The untrained mind doggedly, compulsively returns to a few favourite themes.
The up (adaptive) side: these "stories of me" serve to (temporarily) delude ourselves into feeling that we control our constantly shifting, incomprehensibly complex world, & our surprisingly short life. Even really miserable memories are attempts to create & hold onto an image of a "self" that's permanent, solid.
The downside: at some level, we all know that these delusions are driven by existential fear & related emotions: anxiety, anger, sadness, grief, etc. And we've all experienced how the more out of control we feel, the more doggedly we try to think our way out of this pickle.
"It is tempting, if the only tool you (assume you) have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Abraham Maslow
The only tool most of us think we have, the only one most of us trust, is our thinking mind - not exactly "outside the box"! So when thinking can't fix a problem, like an overburdened computer, it just goes round & round. We're all too familiar with "circular thinking", with its recurrent-nightmare quality which can feel like "cabin-fever" ("shack wacky"), and is closely related to wallowing (depression) and catastrophization (anxiety).
Symbolic (words & images) thinking is a very important, useful tool for certain specific tasks: practical operations like math, sciences, manufacturing etc. However, like Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) hilariously demonstrates, the thinking mind cannot deal with problems of meaning & value, eg existential issues, assessing which course of action or life-path is more meaningful than another, etc.
The mind can be trained to play a role in helping us deal with these issues wisely. With curiosity we can learn to relax, observe the mind without judgment, without trying to change it in any way. Curiosity & nonjudgment involve seeing the mind from an observer perspective. We observe in ourselves how life actually is. The less judgment we have, the greater the clarity, since there's less & less of ourself being suppressed, rejected, or projected onto others. The more easily we slip back into this place of awareness - the context in which things occur, the more clear all of the content becomes: everything.
When we notice - instead of being lost in - anything, there is awareness, stillness, silence, peace. See: http://www.johnlovas.com/2016/03/embodying-context-of-awareness-holding.html