Friday, 21 July 2017

The title is a Woody Allen quote.

So, Brains - Here's what I know about Brains:

1)  Brains love patterns. "Oooh, that's familiar," thinks Brain. "I know how to make things easier for myself - I will learn this pattern and repeat it at every opportunity."   Very useful when you are learning to drive. Not so useful if you want to NOT be depressed.  I, for example, have a habit of feeling sorry for myself, seeing myself as a victim. This validates my depression ("Oh poor me, my life is so hard, no wonder I feel depressed") thereby giving myself permission to keep on being depressed... Pretty dumb, eh? Brain doesn't think so - Brain thinks it's the smart, helpful thing to do...

2)  It's not just patterns and habits that Brain is good at. It's good at SPOTTING things too. Good if you are a hunter-gatherer and want to see all the small red berries on the bush; less helpful if you wake up and think, "Hmmm, how do I feel today?  I ache; I'm dizzy; nauseous; exhausted; feel really low..." Brain is good at spotting all those things. Try this: Ask Brain to look out for all the people wearing blue tops and suddenly, my goodness, nearly everybody seems to be wearing a blue top. What you focus on, you will see lots of - that is the power of Brain!

3)  Telling Brain NOT to think about something, means that Brain will be constantly thinking about it. We all know that feeling. The more we say "I will NOT think about...", the more we think about it. Which, of course, also feeds into the patterns mentioned in point 1 and the 'spotting all the bad things' in point 2.

So are we all doomed to repetitive, negative thoughts? NO!

Firstly, I have come to accept that the state of the inside of my head is MY responsibility. I can rant and rail and blame the Fates, the Government, my ex, the weather... but ultimately the only person choosing what I am thinking about is me.

If I want to experience periods of contentment, I have to prepare the ground for that. I have to recognise the patterns Brain tries to make me follow and shout "STOP!" I have to think about GOOD stuff, because then Brain gets good at spotting it and does it as a pattern.

Unlike Woody Allen, my Brain is actually my FAVOURITE organ. I know three things about the Brain. Remember those things. Apply them to your life - reject the patterns that are not helpful; look for the Good (it's everywhere once you start looking); don't say "Don't...." (ha ha) just notice all the good things, fill your Brain with them. And then keep at it...

At first my depression was a black, cold prison made of rough, grey breeze blocks; no windows, no doors; totally dark in there. "Looking for the good" created a tiny chink of light. With persistence that chink grew to be a crack, and recently several bricks actually fell out and I have a glimpse of freedom! (It's very colourful and light out there!)

I am not belittling the seriousness or severity of our various states of mental health, nor am I denying the impact that they have on our lives, I am just offering something to the Moodscope community that has helped me. Please try it and see. Look around you now - what can you see, taste, smell, hear, feel or even just remember that is GOOD?

Marmalade Girl
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/my-brain-its-my-second-favorite-organ

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Never alone.

This is my first attempt at writing. I've always wanted to but never had the courage. So here goes...

I'm actually a qualified therapist. I've been following Moodscope for some time, partly for professional reasons, and also for personal support. I particularly enjoy reading other people's blogs – the thoughts, perceptions and struggles are so amazingly unique and yet so common to many. I find the creative words, articles and insights a real encouragement and inspiration.

Recently I've felt overwhelmed – some issues in life have felt like huge injustices, in worldly terms, and also in personal terms, and in facing my responses to these, I've hit a real low.

I've had to face my own feelings head on – why do I struggle so much with being heard, with having a voice, with feelings of 'What's the point' and of feeling so alone? One evening, I even felt like I wanted to die. No, I wasn't really wanting to die; I just wanted the internal struggle with myself and my feelings to end – they just felt too overwhelming. I had nothing left and I felt so useless and empty.

All I could do that evening was cry. My loving husband so kindly just held me. I had no words.

I shared honestly the next day with my supervisor about where I was at, and she empathically shared how it felt like chunks were being taken out of me in some way. I broke and cried deeply again. I felt heard, emotionally held and understood, and this in turn helped to lift my mood and my heart. I've since gathered my thoughts and decided I will give myself some time to tend to my heart, put in some healthier boundaries, respect myself more, and hold my head up high. Life will go on. All will be well.

I'm being very brave in sharing this – firstly, because I struggle so much to speak up and speak out, and secondly, because as a therapist, maybe I shouldn't feel like this and expose my struggle so publicly.

