How to Get Sane
When You Feel Crazed: Sanity 101
Harvey W. Austin, MD
You know you are crazed when the same thoughts go around and around in your head. When you are pissed off! When you can’t go to sleep as the story in your mind continuously whirls. When you feel that your thoughts are in control. When you can’t shift into a calm place. When you just can’t be around yourself.
You know exactly what your flavor of crazed is.
Here is what you can do to help yourself. First, go to the mirror and you tell yourself the truth. Look into your eyes and say, “You are crazed right now. I love you. We will get sane together.”
Next, go to your computer or grab a pad of paper. Close your eyes and take five big, slow breaths. Open your eyes and start writing. Write as fast as your fingers will move.
Your first words should be: “I am crazed right now.” Then let yourself write whatever comes to mind. Let the words pour out, the misspellings and swear words and tears. No need for punctuation, no need for editing. Just vomit it onto the paper.
Do it fast and do it sloppy. You should spend at least ten minutes. Get it all down. Do not pretend to be nice, do not be civil, blame everyone and everything for everything you are experiencing. Go ahead and cry, slam your hand on the desk. Bring up the fury, the grief, whatever is in there. Write about it.
You will know you’re done when you go to write the next thing you are upset about, and there is nothing there. Then you can sit back and just be for a bit. You might be sobbing, you may feel empty. You have gotten it all out. Praise yourself for doing such good work.
You may want to delete or throw out what you have written. You might not want anyone to read it.
After that emotional cleansing, you can do a piece of work that will ward off the crazed for the next time it threatens to overtake your mind.
You get crazed because you lie to yourself without knowing you are. A lie is telling it the way it is not.
The following exercise is a technique to help you unravel that lyin’ glump of yarn, which is made up of the lies you tell yourself. A yarn-glump only unravels when you have both ends under control. The two ends are labeled fact and story. Each is distinct, but whenever we smoosh them together, this is called conflation. We make ourselves crazed when we conflate the two. This creates the yarn-glump.
Step 1: Distinction
Go back over what actually happened, distinguishing the facts from your analysis of them. Separate the facts from what you told yourself they meant, that is, the story.
Write down the actual facts. They are usually few (and are usually in the physical realm, as in he said, then I said, then he did, then I said, then she did). Then write down the conclusions (the analysis, the evaluation, and/or the meaning) you came to at that time. This is the story.
You will thereby have two pieces of writing: 1. the facts; and 2. what you told yourself the facts meant, the story. Be clear that these are NOT the same. You had them conflated.
Step 2: Creativity
This is child’s play. You become as a child (“And a little child shall lead them”) and make up a different story. Choose a story that gives you freedom or joy or power. Write it down for clarity. Make up a second one. Make up a third, a silly one.
The only story that is true is the one you say is true. So make up your own story. This is what human imagination and creativity are for.
You are now free.
©2014. Reproduce at will with attribution.