When I started to write this, I envisaged my readers hoping for a story along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer coming in to do her deed and getting rid of the demons inside our head. Unfortunately, there is no Sarah Michelle Gellar AND there are no actual slaying of vampires or demons.
The only kind of slaying that can be done is done by you and me individually to manage our own unique inner demon – you know the one that impacts our inner struggles.
Let me introduce you to my demon!
My demon is affectionally called ‘Cretitina’. I gave Cretitina its name at the end of 2016 when my mental health was in an awfully bad place, and I was diagnosed (again) with depression. However, my demon has been with me continuously over the years, arriving during childhood.
Why Cretitina as a name? The definition of Cretin means a stupid person. I felt I needed to respond to the voice in my head that would diminish what it was saying and talk to it as though it was a person. Plus, if I accidently said it out loud in front of my parents, they wouldn’t get confused with a swear word and tell me off – which they would even though I am in my late40s.
How my demon has grown!
It has taken all those negative experiences as a child and all the comments those close to me would say and magnified them. Even the comments that were not directed at me but were a negative, nasty, bitching, or critical people made of others. It’s also grown from people’s opinions and thoughts of how you your live your life or how things should be.
For me Cretitina would constantly be:
- Telling me that I was not good enough, intelligent, pretty, interesting, likeable or valued (both professionally and personally)
- Felling I was not living up to what was expected, and I was worthless
- Reminding me how useless I was constantly.
- Bullying me when I did something wrong (No one can tell me off as hard as my Cretin tells me off)
- Overthinking, overanalysing, taking things personally and not letting things go.
Generally, telling me what it believed everyone else is thinking – all negative and no evidence.
How have I slayed my demon!
Firstly, and truthfully, by seeking help by my doctor, he did prescribe medication, which I used to keep it a secret for a long time. I still take it now when I feel as though I am not in control, I’m burnt out and/or my inner demon is getting too loud.
Along with this I did Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and learnt some tools to help my anxiety. I’ve taken some of that, what I have learnt from others and knowing myself better to counteract everything it says. By years of practice , I now know which tools work for me.
Things I practice
- When I replay a scenario to stop myself and remind myself to take a picture and move on
- Positive reframe my thought process – what is the learning.
- Question if my thought process is true and where is the evidence
- Remembering that people only have a view of the world by their own experiences – it doesn’t mean they are right.
- Reminding myself that it is not all about me!
How can you help others?
If a member of your family, a friend or work colleague comes to you as their mental health is not in a good place. I recommend you listen, really listen to what they are saying. Don’t advice, ask how you can help them and if necessary, help sign post them to getting help. Remember to keep what they said confidential, if you share it this might be the last and only time they open up to someone – I will caveat this by saying if you feel they are at risk to themselves then please let them know that you are going to share and seek support.
Finally, I know this isn’t easy, however, believe me when I say that you can slay your demon and keep that negative inner critic silent. It has taken me a while and some days I still have to breath, believe and dig deep.