The Monster

It loves to creep in when you are sleeping, oozing into your dreams and manipulating them to promote the utmost confusion and terror. Of course, then those dreams wake you up, and the rest of the night becomes one of tossing, turning, insecurity. “To sleep, perchance to dream” but without sleep the dreams hold you hostage>

The monster has been there.

Next it weighs you down in bed, making you tired and unable or willing to get up. But to stay in bed means to sleep more and to sleep means to dream. A vicious cycle.

You wake up and begin to write. Three pages. Morning pages. Pages intended to get the monster out of your head and enable you to face the day with energy and creativity. But the monster grips your pain, making each stroke painful. The monster whispers in your ear, “It’s futile. This won’t help. You can’t escape.”

Somehow you write the pages anyway. The monster hasn’t completely won.

Perhaps you get up, but the monster has not let you out of its grasp. No, it tricks you into thinking that everything is good. That you have defeated it and sent it back into its dark and stinking lair. You try to greet the day with cheer and a positive attitude, shaking off the grip of the monster.

“I’ll make my own breakfast.”

“These eggs taste funny.”

“Do I have to?”

Harmless words that have nothing to do with you. But, the monster twists them, using its power over language so that you hear this instead:

“You don’t know how to cook.”

“Daddy makes better eggs.”

“You are such a nag.”

The monsters niggles and pokes until every moment of being awake is almost as torturous as the moments of the dream. The sun refuses to come out, because it too is afraid of the monster.  Words circle around you and suffocate you. You try to escape in the words of others, but that only allows the monster a new form of attack. “That writer is better than you. You have no original ideas. That person is more popular. . . ” The comparisons that hold you down, away from even trying.

You take a shower, hoping to wash the monster’s slime off of you. To cleanse away the tentacles and claws.

For a moment it works, lulling you into a false sense of security. You feel your breath ease. You begin to relax. Your eyes begin to close, falling into the comfort of a new kind of sleep, after the disturbances of the previous night.

But the monster knows how to get in once you sleep.  The cycle begins again.

I want to get out a torch and slay the monster. This is not the beast of Beauty and the Beast, trapped in the form of monsters by his own ego, but basically innocent. This is not the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hated for a deformity and because of people’s ignorance. This monster is invisible and hurtful. This monster is terrifying and powerful. This monster grips many of us in its grasp and will not let go.

I’m ready to fight it. Lisa the Depression Slayer is on duty now, and she intends to win.


Lesson Learned: Never Watch Buffy Late at Night when Avoiding Thinking

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Sarah tossed and turned, mumbling something like “Don’t leave Sarah.” Mysterious sounds seemed to reflect whatever she was dreaming about.

Lizzy whined and groaned in doggy dreamland, or was it nightmare?

The shadows in the room took form. An arm draped on the dresser on Nathan’s side of the bed (where Sarah was sleeping) a dark creature leaning over and watching my daughter sleep.

My conscious mind (which was struggling between total wakefulness and the escape into a sleep which was almost as badly haunted by nightmares) said “You know it’s your imagination. You watched Buffy. Figure out what it really is”

The other part of me, the side that holds a fascination with ghosts for some reason said “What if it’s real? If it is . . . you have two choices, run screaming or kick butt like Buffy.”

I hesitantly got out of bed, circled around every object, past the dark and menacing shape and turned on the light. Only to face the demonic water bottle that was threatening my little girl.

Okay, so maybe watching Buffy in bed last night wasn’t the wisest decision. But I have to say, I love Buffy. She represented a girl who didn’t have everything perfect in life, but in the end was able to face up to her own demons (literal and figurative) to kick some major butt. So no wonder I am on a Buffy kick (pun intended) right now. I strive to feel as empowered as she was.  I loved the show then, and I still love it now.

But, perhaps I need to leave the demon fighting, especially of the water bottle variety, to daylight hours.

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