Defusing The Terminal State of Mind

Terminal state of mind?

The TERMINAL state of mind is a psychological condition characterized by an apparent sense of powerlessness and inability to cope with life.

I’m reminded of Nazi concentration camp prisoners during World War 2. Lots of them suffered from a “terminal state of mind” due to torture, starvation, work, weather, epidemics, loss of hope etc.

Yet some of them survived and thrived. Not all of them had a terminal state of mind. One example of this is Dr. Viktor Frankl, the noted Nazi holocaust survivor who became a noted author and psychiatrist.

If you’re a trauma victim or one who has undergone much suffering from life’s events, you too can have hope. You can survive and thrive like Dr. Frankl and his companions from the Nazi death camp.

To siphon light from darkness, wring hope from despair, you need to defuse the “terminal state of mind.” Here below are tips, insights, and findings from the Nazi survivors on how they did it:

1. Escape into an inner world of faith;
2. Seek identity in spiritual values, not in circumstances;
3. Celebrate minor victories;
4. Thrive in the comfort of worthy companions sharing a torturous journey;
5. Express gratitude for whatever was not taken from you;
6. Cling to hope for the future;
7. Savor the tiniest bits of beauty even if accessed only by memory;
8. Diminish the impact of the horror by focusing elsewhere;
9. Tap humor for relief, despite macabre circumstances;
10. Use suffering as a source of growth;
11. Relish what no Nazi destroyer can destroy- the love of God, family, friends etc
12. Find meaning in pain and suffering

Psychiatrist Dr. M. Scott Peck once said that those who shift their focus from life’s villains and misfortune to their own responsibility “find themselves not only cured and free from the curses of their childhood and ancestry but also find themselves living in a new and different world. What they once perceived as problems they now perceive as opportunities.”

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