Demons and Wayward Brain Weasels: Making a Better Home for Anxiety

a stone castle surrounded by water
Image by Su--May / CC BY

“Face the demons if they approach, but don’t go demon hunting,” my friend Gull says.

It’s solid advice.

At one point in my life, I was totally overrun by demons. They poured in like one of those epic scenes in The Lord of the Rings. Think the Battle of Helmsdeep. A non-ending torrent of anxiety. Self-doubt. And brain weasels.

I was constantly under siege. And day to day I struggled to fight back just quickly enough to prevent myself from being completely conquered.

Sometimes it seemed like I’d cut one down only to have two or three rise in my vanquished foe’s place.

It often seemed impossible. I dreamed of categorical surrender. Was sorely tempted a few times. Even beat a temporary retreat via chemical confidence. But I ultimately returned back to the battle. Because I’d discovered that the path away from the fight led only to darkness and pain that dwarfed my current struggles.

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And then there came a turning point I never anticipated. A break in the action. A sudden reprieve. The hordes thinned and thinned. And as their numbers dwindled, so did their hostility.

These days my demons are less like violent attackers and more like listless vagrants, loitering on the castle steps.

So I’ve sheathed my sword because it’s time to deal with the homeless problem.

Building A Refuge for Demons and Wayward Brain Weasels

As much I’d like to just wake up one morning completely anxiety free, it just doesn’t work that way. Remnants remain. The stray brain weasel. And provided it’s just a straggler, I’m finding these days it’s better just to be mindful of them and acknowledge them. Even thank my anxiety for trying to protect me, kooky as it may sound.

Dealing with most complex emotional issues involves a balance of eliminating and accepting them. Some of each.

A big part of that has been cultivating self-compassion. By allowing myself be imperfect and letting go of a need for greatness, I’ve created a better home for my anxiety.

A refuge for demons and wayward brain weasels.

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Maybe it’s time to stop fighting my demons. And invite them to stay.

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My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

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