CW: this post describes disturbing feelings and harm-related imagery. Please, if that will distress you, don’t read any further. Always take care of yourselves and each other.
I had a difficult end to my day. Things got away from me. I panicked.
Panic, for me, manifests as anger. In fact, most disturbances to my emotional stability become anger at some point, whether as waypoint or destination. I’ve learned to recognise it for what it, although getting a grip on it still eludes me.
I call it the demon.
(I’m ok now, by the way. Feeling much better)
The demon wants to scream and kick and tear and ravage everything around me. Rage snarls, hate seethes, the will to do serious harm roils and burns acid-sharp with every tight breath.
My fists clench until the impotent futility of trying to claw apart my own handbones brings a dull ache to my knuckles, my teeth grind as though the clash and grit of enamel could substitute for the yielding flesh of every throat that crosses my field of vision.
The demon wants to stamp on skulls and hear the bones splinter beneath my feet. It would twist limbs until they pop out of their sockets and hang useless from their screaming bags of flesh, spit gobbets of acid at every face I see, tear fistfuls of hair from bloody scalps.
The demon screams to be let loose, to batter and bash and break everything around me, slash and rip until the world is nothing but shards and limp rags and congealing bloodstains.
I have a terrible urge to feed this demon on bile and salt until it bursts forth, rending my skin like the blooming of a rancid poisonous flower. I can feel its venom-filled fangs scraping at my stomach lining, its crooked talons raking my nerve endings; its sharp trident tail lashes at the back of my skull. There’s a sick, self-righteous satisfaction in fuelling rage and hate with images of destruction, a feral toxic feedback loop that builds its own critical mass. Invoked by hissing invective, it feeds on curses and ill-will, gaining strength with every piece of filth that drops from my snarling lips. I could open my mouth and let it scream for me. I could raise my hands and let it wreak the destruction it craves. I could give in to its greedy slobbering for blood or its whirling desire for chaos.
Instead, I buy a sandwich and a cup of tea. Speak softly and politely to the waitress. Sit quietly at a cafe table, tapping out these words as an incantation against the mindless urge to destruction that burgeons within my soul. I am literally writing myself down from the ledge, backing away from the fire and sulphur beyond, turning my face to the rational and the analytical word by word, line by line I am reclaimed and restored. Almost. Still my heart races-
–dissipate and dilute the last traces of adrenaline from my blood.
The demon has withdrawn to its lair somewhere in the pit of my stomach.
One day, I will have the strength to hunt it down and root it out. Neutralise it with kindness, anaesthetise it with forgiveness, smother it with peace until it is dissolved then gust out its last essence with a meditative breath.
But for now, I let sleeping demons lie. The words have done their work, the danger has passed. Equilibrium is restored.