The voices in my head are yelling. They’re loud. Don’t worry, I’m mentally stable, but I have moments – not necessary, I suppose, to mention the details of exactly when – that I feel as if there is something inherently wrong with me. Does everyone? Moments when I question my worth, my value, my ability to survive. My right to survive.

The voices scream nasty things – about me, about you, about life, about everyone and everything. They tell me I’m stupid. That I’m a mistake. That I’ll never get it right. That I’m damaged. They make me want to scream. And hit. And fight. At everyone and everything, including myself.

I think these are my “scars” from my past. I learned a lot of damaging things when I was little. I internalized a bunch of harmful messages. But, again, maybe everyone has them – to some degree – and no one is talking about them. I don’t know if that would feel better for me, or worse. Better maybe, because then I wouldn’t feel alone (which I do feel, inherently alone, when the voices start). Worse definitely because I wouldn’t wish my voices on anyone. Even people I don’t like.

The voices can seem as if they’re all that exist. As if there’s no way out. As if I’ll never see or feel or hear anything different ever again. And then I force myself to open my eyes wider. To breathe. To think something else. To, as I learned years ago, “move a muscle and change a thought.” I force myself to reach for other words to repeat in my head. To tell myself something good about me and about life. To remind myself that the voices echoing in my brain are not true.

To remember that this feeling, too, will pass and that I will once again feel equilibrium, and even peace. It seems a stretch to remember these things, but they do always come true. I find my release from my turmoil. Or I’m released. I don’t know if it’s me or something else that frees me, but eventually I find my way out. (Or worst case, I merely wait until daylight, as my voices are loudest in the middle of the night and I always feel better in the morning.) Then I feel as if the voices will never come again. As if my demons aren’t real. They’re imagined. Or I’m free of them.

I know I probably shouldn’t mention my demons, my voices, here. I shouldn’t let people know about them. I should keep them a secret and not admit that at times I feel nearly overwhelmed. But I am always comforted when other people admit their demons. I realize I’m not alone. That maybe everyone, or almost everyone, has something. And that that’s okay. And that in itself is enough to help me rise above my voices and remember what I do know and believe. That all is well. That I am blessed. That we all are, inherently, enough just as we are. And that life is good.

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