By: Marc McMahon
Have you ever met a demon before? I’m not talking about somebody else’s demons and I am not using the phrase as a figure of speech. I literally mean, have you ever met a demon before? You know the evil henchmen who carry out Satan’s dirty work. The three-fingered, red, and yellow bloodshot-eyed doers of evil. The Godforsaken, hate-filled dogs of darkness dispatched to keep those called by God from reaching their calling.
Can I ask you a question? Why do they try to hurt me while I sleep? What does it mean when the creatures in my dreams want to cause me harm? What does it mean when the creatures of my screams become reality? Well, at least I think they are real, anyway. I mean, I never have met anything that when it claws you, it leaves only 3 claw marks.
It leaves long deep jagged gashes. You can tell it has pointy nails on it because of the design of the marks. Like someone took an oversized cuticle cutter and gauged it the length of your forearm for instance. Accept these three are on my forehead, always in the same spot, always the same every time. The weirdest part is I never know they are there until I look in the mirror as I’m passing by.
I think it’s part of the reason I can’t sleep more than 3 hours at a time. I know it’s part of the reason. My therapist told me a while back that I experienced an unspeakable trauma at under 2 years old. She said that is the time when you make all of your ok this person’s safe, situations are safe, worst-case scenario Mom and Dad will protect me. She said without that I am left with an underlying feeling that nowhere is safe and that anytime, anywhere, everything could go bad. She had a tear in her eye when she looked at me and said that. Then in the sweetest young therapist’s voice, she softly says “I’m sorry” it was like that. Brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face remembering it. I like therapy, therapy my friends is good, don’t let anybody tell you any different.
She said that’s probably the biggest contributing factor to my insomnia and my social anxiety. I’m told it is why I sweat when on a crowded bus. Or why I get such severe almost like hot flashes in a shopping mall or crowded retail store. She said you had no place of refuge, no safe house, nowhere you could run to consistently and know that no matter what nothing can get you now. She said not having that is why I get so anxious. Not always visible though. Like she had me pay attention to myself as I would do certain things during the day. She had me pay attention to how I was when I was on the bus running around town. And what I learned kind of shocked me.
I noticed that when I am on the bus and it’s not busy or I’m the only passager even that when totally relaxed or so I think. I find myself with one hand gripping the top of the seat in front of me almost white knuckle tight and my toes were curled up tightly as if I was squeezing them as tight as I could. So I tried not to do it and within minutes still sitting on my hands I find my toes curled uptight like I’m expecting the bus to veer off course and smash into a brick wall. Thank God that never has happened but what did was after reporting back to my therapist my findings she offered me a solution.
A breathing technique, and when a therapist or doctor begins to tell me about their favorite breathing technique I find myself immediately closing off my ears and telling myself here we go again another therapist who doesn’t understand what the hell to say to me so they offer the catch-all breathing technique, it is so cliche’ with getting help if you been at it awhile. But check this out, I actually tried it like she suggested the next time I was on the bus, and guess what? Breathing in four seconds and exhaling 6 seconds repeatedly worked for me and still works for me to this day it’s pretty cool. I did this every time I found myself getting overly anxious, or stressed, and always when I would ride the bus and after about ten days or so I realized when I was riding the bus I no longer had curled up toes and a death grip on the seat in front of me. So it has taken ten or so years of me hearing about the infamous “Breathing Technique” but I’m a believer today.
Well, thank you all for letting me share my crazy thought about my sleep and for supporting me as I stumble, bump, and occasionally crash into life as I try and navigate the road to a drug-free life. It’s taken a while this time for me to get completely clean and it frustrates the hell out of me but not enough to make my sometimes dumb ass stop completely. Trying like hell and sharing it all along the way and it’s close I can feel it. I love you all more than you will ever even know, stay blessed my friends.
About The Author: Marc is a 52-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”