Your Mind Sheriff

In a book I was reading (about which I will blog more about later), a therapist talked about having to play "mind sheriff" with some of her more difficult patients, imposing order on the chaotic Wild Wild West that was their thoughts.

And I thought, what a fantastic idea!

I will never deny that my thoughts are chaotic--they can be gun drawing outlaws that want to run the town. Much of therapy has been bringing order to the chaos, sorting out which of these "thought outlaws" might have a genuine gripe (them thar cows are grazin' on my land, pardner!), and which are just screwy little buggers that have no good purpose.

I beat myself up a lot for having a lot of these anxious, depressed thoughts--not to mention the eating disordered ones. Letting these thoughts run the show is not okay (maybe not my fault, but not okay), but I can't help it if they decide to show up.

I'm being a sheriff to my thoughts. I get to decide which thoughts make sense and which don't, which thoughts I let live in my mind, and which thoughts I let slip away. I'm not always good at that, mind you. Ed does a mighty good sheriff impersonation at times. I need to remind myself that Ed is just one of those gun-toting outlaws, wanting to be sheriff, and usurping my power.

Sometimes it feels nice to let him be in charge in my brain. He does bring some minimal amount of order, often by ruthlessly suppressing any other thought outlaws. But it's MY brain, NOT his. Wherein lies the problem. He treats ME like I'm a thought outlaw. He wants to run ME clear out of town.

Not cool.

I am working to make Ed a permanent outlaw in my head. But even if it doesn't work, even if all of those "WANTED- DEAD OR ALIVE" posters fail to scare away his mangy ass forever, I'm the sheriff. I can have him hunted down and arrested, and tossed out again.

Because I'm the sheriff in my mind.

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samsi77 said...

EMPOWERMENT at it's finest!

Micaela said...

I really like this idea! I am having a really hard time with controlling my thoughts today. It's like I have these thoughts which sound ridiculous if I really think about them, but I am so reluctant to let them go. Ed is playing sheriff and telling me "no, no, this thought is real. Your therapist and friends are trying to fool you." But in the end, I am the one in control of my mind not Ed. Thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

In case you want to make some posters : )

mary said...

That sounds like a great idea Jane!
That ED creep won't stand a chance. He's a waste of space Carrie! Kick his sorry ass out now and don't look back. Only you can see that he's lost his appeal and anything he offers is so much less than living a full life WITHOUT him.

Laura Collins said...

And you have quite a posse of deputies at your service!

Your family, friends, fans, readers, blender, food processor, pizza delivery guy...

Carrie Arnold said...

And let's not forget my new Kitchen Aid stand mixer!

Anyone have any (not too gross) images I could use to create a wanted poster for Ed?

Tiptoe said...

Excellent metaphor!

By the way, kitchen aid stand mixers kick ass! I seriously do not think I could ever go back to hand mixing!

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog a couple of days ago and I finally feel like I am not alone. You say everything that I feel and then give some really great kick-butt comment to follow.

The sheriff and outlaw is such a great metaphor. There is a part of me that knows that the thoughts are irrational. But there's a louder voice that overpowers me and tells me that what I am doing is the only way.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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