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Tunnel Vision

Posted on 5 May, 2015 at 9:00

What is tunnel vision?


According to Merriam-Webster, tunnel vision is an extreme narrowness of viewpoint, a constricted field of vision, or a tendency to think about only one thing and ignore everything else. Basically, your vision is focused on a very small area, blocking out anything in the periphery. This can be a physical problem, but it can also be a mental issue. The mental form of tunnel vision is what I will address here.


How does it work?


Depression is one of the most common causes of mental tunnel vision, based on clients I have worked with, people I have met, and my own personal experiences. Remember that depression is a disease of lies. It tells you things that are not true, trying to trick you into believing you are not likable, you are not worthy, you have no friends, no one wants to hear from you, etc. Well, tunnel vision plays right into that by increasing your focus on the lies in the center, and eliminating any peripheral truths floating around the edges. Everything becomes mentally dark except for the lie in your psychological bull's eye. That lie becomes bigger and bigger, more and more in focus, as it elbows out the truths around it. Pretty soon, you find yourself believing the lie and looking farther and farther into that tunnel. But it doesn't have to be this way.


You can beat tunnel vision


First, you must recognize what is happening. Notice when you get stuck on a negative idea or thought. Knowing is half the battle (see: G.I. Joe cartoons from the 1980s), so once you realize you are perseverating on something unhealthy, you can harness your mental power and change it.


Next, you must decide to call the lie a lie. You decide you are not going to buy into it. You tell yourself, "No. That is a lie. I do have friends and they do want to hear from me."


Then, you expand your view. Open up the tunnel and let the light in. Allow those truths around the edges to float into the middle as you push the lie out and away from your line of vision. Focus on the truths: You are likable; you have friends; they do want to hear from you; they care about you.


The more you repeat these truths to yourself, the more likely you are to believe them. Yes, it takes time. No, it may not feel like it's working all the time, but keep practicing. Do not give up. The reason you believe the lies is because they have been repeated to you so many times, either by yourself or by others. Truths become ingrained in the same way. Through repetition. Start repeating the good stuff, the truths, as much as you used to repeat the bad stuff, and watch that tunnel disappear. Soon, you'll be able to see the light all around you instead of being stuck in the dark and searching for that elusive light so far away.

Categories: Depression, Worry

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