I HAVE A DEMON

I am embracing and exalting my anxiety; flaunting it even.

I am officially going off of my meds. I am tapering down, on my own, but I have been here before, so I know what to do.

I forgot how to relax in the presence of other, and to feel my body.

I want to feel Highland Park’s body right now.

I haven’t heard from him since Friday morning, but then again I haven’t reached out.

He’s never far from my thoughts, however.

But I promise I am not attached.

Here is a poem I wrote about my beloved anxiety- my dear sweet friend.

I have a demon

she looks like a strung out teenage meth head

greasy shoulder-length hair

beady darting eyes

tiny scars litter her chest and face

she is wearing a pink halter top

and cut off denim shorts

that have seen better days

her nails are bitten bloody

she has no shoes on

she has no teeth

she thrashes around angrily

inside my chest 

in my stomach 

at the back of my mind

day and night

but mostly night

I have not slept well in years

without the aid of something

anything

I used to drink myself to sleep

but I have not had a drink in 10 years

she usually wakes up around 2 am

beating furiously against my heart

strangling my stomach

and electrifying my mind

with insecurities and images of what is to come

impending doom

imminent catastrophe

the general sense that all is not well

and won’t end well

and whatever situation I am currently in

is very very wrong

and needs to change

NOW

But it’s 3 am, and I can’t do a damn thing

except lay there counting breaths counting sheep counting seconds

I say silently to myself 

talk

image

feel

over and over again

I learned that in my mindfulness meditation group

I take another melatonin supplement

I cycle through the things I know are real

I am in bed 

with my husband

this is a nightstand

that is a dresser

my daughter is sleeping safely in the room next door

we have enough money

we have our health

he loves me

he loves me

he loves me

 

but you are unlovable

she whispers

 

and I believe her

 

I went nuts last year 

trying to understand and manage her

two Vedic astrology readings

three psychic readings

and one intuitive life coaching

all in the span of 3 months

I ran two mountain marathons in 6 months

not properly trained

I met with a mindfulness meditation teacher once a week

I had a therapeutic healing somatic experience 

with preverbal trauma

I spent thousands of dollars on a “functional” medicine doctor

who ordered copious blood, saliva, urine, and shit tests

only to tell me

I am sensitive to gluten and dairy

I spent another few thousand dollars on seeing a highly reputed yet controversial hormone doctor in Beverly Hills

I should have known

Beverly Hills

I could barely understand him, his accent was so strong, but what I gleaned from his assessment was that he thought I needed more sex

and supplemental hormones

and more sex

so

I ran away and into the arms of a female naturopath

She told me to stop taking the hormones

and to take her Chinese herbs

and get vitamin b12 shots

weekly

oh

and to quit eating gluten and dairy

which I did

and still

nothing changed

she persisted defiantly tenaciously voraciously

through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

again and again

I sponsored more women

I saw more of my sponsor

 

No one would say I haven’t tried

and lastly

about a month ago

I broke down

and I did it

I started medication

Zoloft

me

the passionate anti-medication person was going to be medicated

but

I was desperate 

But not desperate enough, it seems

 

the first week was brutal

felt like there was a glass wall between me and the world

I couldn’t connect with other human beings no matter how hard I tried

except for my daughter

I can always connect with her

but my husband’s family? 

in Minnesota for the holidays

my small minded racist in-laws?

hell no

couldn’t connect with them at all

but in hindsight 

who would want to?

I worried

Of course

That this fog would persist forever

Because I always think whatever I am feeling at that time will never change

But it did

Change

One glorious day

While driving back from a yoga class

I remember it clearly

suddenly

I could take a deep breath

a deep penetrating breath that reached into my loins

and ground me

to my seat

from that grounding I saw the world differently

there was no impending sense of doom

no catastrophic calamity coming for me

I slowed down

I looked around

a lovely leaf blowing gracefully in the wind

a singular tenacious bright pink flower determined to grow and blossom

brought a tear of gratitude to my eye

this 

was different

was different

she was gone

I don’t know where she went

but she wasn’t lurking hiding waiting to pounce

she was gone

I hoped prayed wished for all my might

gone forever

we celebrated at home

my husband and I

I was laughing joking light-hearted

For once

I KNEW he loved me

how silly was I to EVER think otherwise

OF COURSE, I could trust him!

