In that movie 300, about those Spartan men, you see 300 of them (that’s why the movie is called 300) take on an army of hundreds of thousands of Xerxes men. But that is madness you say, they are heavily outnumbered! surely they are doomed! I hear you, and you are right. But those pesky Spartans were not stupid – although I would argue picking a fight with hundreds of thousands of persian warriors does not seem like the brightest idea. Anyway, they were clever, because they fought in a corridor, a natural one. Obviously.
Numbers count for nothing in a corridor.
Now the trouble with this analogy is that I didn’t pick a fight with any mental illnesses. They came to me and started one. I can assure you I am quite a passive person, I promise they started it. So here I am in this war. What do I do? Obviously I channel the energy of those 300 Spartan men (and they were all men), because they got their tactics right.
I have constructed a mental corridor, and down the corridor are, unsurprisingly, doors. In these doors I have each illness, negative feelings and emotions. They are specific, for instance in door number 1 right now we have all the anxiety for a new job I am starting on Friday. It is right there, a heap of anxiety behind the door, but this only hits me when I open it. Behind door number 2 we have the depressing feeling of hurting my girlfriend in the last 2 days. These specific things go on, and on (and on).
The longer the corridor, the further away from the exit I become. Ideally I want to confront these doors one by one and reduce the size of the corridor. Today, I have been doing that. I opened door number 1 and had a huge wave of anxiety, but I broke down the feeling. What is the worst that can happen on Friday? Why could that happen? How can I prevent that from happening? What can do to prepare for other eventualities and so on.
I fight the war on my terms – it is in my head after all. Doesnt matter how big those problems are, or how many emotions they bring to the table. I will deal with them one by one in my corridor. Occasionally it turns into The Shining. Blood pours out of elevators, creepy twins follow me around and a beautiful naked lady turns into an ugly old naked lady. Today however, I glide wistfully through the exit doors and into a relaxing evening.
How do you cope with your mental war?