The Demon’s Retreat

Nighttime is the hardest for me. Particularly when I am having a hard time falling asleep. My mind seems to go a million miles a minute and no matter how hard I try I can’t get it to quiet down enough to fall asleep. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to fall asleep, whether I go to bed an hour before falling asleep, or four hours before I fall asleep, the thoughts bombard me regardless.

It feels a lot like an assault of the mind. The thoughts and emotions are mean, nasty, and hurtful as they overwhelm my mind and leave me just staring at the ceiling of my room, praying that I am given a reprieve in which I can finally fall asleep. I think of each of the thoughts and emotions as demons because that’s how they look and act to me. They are evil and relentless in their pursuit to torture me. They will stop at nothing to have me believing every bad and negative thing they tell me.

As I lay there I think of everything I should do, of everything I shouldn’t do, of everything I have done, and did wrong, of everything I haven’t done, of everything I want to do and don’t, of everything I have said or done and failed at. The demons come at me with a ferocity that leaves me hurt and crying. They tell me that I am unworthy and unlovable. That I am stupid and incapable. That I am helpless and useless. And that I am hopeless and a total failure. They tell me that no one likes me, and no one will ever like me. They tell me that I will always be alone. They tell me that I will never accomplish anything, and I may as well give up trying. They tell me that I deserve to be unhappy because that’s all I’m worthy of. They will run through my mind with flashy words and images that prove how unlovable and unworthy I am.

They show me all the negative things I have done and said and thought, all the mistakes I’ve made, all the times I didn’t do something for someone else, all the times I said no when I could have said yes, all the times I could have been there and I wasn’t, all the times I lied and did what I wanted, all the times I manipulated people to get what I want, all the people that I’ve hurt, and all the damage that I have caused. They show me each and every time I fell short as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, and as a person, and how it should be plainly obvious that I deserve nothing but heartache.

In the darkness, alone with my demons, they tell me that I will never realize my dreams because dreams are reserved for the good people, and I am terrible so I am not eligible. And no matter how much it hurts, and how much I see the lies of the demons in the light of day, I can’t help that at night I believe every word they say.

As nighttime turns to daylight the demons retreat to the back of my mind until they can emerge again and torture me until my chest aches and the tears fall. I think that the demons hide during daytime because the light takes away all their shadows and shows all their lies. In daylight I can believe that I am worthy, and I am not a total failure. It usually takes someone telling me that but I am much closer to believing it than I do at night.

I love and hate what the night can bring. I love that I can hide in the shadows I create and I can cocoon myself into a space where no one can reach me and hurt me but it’s a double-edged sword because the demons always know how to find their way in. They can squeak through the tiniest cracks and then the small space I thought I could feel safe in is now filled with my scariest demons. It leaves no room for anything else, and I just have to wait for daylight and the demon’s retreat.

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