Somedays, I’m a moper. As I mentioned before in my post on breaking negative habits, I can be extremely self-critical. It’s tied to some issues of low self-esteem which I haven’t straightened out yet. Back in December, I managed to break off a major episode using a paper wristband which kept track of negative statements.
For the most part, I’ve kept them off since but Friday I was moping again. Micah’s a constructive person to mope to. He recognizes the reality of depression but that also means that he knows ways to handle my moods.
So on Friday he declared a moratorium on moping. If I was going to mope, he said, every negative statement I made had to be preceded and followed by the word “mope.” Basically, I had to use html <mope>I’m so worthless</mope>.
The next time I got negative, I cracked up. It was so silly. You have to imagine the “mope” being in a deep voice, drawn out ridiculously long. “Mmmmoooopppeee I’m a loser mmmoooooppppeee.”
One of the main principles of cognitive behavioral therapy is positive action to break up negative patterns. Sillyness can be a big part of that, if you’ve gotten to the stage where you can recognize that your negative self-estimation isn’t true. It probably doesn’t work as well for those currently in the lower levels of hell, but it’s not too bad up here in the second circle.*
More severe stages most likely require counseling and perhaps a form of antidepressants. But as time goes on and the depression becomes dysthymia, sillyness, particularly sillyness with an understanding person, really helps.
Laughter is a great medicine, especially when it breaks us out of negative patterns.
*Dear literary people, I picked it based on its depth not its sin. However being blown to and fro and not being able to find rest sounds about right anyway.