When Demons Drag Us Down
We all have our demons, don’t we? They come in all shapes and sizes, some incredibly scary, others that just create small chinks in our armour and worry away at us. They try and wear us down, or some even drag us down with every single opportunity that they get. Often, they are specific to each person as well, as our mental health is a very individual thing and different things affect people in different ways. (Yes, there can be similarities, but really they aren’t exactly the same.)
So take a moment and reflect, what might your demons be? Now ask yourself whether or not they have a strong hold on you, or whether you’re good at fending them off. You don’t need to tell me, nor do you need to be embarrassed or ashamed. This isn’t a criticism. After all, there are days when we all fail, so take heart…no one is perfect.
Got those demons? Firmly fixed in your head? Remembering what kind of hold they have over you? Great…let me tell you about mine.
Out and About…or not…?
I’m a big fan of being inside, perhaps sat in front of a computer game or the TV or something.
Now I know some people will think that’s lazy, but really it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a coping mechanism, something that will get me through my day. Why? Well the answer is quite simple: I’m an extroverted introvert.
Yeah yeah, I know…some mumbo jumbo really, but it makes a lot of sense. You see, the term extrovert doesn’t fit because I’m not really an outgoing, socially confident person. Nor am I an introvert because I’m not a shy, reticent person. I’m somewhere in the middle. So we land on the term extroverted introvert because I’m somewhere in between. If it makes a little more sense, I find I relate to these six things:
- I need alone time before and after socialising.
- I’m very selective with my social calendar.
- I make new friendships easily but have trouble maintaining them.
- I want true connection because I don’t like small talk.
- I’m quiet in a crowd.
- I always have an escape plan.
With me? Great. Well with that in mind, one of my biggest demons is actually going out of the house (or previously out of the flat). Part of it was just having to be out and about with so many people around, other parts of it came in where I would struggle with the thought of meeting people I don’t want to meet. (Maybe some day I’ll tell you about that, but for now that’s my little secret. I’m not quite ready to share all that.) Now these people can be people I like but don’t want to see right there and then, or people that I know there is some form of tension or disagreement with so I’d rather avoid them. Whatever the reason for not wanting to see them, it can create an anxiety which then feeds that delightful demon I struggle with.
Why am I telling you all this though? It’s an important reason…
I faced down one such demon!
Facing Down While Looking Up
Back in June, my 4-year-old stepdaughter graduated nursery. As seemed appropriate, we extended an invitation to her biological father – my partner and he split over a year ago due to a really bad relationship – to see if he wanted to come and see his daughter graduate. Secretly, we both thought he would decline, as he’s been known to avoid anything that I’m at. (I dare say it amuses me as he’s over 6ft tall, I’m definitely not, and he is burlier than me…yet he avoids me if he can!) Even more secretly than that thought, I hoped he would decline because he hates me with a passion and I knew that graduation ceremony would be awkward, perhaps even difficult (because he seems to like to make things as difficult as possible).
Can you guess what’s coming? Yup…he accepted the invitation.
So there’s me, faced with a difficult choice. Acquiesce to the will of my demons and stay in the safety of my own home, avoiding that confrontation but also avoiding any kind of mental health backlash…or attend my step-daughter’s graduation alongside my partner’s ex-husband.
Quite the dilemma.
Well, not really. I decided that my step-daughter meant more to me than anything he could say or do. I love her and I wanted to be at her graduation ceremony and he wasn’t going to stop me. It didn’t matter what he thought, I was going to be at this special, important event, and I was going to make sure I faced this demon.
So here it is…the photographic evidence that I was there, at my step-daughter’s graduation. Despite my demon telling me that I couldn’t do it…I did. I spent time with my partner and her ex, I was there for my step-daughter.
On that day – and a few more since – I overcame my anxiety.
What about you? What can we get you to do?
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