Tag Archive | Moodscope

Uncharted territory indeed

My readers will be aware that I use the online do-it-yourself mood monitoring tool Moodscope which I find invaluable in helping manage my mood swings and lifestyle.  Another welcome feature for subscribers to Moodscope is the daily inspiring email from Jon (Cousins) the founder of Moodscope and diagnosed bi-polar depressive. I always read his email and often wonder how he manages to come up with something different each day. Respect. The trick to these emails however is not just to read them, but to take his comments on board and try to act on them. It’s all to do with being proactive and positive and in taking the initiative, you will reap the benefits of your efforts. Like me today.

Yesterday (21 September), Jon’s email was entitled “Uncharted territory” .  I read this Blog post and it dawned on me that, unusually, I haven’t spoken to anyone new for quite a while. As someone who does a lot of travelling on the train and has responsibility for several different offices across the UK, I realised that I had settled into a “comfort zone” which accompanied my recent downturn in mood and desire to withdraw from the world.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am always happy to make positive connections where I think they exist. Today, I was presented with lots of opportunities to speak with and work with “new” people and found it amazingly refreshing, exciting and I learnt a lot. Hurrah! Change, development, initiative, ideas, learning and creativity is what I thrive on and I feel that I have emerged from my self-imposed cocoon at last. At work I have “new” colleagues to work with over the next few months and I’m looking forward to it. The change is good and has inspired me to focus on what I do best with renewed energy.

This attitude and positivity also spilled over into my train journey home when I met a delightful young Somalian girl dressed in hijab and abaya who was travelling from Glasgow to  Leicester to help her Doctor husband pack his case and move up to Scotland. All she did was ask me, in broken english but with an endearing smile, which train she needed to catch from Birmingham New Street to Leicester. I explained that I was going that way myself and I would help her.

Over the next hour, we found the right train, some seats and found out a lot about each other. She told me that she has been in the UK (Glasgow) for 4 years and is learning how to speak English at Glasgow College. She also happened to mention that she was struggling to understand her tutor this year (a Glaswegian) whereas last year she had no such problems when she had a tutor from London.  At this I started to laugh and explained that if she can learn to speak English in Glasgow she’s brilliant! Although her English was broken, she made every effort to speak with me and made use of the vocabulary she had. No, it wasn’t perfect but she made herself understood and we “chatted” for an hour between Birmingham and Leicester.

She told me that she misses Somalia because she could go out in the warm weather with no shoes on whereas in Scotland it is cold all the time and shoes are always needed. She asked me if it ever stops raining and what is Buckingham Palace like? She wanted to know about my gold jewellery (obviously not European) and asked whether I had been to Africa. She will never go back to Somalia because “They are killing each other” and she will always look after her mum. She is the youngest of seven children and when someone gets married she does the beautiful henna hand paintings. All this and more with limited vocabulary.

 When we got to Leicester, I showed her the exit and where her husband would be waiting. Giving me a hug she said “Thank you so much. You have been very kind and it has been nice meeting you”.

Who needs Reddybrek for a warm glow? Not me.

Her name?

No idea 😦

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A new project

As of yesterday I will be working with the Moodscope team on a bespoke project. As many of you will appreciate this is very exciting for me and although it will take quite a bit of my spare  time initially when you are passionate about something it’s not work. It’s a pleasure.  The team at Moodscope are an interesting bunch and really “nice” people to boot. They are also passionate about helping others who suffer with mental ill health.

It has certainly given me a new focus and is a challenge quite different to what I am used to but I know that I have the support of my friends who will help me to get it right.

Here’s to Moodscope and to its successful future.

You may also like: Moodscope

From roller coaster to yo-yo

In the past I have likened my experience with depression to being on a roller coaster ride. Periods of high-energy and positivity interspersed with periods of low-mood, inactivity and apathy. This last week however my mood swings have been more like a yo-yo than a roller-coaster and I am exhausted by the extremes. Having said that, following the alternating extremes of hope and despair,I suddenly feel a lot calmer. It is as if I have exorcised some demons which have lurked under the surface for a while subconsciously causing me to worry and question myself.

This is where Moodscope comes into its own and helps me to plot my moods and to spot patterns and possible reasons for the erratic behaviour. I already have a good idea why I was so up and down. I just need to put plans into place to prevent it happening again any time soon.

You may also like;

Yo-yo tricks

The UK’s Top 10 roller coasters

Moodscope- 100% happy

I am working away from home this week, and during dinner with my colleague last night I was trying to explain how the on-line mood monitoring tool Moodscope works. I use Moodscope everyday and find it an invaluable tool to monitor the ups and downs of my moods and identify what the triggers might be so that I can avoid a recurrence of a dip.

