Demons are frightening. I remember seeing the Exorcist at age 12 and my then catholic mind went crazy. It was the scariest movie I saw at the time and since then, more than 20 years later, there is no movie that is half as scary. In my opinion, it is still the scariest movie ever made. I have seen dozens of horror movies, they mostly made me laugh but that one, it still scares the crap out of me. Seeing a girl that was my age possessed by the devil made me have PTSD for at least 2 years and I couldn’t sleep well for that entire time. That period of my life seems so distant that it might as well have never existed. Demons and the devil as described by religion don’t scare me at all. People scare me, not fictional characters created thousands of years ago by primitive people in a part of the world where they thought slavery was ok and that rain was a miracle of God! Good and evil exist within people, not outside of them. However, the metaphorical demon scares me more.

The metaphorical demon is the kind of demon that is the result of psychological and/or physical trauma. We all have them, to lesser and stronger degrees. By demons, I mean the sorrow, pain and scars we have in our souls, minds and bodies. I am talking the reasons we freeze when a familiar (and usually bad) situation occurs. It can be the result of abuse (sexual, psychological, physical), trauma (death, injury) and so on.  I am talking about the fears, hurts and scars we all have deep within us. I am talking about those shortcomings we have, those scars that are still open in our souls that create a barrier between being well and being in permanent pain and doubt. We all have them. I am merely talking about physical and emotional hurts that linger and poison us. I firmly believe we all have encountered dark moments and situations that changed us forever. Some of us will talk about it, others won’t. Being hurt is a burden, feeling like a victim for years and years is a deeper burden.

Those demons can stop our progress, make us vulnerable and unsure of ourselves, insecure, fearful and ultimately, those demons can stunt our growth as human beings. Of course, being hurt makes you insecure and you look over your shoulder all the time. You don’t’ trust people, and why should you? It is normal to be suspicious of people after a traumatic and life altering event. The healing process takes time, it is a long process and you can’t fast-forward through it. You can’t ask a rape victim to just get over her rape because it has been years. Healing is a difficult and long process, regardless of your injury. Some people bounce back faster than others, some don’t. Such is life.

The problem with demons, most people won’t even consider they have them. They dismiss the idea, they are ashamed of not being well. Perhaps it is the social construct that is that way. Being unwell is a stigma. When you are fine, you walk around with your chest out, like any invincible warrior would What happens when you are not? What happens when the demons knock on your door and enter your mind, body and soul? Having demons doesn’t make you untouchable. It could make you unfit to do certain activities or occupy specific jobs but it shouldn’t make you a pariah or a loser.

Having demons is part of the human condition, it is part of our psyche. Demons aren’t as bad as the word sounds. You know what’s bad? Denying their existence and pretending things are peachy. If you don’t have anything bothering you from time to time, then more power to you, I applaud you and can only wish you well. But…if, like most people, you have demons and scars, pain and sorrow, be honest with yourself and take the time to accept your reality. It is OK. It is not illegal nor is it frowned upon. The idea is to get better by living and understanding our mental and physical situation, by diving in deep and comprehending our emotions and not by suppressing them. The whole point of improving one self is talking about things that bother us, things that scare us, things that have hurt us, and the things that represent hurdles in our lives. There is no shame in having demons. Don’t ever let anybody judge you for that. No one is perfect, and no one can claim they have a perfect psychological profile, because it isn’t possible. Once again, we all have demons, to stronger and lesser degrees.

I myself have demons. I worked through some of them, others are still with me, they don’t seem to want to leave but I’d like to think I am able to keep them under control, manage them so to speak. Most of the time, I do, but rarely, I do realize I got nothing under control. I know for example that the primal part of my brain lights up the second I am disrespected. Perhaps that comes from being disrespected a lot at a certain age and it left a hole in me, which I try to fill by fighting disrespect as fiercely as I can. Who said it isn’t cool to revisit your past? You might be surprised of what you could potentially find in your past. Oscar Wilde once said, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.

How does one fight their demons? I don’t have a clue. I trained my mind and body, but I still have a long way to go. I did some therapy one time, and it was unbelievably revealing and even more rewarding. You talk to a complete stranger, who doesn’t judge you and they give you tools to work with. I thought it was tremendously helpful, I didn’t see it as a stigma, and it was for my own improvement, so, I didn’t care what people would say, still don’t. It made me better and I can only enjoy the results, even if I still have an enormous amount of improvement to do.

Take your time, accept that you might have an issue, and go see someone who can help you, it is for your own good anyway. If not, talk to a friend, just let things out. Sometimes, we just need to unload the heavy weights that trample our soul, mind and body. Who cares how you got better so long as no one got hurt in the process? We all want to get better. Do your best to not let the demons ruin your life because what is more precious than your life? Please remember that if demons are the captains of your ship, you will crash and drown. Take them off the steering wheel and throw them overboard and enjoy your life. Demons like to stay put and flourish. Don’t allow them to hold you back. Please keep in mind that it will be a long process and consistency is key. Take the time to get better so you can be better.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now, smile, vanquish those demons and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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