After the death of comedic icon Robin Williams, mental health was on everyone’s mind. The piece below was written as a speech to help those going through internal battles know they are not alone.
Positive results: within a few days of this, two people reached out and opened up about strenuous issues they were dealing with. Together, we were able to get them on the right path to healing, and they are now both doing much better. The power of words should never be underestimated.
We all suffer demons.
Some battle one tiny demon, quieted and controlled easily. Others battle armies of demons, barely able to stay afloat. Some conquer their demons; other wars only cease when death arrives.
Money cannot thwart demons; nor can power, nor fame, nor social status, nor relationship status, nor global location. They don’t just “go away” in time, we cannot “just snap out of it.” We must fight from within.
Some demons come from a very specific source; others come with no reason. Some come from illusions of self-worthlessness, further fueling the fire of negativity from whence they were birthed and spawning new demons in their wake.
We will never fully know the demons of another. We never know who is suffering, who is fighting, who is winning, and who is hanging on by that final thread. Even people with happy dispositions are battling their own demons, sometimes stronger demons than most others can comprehend. Those people are always there with a quick-witted joke, a warm smile, and a positive thought to share. They hide their demons as best they can, often not wanting to burden the world with their own problems, often convinced that they are not special or important or worthy enough, but never letting the world know this. And often, they hide their demons with outward positivity in an attempt to help, in some little way, to suppress the demons of others.
The demons will tell you you’re worthless. They’ll convince you no one cares, that your problems are yours to bear and no one gives a thought to your wellbeing. They will persuade you to believe that you are alone, that no one knows your pain, that you are the only one who suffers. They will bury their claws into your heart, taking up root to breed darkness, and they’ll tell you you should be ashamed that this is happening. They will poke and prod and dig and eat into your thoughts until you are certain no one loves you, that no one really notices your existence. They will make you believe that the only company you will ever have will be the voices in your head telling you that you are nothing, and they will convince you that this company is better than absolute loneliness. They lie. They LIE. They lie, they lie, THEY LIE!
But sometimes, even being aware of the demons’ lies does not win the battle.
It takes a lot of strength to admit weakness; it is not easy for anyone to say, “I am not okay. I need help.” This is true for any gender, any age, any level of education, any person.
If someone comes to you and says they are not fine, directly or indirectly, don’t blow them off. Do not shame them. Don’t assume this is their first attempt to fight their demons; it could be their last desperate resort. Most of the time, all they need is to hear someone say, “Friend, you’re going to be okay, and I am by your side.” No one expects you to magically fix it, no one expects you to have all the answers (or even any answers, for that matter). Often, someone reaching out just needs to know that someone is aware of their existence, that the world around them would notice their absence, that they matter in some degree. Sometimes, all it takes is a hug and a listening ear to fend off the demons for one more day. Something as simple as a text saying “You popped into my mind and I just wanted to say hi” will bring a smile to someone’s face when they need it the most.
If you suffer from demons, don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone. We all battle our demons, at one point or another, to one degree or another. The human experience is far from simple, far from uncomplicated, and far from easy. Everyone—yes, EVERYONE—battles inner demons.
If you need to talk to someone about anything, please reach out to me. Send me a message, call me, text me, whatever you need to do. I’ll have a chat with you, grab some ice cream with you, come over to watch a movie with you, or anything you would like. I will remind you that you are important, that you are not alone, that someone would notice your absence.
I am just happy you exist.