Friday, 15 July 2011

In the mood

How are you today? Ok? Happy? Sad? Depressed?

For CFSers depression is an added insult, likely brought on as a result of our battles for recognition for our illness, for medical help, for employment rights, for financial assistance and for self-respect.

It's not surprising that because of all we go through, that we become vulnerable to and victims of depressive illness. In my case I suffered because I could not see a way forward. I felt like I was going to be seriously ill for ever. Rollo May puts it well...

'Depression is the inability to construct a future.'

So, how have I shaken off the black dog and rediscovered my future? I've had medication of course, and that's helped, but I had to do some work too. Sorry, the magic pills only go so far! In the main, four things have helped me;

1. Joining a community of like-minded people. Isolation can be so crippling, other people give us a sense of perspective and help us stop feeling alone.

2. Reading about depression and learning new thought patterns. After years of depression you will have developed, as I did, inappropriate thought patterns, negative ones. These can be changed but it takes work and self-belief, it's not an overnight job, but it's worth the effort. I can recommend this book, here I picked it up and put it down too many times, I couldn't quite face what it was asking me to do, but I did it in the end. Try it! (And if you do decided to buy it, please buy it through the forum Amazon link, as you are then supporting the important work that we do.)

3. Learning to like myself. For most of my life I have viewed myself as a failure because I cannot live as others do. Over the past couple of years I've started to be kind to myself and accept that I do have worth. My self-worth is not based on my ability to hold down a job, to run a marathon or have lots of money. I like me and value me, because I am a good person, who tries hard, who cares and who is pleased to be alive.

4. Moodscope. I only discovered this 6 weeks ago. It's a very easy and accurate way to keep tabs on your mood. Each day you log in and flip the 20 cards that describe how you feel. You are then given your result and it's plotted on a graph, so you can see over the course of time how you've been feeling. It's much more objective than your own memory of how a particular day has been and has helped me see that I have more good days than bad ones. And because I can see that I have lots of good days, magically, I have more good days. Try it at

And in finishing I would like to add this quote by Edward De Bono

"If you never change your mind, why have one?''

Change your mind today - go on, you'll thank yourself.

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with either Amazon, Mind over Mood or Moodscope. I could disappear tomorrow and none of them would either know or care!

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