Are you locked in mortal combat with your demons? Do you grip your sword tightly, steely-eyed gaze waiting for the next onslaught to come at you?
Are you prepared to do battle to claim victory over those demons that plague you and your life? Mental illness? Physical illness? Substance abuse? What about any other demon that threatens to tear your life down if you don’t emerge victorious?
You’re not fighting demons.
You’re trying to find recovery and wellness from a serious problem that is negatively affecting your life. You’re not locked in mortal combat, even though it might sometimes feel like it.
But why? Everyone says it’s a fight. Everyone says they “won or lost their battle” based on how things are going for them. Everyone says they’re battling their demons. So, what’s wrong with that?
The problem is the mindset that the phrase puts the “warrior” in.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you overcome the problems you see as your “demons.” You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
You’re In Recovery, Not At War
What happens in a battle or war? The different sides in the conflict clash to gain victory over the other.
And are we not striving for victory over our demons? Well, no. Victory is a binary condition. You’re either victorious or you’re not. You win or you lose. There’s not much of an in-between.
And while it’s true there can be stalemates or one side wins a costly victory that wasn’t worth it, that’s not how most people tend to view war.
The problem is, fighting your demons doesn’t accurately reflect the conditions of war or the battlefield. In reality, recovery and wellness aren’t a binary state of success or failure. Instead, they are a long, ongoing journey from not doing well toward doing better.
Wellness and recovery are sometimes quite messy. Most of the time, it won’t stick for the rest of your life. Why? Because you’re human and it’s seriously hard.
Few people can just decide one day to give up heroin, and then BOOM! They’re clean for the rest of their life. Likewise, few people aren’t going to look at their psych meds in their hands, absolutely hate the side effects, and question whether or not they should take them.
And it gets old dealing with the medical and mental health systems after a while. Therapy? Doctor appointments? Paying for it all to sometimes still struggle?
All of these things are not subject to victory conditions. They’re not a binary state of yes or no. There’s a good chance that there will be some time when you relapse, ditch the medication, or decide to drop therapy. What good is it doing anyway? And if that happens?
You didn’t lose the battle.
All you need to do is start doing it again. That’s it. That’s all. Relapsed? Okay, that sucks. Get back to a group or a therapist or whatever it was that you were using for support. Quit your meds? Hey, you can always confer with your doctor first and then get them started again. Quit therapy? Reach back out to your therapist, explain how frustrated you were, and ask to be taken back in as a patient.
Even then, let’s look at the most extreme consideration: death. What do people say when someone dies due to their problems? Suicide? Overdose? Physical illnesses overtaking them? They say, “Oh, they lost their battle.” No, they didn’t. What happened is that their respective illness or problem killed them.
The implication that these people “lost their battle” suggests that they would have emerged victorious if only they were stronger! But that’s not how illness works. That’s not how any illness works. Sometimes you can do everything right, and it still kills you—because it’s an illness, and that’s how illnesses work.
The other problem is the kind of message it sends to people who don’t feel strong. I mean, “fighting your demons” is a lovely sentiment for people that feel strong enough to fight and are inspired by the phrase. But some people don’t. Some people have been torn down their whole lives. They look in the mirror and don’t see a warrior or a strong person. Hell, they may not see someone worthy of recovery or doing better.
Those people who really need support are completely glossed over in that narrative.
Let’s not fight our demons. Instead, let’s work on our wellness and recovery. And if things don’t go as planned, it’s alright. You can return to the path and find a new way to proceed.
So, what’s a better way to approach the pursuit of wellness and recovery? It’s not as difficult as many people make it out to be.
How To Fight Your Demons Take Steps Toward Recovery
It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping you to tackle the issues that you have labeled “demons.”
1. Identify the problem.
There is no demon, there is only a problem. And you can’t solve a problem until you understand what the problem is. The first step toward solving any problem is to identify the problem. This problem may require a counselor, psychiatrist, or other mental health professionals who can get you to the root of an issue. Not everything is surface level, and there are connections that you may not be aware of.
