That “Demon Voice”

louis ck

I have had a rough week. A shit week. One of those weeks you try to blame on the full moon, Mercury being in retrograde, the weather, your sinuses, hormones – whatever – but you know better. know better.

It’s been a rough week because I let it be that way, or rather, I didn’t do anything to stop its slow and steady progression into the 7th circle of Hell. It turned into one of those weeks when it’s tough to even get out of bed. And what did I do? Did I do things to nurture myself? Sleep better? Eat better? Get out of the house and do things that make me feel good? Not really. What I did was beat myself up for letting myself get swallowed into a pit of depression and negativity. And I felt like a total fraud.

Why? Because I’m supposed to be writing about positivity and making good changes in your life and how to “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (If you don’t know that reference, check this out.) and there I was stuck in the complete opposite.  And because that inner “demon voice” was making me very aware of all those things.

I’ve always called that voice my “tapes” in my head but it’s just negative self-talk and doubt. It’s that nagging voice that’s telling you you’ll never be good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, rich enough – just fill in the blank but whatever it is – you’ll never be enough. It’s the one telling you everyone knows you’re a fake, that you don’t deserve that promotion, that you’re never going to amount to a damn. Amy Poehler came up with the phrase “demon voice” and I think it fits so much better. Here’s what she has to say about it in her book “Yes, Please”:

That voice that talks badly to you is a demon voice. This very patient and determined demon shows up in your bedroom one day and refuses to leave. You are six or twelve or fifteen and you look in the mirror and you hear a voice so awful and mean that it takes your breath away. It tells you that you are fat and ugly and you don’t deserve love. And the scary part is the demon is your own voice. But it doesn’t sound like you. It sounds like a strangled and seductive version of you.

Wow, did that hit the nail right on the head! And that demon voice was telling me loud and clear that I was a fraud. Who the hell did I think I was trying to talk to people about being positive when I was feeling so completely the opposite? Then it hit me that what I was here to do wasn’t just share about being positive. What I’m trying to do is share some insights about how to live a positive life from the perspective of someone who’s dealt with depression throughout her life. I’m not trying to come at this as though I already know it all and I’ve mastered this whole thing. I don’t wake up in the morning with little birdies pulling back the sheets and singing for me as I dress to go skip merrily in the meadows sharing my glitter and rainbows with the world. I can say with all honesty that has never happened. Pretty sure if it did, my family would be checking our insurance to see what kind of inpatient mental health care treatment facilities it’ll cover that have liberal pet policies.

So yeah, I had a shitty week. Mostly because I’ve allowed a lot of things to build up lately without dealing with them. It’s like feeling the flu coming on but instead of taking your meds, or going to lie down in a cool, dark room, you decide to keep chugging along with your day just hoping it’ll be merciful and go away. It doesn’t. And then when it does hit, you’re worn out and exhausted and completely unable to deal with it. But having a rough week and giving myself permission to be angry or sad or depressed doesn’t mean that I’m not a positive person. And it doesn’t mean that rough week is going to turn into a rough year or a bad decade. It’s a bump in the road. And part of maintaining a positive attitude is learning to deal with the bumps in the road, the minor headaches, the petty annoyances when they come along rather than ignoring them until they turn into something major. It also means I’ve got to be the one to tell the demon voice to shut the fuck up already.


And with that – I wish you a good weekend. I’m going to have one if it kills me!


5 thoughts on “That “Demon Voice”

  1. Caty Ree says:

    It’s kind of odd that you post this, I was just talking to Drew about this kind of thing in the car in KY… He had mentioned feeling like, trying to be socially aware, it’s hard sometimes to keep with it 100%, sometimes you say something that’s not exactly in line with those beliefs or you have feelings or make a joke that’s less than socially acceptable. He had made a joke and felt guilty, saying “I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be the social justice hero” and it got me thinking.
    Reading Gala’s book and trying to make that shift in my life, I beat myself up for any and every negative thought and feeling, I told him. But I told him that I quickly came to the realization that NOBODY – and I literally mean NOBODY – can do it all 100% of the time. Nobody is perfect, as old as that phrase is, and really, it’s okay to falter and lose it every once in a while. As long as you get yourself back into the swing of things and, overall, your goals remain the same and when the chips are on the table, you KNOW your true thoughts and beliefs and what your aim is, then it’s okay. It’s okay to be “weak” (if that’s how you see it), it’s okay to be emotional and sad, it’s okay to have depression or to crave (or indulge in) junk food when you’re dieting, it’s okay to make light of some situations if it helps you feel better – it’s all okay. I think the line needs to be drawn when it begins to truly shift your insides – when your goals fade away and you stop trying to make it better.
    I think it’s the single most important part of loving yourself – yes, be positive and work hard and try your best to smile and all that, but really, I think the most important part (to me) is being okay with whatever your mind and heart throw your way. Not necessarily indulging, you don’t have to let yourself spiral into a panic attack, but acknowledging the negativity and letting it happen, if only for a moment. Pass by that demon in the street but don’t stop to have a chat, so to speak.
    Anyway, this post spoke to me more than any of them so far… It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the struggle and that others can beat the depression and negativity, when they’re aiming for the same goal I am – self love and positivity. I love you and keep up the amazing work!

    • chelle52370 says:

      Exactly! I have another post crashing around in my brain right now about adopting a 90/10 attitude, rather than 100 or even 110% all the time. It’s giving yourself permission to do better most of the time, but not beating yourself up for the 10% of the time when you’re not spot-on. Perfectionism is a killer. And you’re absolutely right – acknowledging something negative will allow it to pass more quickly than trying to suppress it. That just doesn’t work.
      And no, you’re not alone. Never are. That’s another lie that damn demon tries to sell you. But there are lots of us right there in the middle of the struggle, trying to do better, failing sometimes and learning along the way. I love you too and I really appreciate the feedback. It’s really helpful to know when something I post clicks with someone. 🙂

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