A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It provides clarity or identifies hidden similarities between two different ideas.
For our purposes a metaphor has a keen way of magnetizing events in our lives in a helpful way Apparently the invisible process by which “things” come into being can have a transformative power, Using metaphor, combining simple language and very common-place images can bring new, unique insights.
That's why I found it so interesting to find out that the metaphor of the reptilian brain - it was almost poetic.
But there are many other metaphors that help our anxiety become more real. One woman said it felt like she was being harassed by an octopus with tentacles gripping her legs. There are others who have described it as a deranged gremlin or being held under the grip of the devil.
Some described it as walking down a dark and scary alley without knowing what is waiting for them or swimming in the ocean with no land in sight.
To others it has felt like being attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes – a death by a thousand stings. It has been described as a kind of black hole, like spiraling down a bottomless tunnel or being caught in a poisonous fog, an abyss, a dark canyon.
Winston Churchill referred to it as his, "black dog."
Another said, “It was like being caught on a windy desert dune desperately building sandcastle shelters only to feel them crumble moments later." or "being forced to memorize all of the conversations within a crowded restaurant."
Others have said that anxiety is like making a decision to eat raw horse brains or a rat’s guts, like being strapped to a chair while looking at an open door or like being randomly, brutally beaten at different points throughout the day but never knowing when the beating will occur.
In his book, People of the Lie: the Hope of Healing Human Evil, psychologist
Scott Peck describes how a patient became the metaphor when the reptilian look manifested itself. “The patient suddenly resembled a writhing snake of great strength, viciously attempting to bite the team members. More frightening than the writhing body, however, was the face. The eyes were hooded with lazy reptilian torpor—except when the reptile darted out in attack, at which moment the eyes would open wide with blazing hatred.”
Cliff had this ability to see this as well. After a conversation at church, he was visibly shaken. In the car, he said, "When you were talking to her - didn't you see how her face changed? She started to look like a snake, a reptile, her face changed...." Later on we realized that she had been traumatized.
We might not understand it - but the fear can feel very real. The trauma can manifest itself in different ways and using metaphors is one of the first steps in dealing with it.
"There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment." - Hunter S. Thompson