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There’s a little demon in my head. He sneers at me constantly – “Everyone secretly hates you. They’re just waiting for an excuse to cut you out of their lives. And they will, you’ll fuck up and that will be it, you’ll be alone at last, you might as well just curl up and die now”. Sometimes he goes a bit quiet. Sometimes he’s all I can hear. He creates around me a bubble of victimhood and self-loathing.

Since I was diagnosed with depression I find it helps to think of it as a separate entity. It’s a black dog, a stormcloud, a demon. Something animate. It can plague me but I can also put distance between myself and it.

I’ve always felt that ‘me’ is not my body, now I think I am also not my mind (nor the thoughts in it), and perhaps not my spirit either, and whatever makes me ‘me’ is the thing around which these three orbit, the living and mobile parts that make up my perception of the world and others’ perception of me. Looking at life like this, all those little moments of suffering – of anxiety, fear, pain – they have less power somehow. It’s not about being detached from existence. It’s about relinquishing control. When we are ‘paralysed by fear’, I think what we’re really doing is attempting to exert power over a situation we have little control over. Doing Nothing is a choice you can make, one that might avoid some future discomfort. But when you look at your emotion as something separate to yourself, you can re-evaluate whether Nothing is really the best thing to do.

That little demon controlled my life for the longest time. It’s now that I’m learning to deal with him that I’m starting to think of myself as a grown-up, a woman. I can do Anything, because I know how to burst his bubble. I take a pin and I pop it – I feel the fear he creates in me and I do whatever needs to be done, regardless. Yeah it hurts a bit, but only for that second. I push the ‘send’ or ‘call’ button. I ask the question that I’m certain is stupid. I wear the outfit that might be a bit too colourful. Small, daft, insignificant things that would never colour my view of any other person – but me, if I let him win. Getting out of that bubble is pretty liberating.

So I tell him no, I won’t be paralysed by your fear, because what exists outside of it is SO worth the risk. Rejection and failure are not endings, they are lessons, and you can’t progress if you aren’t learning. If you don’t progress you go stale, like bread, and stale bread gets fed to the ducks. Don’t be duck food.

Maybe I should explain myself. I wrote most of this after midnight last night, unable to sleep after a stressful couple of weeks. I was getting all caught up in a cycle of neurotic thoughts that I knew were irrational. The thing that burst the bubble was making a phone call to a friend. My little demon tried to convince me not to make that call. A year ago I probably would have listened to him and I’d still be winding myself up something rotten. I then found it helpful to write these thoughts down, and figured hey, maybe it’ll help someone to read them.

My demon didn’t want me to press the ‘publish’ button. To him I say SUCK ON IT, A-HOLE. So how do you deal with your demons?