The “Crazy Train”

Sometimes we can feel completely overwhelmed by intense feelings, or overcome by intense thoughts.  It can seem like a powerful train that comes for us, taking over all of our senses, and we feel swept away by it, helpless to control what’s happening.

The train might be sorrow, or anger, or desperation, or fear.

If you try, you can notice the signs that the train is coming.  You may feel a tensing of your body, a flushing of your skin, a quickening of your heartbeat.  You see the train coming around the bend, and you know it will shake the ground, blow your hair back, and the sound will be so deafening you won’t be able to think.

But you have a choice.

You can choose to get on the train, get lost in the thoughts and feelings that came with the train, and let it take you wherever it is going.  Once you’ve let the train take you, you may not know where you will end up, only able to ride, not even knowing when it will stop.

Or you can choose not to get on the train.  You can stand on the platform, notice the train, notice the thoughts and the feelings that came with it, acknowledge those feelings (you are allowed to feel this way), and stand firm on the platform until the train has passed.  If you don’t indulge in the feeling, don’t act on it, DON’T GET ON THE TRAIN, it will pass, and the intensity of it will fade in a few moments.  Then you’ll be able to think, logically, about your next move.

Ever notice that people seem to like having a guest passenger on their “crazy train?”  Folks may call you with their drama (“You won’t believe what she said to me!”) or even try to involve you in the problem.  You can acknowledge that train without jumping on it with them.  You can listen and be supportive without taking on that person’s problems as your own.

Try letting the “Crazy Train” go by a few times this week, and see what happens.

Information You Can Use Right Now

The following PDF is available for you to view and download right now.

Emotional Regulation: Containment

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