I Gave the Demon a Name

Recently, one of my closest friends told me I had many friends. I half-jokingly said she was the only one I liked, and the rest were crap. Her reply to that was unexpected. She told me I needed a daily mantra. Before going to bed, she said I should look in the mirror and say, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I promised her I would try. She told me to say it three times. She then assured my that Bloody Mary won’t get me. I said I’d summon Bloody Mary and we’d both say the mantra.

I tried this mantra that night. I looked in the mirror. It was uncomfortable. I normally have no issues looking at myself. This time I did. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud, but I said them in my mind. By the third time, I fought back tears. Why was saying those three sentences so difficult? I told my friend I did what she said, and it was more difficult than expected. She said I had to do it every day and she cried the first time. I told her I cried.

This was the first time a friend or family member told me to change how I speak to myself. You hear doctors or celebrities say these things all the time. This was a shocking realization. I discovered I didn’t like myself. Despite all the work I did for many years building my confidence and moving to a place where I thought I liked myself. I still don’t. I used to hate myself. I have improved. I have made progress, but I have a long way to go yet. I thought more about how I speak to myself and about myself.

If someone else said negative words to me, it might hurt but I’d eventually ignore them. Or I’d tell myself they’re having a bad day and lashed out. When I say negative things to myself, I accept it as truth. How do I move away from such ideas? I decided to put a name to those negative thoughts. If I name it and treat it like another person, I think I can stop listening to those words. If I separate it from myself, I’ll no longer treat it as truth. So, I gave my inner demon a name. I’m not sharing that name. That’s my personal demon and no one else’s.

I will no longer say, “I’m being negative.” It’s the demon feeding me negativity. Some days are still difficult. Sometimes you get trapped in a negative loop and can’t get out. You eventually do. Calling it something else makes it easier to fight. Easier for me anyway. This may not work for everyone. This can work with writing letters to yourself only now you can use a different name. I don’t hate myself. I hate you the demon inside me and I want you out. I want you gone! So, I gave the demon a name. Because you have to know the demon’s name before you can fight them.

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Procrastination, Another Word for Fear

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. ― George Addair

fear pic        Photo by Pixabay

Most of my life I have been plagued with anxiety, and while suffering from it has been difficult, hiding it has been much easier. On the outside I would come off as maybe a little intense or excitable, but not anxious. However, inside, I was a wreck. My mind would be racing while my heart would follow. I would feel as if there was a storm that I couldn’t control internally shifting me for reasons I couldn’t explain. On top of the emotional chaos, anxiety has a way of playing tricks on my mind, and for a very long time, I allowed it to dictate my thoughts and ultimately my actions in this adventure called life.

While there are many reasons behind my anxiety, fear is the most profound. Fear of spiders, natural heights, massive crowds, my laundry pile, gloomy weather, unfamiliar places, losing someone I love, or one that kept me from truly living for so many years, rejection.

Rejection, not meeting up to someone’s expectation, or being left out, is/was (I’m working on it) paralyzing for me. Was it a learned thought process rather than a born one, I would answer yes, aren’t most fears learned at one time or another? When did I learn it? I may tell you that it was the 2nd grade when I was completely embarrassed for blowing my nose from a cold in front of the class and they all laughed, or because I was almost six foot tall in middle school and towered over not just the girls, but the boys as well, but honestly, I’m not sure exactly when I learned it, and maybe it was a progressive compilation of many moments, but no matter how it happened, or when it happened, it scared the hell out of me.

As with my anxiety, I learned to hide this fear by pretending all was good, life was grand, and that every decision I made I made with upmost, pigheaded confidence. I would be so convincing to others that I began to convince myself. Although I never realized it then, lying to myself became the norm and along with lying as a defense mechanism for my fear, I recently learned that procrastination was a sneaky “characteristic” that not only kept me from facing that fear, but gave me the ultimate excuse. It was part of my personality, it was who I was.

