Thursday, 27 April 2017

Preparing to Stay Well.

Five months, that was the length of my last very low period. It came in gradually... there some days, gone the next. I don't fit within any NHS guidelines to qualify for help or support and I'm wary of antidepressants after my last three prescriptions left me suffering so many side affects that I didn't know how to deal with anything. I know that I need to do what I can to help myself and continue to be there for my young family.

Coming out of a bad patch gives a new clarity to things, like the way new colours in Spring can look twice as bright as the flowers do in Summer. I feel more sociable again, easy does it with the social calendar though, I've learnt not to run head first into a hedonistic booking of coffees and evenings out, just go steady, I might feel better but I'm still in a recovery and there could still be a bad day or two.

So this time, whilst I'm in the throes of peace time within myself, I'm going to shore up my defenses. That might sound like I'm being overly pessimistic expecting the worst to happen but I'm really not. It's a positive thing, I'm preparing to help myself be well.

I'm looking at recipes from The Happy Kitchen #goodmoodfood and trying them out whilst I have the clarity and appetite to do so, I've tried a few that are already becoming staples for me and will be easy to make however I am feeling... sweet potato and chickpea curry!

I'm trying to do some different forms of exercise whilst I can motivate myself. I went to a Clubbercise class on Saturday, neon face paints and glow sticks were obligatory and it's in the dark so less awkwardness! I went on a 'Mental Health Mates' walk and was immeasurably lifted by meeting with other people with the same issues as well as getting some fresh air in a new setting, these take place monthly in different towns and cities across the country.

I've joined a local WI, I've always wanted to, but lately my self confidence had been so low that I wasn't up to any kind of new group thing. I know that I get a buzz from learning new things and being creative so I'm hoping that if I hit another low patch I'll still be able to get myself to a meeting and feel some benefit.

Two months ago I'd have found one of the above enough to cope with and I know I can be guilty of overdoing things when I get a window of mental clarity. Like many other people, if I'm not going to qualify for help with my mental health problems then I'm going to have to cast my net as far and wide as possible whilst I'm able and stockpile all the resources that I can ready for when the next storm hits.

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Nursing a Grudge.

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please follow this link: http://bit.ly/2q2d1eM]

My GP once said to me, "I get many women in my surgery who want something to make them sleep. They don't need sleeping tablets: they need to forgive the man sleeping next to them for having an affair; sometimes, an affair long ago."

At the time, I nodded and said nothing. It seemed wisest, because I didn't want to get into an argument, but inside, I was seething.

Why should those women have to forgive their husbands? Had those husbands gone down on bended knee and grovelled? Had they bought those wives diamonds, or flowers? Had they taken them to Paris? Had they dedicated themselves totally from that day forward to making their wives happy? In short, did they deserve to be forgiven?

But I didn't understand, then, what my doctor was saying.

Those women were lying awake; their bitterness and resentfulness keeping them from Morpheus' arms; preventing rest. Their husbands, meanwhile, were peacefully asleep. Who, exactly, was suffering?

So, having thought about it, I realised something.

We must forgive for the sake of our own emotional and mental health and not for any other reason. We forgive because we want relationship and love to be re-established more than we want to hold onto our righteous hurt, fury and loss.

Does this mean that our forgiveness wipes out the transgression? Does it mean that it was acceptable for the other person to do what they did?

By no means! Other people injure us for many reasons. Sometimes it is thoughtlessness; sometimes it is by mistake; sometimes they thought they were doing the right thing and it turned out to be so totally the wrong thing, it would have been better had they done nothing at all. And sometimes they hurt us through selfishness, through greed, or just because they can.

And, in the midst of our hurt we cry out, "I shall never forgive them. Never!"

Well, never is a long, long time. It's a wearisome time to carry a heavy lump of bitterness. Some people think that holding onto hurt can increase our chances of falling ill with certain diseases. In fact, we talk about this kind of bitterness, "eating away like a cancer in our chest."

Forgiving someone doesn't make them right. It doesn't mean they didn't hurt you. It doesn't mean that you don't have a right to your upset and anger and grief: you absolutely do.

Forgiving someone has nothing to do with whether they are repentant or not. Sometimes the person who hurt us most is dead. They may have gone to their grave unknowing, or callously indifferent to the harm they did while alive.

We forgive because we want to live. We release the anger and the hurt and the bitterness. We leave it in the past and walk forward because we want the best possible life for ourselves. We wish for peace in our hearts.

And we'd really like to sleep.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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/nursing-a-grudge

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Hope dashed.

I saw a neuropsychiatrist a few weeks ago. A very clever, softly spoken man, he had instructions to Assess me for 20 minutes and on the basis of that Assessment, I would proceed to some sort of Treatment. I was in with him for over 40 mins. And when I finally came out of his room, I was in tiny, wet pieces. My precious mask which has held up for so many years, and which has received a good battering since I broke my wrist last autumn, finally dissolved and ran away.

In the few minutes I was in the room with the quietly spoken doctor, he succeeded in breaking every one of my defences. He brought to the surface again every single thing I was carefully disguising with smiles and good cheer.