However, I do this to give myself an opportunity to share my voice, to be heard in (what I perceive to be) a supportive community, and to show that therapists are human too. We all struggle with different things at different times of life.

What I love about Moodscope is - it's 'Ok' to be real and it's ok to be honest. And there are others that care. It's comforting to know that I am never alone.

Thank you for all being there.

Maggie Jane
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/never-alone

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Just Like Herding Cats

[To hear an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2u5vew4]

There is a wonderful advertisement that can be found on Youtube, http://bit.ly/2usTpVI featuring a team of cowboys (or possibly catboys) driving a herd of cats across the American Plains. Of course, it's ridiculous and amusing, but the more times you watch it, the more you admire the people who put it together. There is the sneezing catboy with the allergies, the one rerolling a large ball of yarn, the one with a lint roller...

It has been a bit like that for my daughter as she (and her long-suffering father) attempt to organise fifty (no – forty-eight, make that fifty-one, fifty-three – no, we're back at forty-nine) sailing cadets for a week into twenty-five or so yachts and dinghies ensuring each boat has a competent helm and nobody sails too many times with someone they detest.

You may remember that she is the cadet commodore for the yacht club, and organising the activity week for the cadets is her primary duty for the year. It's quite a task for a fifteen-year-old.

The cadets range in age from suspiciously small "eight-year olds" to the hulking sixteen year olds who are more interested in looking cool than in helping the littlies. The sailing craft range from an Oyster Smack which could take almost any number of cadets to the little Toppers which are single-handed dinghies.

Then there are the adults.

There must be sufficient safety boats to ensure all sailing cadets are looked after. The owners of the yachts who have kindly volunteered their craft and sailing expertise for the week must be managed and mollified and made to feel appreciated. The mothers of the cadets must be made to feel useful.

Because everyone "just wants to help" and it's driving my poor daughter to screaming point. They all want to help in their own way, doing things they think need doing in the way they think things should be done. She's organised it already and they are disrupting it all!

Herding cats would be easier. But she's learning the subtle art of delegation. And stress-management.

I will have this to a lesser extent. I am merely feeding the eleven cadets who are on our side of the river. I have sorted out a menu, created a shopping list and budget and I will know exactly what to do and at what time to have a hot meal on the table at exactly five o'clock each day, so they can eat, turn around and head back over the river for the evening activities.

But I know I will be inundated with offers of "help". Because people like to help. People like to feel useful.

So, rather than growl at them to go away and let me get on with it, I am thinking up tasks which can be usefully delegated. I can ask my "helpers" to prepare salads, to peel potatoes, to roll seventy-two meatballs.

I am trying to decide if it's fair to ask them to peel onions.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-down-side-of-the-high-side

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

When is a house a home?



Our children were born in this house – we would probably be there still, but it's under the M25.

In 2003 (in UK) I wrote an article entitled 'Home, Sweet Home' in response to an excellent sermon given by our priest, a New Zealander.

We were about to leave our country of birth, England, our country of adoption, France, to go to a country of poverty and much homelessness, India.

A daughter was in Qatar, among strangers, at some danger then. Another son and family lived in Australia. So where IS the gathering place for our family? Has to be the one with the biggest house in reasonably easy reach of road, boat or plane.

Many emigrants to the Antipodes talked of going 'home' to the UK, even second generations born there. My mother used to talk of dying as 'going home', and one's final resting place is subject to much debate.

Our roots are well spread; we are not a family with a claim to fame, so that our graves would not be visited by strangers. By common consent in the family the parish where we were married, five children baptised, one daughter married, and where my mother lies under an ancient oak seemed the likeliest place, so we are 'booked in' via a faculty from the diocese.

But as people are more mobile, and live longer, to get ourselves carted expensively from one country to another to be buried next to Mum is not really practical. Lots of ex-pats are cremated then their ashes returned to whatever passes as the family plot, or where they were born. But we don't like cremation. Morbid thoughts, maybe, but like wills somebody has to do them so not to leave a mess.

In England, sadly, because of wild property fluctuations, a 'home' is less a centre of family love and comfort than a way of making money. In the sermon our priest said his reminder of home was people and atmosphere. To me, it is warmth, a beautiful cat, loads of books, and an ever open door to friends and strangers alike. The French call it 'a corner to cry in'.

How do YOU see 'home'?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/when-is-a-house-a-home

Monday, 17 July 2017

What If Life Was A Computer Game?

