teacher at that time, offered me no sympathy, preferring to tell me that girls should not ride bikes! Despite both the tumble and her attitude, I was hooked on cycling and have been ever since.

Now, before I give the wrong impression, I am very much a fair weather cyclist, although I have been caught out a few times on summer days and returned home rather soggy around the edges. And neither am I a SWILL ( Senior Woman In Lycra Leggings). I am a leisure cyclist, enjoying being out in the countryside and observing things which would otherwise be missed if you were driving past. And the beauty of primrose-covered banks at this time of year is one of my favourite sights.

However, there are risks involved with sharing country lanes and busy main roads with others. At various times in the past, I have been chased by dogs (a nuisance but usually easy to cycle away from); an angry pheasant (rather more of a problem as it could run fast and kept trying to peck the tyres) and an even angrier woman driving a sports car (to date, she was the most threatening). My knee has never quite recovered from the tumble I took from the bike on a canal towpath in France, where we were -up to that point anyway- enjoying a cycling holiday. (In case you’re wondering, we did manage to complete the holiday without further mishap!).

So, despite the drawbacks, and apart from the obvious benefits of exercising in the fresh air, why do I enjoy cycling? Well, it helps me to process negative thoughts and to think through any problems which have been going round and round in my head. My ride a few days ago allowed me to compose this blog in my head whilst being in the midst of the natural world. And, of course, it gives me permission to indulge in a piece of cake and cup of tea when I’ve cycled 6 miles or so to the nearest farm shop café!

So I’m wondering if you like cycling? Or do you enjoy any other physical activity which helps you to de-stress and escape, albeit temporarily, the thoughts going round and round in your head?

A Moodscope member.

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One of my favourite radio shows, one that has run for decades, is, “Just a Minute.”

In it, contestants seek to speak, uninterrupted, for just a minute. They can be interrupted if they hesitate, or if they deviate from the topic, or if they repeat any words other than the key theme. Metaphorically, the show reflects the obsession Society has with success under pressure. The media lauds those who don’t hesitate, who, instead act decisively - and consistently so… who have developed the ‘habits’ of highly successful people. We rave about those who can stay focused on ‘the one thing’ until they achieve their ambitions. We celebrate those who ‘move on’ from one level of success to another, never repeating old patterns.

I get the wisdom.

But I’m so bored with it.

And I’m not certain it’s the whole truth.

What if we did the opposite?

What if we sought to hesitate, to deviate, and to repeat the same old patterns?

If I had learned to hesitate more, I would have made fewer rash and impulsive decisions. At least, they would have been more considered and less hasty. The power of the pause is the power of hesitation, and it can serve us well.

If I had followed more deviations from the expected, maybe, like so many great discoverers before us, I would have innovated more, or uncovered a profound insight that could move us forward.

And if I had repeated more iterations of what I was seeking to master, like a pianist – I would have got to the point that certain patterns had become second nature, allowing me the development space to build higher levels of skill upon them. As a touch-typist, I know that I type, as I am at this moment, ‘without thinking’. That’s a level of mastery that only comes through repetition.

Thus, I offer three different suggestions for the week ahead.

Firstly, hesitate when the pressure is on for you to make a decision in the moment. Ten seconds can make a huge difference - unless you’re trying to win a Game Show.

Secondly, deviate. Choose the road less travelled, the path not taken, the alternative lifestyle. Deviation can be the mother of innovation.

Thirdly, repeat. Find patterns that work for you and repeat them until you don’t have to think about them anymore.

And, of course, what I suggest to you, I am suggesting to myself. Foot off the accelerator, and gently on the brake. Indicator flashing that I’m going to turn off the highway, the main road. And mirror-signal-manoeuvre until I can do it safely without thinking.

A Moodscope member.

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