So what if all the psychics and astrologers told me to prepare for divorce

fuck them

I was in charge of my life

I had arrived

I was CALM

I felt PEACEFUL

It was a little strange though

I will admit

I realized

we have never been apart

not for as long as I can remember

and for a moment

I think I missed her

For I wondered

Who would I be without her? 

Who wouldn’t I be without her? 

 

I didn’t have much time to find out. 

 

Later that night

Around 2am

she was back

with a vengeance

I think she was pissed off about the Zoloft

she wanted me to know

it didn’t stand a chance against her rage

I lay there desperately counting things and naming things with tears rolling down my face

While

she pounded on my chest

turned my stomach into pulp

and sabotaged my brain

 

I tried to fight

But the fight was all gone

 

They say you can’t force a surrender

And lord knows I have tried

But surrenders happen to you

Not by you

And this was not my doing

I don’t surrender easily

In the surrender or be dragged variety

I am clawing the entire way

Grasping for anything

That will impede the surrender

So you know

The shit must have been bad

 

In that divine moment of grace

I turned to something I am not sure I even believe in

I turned to God

Or whatever you want to call it

And I said simply

 

Please

Help

Me

 

I

Give

Up

 

And instead of feeling better

I had an insight that was more powerful than any drug

I heard a deep belly laugh coming from an opulent black woman bathed in golden light with her arms outstretched inviting me into an infinite hug

 

And I went

As I folded into her

 

I suddenly knew

I suddenly saw

I suddenly understood

 

First of all

That I was right

God is a black woman

And secondly

This is what she whispered to me

That this demon, this meth head, who had her hands around my throat and was obviously trying to kill me and ruin everything good in my life

 

Was as much a part of me as my arms and legs

And that to try and cut her out or off

Would be as catastrophic

And that I needed her as much as she needed me

 

Because anxiety is an emotion

Not a disorder

And we need it to survive

It alerts us of danger

And in a very Buddhist way

It reminds us that all

Is transient anyway

 

And that without it

I might lose my ability for

And access to

Excitement, motivation, vigilance, ambition, exuberance, and inspiration

All things that I have been guilty of

In abundance

 

Passionate

Is what they have called me

 

I saw that to try and ignore her was no surer way than to compound her frustration and angst against me

And this was the source of the pain

I needed to befriend her

To stop and take a long loving look at her

And simply

Ask her what she needs

 

So I do that

I leave God’s arms

I leave the bed

I walk upstairs

I open my computer

And I start to write

 

I begin with describing her

My demon

My anxiety

I give her a body, a face, and a name

Cynthia

comes to mind

She is a poor forgotten teenager

Abandoned and alone

Uncared for and unwanted

She is me

At 13

 

I pull her close and hold her in my arms

Like God did for me

She smells like stale piss and cigarettes

I kiss the top of her greasy head

And I ask her

Cynthia, sweetheart, what do you want from me?

 

She answers

I want you to feel what I feel

I want you to hurt like I hurt

 

I do, I tell her

Now, what do you need from me?

