What does the Battle of Thermopylae (ther-mop-i-lee), in 480 B.C., have to do with FTD? I’ll tell you, but understand that this is from my perspective only.
For 32 years I was an attorney before I was forced to retire because of the impact the FTD was having on my work. For approximately the last 24 years, I represented thousands of children who were in the Child Protective Services system. These kids were subjected to being victims of domestic violence, sexually abuse, physically abuse, neglect due to parental drug use and a whole host of other horrific experiences that an adult, let alone a child, (newborn to 18 years of age) should ever be subjected to. During my representation, I considered myself as their protector, guardian angel, their knight in shining armor and…their “warrior.”
I’ve always considered myself to be a warrior. In grade school, I would always fight bullies who picked on other kids. I would, without hesitation, defend myself when it became necessary. Even as a kid, I had a “warrior’s mentality.” I’d fight for a just cause; fight for what is right; fight to protect others; fight to protect myself.
That’s where the Battle of Thermopylae applies for me. Again, I want to emphasize, this connection is based on my perception. I don’t claim that it is applicable to anyone else. I can only speak for myself.
The Battle of Thermopylae, in a nutshell, was a battle fought by 300 Spartans and their Greek allies against an invading force of Persians numbering in the thousands. The Spartans and Greeks shared common values: skill, loyalty, sacrifice and a willingness to face overwhelming odds of enemy forces.
So, you may be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with FTD?” Again, speaking for me, it has quite a bit to do with FTD. First of all, it has to do with attitude. The Spartans and Greeks had an attitude that, despite the obvious end result, they were determined to do their best to defeat as many of the enemy as possible. To do so, they were going to have to remain loyal to themselves and each other. They knew, full well, that they were going to sacrifice their lives to battle and defeat as many of the enemy as possible. They also had to have the fortitude and willingness to face the overwhelming odds that obviously, were going to defeat them in the end.
This is where my comparison to the Spartans and Greeks comes into play with FTD. As a self proclaimed “warrior,” I utilize my skills of survival (intense exercise/meditation, time with my family, riding my Harley, etc.,) to help fight the “enemy” (the FTD).
I’m “loyal” to myself and my family. I mean that I continue the battle because of my loyalty to myself and my family. Were I not loyal, I’d have done myself in a long time ago. But, while the fight, and willingness to continue the fight, is still present, to be disloyal to those who fight the battle with me (my wife, Patty, my children, granddaughter and friends) would go against the warrior’s creed. In other words, we all have each other’s backs during the fight. The military calls it, “having your six.” Not only do my family and friends have my “six,’ but I have theirs as well because this is a team (army, if you will) fight.
The “sacrifice” is another characteristic of my support team and myself. We are all sacrificing to keep me going. Patty has taken on the responsibilities of handling my office affairs, as the office still remains open (even thought another attorney has stepped in to cover my caseload until my contract has been canceled by the state). She’s handling, among many, many other important matters, the closing up of my office. This is no small task. It is a very complicated process. My kids and friends sacrifice various aspects of their lives and schedules to do whatever is necessary at the time for me.
“Attitude” is another important aspect of the fight. You see, my experience with FTD has taken me to a place of not having the ability to do things like before. Intense depression, anxiety, mania, anger, stress, the inability and lack of patience to handle complicated matters, the inability to focus, sensory overload and a variety of other factors affect me and are the wounds from my battle. Despite my injuries, I have to keep a strong attitude, though I admit, that can be very difficult…a lot.
Our family and friends continue the fight, struggles, hardships, heartaches with intention and focus, notwithstanding the overwhelming odds of FTD and the knowledge that this will “get me” in the end. I will ultimately lose the battle with the “Persians.” My family will lose the battle as well. Regardless, we are all warriors and we will continue to fight the fight until no one is left standing (i.e, until the FTD has defeated us).
As difficult as this is on all of us, we will remember this fight as our Battle of Thermopylae. In that regard, we can hold our heads high knowing in our hearts, we never gave up.