It’s odd but i feel like I’m under a spell, like in the song That Old Black Magic 

When that elevator starts its ride
Down and down I go,
Round and round I go
Like a leaf that’s caught in the tide

Unlike in the song, in my case it’s not love doing this. It’s terrible listlessness, lack of focus, inability to concentrate (hence the lack of posts here recently). Although this listlessness is a symptom of depression, I don’t feel particularly low. Frustrated with myself maybe, but not low.

So, how to snap out of it? My routine has gone to pot. Raisin has developed a (sporadic) hopping limp that makes me nervous for her recovery, so no early morning runs. No cleaning small areas of the bathroom after each trip to the loo. Very little trombone practice. Minimal mindfulness practice.


Cogitus interuptus

CBTblue-newLast week’s mindfulness class was all about disrupting old patterns of thought and behaviour using the CBT theory that thoughts can make you feel bad, which makes you behave in ways that aren’t helpful, which makes the thoughts worse and so it goes, in a spin.

The week before we looked at how thoughts are just random neurons firing in your head (my words, not official mindfulness-speak), with no inherent power to do anything. They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them. So one technique in this disruption strategy is to see thoughts for what they are – miniscule arrangements of dancing chemicals or whatever. Not big, and not scarey.

Another technique is to change your behaviour when you feel bad:

  • don’t withdraw socially: interact with other people
  • don’t mope around: do something that gives a sense of achievement
  • don’t just feel miserable: do something you usually enjoy

I baulked at this advice in the class because it’s really difficult to do this stuff when you are depressed. During my recent low patch these things – usually part of my routine – became impossible, even though I believed they would help. The answer is simple, I was told: lower your expectations. Don’t expect to be able to get out for a run – think of a short walk (or whatever) as an achievement when you are not well.

So there we are.

My snap out of it plan for today is to listen to Ella Fitzgerald doing That Old Black Magic, really loudly, every time I start to spin.

Take it away Ella

cogitus interuptus: break the thought-mood-behaviour cycle

4 thoughts on “cogitus interuptus: break the thought-mood-behaviour cycle

  • Dear Libby,
    I hear you!
    I am finding the BEST thing for me to do when I feel low is find someone.
    A coffee date, going to yoga with my yoga buddies, even an AA meeting.
    Just where I am connected.
    It is hard to motivate myself when I feel low. I keep googling how to motivate yourself! LOL
    I did not sleep well last night. But I refuse to let that get to me.
    I will carry on!
    Hugs and Love!

    1. Good on you Wendy, I hope it’s working and you are out of your low patch. I’m considering asking my friends to ignore me when I say I can’t come out to play, and make me do it. Would you recommend yoga? Not sure I fancy the hot version you do though 🙂 x

  • I’ve been a victim of the negative thoughts lately as well. It has been a real challenge to get out of bed in the mornings. Working to stay in my routine and being kind to myself really helps. xx

    1. Hope you feel better soon Lori. Being kind to oneself when normal routine activities seem tough is such a good plan – I need to write it on my forehead or somewhere so I don’t keep forgetting! x

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