I came out of his room utterly naked.

However, now that he has identified my need, even if I have to wait a year or more, I can have that hope.

And so, even though I emerged crying, red faced and a "mess" I also felt relieved that I had been heard.

As a contrast with that, I had an appointment with my GP a day or so ago. I asked him about help with the excruciating pain in my legs, which has finally been shown to have no connection to the surgery I had to remove a brain tumour over five years ago. He stood up; opened the door to his office and said "Cleverer people than I have not sorted out that one. Good day to you."

Enraged is the only word possible. My Civil Partner patiently pushed me in my wheelchair, through the building, out to the car.

I was not heard. I am disappearing.

With my defences gone, utterly, and no support at all from my GP, I have somehow to re-build myself from my roots.

I need your help to do that, Moodscopers. Please help. I can't do this alone.

Christine
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/hope-dashed

Monday, 24 April 2017

A Manifesto for a Life to the Full.

Movement, nutrition, reproduction, excretion, growth, respiration, sensitivity are the seven characteristics of a Living Organism. Using these seven characteristics, you can accelerate your journey towards more of a life of abundance in seven straightforward steps:

1. Make sure you're moving towards a specific and motivating destination. Have a compelling vision of the future that gives you hope and that has milestones that can be measured.

2. Be conscious of the nutritional choices you make. Is your soul-food as good as the decisions you make about eating healthy natural food? Where do you get your energy from? How could you get more energy? Do you have any energy-vampires that need to be excluded from your life? How about any mood-hoovers that you could switch off?

3. What are your unique gifts and talents that would benefit being installed in others? How could you reproduce these skills and abilities in others? What can you teach? Who wants to be taught it?

4. How good are you at dealing with the excretion of set-backs, waste, and disappointment? How could you become more resilient? What did you learn from your last set-back?

5. In which ways are you growing the most? In which areas would you like to grow the most? What's the first physical action step to get you on the path to growth? What stunts your growth?

6. Do you think you have achieved a good balance of give-and-take, of giving-and-receiving? This is respiration in Nature, and an important part of feeling truly alive. You must find a purpose to give yourself too, but you must also find the flow of resources to keep you being able to give.

7/ On a scale of 1-100, how sensitive would you rate yourself as when it comes to understanding yourself? How would you rate your understanding of others?

Improving the momentum of your movement towards what you want, increasing the energy you get into your life though the right 'nutrition', reproducing more of your excellence in your team, family, and community, learning to deal rapidly and effectively with set-backs, growing more sustainably and rapidly, taking your giving and receiving up a level, and becoming more accurately and acutely sensitive to yourself, those around you, and your environment - all these add up to living life more abundantly.

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/a-manifesto-for-a-life-to-the-full

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Gardeners World.

This time of year we have buds and the start of new beginnings, but like with most gardens, some work can be done in order to make space for the buds, the blossoms and new shoots.

Tend to your own internal garden. Weed out the unwanted old thoughts that hinder new growth.

Prune and revive the hardy areas that survive even in the harshest winters.

Plant new hopeful seeds of learning that can bare fruitful new ideas.

Nourish and replenish the soul-soil so that your blossoms bloom from within because the Spring in happiness begins from the inside...

It's nobody else's job but yours.

The trusty-yogi
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/gardeners-world

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Is your job worthwhile?

Many years ago when my children were school aged, I worked with children with disabilities at their school. People would often comment how patient I was, how they admired me for doing something worthwhile. I used to say that I was no saint. I did feel good that I was doing a job that was valued by others and seen as being worthwhile.

Ask people what they want in a job, and meaningfulness is often ranked  their number one priority — above promotions, income, job security, and hours.

Many people feel their jobs don't matter and don't have a lasting impact on others.
According to surveys, there are jobs that are highly meaningful to virtually anyone who holds them: eg. kindergarten teachers, surgeons, firefighters, ambulance workers, midwives, adult literacy teachers.

They all make an important difference in the lives of others. They hold a purpose for the people doing the jobs and for everyone else who admires what they do.

Fast forward to the last eleven years where I own and manage a book and gift store. I tell myself I am helping people with their reading, helping customers to buy quirky presents  but in reality in this consumer obsessed society I am asking to people to buy more things they want but don't need.

I used to feel a bit embarrassed when I told people what I did.

One day a friend told me she felt I was wonderful for running a small business when I had a mental illness and I would encourage and offer hope to other people.

Often the chance to help others can be what makes our work worthwhile. I had never viewed my work as encouraging others and offering hope.

I think if I see a value and a purpose in what I do, others will too.

What about you, do you value what you do whether paid or unpaid?

Do you look to others to find worth in what you do? Why?

Is it important that others see your work as being worthwhile? Why?

Does having a job that helps others seem more meaningful to you?

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-your-job-worthwhile

Friday, 21 April 2017

That Moment.

There's that moment, that split second, literally.

Split between one choice or the other. Act or don't act.

You know which the better choice for you is.
Don't press send. Don't make that call.
Don't react.
Don't put it into your shopping basket. Don't have that drink.
Don't eat that junk, but you make a choice.