Fret not if you're not into computer games! I've only dabbled at a distance myself but I get the whole 'Levels' thing – the need to see if you can beat your personal best time after time. It can be utterly compelling... almost addictive!

I once introduced the New Age Guru, Deepak Chopra, at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's conference. He made us all laugh with a post-lunch witticism. His quip was, "Good afternoon, and, for those of you who believe in reincarnation, welcome back!"

Whilst I don't believe in reincarnation, I love the idea of it. The chance to learn, and grow, and evolve over multiple lifetimes. A longer time-frame to get it right.

Personally, I find Life far too complicated. Sometimes, I just have to simplify the way I approach it.

With this in mind, I applied the 'Levels' concept to the skill levels I wanted to master before moving on to a higher stage in my life. This gives me focus.

As soon as I thought about it like a computer game, with levels ascending to completion, the first three levels became clear. I want to begin with mastering hope, then faith, and then love.

Hope, because it gives us a bright future – something to move towards. There have been many times in my life when I felt devoid of hope. I never want to go there again! To begin with, then, I focus on creating a positive vision of the future – every day. And, if I can instil this in others too, I would consider that as completing that level, allowing me to move up to Level 2!

Level 2 is to do with belief in myself, in the best in others, and in a friendly and abundant Universe. That's a tough level!

Level 3 is to move only in love – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

I'm still on Level 1!

Now, over to you. What levels would you like to master in your own life?

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/what-if-life-was-a-computer-game

Sunday, 16 July 2017

What colour are you?

I am blue. Blue is often used to describe mood. The implication is that you feel low and despondent. (I have felt like that recently).

I am a navy blue, which is what a British navy officer's uniform would be. French navy is a different shade of blue. It isn't a wispy-washy faded blue, but darker. Sometimes the sea is this colour, a rich, dark hue.

The pop-group, The Moody Blues, used the colour to give an impression of the moody music they created. A classification of popular music is The Blues, a type of jazz-rock?

Navy blue eyes are rarely spoken of, but perhaps it denotes a deep blue colour, which could turn grey under certain mood changes.

I am contented to have been made this deep, rich blue. Contentment and self-acceptance go together. I am always aiming at the latter as it is a good springing-board towards energy and growth.

I am already beginning to feel the upsurge of energy as I reflect on these thoughts.

Zareen
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/what-colour-are-you

Friday, 14 July 2017

Masterpiece in Progress:




What do you see in this painting? A woman half finished or half complete?

Her hair shiny and curling around her nearly complete face. Pretty features in contrast with her blurred eye. The bodice of her dress sculpted around her body, highlights her unfinished arms behind her back.

With no art expertise, but, perhaps Dali was meant to leave this painting unfinished?

It's a fine example how masterpiece and work in progress can exist simultaneously. It doesn't matter that this was once a blank canvas or how this painting was first thought of or started. It's past is of no consequence to what we see now. Dali is long gone, this work will never be completed and does it matter? Right now the incompleteness is just as beautiful and relevant as the areas that we see painted.

Life might feel incomplete sometimes and that we have our hands tied behind our back. That we still have a lot of work to do and things to achieve before we feel whole.

But before the judgement and critique, take a step back and look. Observe the muse you see: that was, that is and that will be all at the same time. See the beauty in your own defined areas of experience and appreciate the mystery and wonder of the areas that are less clear. Each influence and inform one another and work together to create your whole picture.

Accept and embrace your own knowing and unknown because nobody is the finished article until they leave this earth. Seal off the cynicism of the outside world that defines time and ideas of when and how life should happen.

If Dali succumbed to outside pressures we'd be looking at a different painting, perhaps a far less interesting one.

You are your own creator and artist. The masterpiece is you and where you are now, this minute, this hour, this day. We are all works in progress and masterpiece at the same time. Even our undiscovered, undefined areas matter because they contribute to the intrigue to the creation that is you.

Choose tools and brushstrokes carefully. Step back and observe the whole of you. Note how to develop and change the technique if the desired tools and effect are not working. Persevere and progress with the masterpiece because it is not finished, until the final brush stroke.

The trusty-yogi
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/masterpiece-in-progress

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Rumination.

My favourite thing - ruminating. Did I say the right thing? Did I say the wrong thing? Was that person a bit 'off' with me today? Does that other person not care about me anymore? Do people like me? Or maybe they just tolerate me? Why hasn't he/she texted me back? Have I upset them? Should I have done this? Should I have done that? Blah blah blah my mind goes, all day long...

