Things which act outside of our control, such as other people, are generally not sources of distress to neurotypical individuals. However, individuals with anxious disorders can be triggered even in the most arbitrary of events, experiencing a prolonged, intense, and often involuntary feeling of dread. As someone with a general anxiety disorder, recently back from a particularly devastating period, this feeling is not unfamiliar. Fortunately, coping methods, therapy, and medication can help ease anxious thoughts and change unhealthy thinking patterns. During my reading of The Enchiridion, I realized that some of Epictetus’ precepts were very comparable to methods and thought patterns I’ve used in coping with my anxiety. The very first…show more content…
This is because actions and thoughts are not merely characteristics, but the quintessential parts that define who a person is. These parts are above everything because of the simple fact that if one’s fundamental makeup is lost, the individual is lost. Epictetus follows this with what he believes the individual is unable to control:
“Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.”
The differentiation that Epictetus makes, with the exception of body, property, and perhaps reputation, is important in the establishment of priorities and hierarchy. Body is very important in relation to physical health, well-being, and confidence. Reputation can mean either of two things - other’s opinions, in which case are insignificant but yet the source of many of my anxieties, or friendship, of which I take a great deal of pride in being a supportive and good friend; this is one of the areas where The Enchiridion not only ceases to be relatable, but defies my priorities around coping with anxiety. Support from friends and family can be extremely helpful. Following this hierarchy and trusting yourself again may be the most difficult parts of establishing structure in a state of anxiety, but both are extraordinarily important. The hierarchy creates an environment in which our thoughts and actions can interpret everything else.
Another significant precept