i have thought long and hard about what demons would be to people with mental illness; we who are used to referring to our own brains as filled with darkness.
the girl who is in the haunted room and loves it. it’s quiet there, where others won’t tread. they leave her alone to paint and to read and they ask her: doesn’t it scare you to be in such a sad place? and she says - is it sad? it doesn’t feel different than usual here.
the boys who go to kiss each other in hotel surrounded in snow. when the voices start one teaches the other the art of ignoring hallucinations; something he had to force down since his diagnosis at seventeen. and the voices scream but there is loud music and his lips are candy.
a demon in the shadows, but paranoia isn’t unfamiliar to the one it stalks. the teenager just closes their eyes and says that tomorrow will come. and who cares if it doesn’t, really, which sort of takes the sting out of the threat they’re facing.
her ocd means she never leaves the oven accidentally on. when weird things happen she takes control of them. the last time she had pasta for dinner she summoned the antichrist that’s living in her attic. the next day she has scrubbed every corner with holy water except for a little corner that she fills with pasta. if it’s contained, she knows where it is. the salt line around it never slips.
the ghost tells him to die already, but that’s nothing new, so he just turns on parks and rec a lot louder than usual.
it would be nice, i think. to see ourselves as heroes for once. for the skills we learned while dealing with this to become skills we could use in the real life. these internal strengths that rarely are spoken of; the quiet victories of lives who learn how to fashion normal from nothing. the thing is that the illness isn’t pretty but the people who go through it are incredible humans.
the strength of someone who is used to whiplash, who falls from mania into a sudden depression they can’t shake - their dogged promise to themselves that it’s going to be okay. the strength to eat when one’s body wants to deplete itself. the strength of someone who is constantly talking down suicide beating the demon because, no thank you, i’m not going to go to a bridge and jump, it’s cold outside.
because we are used to the fight. to the darkness close. to living with demons. and we are used to saying “no”.