Stop! Enough already!

I read somewhere that 'We should try to wear the world as a loose cloak.' I'm not sure where I read this, or who penned it first, but I like this quote. I try very hard sometimes to visualise a colourful cloak billowing behind me. It works for a very short while then the anxiety, worry and yes, rumination, all come flooding back. At this point I feel safer donning Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility.

Around 99 per cent of what I worry about never happens and is purely in my imagination. So how do I stop? Do you ruminate often? How will you stop yourself from ruminating today?

Jane SG
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/rumination

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Do it Your Way.

I have heard, from some source or another, that Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" is the most popular choice of song for funerals; especially those funerals not held in church. Apparently, it beats, by a short head, Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

But this is not a blog about funerals, but about life and how to make it better.

We were all sitting around the table, as we do every first Wednesday of the month; the bipolar group to which I belong.

We had just finished a spirited discussion on medication. As most of us hold to the opinion that bipolar disorder is a physical condition with mental symptoms, most of us are on medication of one sort or another.

"But we cannot rely just on medication, can we?" said the leader of our group, in his velvety and deliciously accented voice (I could listen to that man talk all day, I tell you). "What do we do on those days when we wake up but do not want to get up and face the day? What do we do to help us stay healthy?"

Of course, there were as many answers as folk around the table, multiplied many times. Some of our answers were duplicated and no doubt we just touched the tip of the possible answers out there.

"I write a list," said Shelley. "When I've done anything – even just had a shower – I tick it off my list, and draw little flowers around it. That makes me feel I have achieved something."

"I go out into the garden," said Peter. "I walk round and see what's growing. I do some weeding and make it tidy. That makes me feel better."

"I sing," said Lynne. "I sing with a choir when I am well enough. But when I am not well enough to go and join my choir, then I sing in my living room. I turn the music up loud and I dance and I sing – and to hell with the neighbours!"

"I like my 80's rock music," said Ash, in that voice. "The louder the better."

"And Wagner for me," I said, in my turn. "I agree, loud is good."

"I paint."

"I make birdboxes in my shed."

"I write."

"I go for long walks, whatever the weather."

What was clear is that there is no one size fits all method of coping with the black dog. Each of us responds differently to his presence and each of us has a different method of coping. But each of us gained much from listening to the ideas of others.

So, my invitation to you today, is please, even if you do not normally comment, click through with your suggestions or experiences. What works for you, if anything? Because sometimes we know it gets so bad that all you can do is to hang on.

But if you can water your hanging baskets while there, that's great.

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/do-it-your-way

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Self harm.

I have been a member of Moodscope for a while and have found some comfort in accessing this website.

Today I stretch out for more comfort, please can I have a double dose.

I am a parent (mother) to a young man (19 yrs old), who is a severe self harmer. Severe is putting it politely.

He has been in a secure hospital for a number of years and I have lost count of the amount of hospital admissions and operations he has had.

As a parent, thinking you are going to have to say good bye to your beautiful and troubled son is in describable. I thought the first time would be the worst but I was proved wrong. Every time is a trauma.

I now sit here as he is waiting for news of another operation - he has damaged his arm so badly that he has lost use of it and they are deciding whether to operate to repair it or remove the arm - a trauma in itself.

I do not want sympathy but I do need wise words to try and work through the above and continue to be the mum I am.

I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor but today a struggling one.


Michelle x
A Moodscope user.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/self-harm

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Wizard of Time.

In my forthcoming Time Management workshops, I can safely predict that participants will express a desire to:

· 'make more time'

· 'find more time' and

· 'get more time'

I used to make the mistake of correcting these as what I saw as misunderstanding of the nature of Time. I'd gently tease, "What, are you a Wizard? Can you create or make Time?" – in a good-humoured way, of course!

Then I'd look under the tables and chairs and explain that I was trying to find more time.  On a good day, the attendees would laugh.

I suppose I could have opened my prop – a Pirate's Chest – and pretended to get more time out of it too – for Time really is one of the greatest treasures.

My point, even though it was in error, is that we could only 'Take Time' – by planning in advance and 'taking time aside' dedicated to what we wanted to achieve.

As with so many matters, I now have to eat humble pie and admit I'm wrong. You can make more time, you can find more time, and you can get more time – if you become a Wizard.

