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Thou Doth Procrastinate Too Much. Friday April 24, 2015

I know when I am depressed (and it seems many others are the same) we go round and round and round in our heads about so many things.

All the 'normal' shoulds, coulds and woulds that we continually use like a club to inflict self-pain, thinking as though, while mentally debilitated, we 'should, could and would' be able to operate as normal - just like a 100M runner with a broken leg!

Can we eradicate such words from our internal conversation as well as our external one where we happily self-flagellate in public?

The challenge I find is that we procrastinate SO much that even the act of not being able to decide, depresses us.

I often put this down to the fact that thinking is an IQ process and that it takes an emotional desire - that 'feeling' (EQ), to turn that thought into action.

So without the desire to do something, our thoughts kinda get trapped in our head and simply go round the mental roundabout without anywhere to 'get off' and with no desire to actually change the angle of the 'steering wheel' as it doesn't feel safe to do so!

In the creation of a habit there are three ingredients:

1) Knowledge – the what to and why
2) Skill – the how to
3) Desire – the want to

Are they all equal or is there one more important than the other two?

Our schooling world would say knowledge and skill, yet if there is no 'want to', nothing will change.

When our brain is 'broken' and we feel unsafe, recognise it is a challenge to turn our thoughts into actions. We 'know' intellectually what we should, could and would do but starting the action engine, which is always the heart can be difficult. We even talk about a 'loss of heart' when we cannot put 'our heart into it'.

So when and if you are depressed, allow your brain to circle the roundabout and do not beat yourself up about it – be gentle – realise that you are not yourself. Don't make any important decisions and if you have to, have a good friend who understands you, to interact with, to come to a joint decision. Use their heart as they connect with your head.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:04am

Hi Les- thanks for addressing this issue which is real for many of when depressed. I have trained myself now to avoid the' must,should, and ought to' by saying to myself 'I could', which to my mind is gentler takes of the pressure , is more encouraging and implies I have an option to go that way rather than the hectoring note of the 'must and should ' which depresses us when we cannot. Another thing which I have discovered when it comes to procrastination is that action comes first then motivation ,not the other way around as our minds seem to tell us when depressed..If we waited for motivation in a depressed state we would wait for ever. So I take a small step first what ever it may be and congratulate myself for having done that.Then I find I can take another step and before long I am rolling. On bad days it can be a simple as saying 'I could brush my teeth' when everything is telling me to pull the duvet over my head in the morning.

Rupert Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:31am

Les - as is so often the case I spent the whole tube journey into work this morning in a negative haze of why didnt I do this or I should have done that in my life and felt totally drained by the time I got to work! I know it is just my mind playing the usual tricks in a kind of double whammy - I couldnt cope with making the decisions the first time round and now punishing myself a second time round for not having made them! Rupert

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:41am

Aye - each of us has to find our own way, unlike most medical interventions - mental health is such a personal battle - which is why in my experience, the NHS deals so poorly with it - there is no 'process', there is only the person.

There is no doubt that on the face of it - that action comes before motivation and that there is only mental relief, no matter how small, after the action.

Underlying that for me however, if the belief, knowledge, understanding, experience........that if I do do something, no matter how small, that achiving that small something will possibly / probably enable me to do something more.

This is probably the only time I would say that IQ comes before EQ......even although our spirit is fighting against doing anything.

I used to write myself post it notes like 'you know you'll feel better if..........' and I would do this at night when many of us with depression would feel a bit better or even non-suicidal and stick them up for the morning.

I would also have my Godmother phone me at an agreed time and who would not end the call until she would here the bed creak (as I got up) and then the shower go on.......

My challenge then of course, was to actually answer the phone in the first place knowing what was coming.......and then not to switch off the shower and go back to bed.....!!!

Usually tho - the initial movement out of bed did the trick!

A space rocket uses 80% of its 'fuel' to leave the earth's atmosphere - so do we, in simply leaving our 'bed' to start the day! Its the same gravitational pull..!!