 

I need you to see me

To connect with me

To stop running

And to love me

 

suddenly she morphs from the skinny scrawny meth head

into a sweet little baby

a tiny little baby suckling at my breast

my milk is a mixture of love, acceptance, and forgiveness

I am nurturing and compassionate

I am the mother I never had

I rock her

repeating

I love you

I love you

I love you

I will never abandon you again

she weans herself off my breast

looks at me with big clear bright eyes

and turns into an energetic playful little bunny rabbit with one crooked ear

I pet her on the head and give her a carrot

I ask her to help me

Help me complete things

Help me not give up

Help me stay

Wow

I’m okay with that

totally okay

today

I have a demon

she is a feisty teenager

a hungry baby

and a furry rabbit

and 

I love her

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I have a demon

she looks like a strung out teenage meth head

greasy shoulder length hair

beady darting eyes

tiny scars litter her chest and face

she is wearing a pink halter top

and cut off denim shorts

that have seen better days

her nails are bitten bloody

she has no shoes on

she has no teeth

she thrashes around angrily

inside my chest 

in my stomach 

at the back of my mind

day and night

but mostly night

I have not slept well in years

without the aid of something

anything

I used to drink myself to sleep

but I have not had a drink in 10 years

she usually wakes up around 2am

beating furiously against my heart

strangling my stomach

and electrifying my mind

with insecurities and images of what is to come

impending doom

imminent catastrophe

the general sense that all is not well

and won’t end well

and whatever situation I am currently in

is very very wrong

and needs to change

NOW

But it’s 3am and I can’t do a damn thing

except lay there counting breaths counting sheep counting seconds

I say silently to myself 

talk

image

feel

over and over again

I learned that in my mindfulness meditation group

I take another melatonin supplement

I cycle through the things I know are real

I am in a bed 

with my husband

this is a nightstand

that is a dresser

my daughter is sleeping safely in the room next door

we have enough money

we have our health

he loves me

he loves me

he loves me

 

but you are unlovable

she whispers

 

and I believe her

 

I went nuts last year 

trying to understand and manage her

two vedic astrology readings

three psychic readings

and one intuitive life coaching

all in the span of 3 months

I ran two mountain marathons in 6 months

not properly trained

I met with a mindfulness meditation teacher once a week

I had a therapeutic healing somatic experience 

with preverbal trauma

I spent thousands of dollars on a “functional” medicine doctor

who ordered copious blood, saliva, urine, and shit tests

only to tell me

I am sensitive to gluten and dairy

I spent another few thousand dollars on seeing a highly reputed yet controversial hormone doctor in Beverly Hills

I should have known

Beverly Hills

I could barely understand him, his accent was so strong, but what I gleaned from his assessment was that he thought I needed more sex

and supplemental hormones

and more sex

so

I ran away and into the arms of a female naturopath

She told me to stop taking the hormones

and to take her Chinese herbs

and get vitamin b12 shots

weekly

oh

and to quit eating gluten and dairy

which I did

and still

nothing changed

she persisted defiantly tenaciously voraciously

through the 12 steps of alcoholics

again and again

I sponsored more women

I saw more of my sponsor

 

No one would say I haven’t tried

and lastly

about a month ago

I broke down

and I did it

I started medication

Zoloft

me

the passionate anti medication person was going to be medicated

but

I was desperate 

But not desperate enough, it seems

 

the first week was brutal

felt like there was a glass wall between me and the world

I couldn’t connect with other human beings no matter how hard I tried

except for my daughter

I can always connect with her

but my husband’s family? 

in Minnesota for the holidays

my small minded racist in-laws?

hell no

couldn’t connect with them at all

but in hindsight 

who would really want to?

I worried

Of course

That this fog would persist forever

Because I always think whatever I am feeling at that time will never change

But it did

Change

One glorious day

While driving back from a yoga class

I remember it clearly

suddenly

I could take a deep breath

a deep penetrating breath that reached into my loins

and ground me

to my seat

from that grounding I saw the world differently

there was no impending sense of doom

no catastrophic calamity coming for me

I slowed down

I looked around

a lovely leaf blowing gracefully in the wind

a singular tenacious bright pink flower determined to grow and blossom

brought a tear of gratitude to my eye

this 

was different

was different

she was gone

I don’t know where she went

but she wasn’t lurking hiding waiting to pounce

she was actually gone

I hoped prayed wished for all my might

gone forever

we celebrated at home

my husband and I

I was laughing joking light-hearted

For once

I KNEW he loved me

how silly was I to EVER think otherwise

OF COURSE I could trust him!