Today's blog is about sharing magic and becoming magicians and wizards together because I know that I know that I know that you have a ton of time-saving tips you've learned the hard way over the years. This is my invitation to share them!

Time is this wonderfully fair resource. The richest person on Earth has 168 hours a week to enjoy and the poorest person on Earth equally has 168 hours to invest. Time is no respecter of persons. The difference that makes a difference is our choices.

Wendy Cope captured this in her wonderfully perceptive poem: "Bloody Men!"

[http://bit.ly/2tXYm8K]

This means that making time, finding time, and getting more time comes down to decisions on what to do with our time – how to spend it – which bus to catch.

To open the time of sharing, these are the time-saving techniques I've applied over the years – techniques that have given me more time to spend on other activities.

1) Develop memory skills – so that I don't waste time looking for stuff, or letting people down forgetting things.

2) Learn to touch-type – this has changed the speed at which I can capture, edit, and the disseminate my thoughts with my friends like you!

3) Master Mind Mapping – those strange spider diagrams invented by Tony Buzan. I found that learning to structure my thinking with a Mind Map saved me so much time and stress that I almost bought the company (I became one of their trainers).

4) Get comfortable with saying, "No!" because saying, "Yes!" to anything really means saying, "No!" to something else – simply because there isn't enough time to do everything.

Would you share your tips and techniques too?  I'd like to find, save, make, and get more time, and I hope you'll help!

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/the-wizard-of-time

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Through the glass.

Here I am swimming round and round, watching all the swirly green and pink stuff in my bowl swish by.

Eyes popping, orange tail speeding me along as I hustle and bustle for some attention and flakes of fine food that occasionally gets sprinkled into the water, swirling like sun kissed jewels in the shaft of sunlight that lights up some of the dark waters I live in.

It is these specks of light that I swim towards, the delight and luxury of being bathed in the warmth and light that slants dancing in a beam and brightens my mood, on days like this I could swim for miles, do a sassy little dance in front of the He fish and never want for much more.

But then there are the dark days the days that the sun does not shine, the days when swimming is a necessity as is the constant search for food that often I let slip past me and sink to the bottom of the tank unwanted.

My orange tail is slower on these days, life is aimless and my head is full of listlessness and my large eyes can barely look out of the glass walls at the world outside.

Occasionally some child will tap on the glass and point squealing with delight at the sight of me and my fish friends all caught, wide eyed in the loneliness of our existence.
The mother will often tell them not to tap on the glass as it will scare us, so then they press their chubby cheeks hard to the glass instead and stare and stare quite rudely.

If only they knew that once they have turned away from the glass they will take steps from their childhood and their lives will change as they grow and become nothing more than fish in a sea of the busy world, sometimes happy in their beams of warm light and sometimes alone in the darkness of it all.

It's so very hard to keep swimming sometimes.

Wouldn't it just be so much easier to not?

But then just as I am prepared to let go and stop this endless circling, breathe out my last bubbles and sink to the bottom of the gloom, I see a small beam of sunshine begin to filter in the water ahead, it gets brighter and there are the diamonds once more floating down the now bright yellow beam, I long to feel once more the warmth and bathe in the light.

With one great swish of orange I surge towards it eyes full of fishy tears.

Jayne
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/through-the-glass

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Holiday dilemma.

I opened my U3A (University of The Third Age) Newsletter, perused it, and found out that the group I used to go to was restarting. The tutor, it said, had had some health issues, but with the help of members of the group, it could run again.

I was cheered by this as it is fun, thought-provoking and educative. Three of the elements I hold dear. I seem to need this stimulation for optimum mental health, as well as the easy sociability that comes with being part of a group that has the same interest.

We recently returned from a three week holiday, and I wasn't thrilled either to be away, or with the destination. Which was odd, as many people would have jumped at the opportunity: "How fortunate you are. Three whole weeks!"

But, for me, it lacked interest. Yes, the weather was nice. Yes, it was relaxing. Yes, the people we knew from previous stays there were friendly and eager to meet. But I just couldn't work up enthusiasm and became stultified. I didn't know how to fill the yawning gap of the afternoon after breakfast, shopping at the market and lunch were over. I took to reading, but fell asleep over my book. Falling asleep after a good night's sleep? Surely I didn't need the extra hour? And I felt guilty, because this holiday was costing us good money!

