When the days are cold, and the cards all fold, and the saints we see are all made of gold…when you feel my heat look into my eyes it’s where my demons hide…don’t get too close, it’s dark inside, it’s where my demons hide – Imagine Dragons, "Demons"
Remember when you were a child and you and your friends would play hide and seek. There was always one person that you knew would be found first, the few that would always make it to the base, and one that you would never find. The hiding began when you'd close your eyes and count to ten and as the chase gave way you always knew who to find first. It was either the one you knew you’d find or the one you never could. But as you began to run you'd get tired so you'd find the one who was easiest to see and not chase the ones who were moving quickly back to base as the game ended.
As a new seeker is chosen and the one who is never found remains in hiding, the game goes on and they always know who will be the easiest to find and who will never be found. And as the game goes on for a few rounds and fun is being had there is that one sitting in the corner , wondering "Why haven’t they found me yet?" Hidden sometimes in the most obvious of places, visible for all to see, yet they remain behind a bush or in the trees with the shadow protecting them like a demon, unseen.
Life sometimes is like the game of hide and seek. There are always those who find themselves quickly, those who run about but eventually reach base, and those who are hidden, unable to be seen by those who are found and moving quickly. They are often overlooked because of demons that create an illusion in order to hide within them. Demons like addiction, depression, anxiety, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, abuse, emotional distress and trauma hide within them. And because of the illusions of shadows passing by, they remain hidden, as in a game of hide and seek, hiding behind the bushes or within the tree protected by the illusion of leaves and branches.
Living a life riddled with demons can be quite scary and dark, and creating the illusions and masks can be quite overwhelming, but everyday people like me live with these demons and they weigh heavy on our shoulder. Desperate, alone and afraid, hoping to be found, we hide in obvious places hoping to be seen and that someone would reach out because they see the demons holding us down. Yet we are overlooked and as time goes by, we transform.
Now a new problem arises: the demons become normal. Days and nights drowned by depression, anxiety, and insomnia open the gates to hell, letting in the bigger demons that are harder to escape; demons such as addiction, substance and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, and emotional distress. We begin to think of ourselves as nothing and to treat ourselves as such and the demons grow bigger and bigger until the illusions are made. Now trapped in dark and engulfed by the shadows we become lost and unable to see the light. We become the demons ourselves. We put our very lives at stake, risking it all, too afraid to fight the back. But isn’t life something worth fighting for?
Facing your demons is not the easiest thing to do and getting to the point where you can truly say “I am ready to fight for my life” is like climbing Mount Everest without any training. But in order to see the light you must face your demons and in order to face your demons, you must know where your demons hide.
It is important to remember how strong and powerful you are, especially during those times when you feel so overwhelmed that all you can see is hopelessness. On the days when you feel like you can’t possibly make it another day, try to remember who you are. Don’t deny what is happening or repress your struggle because if you try to bury your demons, you unconsciously feed each one. You shouldn’t just slay your demons; you dissect them. Know that demons are shape-shifters with many disguises dressed in depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, and emotional distress. By denying your reality you forgo your opportunity to grow, but by facing your demons you reclaim your power.
As of today, I have been sober for 30 days after a relapse period of four months. I promote myself as strong, invincible, living testimony, and that I am; but even the strong have an Achilles heel. I sit here a sane person with little remembrance of who I use to be, but full knowledge of the demons that hide obviously within me.
A full illusion I am. I advocate for HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention. I speak on rape, depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and substance abuse all while the demons still attack me. For last four months, I have not been myself. Shrouded by depression I relapsed and begin to abuse once again. I began to see myself as nothing and to treat myself as such.
I felt like I was nothing, even with so many positive things happening to me from a releasing a book, gaining recognition in the HIV community, speaking and educating through web series and interviews and even writing for all you readers but nothing seemed capable of filling the hole that I had in my heart.
That was until the day I finally broke free from the illusion and remembered my purpose. So as my voice is being echoed out I yell “I am ready to fight for my life and not just slay but dissect my demons.”