If you're reading this, then you've probably been there. Maybe you are there today. You feel terrible. As you think about doing the Moodscope test, your heart sinks further. How active are you? Zero: you can barely make it out of bed. How enthusiastic are you? Well, huh, is there a minus score anywhere on those cards?
Nope. Not doing that test. Not today.
I understand. And I sympathise. Because that's where I am today. I know my score will be down. Not right down – the medication keeps me stable – but not normal. I know when I do the test and that score goes out to my buddies, I will get a couple of anxious emails. I don't want to know how bad I feel. It's just like not wanting to go to my slimming class when I've been stuffing my face with chocolate and with toast spread with peanut butter and marmalade - my go-to when I'm feeling down. Guess what I've been eating over the last few days! No – I don't want to do that test.
So, here's my reasons for taking a deep breath and doing the test anyway.
1) The process of analysing how I feel about each score card gives me more information. I can start to address those issues which score low. I can feel better about the cards which have more healthy numbers. Rather than experiencing a general malaise, I have some areas on which I can act. The Shame card is high. Oops. Because I drank wine last night. I know alcohol is not good for me. I know that, once started, I can't control it. Two glasses last night could mean three or four tonight. Well, I can pour the rest of the bottle down the sink. The Active card is low. Well, duh, of course it is. Wine, plus late night, plus a business event which took a lot of energy. I won't beat myself up about not swimming this morning: I'll plan an early night tonight.
2) Looking at the low score gives me permission to be gentle with myself. Yes, some of the scores were self-inflicted: that doesn't matter. I still have commitments to fulfil today, but I won't ask more of myself than that.
3) If I do the test today, then that means I have a more complete record of my moods. If I only do it when I feel good, then I am like the sundial: "Telling of only sunny hours". If you want to know the time, a sundial is not the most accurate measure. A full and accurate (and annotated) record of my moods is of far more use when I go to my GP. She needs to know about the downs as well as the ups.
So, I did my test. It was low. I decided to make no judgement about it. Two buddies emailed to say, "Be gentle with yourself."
It was okay. Nobody died. Tomorrow is another day.
A Moodscope member.