What do you do when the noise in your head is loud? How do you quiet all that negative noise and nonsense? How do you fight demons in your mind that find strength in your weakness? There is an escape for me that helps most days, I craft and create. When I get in the studio the music comes on and it is turned up loud. Am I drowning out the demon noise or am I enjoying the music? It is a bit of both most days, other days I am trying to kill the noise in my mind.
When I tell people I have PTSD, depression or anxiety some get that look on their face that I have seen too often. You know what it is…the ‘yeah right’ face. The look of disbelief because they think those are made up issues. My goal is to bring awareness and change the mindset of what mental health illness is.
Not everyone will be educated because they fail to believe in anything that they cannot see. If I was missing an arm, leg or maybe looked like I should be sick they would be more understanding. They cannot see the noise, they cannot hear it. They do not FEEL how it tears me apart inside.
I tell them how I combat those demons, the noise and how I want to give back to others. When I explain how the anxiety keeps me in my safe zone they are intrigued. How is it that I can feel okay in that radius of a few miles but not a bit further out? That is what I want y’all. For people to ask questions. To make people understand it is not just made up or fake, this is real and it takes lives each and every day. Here is a bit of what I deal with each day, this is the battle.
When I wake up in the morning my day starts with physical pain, the aches that can be described as those that come with the flu. Then comes the mental pains. YAY I made it through the night and DAMN I made it though the night. Yes those thoughts come in because I know that today I will have to fight those demons in my head. Today something could trigger me and it could be a bad day. Then I think about how I made it though yesterday and I can do it again, I got this. Today I will fight like a bad ass and kick PTSD’s ass. That is how I start my day, each and every day.
As I get moving the memories and thoughts come rolling in. The anger, sadness, guilt all roll in fighting for attention. They start taking turns in my head being loud and obnoxious, let me just get my coffee so I can get myself out to the studio. Let me get to that point so I can go shut out those thoughts and quiet the noise.
Fighting all that in my mind sometimes makes me forget to shower, forget to brush my teeth or wash my face because I want to get to my space where I can try to get away from those feelings. That is part of the depression too. See what is happening here? My wanting to quiet the noise now puts my personal care off to the side. This happens a lot people! If you have someone who is battling their own demons and they mention something about not being able to do some self care, don’t make them feel worse by saying how stupid that is. Chronically ill people can go days without a shower, weeks even. People with chronic pain can go weeks without washing their hair. I know I have, only because I forget or didn’t feel like doing it.
Coffee in hand and morning chores are done so now I can get into my space, my studio, my escape and loud music. I can breathe! Once I am in my space I can take that deep breath that I need and I can ease the tension being held in my body. Get the music going, get my stuff set out so the demons can be forced back into their cage. That is what I do when I am in my zone. Fight those demons to put them behind the cage I built in my mind.
For hours I fight a battle no one can truly see, for hours each and every day I am on the verge of tears. Pain, both physical and mental is so intense it brings me to my knees. Anger that has no way of being released onto the person or persons who brought it on keeps me company. Anger that turns to rage in an instant and can lash out at the nearest body at any given moment. Guilt of being alive, guilt of being left behind, the guilt of not being enough. The guilt of not being wanted, abandoned and guilt of someone thinking so little of me they abused me.
When I have done enough, I close up my studio and open myself up to the demons again. Rushing into the comfort of my home, so I can be in another safe zone. Connected to my support system so I can make it though the rest of the day.
Did I shower today? That is one of the first questions I ask myself when I get in the house. Followed by did I eat? Did I brush my teeth? If I did not do any of these things then that is what I do. Shower, eat, brush the teeth and prepare myself for the evening. Prepare myself for the darkness.
Most times I do a bit of chores and help with dinner, some days I just sit on the couch. Maybe play a game on the cellphone or wonder on the interwebs looking for nothing and distracting my mind. Those demons are louder at night.
Pain is my constant companion. I sit on the couch, reclined with a pillow under my legs and one on my legs so my laptop doesn’t burn me up. There I sit while life goes on around me. Conversations with the hubby, we laugh at something on tv or catch up on things that we recorded. Part of me is fighting myself, part of me is dreading later in the evening. I am exhausted, tired of the demons and the noise. Time passes and the paranoia kicks in. All this is going on while part of me is glued to our security monitor as I watch cars drive by slowly, see something or someone pass by the driveway. Watch as flood lights go off because something is moving out there. Is this the night something happens? Is this the night the shadows take over and take me?
My mind and body are tired, the worst is yet to come and I know it but off I go to bed in hopes of getting some sleep. Seriously I could fall asleep right away because I am so tired, the demons in my mind have a different plan. They are stronger in the dark, stronger when I am exhausted from the daily battle. The cage door is broken and they are out for me. That is what it feels like. This is what I feel is going on inside of me. A battle no one can see but only few understand. It takes hours for me to finally go to bed, well after midnight. Dreams, flashbacks, memories, nightmares….take your pick.
EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is my life, this is everyday. This is reality. It varies in degree of good or bad but it is my everyday. My hope is that one day I can eliminate something and not feel so angry, sad or guilty. Maybe one day the pain isn’t so high. Maybe one day the demons stay quiet and the noise is a lull in the background.
Every day, for as long as I can remember this has been my life.