Imagine yourself running down an endless hallway with rows upon rows of doors. Now, imagine that your only source of light in this hallways is the dim glow that resonates from the cracks at the bottom of those doors. You try the first door you see, grasping the knob with both hands, you cry out in pain as the locked doorknob singes the tender flesh of your palms. After nursing your burnt hand, you try the next door, which yields similar results.
As you run through the halls repeating your fruitless efforts to open one of these infernal doors the floor behind you begins to disappear. Terror fills your very soul as you run quickly ahead to avoid the crumbling ground. For hours you sprint down the never ending hall, fruitlessly turning each door’s locked handle, burning your hands and repeating the process all while avoiding the falling floor.
After such a long and tireless effort to escape, the hall ahead begins to warp. You become disoriented as you try door after locked door. Suddenly, shrill shrieks of desperation and anguish can be heard from below. The longer you run down this evil hall, the worse things seem to become. The cries below you, you begin to realize, are the cries of those who became trapped in this ceaseless corridor, only to have failed and fallen into obscurity below.
The voices of these lost souls become clearer and clearer the more you run. You begin to hear them telling you that it’s useless to keep going. They say that there is no use in resisting the inevitable abyss that eventually devours us all. You begin to feel weak and tired; your thoughts begin to wonder if the ghosts below are right. You ponder giving up and falling into the void below.
Then suddenly in the distant reaches of the back of your mind comes a tiny barely audible voice. Every time the miniscule voice begins to speak, the spirits below scream louder to obscure it. Slowly, you begin to understand what the small voice is trying to tell you. It’s pleading with you not to give up; to keep running. The voice becomes louder and more discernable above the screams of anguish under you.
You begin to hear it more and more clearly. It tells you that you that your efforts are not in vain. The voice resonates into every inch of the infinite hall. In every darkness there is a speck of light, no matter what, you must push forward, it urges. As you begin to listen more to this once meek and powerless voice, you start to feel more energized.
Suddenly you realize that the handles are no longer burning your hands. You press ever forward, and the floor behind ceases its crumbling. The cries from below ring out louder than ever, trying to silence the other voice. Ahead of you a small light is beginning to become visible. The source of the voice urges you forward, and you realize it’s coming from the light.
Your cheeks begin to warm as the light splashes across your face. The echoing cries of those below have since disappeared into obscurity. The hallway ultimately culminates in a beautifully ornate glass door. You hear the voice beyond beckoning you to step through the threshold. Grasping the beautiful golden handles with both hands, you excitedly burst through the doorway with certainty that you have finally overcome the darkness.
Running at full force through across the threshold your feet stumble for a footing. You realize that the vast sun covered field you’d seen through the glass door was an illusion. You falter to find you balance before falling into the dark pit that lay below. As you begin your freefalling descent into the abyss below, you hear the once bright and encouraging voice now cackling darkly at your plight. With nothing else to do, you’re finally forced to give in to this eternal darkness and accept your fate as you fall helplessly into oblivion.
For some, this is nothing but a hellish nightmare from which they will easily awaken; usually after trying the first door. For others however, this nightmare is an all too real representation of reality. This is what it feels like to millions of people suffering from anxiety. For those of us who are forced to live with this excruciating scenario on a daily basis, life can become unbearable and many are forced to let the void devour them.
The worst aspect of anxiety is that just when you think you’ve overcome one obstacle, three more will appear to replace it. The catch to all of this is, however, that none of the obstacles in your path can actually hurt you physically. Everything that you face is completely trapped within the confines of your mind. For this reason, many who suffer from anxiety are overlooked as lazy or crazy, or both. The truth is, many people with anxiety have just become frozen in terror, and won’t be able to overcome this crippling fear alone.
For those who love someone whom is fighting this battle, don’t let them fight alone. For those who are suffering from anxiety, the hallway does end, the glass door is not always an illusion. You just have to keep trying no matter what, because eventually you will find the strength to overcome.