My granddad’s pride and joy was his train track. He’d turned the box room in to his train room and it was out of bounds to us children unless supervised by a responsible adult. The only adult considered responsible was my granddad himself. After my grandma died when I was nine I spent a lot of time with Granddad, we used to go to model railway meetings sometimes. They were like fairs, held in scout huts and prefab village halls. I had a small collection of model railway magazines. It was fun, mainly because I got to spend time with Granddad Billy without my sisters and cousins, and I got treat to sweets and other junk food granddad really shouldn’t have given me.
I was laid in bed on Thursday night, having had a bad day at work, and ruminating on just how stupid I was and how I really can’t do my job at all. Trying to drag my mind away from this road, because I know where it leads – no sleep, feeling miserable and a worsening of my mental health – I suddenly had the image of being on a steam train. My thoughts were like that train, heading inexorably along the track with no diversions.
Except there was.
The track forked; one leg of the fork carried on in to misery and the other turned away, across the Plains of Gratitude, the Hills of Comfort and the Mountains of Love (see, I’ve even mapped out the landscape in this dream space). I could force the train onto that track, shift the points in my head and turn away from rumination.
So I did.
It wasn’t easy; I kept having to wrestle the route back under my control. I would list the things I’m grateful for in life, like the fact that I’m having these ruminations while laid in a warm, comfortable bed with a full belly and a job to go to, and sometimes I’d find my mind train heading back towards the Depths of Despair. Another fork in the track would appear and I’d switch the points again, turning away from the Depths once more. I just kept going until I slept.
This visualisation worked; I slept really well that and woke up unembarrassed by depression. I’m going to try an practice this visualisation every time I feel like I’m heading down hill again. If nothing else, I get to go on a steam train ride, and who doesn’t love trains?