My Life is Not a Greek Drama, but Thank You Anyway Eris
During my year-long journey reading the Iliad and the Odyssey as part of Jack Grayle’s course Godsong, I noticed the way I perceive some of the gods in the stories differently than when I studied the texts when I was in college. Over the years life experience and therapy has shaped how I understand the actions of others and recently I found myself relating to the Goddess of Strife in a way I never expected.
She is referred to as Strife in the Iliad Book 4, “whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Ares, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth.”
There are many more mentions of her in ancient literature, but it was this one got me thinking more about her and seeing her as a being who has unmet needs and that’s why she acts the way that she does.
Part of the Adventure of having ADHD is the fun I experience with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). This symptom of ADHD can cause an individual to “feel ‘unbearable’ pain as a result of perceived or actual rejection, teasing, or criticism (ADDitude Magazine).” For me, RSD can start as something small (“this person hasn’t texted me back yet”) and snowball into something irrational (“they must hate me and never want to speak to me again”) which can then cause my brain to retaliate in a way that is somehow supposed to protect me (“well I hate them too, and I’m fine never talking to them again, in fact I’ll just block them from my phone right now”). Learning how to regulate my emotions has helped quite a bit, but those initial thoughts and feelings of rejection persist – I just have better reactions to them now.
RSD is what I see when I read that description of Eris from Book 4. She is emotional dysregulation that comes from places no one understands. She is the discord that makes people sabotage themselves and their lives for reasons unknown. She is Chaos and Strife.
I’ve named this Chaos part of my brain “Eris.” I can see her dart her way into my thoughts and feel her presence. When I do, I pause, acknowledge her, and ask her what she needs. Most of the time she just wants to be seen so she doesn’t feel rejected. If that’s not the case, I can ask more questions to get to the deeper need. Doing this has caused her to surface less over time, I haven’t felt her flutter in a while.
Eris is probably most famously known for being the only goddess to not receive an invite to Thetis and Peleus’ wedding, where she decides to leave the golden apple of discord as an act of revenge, which causes events that eventually spark the Trojan War. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Zeus had talked to Eris instead of withholding her invitation. Could there have been a compromise? Could the Trojan War have been avoided? We will never know, and frankly, it wouldn’t make for anywhere as interesting a story. What I *do* know is that my life is not a Greek drama and I can make different choices once I acknowledge the Chaos inside my brain.
*photos from wikipedia.
About the Author:
Montine is an astrologer, tarot reader, and occultist living on unceded Duwamish land that some call Seattle. A forever student, journalist, and queer gender-nonconforming femme, she spends her time listening to the stories people tell with the hope of understanding many more perspectives than her own. Recently diagnosed with ADHD and self-diagnosed as autistic, she is rediscovering the world through a neurodivergent lens and transforming her life to work smarter and not harder. She writes an annual called Book of My Shadows which explores different ways to use the energy of New and Full Moons for personal growth and exploration and one of her current hyperfixations is studying the Greek Magical Papyri.