It is only since getting home that I've put two and two together, and identified that these were not my ideal conditions (though my husband has no such qualms, he loves doing nothing on holiday.) So it is a dichotomy. Who to please?

Do you ever have this problem with a holiday?

What are the key ingredients for a successful trip where you are concerned?

I recognise that the break HAS done me good, but would've liked to have enjoyed it more while I was there!

I would be interested to hear how others feel about holidays.

Sally
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/holiday-dilemma

Friday, 7 July 2017

My blog.

If I could change one thing about myself what would it be?

I am only allowed one thing. That would be impossible as there is so much I want to change. How do you choose just one single thing? Do I select something easy and physical and say I want to be taller or thinner - no that would sound so superficial and I think I am so deep and meaningful.

Do I choose one of my annoying behaviours, the way I sometimes pick at my food, eat with my fingers, leave a lot of water on the floor after my shower or not close the fridge properly. Changing all those behaviours would make my partner happy, but I am not sure they are worthy of my one chance to change myself.

What do I want to change and why do I think I should change because people have told me I should improve some aspect of my personality?

So, Leah just pick one thing. It is not that hard I told myself.

I would like to change my indecisive nature. As you can see I find it hard to answer a simple question. When I am depressed, deciding is nearly impossible for me - I would like to be a decisive person who can make important and unimportant decisions by weighing up the pros and cons and then making up a decision. Also, I don't want to feel guilty later. Is that more than one thing?

Now your turn to answer.

If I could change one thing about myself what would it be?

Or complete 'I wouldn't change a thing about myself because...

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/my-blog

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Time is the key.

"Everything happens for a reason." Does it? I noted someone mentioning that in a response a few weeks ago, it prickled my skin and then a week or so ago the thought for the day on the bottom of the email was "Someday, everything will make perfect sense so for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason."

I riled, if everything happens for a reason why did my father in law and then dad die in such horrible ways, why did the recent terrorist attacks and fire devastate our country?

My current view is that there is no reason, things just happen, there are no fates pulling the strings to lead us upon a predestined path. We have to deal with life as it unfolds and there is no reason behind it or ahead.

I have previously thought that when folks used that expression it indicated that although something awful had happened something good would come of it. I suppose that the recent outpouring of love and kindness is a result of the attacks and fire. Does that justify the events? Not at all, but at least there is some positive in the aftermath from a distance. I can't imagine though that the families who lost their loved ones will feel much comfort or understand the reason.

I certainly don't get that there can be a positive reason going forward from my dad's suffering, it was an awful 3 months and a similarly awful death.

After a bit of time I realise that the reason may pertain to the past rather than the future, both my dad and my father in law might have died because of choices they made or health status. The terrorists acted because of their beliefs. The fire... well... Are those the reasons? Maybe? I don't like it but I accept this past reasoning much more than my former understanding of an implied future.

I am pleased to have spent the time thinking through these various possibilities, I still hold with my view, but maybe I understand other views a little more?

Have you come to appreciate something differently with a little time? What do you think of reasons?

Eva
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/time-is-the-key

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

That Which Hurts Us Most.

[To hear an audio version of this blog, please follow this link: http://bit.ly/2tdjCqb]

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"

Yes, that's what my mother always told me to say to the playground bullies at school. But it never worked, did it? Because it is words which hurt us most.

Several years later, one of my A level exam questions was, "The pen is mightier than the sword: discuss."  Well, you try bringing a pen to a swordfight and see who comes off worst; but that wasn't what they meant. The words of one man can move a whole culture more powerfully than can the swords of ten thousand men. Why else would dictators imprison their dissident writers?

Our bodies will heal from most wounds inflicted in the playground; a blackened eye, a blooded nose, maybe. But the words: oh, those words echo down the years and ricochet round my head even now. The wounds from words can fester forever.

For words to hurt us, they need to have some basis in truth – or at least the truth as we see it. And, context is all. If someone were to laugh at me for being too skinny, or too tall, or too young – then those insults could not reach me, as a five foot and one inch middle-aged woman carrying thirty pounds more than her maximum healthy weight. But imagine if we lived in a society where the ideal height was 36 inches, the ideal shape was spherical, and the accepted age of maturity was 150. Then, those words might very well hurt, as they would point out my inadequacies. They would sting as being the truth, just as "Short, fat and frumpy," might sting now.

I was once turned down for a job. I was well qualified for the job, had the right experience and had prepared for the interview. I was turned down because the directors thought I was "too boring." When I tell you the position was that of accountant; deputy finance director, in fact – hey, are you laughing?

