Regardless of the drastically long laps and endless miles we will feverishly sprint in order to run from the darkest parts of ourselves — it’s the one race we don’t stand a chance to win.
No matter how hard we train or how fiercely we choose to medicate ourselves into soaring perfection.
I don’t care who you are or where you come from or how you grew up; at one point or another, we have all experienced the presence of a demon we would do just about anything to eradicate from our lives, a demon we’re far too fearful to confront, a demon we would rather seamlessly escape than so dare to look in the eye.
So what is exactly is a “demon” you oh-so-curiously ask? A demon can be dressed up in a vast variety of styles and derived from a superabundance of things.
A demon could be born out of a traumatic recollection — a chilling event from the past that mars our catalogue of memories.
A demon can also be something we’re tirelessly battling within ourselves: a secret eating disorder, an addiction were pretending isn’t destroying our lives, the pressing loneliness of a black depression, an abusive relationship we’re trapped in and are afraid to tell anyone about.
Regardless of how your demon came to be, it’s only natural we collectively find ourselves vehemently afraid of it. If it weren’t scary, it wouldn’t be a demon, right?
We become desperate to free ourselves of the chokehold this seemingly demonic force of evil has over our lives, so we take action the only way in which we know how: the dangerous art of numbing.
We relentlessly binge drink and inhale heaps of smoke and pop handfuls of happy pills and blissfully lose ourselves in our careers and our codependent relationships and our reality television shows.
We forcefully deny the existence of our issues, tell ourselves the past doesn’t f*cking matter and blindly dive into a colorful myriad of distractions.
The problem with this tactic is by not dealing with our problems, we’re dealing with them all the time (even if we cease to realize it).
Unfortunately, the monsters do not disappear by merely ignoring them. If only.
In fact, these issues only escalate when neglected. They manifest themselves in crooked, twisted ways, bleeding into our relationships, anxieties, work lives and personal sense of peace.
It’s like leaving an infection untreated or disease ignored; you can’t stave it off and expect it to go away.
This is why you need to stop fighting the demon, and instead F*CK it. Make love to it. Kiss it. Feel it. Touch it.
It’s the only way to heal.
Regardless of the unimaginably horrendous sh*t you've been through (or are currently going through), you are not damaged goods.
There is a certain beauty in being a survivor of a loaded past. You have that much more inside of you, which you can channel into incredible creative outlets.
So how do you start? How do you deal with the hurricane that's destroying your insides? How do you stop fighting it and instead, start f*cking it?
Start A Novel Or Journal
Stay up all night, and write your heart out. Describe everything you feel, and don’t you dare hold back.
Delve into the crux of your life by articulating your experience with words. Don't censor yourself – grant yourself the freedom to really go there.
I don't care if you were a sh*t student who couldn't write. Do it anyway.
Reread your words. Take in your story on paper. Look at it, examine it, break it down, set it free.
Doodle In A Notebook, Or Paint A Masterpiece
There are certain feelings that can't be carried by words alone. This is why you must draw, paint, finger paint, color.
Don’t worry about your level of artistic ability – it's not about a final result (you're not showing in a gallery).
Stuff you didn’t even realize you were holding hostage inside the cell of yourself will magically manifest itself on paper through art.
Drawing is visceral — it will rip you out of your intellect and connect you to your heart. Draw with a reckless abandon.
Listen To Music, And Go To Concerts
I can’t think of anything as loaded with the ability to heal like MUSIC. Music is a world-changing medium; it's caused massive social revolutions throughout our history, and that's some powerful sh*t.
Hearing your pain articulated through the speed of sound is the most validating experience you can ever have.
Get on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes WHATEVER, and search for music that resonates with you and your experiences.
Thrash around your bedroom to this music; cry to it and sing to it, blasting it as loudly as possible (the louder it is, the further it seeps into your soul).
Follow up your DIY bedroom concerts by purchasing tickets to see the artist/band live. It’s like an alternative version of group therapy.
Talk Incessantly To Your Friends
Maybe the reason you’re feeling so broken down into the depths of despair, so heartbreakingly, painstakingly sad is that you’re keeping secrets from the ones you love.
You’ve alienated yourself from your friends and neglected to let them in on what's really going on with you.
You're afraid you will freak everyone out, afraid you will push everyone further away, afraid they will force you to get help with your addictions, afraid they will walk out on you like everyone else has. I get it.
I hid the darkest parts of myself from my friends and family for almost a decade.
Your friends just might surprise you with their compassion for your situation — don't underestimate them.
Opening up to your friends is the greatest thing you can do for your relationship. Abandon the fear of leaning on people.
You can't go through it alone, and you will find they will start opening up to you. Together, you can work through your sh*t in a beautiful collaboration.
Cry Your Eyes Out As Much As Possible
Our bodies are designed to produce tears for a reason. It's not coincidence that hot fluid streams out of our precious eyeballs when we're feeling strongly.
There is nothing like a good cry. Crying releases our pent-up emotional damage. It’s the ultimate release to all that is consuming us.
Crying is what brings us back into our bodies, when we have that anxious feeling of floating into the air – the unnerving dissociation we experience after trauma.
Cry as much as possible. Cry alone; cry with friends; cry on the subway; turn on a sad movie, and cry at home. Release, brothers and sisters.
See A Therapist
Contrary to what Hollywood blockbusters might suggest, therapy isn’t only for the white and the hyper-privileged. It's not exclusive to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
There are so many therapists who will work with you on a sliding scale. There is an endless supply of mental health counselors starting out their career who can work with you at lesser cost.
There are crisis centers, support groups and rehabilitations in your community you've never even heard of.
The best way to look your demon in the eye is to do so with a professional who will listen to you and help you crawl through the mud. You have to crawl through the mud to get to the other side.
It's the best investment you can make in yourself.
Remember: If you're feeling like you can't handle it, like the walls are closing in around you, like it's too much to handle, and you're losing your sh*t — please reach out for help. Wash yourself of the shame, right here, right now.
Here are some resources to get you the help you deserve: