Three years ago after coming out of hospital I started to experience the presence of the demon. The demon is sometimes a clear voice in my head, but more often is a hellish noise; a clamour. If you have ever experienced noise that stresses you physically – like an ambulance siren that has made you wince – then you’ll understand that feeling of noise making you feel physically unpleasant. When the demon is around I get physical chills. I feel like someone is cheesegratering the inside of my skin. And all this noise comes with messages from the demon about how despicable I am – sometimes as a clear voice and more often as a direct transmission of the message into my mind.
The demon hates me and won’t tolerate me doing anything to sustain or nurture myself. Hence my difficulty dealing with the basics, like eating. The demon detests my creativity, and it’s when I’m trying to draw or write that I feel its presence most strongly. Since I started writing this blog just a few weeks ago I’ve never felt the demon voice so badly. It’s fairly scorching around my head making its presence felt – it’s simply furious.
I’m new to blogging, and I’m aware that I have a lot I want to write about past experiences, and John always raises points I want to respond to. But I thought I’d write about the demon while it’s happening. I wondered if I could get close to explaining how it feels. I doubt I can. I cringe in the face of the demon. It terrifies me. I feel that if I keep very still and do nothing it might go away. I get worn down dealing with it, but I have to deal with it to varying degrees the whole time. I wish it would leave me alone, but I don’t think it ever will. I asked it outright this morning –
‘What are you trying to do?’
I’ve tried ignoring the demon and distracting myself. That works for short periods of time (long enough to spend some time with a friend for example) but it only ever comes back. One night a few months ago I had to contact the crisis centre because the demon was overwhelming me and I was terrified. They gave me a fantastic piece of advice – if you’re troubled by noise or voices in your head it can help if you use your own voice out loud – humming, singing, or reading. So now I have a book of poetry at hand to read from, but mostly I negotiate with the demon. I pace up and down at home and talk out loud to the demon. I acknowledge its existence and its agenda and invite it to walk with me where I can see it. I will no longer tolerate it lurking in shadows. I also remind it what my agenda is – I’ll keep taking steps forwards in spite of it. I won’t give up the blog in spite of its howls. I remind it that it can’t actually destroy me no matter how much noise it makes. I don’t think it can hear me.
Really I’m trying to convince myself. Really I’m trying to hold a scary and precarious position. Times like this I get frightened because I feel so close to being defeated by it and giving up. I want to cry but am so worn down I can’t even do that. Everything I do has to be done in spite of the demon, and I’m so fucking ragged with it.
17 thoughts on “Demon Voice (Elle)”
I hear you Elle. I don’t have the illness you have, but I have been experiencing anxiety for a few years now, and it’s not releasing it’s grip on my mind, no matter what I tried. Went to see a psychiatrist a couple of years back and she told me about ‘the Poison Parrot’. Didn’t even know what that was, but now it’s got a name. Polly. And Polly is a pain. A major one. Telling me bad things will happen if I don’t do things correctly, and repeatedly. Until she shuts up. But she never shuts up. So I wrote about her in my last years NaNoWriMo attempt. You know, the name and shame thing. Still she’s not listening. How can one kill something intangible, that came out of nowhere and doesn’t want to leave? Even if it’s proved time and time again that it wrong telling me that bad things will happen? But I still listen. It’s like groundhog day every day. And you can’t explain how it feels to people who haven’t experienced it. All I keep telling myself is that someday Polly will get bored, of being ignored, of being proven wrong, of being deprived of the mental food/fears she’s feeding on. That she is only a figment of my over-active imagination. Only time will tell if she ever disappears to where she came from. This is what I wrote anyway.
‘ ‘You behave yourself while I’m out’, Kevin muttered, tip-toeing past the dozy cat contraption the way to the door. ‘No shenanigans like eating the wallpaper, you hear me?’
Kevin took this as a yes, as he tried to close the door the as quietly as possible on his way out. But then he couldn’t remember if he heard the lock actually click into place. And that’s when Polly came into being. As always. He really hated Polly by now. She always turned up last minute when something urgent needed to be done. Like him leaving the apartment. She always came out of nowhere, like a nosey neighbour twitching the curtains to see what the noise next door was about. Years ago, Kevin had welcomed her as a friendly reminder that he needed to make sure everything was in order before he left. Actually, there had been a time when there had been no Polly. But that was a long time ago. How had he ever managed to live life without her? But now she was a nuisance. And she wasn’t even real, not even as remotely like K.A.T.S.U. was. She needed no looking after, no cleaning and no feeding. Hold it, Kevin thought, she actually did feed. On his thoughts, on his insecurity, on his life. And he couldn’t seem to cut that supply off, however much he had tried, and was still trying. He had allowed her in, and now he couldn’t get rid of her. Or could he?’
Thanks for your thoughts and writing claudia. The one thing i really picked up on was the fact that that parrot doesn’t listen to you. I’m recently realising for the first time that the demon can’t hear me very well. This frustrates me to tears sometimes, but for the most part I’m just upping how much I speak to it. Speaking my truth quietly and clearly (for those times I’m not quaking and getting worn down by it naturally!) Today I’m feeling good for having written this piece in spite of the demon. It’s great to get your feedback. (Elle)
Thanks Claudia. For two years (and at other intervals) my brain would deceive, confuse and frighten me into crippling states. I can fully relate to having no control over these things. I was completely at the mercy of the delusions. It takes a brave person to face these things, and a brave person to move on regardless of the negatives. Keep moving. x (John)
You are all such brave, remarkable people. And you so deserve some peace. I wsh….I wish…There are no words to describe how sad this makes me feel. And I am haunted by your pain, terror and frustration. But acknowledge that I cannot begin to imagine how you feel.
Hi Grace, thanks so much for your comment. I think the human soul expands to cope. So no worries. And I learn new ways to cope as I go along. And when I can’t cope I have people – friends and professionals – walking right beside me to help. You’ve prompted me in the direction of a new blog post about having a stone in my shoe! (Elle)
We’re all right beside each other in this Grace. So glad you’re here. I wish it was easy, it isn’t…I wish… (John)
Thank you for sharing this. A few years ago I too had a demon taunting me. Once I felt it’s presence walk through me. I would tear up and get chills When revealing it. I don’t know if it really happened or not, but in that moment I was certain of it. I tried distraction. Yelling stop. Slowly I felt stronger and not as vulnerable to it..w lots of outpatient help. It’s was terrifying and exhausting. Keep taking those steps forward!!!
thank you so much for your reply. you give me hope that there might be space up ahead where i’m not as vulnerable to this raw damaging energy. it really helps to get your input. (Elle)
I am sorry you are having a hard time. If the demon said it wanted to destroy me, I’d ask why, and maybe learn from that answer. I hope you can find healthy ways to deal with this unwanted energy.
thanks for your reply. i’m entering the dialogue, and just taking one step forwards at a time. i really appreciate your input (Elle)
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Best wishes with it all.
Thanks to everybody for your support on here. It means a lot to both of us. (John)