I wrote this in December of 2017 with the intention of venting at first, but it turned into something that helped bring me out of the depressed mood I was in, and I thought it would be nice to share it with my readers. Maybe it can help you with some perspective if you’re in need of that.
I felt like today was a fitting day to publish it being that May 4th is Star Wars Day. I’m sure at some point today you’ve heard someone say “May the fourth be with you”. What started out as a clever pun has now become an actual holiday, much to the delight of lifelong fans like myself. My dad was a huge fan and introduced me to Star Wars at a young age, so it’s pretty nostalgic for me.
I think the concept of an inner antagonist goes along nicely with the concept of The Force. The Force in Star Wars is said to be within all living things, and it has a light side but it also has a dark side. And throughout the movies that dark side is continuously the biggest motivator, pushing each character towards their destiny.
Without an enemy to fight there would be no story and no purpose for the characters. They may have been happy just hanging around living life in a normal fashion, but they’d have no idea what incredible things they were capable of. In the same way, your Inner Antagonist, your own Dark Side of The Force, is important to your growth and development as a human being.
Your Inner Antagonist:
I don’t know where to begin so I’m just going to begin nowhere. I guess that’s how a lot of life works, huh? I wonder how many times in my life I’ve actually known where to begin. I sat down at my computer wanting to vent in some way, but I can’t seem to figure out the words to express what I’m feeling. Let me start with exploring the feelings I’m experiencing right now and I’ll navigate from there.
The feelings I’m currently experiencing are… let’s say guilt is one of them. I’d also say I’m probably feeling anxious and a little overwhelmed. Sometimes when I’ve identified my feelings, I’ll try to locate where in my body I feel discomfort or pain when feeling each emotion. This is a practice in mindfulness that my therapist taught me.
Once I’ve located the physical presence of the feeling, I breathe in fully and deeply, imagining that I am breathing directly into that part of my body. It makes me feel as though I’m physically clearing out the emotional disturbance I’m experiencing. I like this type of mindfulness exercise because not only does it tune me into the present moment, bringing me out of the negative momentum I’ve found myself caught up in, but it also satisfies my inner perfectionist who likes everything to be very step-by-step and organized.
It feels like a tangible process I can follow when I’m feeling overwhelmed with my emotions. And let me tell you, I am frequently overwhelmed with my emotions. But not always bad emotions! When I feel great, I really feel great. Luckily I’ve gotten better and better at guiding myself back into a good feeling state of mind, but despite all my obsessive self-development I still have my moments. Like.. a lot of them.
So like I said, I sat down at my computer to vent. I’m having an interesting month financially and emotionally. Financially, I’m in a bit of a tight spot and it’s been causing some anxiety and depression so far this month.
Christmas is in a few weeks and that’s when we get to go buy presents for everyone! So I went ahead and drew up a budget and did my Christmas shopping. Soon after this I had to register my new car (a much appreciated gift from my amazing mom) and pay my property taxes. I had drawn up the budget for the month already so I felt like it was all under control, but somewhere along the way I guess I didn’t research thoroughly enough and ended up being totally wrong about how much some of these things would cost me. I realized too late and ended up with a massively overdrawn bank account.
I didn’t know I would be so off on how much everything would cost. I’m new to being a home owner, and I’m honestly new to pretty much anything to do with grownup responsibilities. Ugh. ADHD specifically doesn’t help when it comes to keeping up with stuff like this. Not to mention, an ADHD brain is much more likely to miss important bits of information that could have saved them from a super stressful financial situation. But mistakes are made so we can learn from them and become better. Nowhere to go but forward.
Emotionally my financial situation has taken quite a toll on me. Along with ADHD, I’m diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I experience bouts of depression and bouts of mania. Mania for me looks like either intense irritability or an “on top of the world” feeling (which I sort of secretly live for). Both of these can happen in the same day or even the same hour, honestly. Rapid cycling like that may be more easily blamed on the ADHD though from what I’ve read.
ADHD has a very similar impact on the emotional state as Bipolar. But I’ll talk more in depth about both of these at another time. My point is that my emotional state is very fragile and it takes a lot of work to keep it in check. It’s a full time job. It’s the reason I’m obsessed with eating the correct diet, having the right supplements, building the right habits, etc.
My fragile emotional state is my biggest motivator. Which… sort of makes it more like a helpful friend rather than an enemy in a certain sense. Sort of like how in every story you need an antagonist or your protagonist is likely to just sit on his couch eating potato chips for the entire book. I would probably not finish that book. It sounds super boring.
We all have our own inner antagonist. It sucks to feel like you have an enemy, especially an enemy that’s part of you… because how do you vanquish a part of yourself? I feel like conquering the inner demon(s) isn’t the right way to go about it. At least not for me. I mean, it seems like the obvious thing to do, I’ll give you that. It may seem counterintuitive to call that part of yourself a friend. And I’ve spent my entire life battling this inner antagonist.
I was battling him when I was a little girl and that kid said something slightly rude to me, sending me into tears and making me run all the way home. I was battling him when I worked at a movie theater and that customer used a rude tone of voice..sending me into tears and making me run into the back room humiliated. The battle continued into my romantic relationships, when I would misunderstand my partner’s voice tone and think we were fighting..sending me into tears, etc. etc. you get the picture. I’m an overly sensitive person and it is completely humiliating and inconvenient for me.
All of those years I was battling and battling and getting nowhere. It wasn’t until I stopped calling this part of myself an enemy that I started to see any actual progress. I’m sure there were plenty of little examples of progress throughout my life because we are always naturally evolving ourselves, but I mean blatantly obvious progress. I’m not anywhere near the level of self-mastery that I’d like to be at, but we can’t just magically arrive at the destination overnight.
The journey is the whole point. The continuous reaching, striving, climbing. That’s what life is. If we were born into these bodies and immediately had everything figured out and accomplished…it’d probably be fun for a little bit, but then what would the point be? Where would the depth be? We cultivate depth through our constant striving, through our failing and getting back up again, and our ever-present desire to reach the top of the mountain. And you know what motivates this ever-present desire? The inner antagonist.
The inner antagonist is the water that rushes in and floods our valley, forcing us to climb up the mountain. The higher we climb the more we realize how much we like it up there. We can see miles in every direction. Our view is expanded in such a way that we can’t believe we ever wanted to live at the bottom of the mountain. If the water hadn’t come rushing in like that, we might never have experienced such beauty.
What is your mountain top? Is your inner antagonist your friend or your enemy?
I hope my point of perspective helps you to see the picture clearer. The more points of perspective we collect, the clearer it all becomes! I wish you all the luck a person can have in your climb up the mountain.
Until next time,
Keep Calm and Grow On