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Crossed wires. Friday September 16, 2016

I was ironing the other day and got frustrated with the fact that the wire on the iron was twisted and curly. My work phone, prior to wireless, used to be the same. Nobody else seemed to have the same problem!

Getting your wires crossed is an euphemism for getting the wrong end of the stick, not correctly interpreting a message. My brain at times appears to have many crossed wires. Sometimes it appears over-wired where my brain overreacts and creates many messages in its interpretation of the environment. It's so busy with thoughts flying around, great for creativity but not so fun if you can't control it and you never switch off. At other times, my brain distorts those messages and misinterprets them so that seemingly innocuous thoughts become negative ones.

Can you train your brain? I'm not talking about doing the crossword or sudoku but finding ways of decoding those negative messages or stilling the brain.

I'm no brain expert nor do I understand the physiology of the brain. What I do know is that medication, exercise, laughter, CBT and mindfulness all have had a part to play in my journey.

So is there a message you have misinterpreted or a way of thinking which was unhelpful which you have learnt to change?

I'm eager to learn!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Orangeblossom Fri, Sep 16th 2016 @ 8:04am

Thanks for your blog BrumMum Mum. For me Mindfulness Meditation, also exercise and participating in the Cruse Bereavement course & acting as a volunteer has done a great deal towards turning my life around for the better. Added to this is the support and commitment of some good friends.

Andrew Fri, Sep 16th 2016 @ 8:41am

Hi BM...crossed wires and mis-interpreted messages are the bane of my life too and have cost me relationships, jobs and a marriage. It took me years to realise that it is ME mis-interpreting, not the other party being nasty/awkward/insensitive/dense/whatever my lovely brain decided they were being at the time! I read about the neural pathways in the brain, along which 'thoughts', or tiny electrical impulses run. The more they follow the same path, the quicker they travel, becoming in some cases more like a neural motorway. Handy for reacting to emergencies like hitting the brakes when the car in front stops suddenly. Less helpful when a friendly well-meaning comment or suggestion is met with a scathing look, a withering tut or a sarcastic put down. That's when the training comes in. To slooooow down, and spot the alternative, smaller, narrower, less well-trodden neural pathway, that leads to a far more appropriate response. But my, it's tough sometimes. And requires constant vigilance.
Good luck BM. Know that you are not alone. And that despite what your brain tells you, it IS possible to change...

LP Fri, Sep 16th 2016 @ 8:42am

Hi BrumMum,
Yes I'd like to learn more about how the brain works.
Under certain conditions it is much harder to control.

I'm better at recognising that I'm going down the negative thought pattern route and switching it off, these days. Litterally almost like shaking my head a little with a bit of a shudder, as if a fly had landed on Then then quickly move on to what's going on in front of me.

Much harder to do when tired or lying in bed. And because I know that, I have a little routine that occupies my mind when I wake up. Then either gently get up and have something warm and lovely to drink, or put breakfast tv on ( I know, shock horror still have tv in bedroom but hardly ever watch it in there).

I think the brain must need to process stuff while we sleep, I'm no expert either, but am thinking about dreaming and disturbed sleep. So I give myself a break if I've woken up with worries and not realised for a while what's going on. Routine has definitely helped me.
I'm better at recognising it's happening during the day too. When I'm busy and my mind is occupied it's easier, but if I'm going for a walk, I have to keep reminding myself to be mindful and take in my surroundings if I drift into thinking.

Other than that I'm not sure, but agree that brain training with lots of practice does rewire the brain.
Thanks BM, am looking forward to any tips too! Hugs to all. LPxx

Tutti Frutti Fri, Sep 16th 2016 @ 8:57am

Hi BrumMum

I also have trouble with tangled phone wires (and unfortunately my office hasn't gone wireless yet).

More seriously I certainly agree with your assessment of all the things that can help to sort out our thoughts. Personally I am a bit rubbish on the exercise and pretty lax on mindfulness, though I do find the colouring books work. I think I do better with CBT although it seems to be a chipping away at the problem thing and it does end up being very hard work. It would be so nice to know that you could stop being vigilant for a bit and have a rest but I don't think it's worth it!

I think CBT gets easier with practice. I am certainly quicker at identifying the thoughts that are bothering me now. I tend to find that the same type of thoughts come around over and over again. For example if I make a mistake at work i tend to assume that I am crap at my job and everyone must think this. I can make myself feel better with CBT but it doesn't stop that thought next time. After roughly 10 years of CBT I am also now doing REBT (rational and emotional behavioural therapy) which is all about identifying the attitude behind the thoughts and working on modifying it to something a bit more user friendly. So in this example, my attitude is that I must be competent at work at all times and I need to replace it with something which recognises that it's OK to have strengths and weaknesses and get help from colleagues sometimes. I don't actually use the REBT very often - I still find it really difficult and the standard CBT is much better for a quick fix when I am upset. But it is useful as something else in the toolkit.

So keep on going and good luck. I will be interested to see what others suggest.

Love TF x

Sophie Fri, Sep 16th 2016 @ 9:18am

TF i completely agree, it is exhausting having to constantly keep my thoughts in check and apply CBT in the hope i can pull myself round to a 'normal' way of thinking that so many others seem to manage without giving it a second thought (excuse the pun). I try to remind myself that if a good day can turn bad, then a bad day can turn good, although that seems more difficult than the former. It is as if there is a big mountain. the top of the mountain is the 'good' (an effort to get to, but the views are beautiful and the sense of achievement at reaching it is immense); the bottom of the mountain is the 'bad', easy to go hurtling downhill towards it, trying to grasp anything i can grab to slow myself down but gravity does its job all too well! and then when i land at the bottom with a bump, looking up at the imposing mountain with the 'good' at the top seems impossible to summon the energy to reach it again. But of course, we do. Even if it's crawling on all fours and only a few metres a day, at least its progress.

Ash Tue, Sep 20th 2016 @ 11:29pm

Hi, that makes complete sense to me, and i find 'crossed wires' is the biggest pain in my life. happens all the time whether in work, love life, social life ect....and it can cause problems which aren't even there, which i then try to deal with, which then do actually cause a problem. Vicious circles.

Im just starting to learn how to deal with all this. May try CBT. I'm sure between us we will find a way. Good luck everyone.

Nicco Mon, Oct 3rd 2016 @ 6:32pm

I can identify with this, and with what Andrew, Sophie and Ash say. It is hard work to uncross the wires - I have unwittingly got them crossed and caused problems where there weren't any myself! I have heard it is possible to create new neural pathways in the brain by the use of affirmations but have not tried it myself.

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