I look back and I am beside myself to think of all the times procrastination either delayed a blow to the ego, avoided frightening confrontation or kept me from rejection all together. What I wasn’t seeing back then was that eventually it all caught up with me, and if I would have just dealt with the situation in the moment it wouldn’t have been so difficult later.

I’ve only recently admitted these facts about my personality to myself, because only recently have I realized how prominent I use this mechanism in my life, and only recently did it truly click why. My revelation came when I was asking for universal guidance and then questioning my own actions in the process. As I’ve said in many of my previous posts, my true path is to inspire, and my goal is to do so as an author. Funny thing is though, to be an author, you have to write a book.

I have the ideas, I have the words, I even have the outline, but for some reason I cannot get myself to start page one. In this moment, I thought about all the reasons I haven’t begun, like I’m too busy at work, I have too many obligations, I feel blocked, I need to meditate instead, I have to binge watch Netflix, it’s too nice outside, I have to prep dinners (which I absolutely never do, but it’s been an excuse), and the list goes on and on, and then suddenly the light bulb went off in my head, it finally dinged. I am terrified.

Being on a solid stretch of self-discovery and sharing my journey, and what helps me along the way has opened my eyes to who I really am, and to the lies that anxiety and fear have been telling me for so long. I am procrastinating. I am so afraid I either won’t finish, or I won’t succeed that I continue to make excuses to not takes steps toward my goal. This frustrates and angers me, but most of all, it saddens me.

In so many aspects of my life I have taken incredible leaps and bounds toward my truth, and encourage others to do the same, but for this, my ultimate dream, I’m so scared of it disappearing, I’m paralyzed at the notion of trying. Even right now, I should be writing Chapter One, but instead, I’m writing about how I’m not writing.

With these new-found revelations, I decided that it is time to take my own advice. While I’m nervous typing these words, I am consciously aware why I am standing still, and consciously aware that I need to get over it. I will write my book and I will start now.

As we walk our paths within our true selves understanding that we are here for a reason, we cannot let fear hold us back. I know this, and I now know more than ever that it is my choice to stay where I’m at or step toward my purpose. Today, I choose to take that step, I hope all who read this do too.

Much Love,

Lisa J

As a side note, when I began blogging, I was also terrified, but today, I am truly grateful for this platform as without it and without the opportunity to share my thoughts, I may still be paralyzed by fear. Thank you for allowing me to share my story and thank you for reading. ❤

Anxiety: The Story Goes Round and Round

A friend reaches out to invite me and my family to her house for a cook out this weekend. She mentions a few other friends that will be there that I know. I recognize the names she mentions and instantly look forward to the gathering. Without hesitation I respond “Sounds great! What can I bring?”

This sounds like your typical acceptance to an invitation. However, the minute I respond my anxiety and excitement start to battle. Here is where my mind goes and why:

Excitement: This will be fun!

Anxiety: Wait a second! She just mentioned several other people that are coming to the party, that means she didn’t invite you with the first round of invites. She probably only invited you because you can almost see her house from yours and she didn’t want you to feel left out. Maybe another of your friends asked her to invite you, out of pity. She invited you last because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to invite you at all. It might be because she thinks your annoying or too loud or too crass.

Keeping score? This is exactly how my thought process went.

Excitement: 1

Anxiety: 6 and counting

Why did this happen? My anxious brain turns to worst case scenario anytime a self-reflection takes place. Anxiety is a beast that takes on so many forms and oozes out in diverse ways. I have recently discovered how much it affects my thought processes. Understanding that anxiety raises hell in my head creating unwanted chaos, has helped me weed through my cracked way of thinking. I can’t STOP my brain from doing this, at least not yet. I CAN remind myself that anxiety is trying to take over, it’s causing some irrational thinking that will lead to nothing positive. I CAN choose to ignore it.

The thoughts will come like a wave crashing inward. Instead of letting it rise and rise, I now let the wave recede. I recognize the thought for what it is, intrusive and negative, and then release it. The waves may come in sequence and for a duration of time, but I strive to let them continue to roll away each moment they surface.

I hope you find some peace with mental illness. As James says: Always keep fighting.