For example, consider substance abuse. The common perception of addiction is that it’s solely a problem of the person choosing to put the substance in their body. However, many think addiction stems from partying too hard and choosing not to. Does that happen? Of course, it does. But on the other hand, substance abuse may just point to a bigger problem.
So many people start out on the path of substance abuse as a means of coping with things that are going on in their heads. For example, people who’ve experienced trauma or have mental health issues may start using it as a means of self-medication, just to quiet what goes on in their mind.
It would be easy for someone to just say, “Hey, the problem is the alcohol!” Well, yes, alcohol is a problem. But alcohol isn’t necessarily the only reason the person is drinking. If the alcohol keeps everything else quiet, then quitting the alcohol without first addressing the other mental health problems will aggravate everything else. Mental illness and alcoholism would need to be addressed to start moving toward wellness and recovery.
2. Find a solution to the problem.
Find a solution to the problem! How easy! How simple! Just like that, huh?
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. Realistically, there’s a significant chance you’re going to need the help of a certified mental health professional to address the more serious problems in your life. You may also be able to find help in support groups with the respective issue you’re trying to navigate.
Sometimes it’s not even about therapy when going to a counselor. Sometimes it’s about a neutral, safe space to talk about what’s happening with you. Everyone says to talk about it, talk about it, talk about it with friends and family. And it’s great when that actually works out. But it kind of glosses over the problem of many people not being all that emotionally intelligent or mature enough to handle that kind of thing.
For example, maybe you disclosed some severe problems with a romantic partner. Things don’t go so well between the two of you and you’re in an end-of-the-relationship fight. Lo and behold, they fire, “I wish you had succeeded in killing yourself,” as you part. Not a great thing to have dredged up to deal with when a relationship is burning down.
As much as you may not want to, talking to a mental health professional is the safest way to explore the problem and find solutions.
3. Work on the solution.
Once you find a potential solution, you must start putting in the work. I use “potential solution” for a reason. Sometimes the solution isn’t apparent. Sometimes the actual problem doesn’t get identified accurately to help work on recovering from the whole problem.
For example, suppose your substance abuse stems from childhood abuse you don’t discuss. In that case, a professional isn’t able to help you as effectively as if they knew about the abuse. The solution for substance abuse is different than the solution for child abuse.
Still, if you land on the solution to the problem, it will take time to get there. The single biggest hurdle in people successfully recovering is having the patience to follow the path. They may quit too early because they’re not seeing immediate results. It could be that they have a bout of mental unwellness that takes them off the path that they don’t get back on.
No matter what the path, you must put in the work. And it’s not easy: it’s work.
4. Find support for your effort.
Meaningful support on your recovery journey can make a dramatic difference. You might be able to get it from friends and family, or you may not. The other options are a counselor, online or offline support groups, or online communities dedicated to the problem you’re trying to overcome. The great benefit of counseling or community is finding supportive people when you’re having a hard time.
It feels good to help elevate other people going through similar things that you are. Though we are all on different journeys, many of us walk similar roads. You may have wisdom from a road you’ve walked that can help someone just starting out on their own. You may be able to help someone in a way only you can.
Not only that, but helping other people through their own stuff provides a kind of fulfillment you can’t get anywhere else.
5. Try again.
Let’s get this out of the way. Healing is not a linear path. You won’t start at the bottom and go straight to the top. You’re going to mess up, make bad decisions, get frustrated, stall out, and all the other things that prevent you from going directly from Point A to Point B.
No, wellness and recovery are more of a Point A to Point G to Point C to Point X to Point M, then back to Point B.
It’s okay to be angry and frustrated. You’re going to mess up and sometimes get lost on the path. What’s important is that you don’t let yourself stay there. Alright, you made a mistake. Now, what can you do to fix it and get moving forward again?
Try again. These are the two words that will bring you success. You just have to keep trying in whatever way possible to get to where you want to be. You can do it. When the plan falls apart, it will take time, work, and trying again.
Just remember that you’re not battling demons to the death, you’re taking the steps to recover from a problem and find wellness again. That change in mindset is important and one you should work on as you walk the path you’re on.
Still not sure how to start or continue your journey to recovery?
Speak to a therapist about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to identify and work through whatever problems you are facing.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.