I knew however that I would feel better and take the next small step to enter the day as Hopeful One says, if I got up.

Ultimately tho..........I still had to have the underlying desire to want to stay alive........

So it is really still EQ B 4 IQ - yet at a far deeper human level than normal.

Julia Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:46am

I can imagine you Rupert on the tube going to work. I used to be exactly the same on my journey into work. You made me laugh a bit (I know it's not at all funny) when you said you felt totally exhausted by the time you got to work. Things changed for me in a positive way eventually as I am sure they will for you. I look back on that job which evolved over the years to become one I really hated and which made me more and more depressed with acute feelings still. If only I knew then what I know now with the help of Moodscope and people like Les et al. Thinking of you Rupert. Good Luck.

Anonymous Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:47am

Great post!

I know for myself the punishment for not coping is what makes me feel 10 times worse. I have to remind myself that I wouldn't treat another unwell person like that. Everyone deserves positive reinforcement for the things they can realistically achieve, especially when everything seems difficult.

Julia Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:49am

Hi Les. A big thank you for this. When all else fails (in my mind/ perception) I remember your words re. EQ. I know my heart is in the right place. It always has been.

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:52am

Hi Rupert

Yup - I totally get that.

For me, the overriding 'discussion' in my head was - I'm moving....I can do this.....I am still to some extent functioning.....I did get out of bed.....I will talk to people and due to that I will even for a very short time, stop thing about myself and all this self talk.

If I am moving - I have a chance to see, touch, experience, explore, sense, a world that is outside this hellish nightmare that is going on inside my head.

I used to endlessly play radio 4 or a talking CD to keep offering my mind an opportunity to 'breathe' and from one breath.....maybe another breath.....

How can you.....start to find that 5 second 'release' from that self a game on your phone........count how many blue shoes are on the tube, bus, train, street...........count how many people are taller than many birds can you see.........what types......etc etc

Give you mind a task........

You MUST break the habit....or it will only get any addiction.

Good luck

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:56am

Aye - ultimately self love - WILL be the for me, elf hate is what depression is all about for many, if not most.

When I learn to love myself and all my foibles enough, I will be free.

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 8:57am

And always will be................ :-)

Hopeful One Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 9:33am

Hi Les at 8.52 am - last sentence in that reply to Rupert. MUST?

Di Murphey Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 9:43am

Dearest Les ~
Yes. And, yes. For me the procrastination is agonizing. This particular darkness appears to be especially mean-spirited (toward self). I have a dear friend who believes I am grieving & that this is a form of anger. I wonder what might happen if I embraced this grief & anger? Perhaps as one might embrace a wayward family member? Thoughts, dear one?

Julia Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 9:45am


Anonymous Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 9:54am

I was at the centre of excellence that is the Maudsley recently speaking to an eminent Consultant and he agreed that the evidence is overwhelming that CBT, Mindfulness and meds is the answer to regain control of overwhelming low or high thinking. The problem tho is have you got the motivation and commitment required to learn and practice these disciplines.

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 10:09am


Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 10:21am

Hi Di


Intuitively............if it doesn't feel right for you......then it is not right.

Other people's theories are all very well, as long as they are offered with love i.e. from the heart.

If they are offered as tho they know better I.e. from the head - forget it

This is why the NHS mostly fails in mental health - you are not really allowed to be subjective - life IS subjective, unless you are a computer!

If your friend offered it in love and you say 'no thanks' they will be absolutely fine with that.

If it is from their head, to prove they know better or they are right and you say no - they will persist...........then you know for sure....its about them and not you - and to some degree they are not a friend, at least in this instance.

Someone on this site implied all depression was about 'loss'...........even although they knew almost nothing of my life.....and yet were TELLING me, what was a loss in my life because of a few lines I had written and that this was the reason I was depressed!!

When people start insisting they are right or there's is the only way - you know it really has little or nothing to do with you.