To hell with it, boom, done. Too late now I've done it. Felt good. I "needed" that....Really?

It seems there's something about a "don't" that makes it hard to resist doing!

Of course I know that everything is not so simple!

At times though, you're there, suspended for a moment and it's possible to get in there.
You haven't done it yet. You haven't ruined anything, you still have a chance. You can still make the better choice. You don't HAVE to give in and do it.

Sometimes I say
"I can..." to myself instead of a "Don't...".

A simple example is hoarding. I've been in the habit of keeping even the smallest things, even if I have loads, because they're perfectly good. Saying "I can actually get rid of that!" leads to immediate positive action and is much more effective than "Don't keep that" or "I don't need to keep that. Which just throws up questions and excuses!

When I make a choice that is good for me, wow! Does that feel great! I feel lifted, self respected. I CAN change the course of things sometimes, if I get in there and press pause.
If I listened to my true self each time, which would I choose?

Last night I switched the movie off and went to bed. Sounds small, but it felt like a first.

Have you found yourself in that moment and surprised yourself? Or maybe not yet?

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/that-moment

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Hello gorgeous.

He made it through.

He has shivered in the cold. He has been battered by harsh winds. He has held my gaze throughout and told me we were in it together.

This winter has been more gentle on me than any before and, although I have had a few harsh bumps lately, I have been rewarded by knowing it has been different. I'd hate to add up how many years depression has been snapping at me but I take great inspiration from small changes. The possibility brings possibility!

My beautiful friend the tree who never moves from my side, and often sits with me as I eat breakfast, is growing again. Spring has winked at him. He is putting on tiny undergarments of green. He remains a very large half a tree, having only grown on one side, but each year he develops a little more and I wonder if one day his half-ness will be unrecognisable?

He's back. And his courage, his strength, his solidity, his beauty and his charm has won me over all over again. I swoon into his shadow and I bat my eyelashes as cartoon love hearts pour from my eyes towards him. Ah he is my prince!

Love from

The room above the garage with a beating heart.
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/hello-gorgeous

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Alternative Reality.

Imaginary Friend.

My imaginary friend
has an imaginary friend
whose imaginary friend
isn't real.

That imaginary friend
has an imaginary friend
whose imaginary friend
is me.

Suzanne Elvidge 1997

"You realise, Mummy," said my elder daughter, in scathing tones, "there comes an age at which most people grow out of having imaginary friends. That age is about eight."

My second daughter would never say that; my second daughter understands.

It sometimes seems as if there are two definite sides of our family, with a deep chasm between us. On one side my husband and elder daughter, on the other side, my younger daughter and me. They are doers, achievers, organisers and "people-people". My second daughter and I are the dreamers.

It's rare we take time to talk. Even when my husband and number one are away sailing and it is just she and I alone, we don't talk much. We "hang out" together, which mostly means we are in our separate rooms, doing our own separate creative activities and each allowing the other space to do so. We have a lovely time together apart. But we don't tend to talk.

Last night, however, coming back from an Easter weekend at the coast, with just her and me and the guinea-pigs in the car, while Daddy and number one came on later with the trailer full of boats, we did talk.

She started by telling me about the detention she got (for not paying attention in class). She enjoyed it. "You have to sit in the English classroom so you're inside in the warm with no beef and banter (gossip and bitchiness) to deal with. And you can't look at anyone and you just sit there in silence for half an hour. It's lovely. I just go into a world inside my head. I wish I could have detention every day, but without having to get into trouble."

She paused. "Mummy, when you were my age, did you have worlds inside your head?"

Well, of course I did. Many creative people do. In my favourite world, I was a flying princess with lots of horses. I still have worlds inside my head, but now I write books about them. I still have the horses, though.

Our imaginary worlds are far more than daydreams. Our worlds are fully developed. They have their own immutable laws; they are populated and, while nominally under our control, they develop lives of their own.

I do not think these worlds are the property of writers only, but they are not given to everyone. If you have one (or many), please treasure it, spend time in it and tend to it.

The "real" world demands our attention of course: our bodies require housing and feeding; our relationships with "real" people require maintenance; but the worlds inside our heads are essential to our mental health. They are our solace and our escape.

And who is to say which is the real world and which imaginary?

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/alternative-reality

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Harry - Thank you!

I think we need to give some attention to this.

Prince Harry decided to give an insight into his past problems dealing with the death of his mother, in the hope it will encourage people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

He did a great interview with Bryony Gordon who has suffered with bulimia and OCD. You may have seen it but if not: https://bryonysmadworld.telegraph.co.uk/e/mad-world-prince-harry/

It's brilliant he has talked about his issues because it's just elevated mental health problems by a million miles!

I do wish we had a royal advocate to bring some attention to the good Moodscope has done over the last 10 years, but we don't. So we must support everyone who does bring mental health problems to the fore.

Bryony Gordon is running the Virgin London Marathon run in aid of the Heads Together campaign - spearheaded by Prince William, The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Perhaps you could sponsor her: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BryonyGordon

Thank you.

In the meantime, I'd be really interested in what you thought of Harry's interview?.

Caroline
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/harry-thank-you