At 4 AM, I awoke and needed to go to the bathroom.
I rolled back the covers and slid my legs off the bed. I moved the covers over my pillow so Rikki wouldn’t be tempted to move there while I was up. Rikki is our rescue beagle. She sleeps with us, mostly at the foot of the bed, but sometimes she curls up very near, or on my pillow.
Fully out of the bed, I turned in the darkness to head across the room.
As I took my first step, I kicked a small box. It was the package my new Fitbit came in. Last night, I was reading the instructions while in bed. I am trying to sync the wristband to my phone. For some reason, my phone cannot locate the Fitbit. Being a much more sophisticated model than the last one I had, I’m not even 100% sure that it has a charge.
Kicking the box triggered an automatic thought.
Instantly, my mind forgot all about the fact that I really needed to get to the bathroom. My mind jumped to the problem of connecting the wristband to my phone. At that moment, it was as if I had been transported back in time to the night before. I took up the problem as if I had never stopped working on it.
As I entered the bathroom and switched on the light, I realized I was having an automatic thought.
This got me thinking about how many of these I have in a day. And it pointed out to me that not all automatic thoughts are bad. In the background, while I was sleeping, my mind was trying to figure out why I couldn’t connect my fit bit to my phone.
My computer brain had a program running in the background. That is very complicated stuff. Our brains have been doing that for millions of years. Yet it has only been in the past 50 years or so, that humans have developed computers that will do the same type of analysis.
Which then leads me to how I use my computer brain.
The more I read about depression; the more tools I find to help me live a fuller life outside of its grip. One of the best ways to help me be in control is to control my thinking. My attitude towards events is really the only thing I have complete control over. So, learning how to harness my computer brain to respond appropriately to these automatic thoughts is a big part of my WRAP (wellness recovery action plan). Plan.
Recognizing that what I am thinking is an automatic thought is just the beginning. Taking that information and processing it in a healthy, productive manner is the next step. And then, as needed, asking questions about that thought to make sure it is valid.
Kicking the box in the dark and having my mind instantly open the problem of connection was a reminder to me of how powerful my brain is. It is a reminder that I need to harness its potential as a way to have depression, without depression having me. I can control my attitude towards events. So, controlling how I choose to look at things that happen is exciting.
I finally got to the bathroom.
But that was after I went back to my nightstand, found my phone, and typed in “Kicking the box in the dark, trigger an automatic thought.” I sent myself an email so I would remember the incident when I got up this morning. I do that a lot if I think of things while I am trying to get to sleep. I keep one eye shut and angle the phone, so I don’t have to stare at the bright screen. I put my idea in the headline space and send it to myself.
Climbing back into bed, Rikki had pushed the covers off my pillow and had curled up with her head on one side of the pillow. I was able to find room around her as I pulled the covers back up. My automatic thought had been, “There’s enough room for the two of us on your pillow.” Eventually, she wanted more room and moved back to the bottom of the bed.
My attitude towards automatic thoughts is different this morning.
I see that they are not all bad. And once again, I am reminded that it is not the thought, but what I do with it that counts.
I have found a YouTube video on how to connect my Fitbit to the app on my phone. After watching that I am sure I can get it working.