So what if all the psychics and astrologers told me to prepare for divorce

fuck them

I was in charge of my life

I had arrived

I was CALM

I felt PEACEFUL

It was a little strange though

I will admit

I realized

we have never been apart

not for as long as I can remember

and for a moment

I think I actually missed her

For I wondered

Who would I be without her? 

Who wouldn’t I be without her? 

 

I didn’t have much time to find out. 

 

Later that night

Around 2am

she was back

with a vengeance

I think she was pissed off about the zoloft

she wanted me to know

it didn’t stand a chance against her rage

I lay there desperately counting things and naming things with tears rolling down my face

While

she pounded on my chest

turned my stomach into pulp

and sabotaged my brain

 

I tried to fight

But the fight was all gone

 

They say you can’t force a surrender

And lord knows I have tried

But surrenders happen to you

Not by you

And this was not my doing

I don’t surrender easily

In the surrender or be dragged variety

I am clawing the entire way

Grasping for anything

That will impede the surrender

So you know

The shit must have been bad

 

In that divine moment of grace

I turned to something I am not sure I even believe in

I turned to God

Or whatever you want to call it

And I said simply

 

Please

Help

Me

 

I

Give

Up

 

And instead of feeling better

I had an insight that was more powerful than any drug

I heard a deep belly laugh coming from an opulent black woman bathed in golden light with her arms outstretched inviting me into an infinite hug

 

And I went

As I folded into her

 

I suddenly knew

I suddenly saw

I suddenly understood

 

First of all

That I was right

God is a black woman

And secondly

This is what she whispered to me

That this demon, this meth head, who had her hands around my throat and was obviously trying to kill me and ruin everything good in my life

 

Was as much a part of me as my arms and legs

And that to try and cut her out or off

Would be as catastrophic

And that I needed her as much as she needed me

 

Because anxiety is an emotion

Not a disorder

And we need it to survive

It alerts us of danger

And in a very Buddhist way

It reminds us that all

Is transient anyway

 

And that without it

I might lose my ability for

And access to

Excitement, motivation, vigilance, ambition, exuberance, and inspiration

All things that I have been guilty of

In abundance

 

Passionate

Is what they have called me

 

I saw that to try and ignore her was no surer way than to compound her frustration and angst against me

And this was the source of the pain

I needed to befriend her

To stop and take a long loving look at her

And simply

Ask her what she needs

 

So I do that

I leave God’s arms

I leave the bed

I walk upstairs

I open my computer

And I start to write

 

I begin with describing her

My demon

My anxiety

I give her a body, a face, and a name

Cynthia

comes to mind

She is a poor forgotten teenager

Abandoned and alone

Uncared for and unwanted

She is me

At 13

 

I pull her close and hold her in my arms

Like God did for me

She smells like stale piss and cigarettes

I kiss the top of her greasy head

And I ask her

Cynthia, sweetheart, what do you want from me?

 

She answers

I want you to feel what I feel

I want you to hurt like I hurt

 

I do, I tell her

Now, what do you need from me?

 

I need you to see me

To connect with me

To stop running

And to love me

 

suddenly she morphs from the skinny scrawny meth head

into a sweet little baby

a tiny little baby suckling at my breast

my milk is a mixture of love, acceptance, and forgiveness

I am nurturing and compassionate

I am the mother I never had

I rock her

repeating

I love you

I love you

I love you

I will never abandon you again

she weans herself off my breast

looks at me with big clear bright eyes

and turns into an energetic playful little bunny rabbit with one crooked ear

I pet her on the head and give her a carrot

I ask her to help me

Help me complete things

Help me not give up

Help me stay

Wow

I’m okay with that

totally okay

today

I have a demon

she is a feisty teenager

a hungry baby

and a furry rabbit

and 

I love her

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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