I was not hurt by that judgement, but flummoxed. I had many faults as an accountant (not being very good at accountancy was the least of them), but the one thing I certainly wasn't, was boring! Those directors had not seen me correctly at all! When I learnt from an image consultant how to dress and present myself authentically, I could see just how I had unintentionally disguised myself as a nonentity. I'm an image consultant myself now – and definitely not boring!

I don't know how to make hurtful words sting less. I can't advise you on how to heal the wounds they leave. What I can say is – that if you take an emotional step back, and analyse those words, you can then dissect them, examine them and judge which parts are the "truth" that stings. If you then start to play with the context, you might even find yourself laughing. And laughter is always good medicine.

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/that-which-hurts-us-most


Moving on.

When I wrote my last blog ("Letter to my alcoholic sister" Friday 28th April) I was in despair about how to deal with my alcoholic sister; I felt trapped by the strength of my emotions and by how often I seemed to go round and round in the same circles, unable to break free from the worry and from responding to her manipulating behaviour.

Over 30 people took the time to reply, lots of you in detail with some very practical suggestions; some of you sharing your incredibly painful experiences. I was overwhelmed by the amazing support you offered to me when I was particularly low.

I want you all to know how much your advice and sympathy helped me... in the weeks since then, every time I have felt the despair start to descend, I have revisited the blog and taken up one of the many suggestions you offered. I have drawn strength from those of you who shared painful memories. I have a strategically placed post-it note with "33" on it – the number of you who responded – which I look at when I feel the familiar anguish approaching.

Three weeks ago my sister rang me; I succeeded in not rising to her jibes; I managed to remain calm throughout the conversation; I let her words wash over me and evaporate; I came off the phone feeling numb... and a bit relieved that she hadn't provoked the anger she used to do.

The next day I surprised myself, standing in the kitchen I suddenly said, out loud "I owe Nicky nothing"; I repeated it, and then added "If anything she owes me, us, big time".  This is a HUGE breakthrough for me, after years and years – words cannot express how much I now find myself able to detach from the emotions which would previously have worn me down.

Lovely Moodscopers, from the bottom of my heart, thank-you for helping me reach this amazing milestone. I truly believe I would still be going round in circles if it hadn't been for your magnificent response. I know that there will probably still be times when I despair and grieve for Nicky. The difference is that, thanks to you, I now have the support and the wisdom from your responses which I can revisit when the need arises.

I feel I have been blessed by having this "eureka" moment – however  breakthrough can come about more quietly; we can be so wrapped up in the painful present that we fail to look back at the progress we have made. So, today I invite you to look back and celebrate the progress you have made, however small it may feel; I would love to hear your "breakthrough" stories.

Frankie
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/moving-on

Monday, 3 July 2017

Happeness.

One of the routes to happiness is to enjoy 'happeness' - to find reasons to be cheerful in the moment. No huge long-term commitment is necessary, just a sense of 'looking for the good' at this point, right now. 'Happeness', then, is my word for 'Happiness-as-it-happens'.

Why is this important? It seems generations have been searching for 'Happiness' – an oasis of bliss in the desert that Life can sometimes be. When asked, "Are you 'Happy'?" most of us have to honestly declare, "No!" because we are not – not if Happiness is an enduring state of mind, the place where we permanently dwell.

'Happiness' is a verb that's been turned into a noun. My hairline has receded. That didn't happen overnight – it was a long process. 'Recession' is a similar noun – the result of the process of receding. 'Happiness' would seem to be the process of being 'Happy' over a period of time. 'Happiness' doesn't happen overnight either. Like recession, perhaps we can reach happeness one hair at a time! The equivalent of each hair would be one, single experience of 'Happeness'. Even when Life isn't pleasant, I still find those moments of Happeness: the Oak seedling in the middle of the lawn that I dug up to nurture, the Clematis seed head dripping with rain drops like jewels, the breath-taking beauty of the Cirrus clouds, the warm, chocolatey resonance of Mickey – the Cat's purr, the scent of fresh Coffee, the joy of sharpening my pencil...

Here's how the new word happened... I was on my way to see my lads on Father's Day. It was rather busy on the roads, and I was making slow progress. The weather was gorgeous weather. Mentally, I was in a good place, ready for some fresh revelation.

