Witches, demons, goblins, ghosts and sometimes even the Devil himself wait for you at the crossroads. The Demon Of Indecision will inevitably find you there. Down one road is the Angel Of Despair; down the other is the Demon Of Hope. The road ahead is lost in darkness. The last choice is simply to turn around and go back the way you came. A bad choice, because while you were trying to decide, that road sign changed to Neurosis Lane.

Crossroads, crossed paths, two roads diverging in a wood, these are iconic metaphors for choice, indecision and doubt. Indecision breeds anxiety and anxiety is not just a state of mind. Anxiety is a demon who chews away at you from the inside, eroding your internal biological defenses and corroding your mental machinery. Anxiety is a neurochemical response to indecision or danger, and that’s true. Your internal experience, however, might as well be a demon from the depths. That is how it feels.

You will have more success dealing with anxiety if you discuss it with yourself in demonic terms. First of all, this puts you at one remove from the emotional and physical stress. This is important, because this remove can free you from guilt. Feeling anxious has elements of guilt involved and these tangle your feet when you try to move forward. Simply naming the demon to its face is often enough to harness it to your needs. Sometimes you might need a longer conversation.

You can’t choose your demons. They choose you. You can, however, put your demons to work for you if you find the right set of metaphorical images for controlling them. For starters, knowing which way to take at a crossroads can be helped by having the right internal compass at hand.