6 Signs You’re Battling With Your Inner Demons

Though it’s not what we’d like to admit, we all have inner demons. Whether it’s an addiction, some form of trauma that you’re dealing with, repressed memories, fear of failure, or low self-esteem, we all deal with things that are toxic, that eat us from the inside out.

The word “demon” really encapsulates the negative presence these things have. When there’s something poisoning your inner world, it can certainly seem like an other-worldly monster. But our inner demons aren’t vague forces of evil that cause us to do bad things; rather, they are things you’ve been through that you have to sort out and process and heal from and grow from. And it’s entirely possible to defeat them.

To “face your demons,” therefore, means to confront your fears and to become a bigger, better, wiser person. To look at your problems directly and consciously do your best to try and overcome them.

Here are a few signs you’re battling inner demons:


1. You feel like a dark cloud is looming over your head

Sometimes people use the phrase “inner demons” to mean mental illness because there are many cases in which they overlap. The dark cloud image is a common way people with depression describe their plight. A storm above them or within them. A feeling of impending doom. Like every day is a mountain that needs to be climbed, and instead of getting better at climbing them you only get more and more exhausted. If any of that sounds familiar, there’s a possibility that your inner demon and depression are one and the same. Depression is a serious biochemical disorder that, if left alone, might spiral out of control. It’s therefore supremely important to battle that inner demon head-on and do what you need to do to regain control and a stable mood.

2. You always feel like “something isn’t right”

I first noticed that feeling sitting in my own chest at about ten years old. Since then, it’s been a long and winding road. I needed to recognize the demon I had to conquer, learn about it, seek out help, and finally, do the work that needed to be done. This particular inner demon is what I now call Anxiety, and it affects about 18% of the US population each year (ADAA). Again, in many cases, our inner demons, the things we struggle with inside our minds, are illnesses. And if you’re constantly distracted with the feeling that something isn’t right or that something bad is about to happen, yours is likely called Anxiety too. Similar to depression, anxiety can have seriously negative effects on a person’s quality of life. Luckily, there’s help available. No one with anxiety as an inner demon needs to suffer alone or in silence or without help.

3. There’s a nagging sense of shame behind all that you do

Shame is one of my least favorite emotions. I associate it with being self-conscious and embarrassed, and sometimes even with self-hate. People who feel like that often have their own particular inner demons to face. For example, maybe they’ve done something wrong in the past and it’s still sitting in their subconscious, waiting to be rectified. Maybe they’ve been made to feel ashamed of who they are by someone who isn’t accepting, or who doesn’t understand them or their choices. People who find themselves in those or similar situations should recognize it as a sign that they have issues that need to be processed and worked through. Once that happens, they can either find a solution or find inner peace.

4. You’re so afraid to fail you don’t even try

Everyone experiences the fear of failure at one point or another. After all, the prospect of not doing well at the things we try to do is scary. But when the fear plagues every part of your life or becomes crippling, it could be your inner demon. If your fear of not doing well enough is preventing you from moving forward and achieving your goals, it’s a problem that should probably be looked at. Think about what scares you the most about trying to do what it is you’re trying to do. Furthermore, you should ask yourself what the worst possible thing about failure is. What’s the worst that can happen, really? And compare that to what the worst that could come out of not trying is. The only true way to fail is to stop trying, so think about your answers to these questions and get out there and do your best!

5. You feel like your brain is a bully

Sometimes our brains can be terrible places. They fill our heads with doubt and stress and self-hate. The worst is that since it’s your own brain that’s being mean to you, it gets right to the things you’re really insecure about. It already knows your innermost worries, what you fear might be true. It knows how you might have screwed up in the past because it’s your brain. But it’s also bullying you, ignoring the positives and feeding off the negatives, refusing to acknowledge that you’re a whole person with both success and failure in your past and that that’s okay. Having such negative thoughts bouncing around in your brain is a difficult way to live. If this sounds like your inner demon, just know there are methods of reframing negative thoughts and that with practice, you can tame your bully of a brain. Just because your inner demon is loud doesn’t mean it’s right.

6. You feel painful emotions that others don’t immediately understand

Even if you’re really struggling with inner demons, others might not see the pain that you’re in. Sometimes they might not even understand it when you tell them that you’re feeling it. For example, people often can’t grasp the extent of my mental health issues. And I’ve come to realize that when I’m feeling misunderstood and frustrated that no one can see my pain, it means I’ve gotta gear up for another battle with an inner demon. The toxicity that lies within us is personal and subjective, and it’s okay if those around you don’t get what you’re going through. If one person doesn’t get it, there’s a whole world of other people out there who have probably experienced what you’re experiencing. The internet can be a great way to find connection and understanding and acceptance –just be careful, because it can also be full of negativity and hate.

Your inner demon could be trying to teach you something. Perhaps there’s a lesson that you need to learn in life before you move forward at full speed or an obstacle you need to scale in order to get stronger. We might call them “demons,” but sometimes thinking about them differently is what’s needed in our lives.

If you’re struggling to handle them on your own, going to therapy is a great way to work through the issues your inner demons bring. Therapy is a safe place to explore what goes on in your mind and your life and learn techniques and other powerful skills that can aid you in your mission. But if that isn’t an option for you, try being open about your inner demons with friends or loved ones. Acknowledging that there’s an issue is a phenomenal first step, and being brave enough to talk about it is a great second one. And who knows what helpful advice and feedback you might get!

As long as you’re reading this, it means you’re trying to get over your demons and that they haven’t won. You can do it. Keep trying!

 

Citations:

Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved July 09, 2020, from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

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