Racing Thoughts/Anxiety

A FarceBook acquaintance (longer acquaintance online–mostly blogging) suggested a method for dealing with “looping racing thoughts,” etc. Here’s a (still long for a FarceBook post) snippet:

If you have looping racing thoughts, or an escalating anxiety or depression cycle… or even if you have problems with attention regulation because of ADHD or emotional stress… try this…
Carry a pair of polyhedral dice in your pocket… it’s better if they’re two different types, both large… say a D12 and a d20. It has to be physical dice… You need to get out of your head and connect to the world.

Any time you have a thought loop you need to disrupt, shake the dice and read them… on your hand, on a table, doesn’t matter.

Then multiply them.

Then divide the result by the total number of sides.

Then take that number and add it to the letters of your name, in a simple substitution, where A is 1, B is 2 etc…

Then alternately multiply, divide, add, and subtract the numbers.

Then start squaring them, or raising them to the exponent of each other.

At some point in this process your loop will disrupt. . . and you can insert your control thought that says something like:

“these emotions are not in control of me, they are simply an excess or deficit of emotional energy caused by too much of some neurotransmitters and not enough of some other neurotransmitters, and they are lying to me [about reality]. . . “

Very good technique(s). I have used visualizing musical scores, performing them or directing them, while either listening to a recorded performance or simply listening to them in my head. Taking [semi-quasi] “random” dictionary words or sentences from a book and using them to compose a fugue or another form via letter-number substitutions for both tones and rhythms, etc. Actually singing or playing one of these (or even just one line while “hearing” the rest in my head) has proved useful to me.

It’s more complex than that, but that’s the basic framework. Playing math games with minor (or maybe even not so minor would be more interesting?) linguistic twists seems likely to work as well.

Aside: From the FarceBook post,

“Recite a dice roll number of words or lines of a poem or song from memory. . . ”

*heh* very close to one of my methods for devising pass phrases (though I also choose one of several techniques to encode the phrases, usually from Renaissance at songs, though only in Italian, French or _maybe_ English).

Danger! Danger!

Back when I was a lad, I used to have some seriously dangerous thoughts. For example, driving “into town,” as I thought of it, in my ’53 Chevy, there was a place in the road where the road curved to the left and ascended a wee bit. To the right, just over the curb and a wee bit of verge was an arroyo. Every now and then I wondered what it would be like to just keep going straight and launch myself off the roadway. Oh, these weren’t serious thoughts, and I was in no way (consciously) suicidal, but every now and then. . .

This morning, I had another such “dangerous thought” as I reached into the fridge to get the cream for our coffees. I almost picked up the buttermilk thinking, “I wonder what buttermilk in coffee would taste like?”