So again, if your friend 'offered' it and then let it go, for you to decide - they are in your hour of need, a real true they are listening to you and not themselves.

If it feel right do it.
If it doesn't - don't.

Your heart is speaking to you..........not your head .........EQ B 4 IQ :-)

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 10:43am

I am now qualified to teach mindfulness after a course last autumn and there is no doubt they will help those they help.........if people feel mindfulness will help - it WILL help.

If people feel saying the word purple every minute will help - it WILL help.

There is NO right answer is only subjective.

For sure mindfulness will help more than something specific and subjective to one person.

I believe it will be the key 'service' going it is all about everything being OK and being curious about what is going on......even people talking in a class......simply be curious why you are even getting upset.......even in a young people's class where someone gets up and walks out swearing.........just notice it....and your reaction to it........and like those boats on the sea.....let it flow past.........don't get hooked...........notice - let go...........notice - let go.

CBT did nothing for me...........awful...prescriptive and given by someone who I didn't trust.

If the person delivering whatever it is, is not trusted by you - it will rarely if ever work.

This is ALL about the person and not the process.........which is what I believe the research misses.

And also why the NHS can only really fail in mental health.....while for sure trying. My experience of the psychiatric ward in the early 90s was simply 'One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest'! NO 1 aim for all staff - no one will commit suicide on my watch - nowt to do with what I needed - some compassion.

"If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way." This Chinese saying, unfortunately, only too true, stands in sharp contrast to our belief in the 'right' method irrespective of the man who applies it. In realty, everything depends upon the man and little or nothing on the method" Carl Jung

So for me mindfulness and CBT are not the real answer...they are the logical and proven answer......the real answer for you, is what is right for you and yes in many, if not most situations, it will be mindfulness and CBT.........there is however no RIGHT process.....only the right person for you.....which might be yourself.......

We are all as unique as our fingerprints......or dare I say.....our brains.

Absolutely try mindfulness and CBT first - it may well work - just don't get even more depressed if they do not work.....go find your answer.........and this is where Moodscope is SO valuable........endless people can 'offer' endless options that have worked for them.

Oh.......nearly forgot to say.....Anonymous 0954 is absolutely right....the motivation to do it or go......could be the real challenge.

Here........I ask someone to come pick me up and take me I won't let someone else down - I will let myself down.

As the blog states - use someone else's heart when yours is not working :-)

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 11:22am

Hugs to you Rupert!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 11:23am

Wise advice Les. Thank you!

Di Murphey Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 11:41am

Got it. Hmmmm...thinking hard. Yes, you are so wise. My heart demands attention and only when given will it make way for my head. Oh, my. This feels pretty good!

Julia Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 1:07pm

It's interesting to read what you write about Mindfulness Les. (CBT did nothing for me either. I got quite cross with it). Mindfulness is the the only thing I've found helpful recently but it isn't the definitive answer for me so I was glad to see you saying that it may not be the real answer. I was beginning to feel a tiny bit sceptical about its benefits despite knowing that it does help me in little ways or at least I think it does. I think I am expecting too much from it. So now having read your words, I will continue to practice it alongside other things such as Moodscope which works for me.

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 2:58pm



"I think I am expecting too much from it."......and hey presto you are....thinking......NOT feeling.... i.e. in your head and not your heart.....and of course you are expecting too much from it........that is what you 'think' (IQ).

Just let it do its work - don't think...........feel.

Then your head may come round if your heart says its OK?

Les Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 3:01pm

Hi Di

Spot on..............see comments to Julia below.............

EQ B 4 IQ.........

Just as at school I B 4 E except after C

In real life...........

E B 4 I except after D
(EQ B4 IQ except after Death..!)

Julia Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 5:31pm

Yes good advice to leave Mindfulness to do its work..thx

Anonymous Fri, Apr 24th 2015 @ 10:55pm

Had a few days when time was not willing to walk with me but race ahead like a toddler! Will read through this great blog and all responses when I wake. Good to see you're about Les, love from the room above garage x.

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