A real 'Aha!' moment happened (!) concerning transforming 'happiness' by changing just one letter - from 'happiness' to 'happeness'. I realised how one of the pathways to happiness is to realise how we can cherish the moment.

It was Father's Day. I'd got some moments ahead of me to cherish. I was reflecting on how a lot of people are oppressed by regrets from the past, or perhaps fears of unfulfilled hopes for the future, whereas, 'now' is the moment in which we live and move and have our being! This is where it happens. Thus, I think that 'happeness' may be one of the pathways to happiness - to enjoy this moment now. Happen, happy, happenstance... a family of words.

I have many reasons to regret the past, and huge fears for the future but neither of these serve me very well. I need a new strategy, a new pattern of thinking.

There I was, sitting in very, very busy traffic, on a very, very hot day... happy! Other drivers, stuck in the same traffic, did not look happy! I was happy because I'd brought with me great stuff to listen to. I was stuck in traffic - utterly inspired! - utterly happy!

There it was and is then: Happeness - one of the pathways to happiness – a way to enjoy the journey. Whatever you are doing today, I wish you safe journeys, great happiness, and, above all, great happeness.

And if you think it would be helpful, here's the video of that moment!
http://bit.ly/2urfAsf

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/happeness

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Teddy Bear Therapy.

On a recent morning, as I arrived in St Pancras International station for another working day, I made a spot purchase. I bought a teddy bear. I didn't buy him for my 12 year old daughter who is mad about all things soft, cute and cuddly. I bought it (him actually) for myself. Why? Because I felt really low and I needed cheering up. I also love Teddy Bears.

My next stop was the chemist. The cashier picked up the teddy bear in delight and exclaimed, with a beaming smile, how cute he was. I mentioned that I had to name him to which she promptly replied 'Geoffrey' or how about 'Sam?' So I named him Geoffrey Sam.

What a day of mixed reactions Geoffrey Sam received. Sly looks from commuters on London Transport. Fun exchanges with internal work colleagues. Curiosity from external work colleagues (yes I did take him to an external meeting and sit him on the table), and disapproval from my line manager! Needless to say I went home that evening feeling both immensely more cheerful and quite fascinated by the range of reactions. Geoffrey Sam had done his job!

Do you ever dare to step out of the 'norm'? Have you done quirky things to try and brighten your day? I would love to hear your stories. Many of my colleagues tell me that I'm 'crazy' when I step out of the 'norm.' Guess what, that's fine by me!

Jane SG
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/teddy-bear-therapy

Saturday, 1 July 2017

'Milestone' birthdays, fete or forget?

This year our 2nd son is 60, our 5th 'child' is 50. Last year our 1st son was 60, his son was 30, my brother-in-law 90, and we celebrated all of them. We never lack an excuse for a party.

I was recently thinking of 'Life begins at 40' (a 1932 book on 'Self-Help'), more realistically Daily Telegraph research shows 'The fourth decade heralds the beginning of the end' (very cheering). Then you have the 'Seven Ages of Man', apparently from Jacques, in Shakespeare 'As you like it' who was 'Jaded, cynical and melancholy'.

So, in my 9th decade, have all milestones been notable? Well, you decide. 10 years old we had bonfires to celebrate end of WW2, and I started grammar school (scary) and got used to flashers on the bicycle route! At 21, I already had a child, and was interviewing our first employee. The phone went, I handed him the child. Plaintive cry 'Your boy's being sick over me'. We're still friends.

The decade 35 to 45 is 'lost'; five children, three house moves, and manic depressive – hospitals, scared of going mad, endless changes of drug, two operations  – how we all stuck together through that lot beats me.

But, at 40, I had my first article published and paid for! A real milestone, given what it lead to. At 50, I went to University (the decision was made when very drunk, never regretted). At 60, real life change – living in France, and a writer, researcher and historian. 70 – Lovely clothes (see blog on 'Target') and dancing in the fountains in Paris.

Then, this decade - biggest challenge of all. Leaving our lovely historic house and converting an old shop to provide an 'ambience' which would please me aesthetically and deal with the practical needs of a very sick husband.

Among our pictures is the 100th birthday of my mother-in-law with a telegram from the Queen. I don't think I'll aspire to that – I think her purse won't stretch to all the centenarians. Should she still be alive, she'll be 109, not impossible and poor Prince Charles 87!

So are your 'milestones' joyous, tinged with sadness, or a complete blur?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/milestone-birthdays-fete-or-forget