THE DEMONS WITHIN

Demons are frightening.

I remember seeing the Exorcist at age 12 and my then catholic mind went crazy. I watched that movie like a documentary and I believed everything in it, as any God-fearing young catholic would do. This isn’t a story about how demons exist, and exorcisms are real because they are not. Any rational mind would agree. Yet, at that impressionable age, almost anything can be true.

The Exorcist was the scariest movie I had ever seen at the time and since then, more than 20 years later, there is no movie that is half as scary. I think its appeal came from the catholic teachings I had received since I was a kid. I found myself believing vividly that demons existed, and they had a real impact on life in general. Oh, the innocence that we carry with us when we are young…

Since then, I have watched dozens of horror movies and they mostly made me laugh but that one, it still scares the crap out of me. Seeing a girl that was my age being 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. They don’t exist. Things that don’t exist don’t scare me. But you know what scares me? People scare me. Life scares me, death scares me. I am not scared of fictional characters created thousands of years ago by people lost in the fucking desert and who probably hallucinated all that preposterous shit! Good and evil exist within people, not outside of them. However, the metaphorical demon scares me more.

What is a metaphorical demon? It 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 all have in our souls, minds, and bodies. I am talking about the reasons we freeze, we panic, and we shut down 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, the apprehensions, the insecurities the hurts and the scars we all have deep within us. I am talking about those shortcomings we have, those scars still open in our souls. I am talking about the demons 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 strongly 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. Seeing people’s lives destroyed because of pain and sorrow is the deepest burden of all.

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 simply do not want to get hurt again. You build a barrier between you and others. You find yourself not trusting people and frankly, why should you? It is normal to be suspicious of people after a traumatic and/or life altering event.

Usually, after the pain and sorrow, comes the healing process. It takes time. Oh, yes it does. Moreover, it is a damn long process and you cannot fast-forward through it. You cannot ask a rape victim to just get over her rape because it has been years. That is not how it works. You think the demons are impatient to leave? No. They want to stay. They want to fester and grow the way viruses infect and destroy a host. They destroy everything inside and move on to the next host. Demons are quite similar; they always want to grow and if possible, infect others. I told you demons are dangerous. Maybe just as dangerous as the one in the Exorcist.

Healing is a difficult and long process, regardless of your injury. Some people bounce back faster than others and others do not. We are all different. We heal differently. We grow and evolve differently. Such is life.

The problem with demons, most people won’t even consider their existence. They dismiss the idea; they pretend the hole made by the trauma has been shut or doesn’t exist. Perhaps, they are ashamed of not being well. Perhaps it is the social construct that stipulates being a victim has a component of shame in there. Perhaps, being a victim means you were weak, you couldn’t defend yourself. Being unwell is a stigma and that is fucking unfair.  

When you are fine, you walk around with your chest out, like any invincible warrior would. Yet, what happens when you are not? What happens when the demons knock on your door and proceed to invade your mind, body and soul? No one ever talks about that. Instead, our social construct makes you feel ashamed. Having demons doesn’t make you weak or untouchable. Fuck that! If anyone says that, they are being a hypocrite because we all have demons. 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 really bad? Denying their existence and pretending everything is ok! Listen, let’s be honest, let’s be real: if you don’t have anything bothering you from time to time, then more power to you! I applaud you and I can only be happy for you and wish you well.

But…if, like most people, you have demons, meaning scars, pain and sorrow, be honest with yourself and take the time to accept your reality. It is ok. Yes, it is ok. Not being ok is not illegal, nor is it frowned upon. There is no law against that. One thing we should all strive for is to get better by living and understanding our mental and physical situation, by diving in deep within ourselves and understanding our emotions. We should never suppress our emotions, our feelings, our pain, our sorrow. The whole point of improving oneself 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 fucking perfect, and no one can claim they have a perfect psychological profile, because it is not possible. Once again, we all have demons, to stronger and lesser degrees.

I have demons. I have worked through some of them, others are still with me, they don’t seem to want to leave. However, 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 realize I got nothing under control. I know for example the primal part of my brain lights up the second I am disrespected. Perhaps that comes from being disrespected often at a young age and it left a hole in me, which I try to fill by fighting disrespect as fiercely as I can. Same goes for bullying. Whenever I see a bully, I take them down and will psychoanalyze them later. I am still working on taking the bullies down gently, it is hard work, I assure you. 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 have trained my mind and body, but I still have a long way to go. I did some therapy two years ago, and it was unbelievably revealing and even more rewarding. You sit and talk to a 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, I 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. I know not everyone has access to therapy. I won’t sit here and pretend I wasn’t lucky to be in therapy. If you cannot afford therapy, google the things that bother you and have hurt you. I promise that you will be surprised at the solutions you might find.

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 sitting behind the wheel of your mind palace, you will crash and burn. Chase the demons out of your mind palace, that precious and holy place in your mind. Take them off the steering wheel and throw them out. 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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