We also got thinking about how I could achieve a 100% “happy” score instead of the rather poor results generated recently. We had a few laughs with this and some of the more obvious ideas included winning the lottery and swallowing a month’s supply of Prozac in one go (not to be recommended). When I really got thinking however, the answers were much darker and far more fundamentally life-changing than I care to discuss. But it made me reflect seriously about my life and my expectations, something which was definitely reflected in this morning’s Moodscope score of just 12%.

At this point things become very personal and everyone will have their own ways and means of dealing with “life” and what makes them happy. Relationships and circumstances are complicated. It is too easy to say “change it”. It is not always possible in the short or medium term.

But thinking positively I have to believe that things will eventually fall into place. I need to stay optimistic and stay focussed on the present and have faith that the future will look after itself and me. I can only love and be loved as who I am. I am “me” and it’s too hard to pretend otherwise any more.

Strangely I’m starting to like “me” after spending too many years in the self-esteem wilderness. I am at last rediscovering my core being, finding out what really makes me tick and what excites me. This is the way forward but the road is full of frustration and hostility, upset and regrets and it is these emotions which override all others. Until I conquer the root causes of these feelings a 100% Moodscope score is well out of reach and winning the lottery will not make much impact at all.

I have a mountain to climb.

I’m looking forward to the view from the top. Whenever that may be.

“The steeper the mountain the harder the climb the better the view from the finish line.”



Lift Up Thine Eyes… 

What mood are you in?

Diabetics monitor their glucose levels, heart attack and stroke victims monitor their blood pressure, lots of people monitor their weight and body fat ratio and health gurus monitor their heart rate during exercise. And what do we depressives monitor?  Nothing.  We don’t monitor our stress triggers. We don’t monitor our emotional reactions and we don’t monitor our mood.

Why not?

Through greater self-awareness we could identify changes in mood and recognise personal patterns of behaviour quickly so that we have a chance to react early and prevent a relapse instead of leaving it to chance.

There are several on line tools which you can use to monitor your mood and I find Moodscope particularly helpful. After creating an account (free) you answer 20 questions each day and your mood result is available immediately. You can even elect to send the results to a friend who can help you monitor and deal with changes in mood. By using Moodscope I often identify changes in my thinking and attitude which I haven’t yet noticed and put coping strategies in place to prevent a downward spiral. You also get a daily Moodscope email with useful hints and tips on how to deal with common stressors and how to implement coping methods. Moodscope has been featured in a few press and magazine articles recently as a good way of becoming “smarter” and psychologists are testing the tool to see whether it can be launched as an official aid to recovery.

Mood Panda - Online Mood Journal, Mood Diary and Mood TrackerMoodPanda is a free online interactive mood diary where you can create your own mood diary, rate and track your mood, view graphs of your mood and share your mood with others. I haven’t used this tool but know people who find it helpful.

If you are interested in monitoring your mood and finding out more about these on line tools you may also like;

My Mood Monitor

BBC Health-thought diaries

Moodscope

In the early 1990’s I was diagnosed with borderline bipolar disorder previously known as manic depression. This was because the symptoms I presented were similar to those with bipolar and lithium was suggested as a possible drug solution. I was not convinced by this diagnosis, mainly because during my periods of high-energy and unfettered enthusiasm I always felt in control and purposeful and was always fully aware when things started to go downhill. Mania just did not seem the right word to describe it.

With the help of both psychiatrist and psychologist and detailed research into the history of my symptoms, we came to the conclusion that what I have is an extreme form of reactive clinical depression. After prolonged periods of excitement and stress (whether good or bad)  my body and mind need a rest. This is when I get the huge swathes of depression descending and suffer with mental and physical exhaustion. Anti-depressants combined with CBT were seen as the way forward and I still work very hard at trying to maintain equilibrium.

Despite the continuing medication and daily use of CBT techniques my mood can be unpredictable and I am not very good at managing my triggers. I still think I am Superwoman and whilst I have a lot of energy I often overestimate the amount in the tank and as well as running on “empty” I frequently dip into my reserves with the inevitable consequence that my engine seizes up completely.

One on-line tool which I use to help me monitor my moods is  Moodscope.  Moodscope is very quick and simple to use and, after answering 20 questions each day, it highlights swings in mood and attitude often before you become aware of them. This then gives you a chance to think about why your mood has changed and do something about it before negativity takes hold. You can also nominate a friend to receive your results if this will help.

I find Moodscope particularly beneficial during the frantic run up to Christmas and you are given practical hints on how to cope on a daily basis, for instance;

“At this time of year ……it’s probably a good thing to over-estimate how long things will take. And leave a little room for the nicer things in life. After all it’s not likely on Christmas Day that you’ll look back and say, ‘You know what? I wish I’d been more frantic in December’ – are you?”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Mindgym-Guardian Angel questionnaire results