The demons of mental illness are devilishly tricky opponents. They hide in the shadows of your mind, whispering lies that are impossibly believable. And when you go to therapy, when you open up to loved ones, when you try to shine a light on them, it is uncomfortable, and often leaves you feeling raw and wounded. But that is just your demons fighting back. It means you are on the right track.
Every step forward I have taken in my recovery has been one fraught with uncertainty as my demons clung to their ways, which they’d tricked me into adopting as my ways. You see, I’ve developed a host of defense mechanisms, walls that I thought were there so that I could protect myself. Yet those walls were protecting my demons, my darkness, not me.
I feared that if anyone saw my darkness, my depression, my anxiety, my insomnia, that they wouldn’t want me. Yet the people who have made it past those walls have surprised me time and time again by becoming some of my closest connections. And now, as I fight to take down those walls so that I can live more fully, connect with others more honestly, the demons rage against the process, making each bit of ground gained an uncomfortable battle taking place in the inner shadows of my mind.
In the end, neither of us will ever win. There will be days that the demons knock me down. But I will always get back up when the darkness passes. I promise myself that. And I will push them back into the shadows, fighting to live with this darkness, but there is no cure. I will never win. The victory is instead measured in the ground gained, the progress made. And each victory will be uncomfortable. But that means I am on the right track.
Maybe someday my demons and I will learn to coexist. Maybe someday science will find a way to exorcise my demons and cure me of this darkness. Maybe that will happen for you too if this is a battle that is all too familiar to you. Yet until then, know that you are not alone in your battle. And know that when the demons start to fight back, it means you are on the right road.