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by the demon in my ear & voice in my mind

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Though I never again experienced a true hallucination, the glimpses of horror flashing

before my eyes & the intolerable hissing of the demon’s voice continued spotting the sanity of my life. His threatening voice echoes relentlessly within my mind, a constant hum gnawing away & driving me desperately mad.

“King blurs both eyesight & thinking. He sews crops of evil, the seed being deceptive lies & the harvest being lost souls. He imprisons the world’s captives, enslaving them to his chambers of loneliness. He crushes the hopeful, blinds the insightful, pierces the peaceful. He ruins the prosperous; he amuses the devil; he slaughters God’s servants from the inside out; & he mocks the Joyful. He instills depressing fear. He implants insecurity” (October 2008; age 15).

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“I feel him hovering, breathing on my back, leaning over my shoulder, trying to crack the code to the vault of my mind & the clockwork of my thinking. I feel the deceptive scales of his unclean skin brush against me. They sting; they burn. I wince in pain with a horrified cringe, & now, fear taunts me. I feel him drowning me, holding my head under the waters of his deception. I choke on his mindset as he tries his best to shove his ideas down my throat. I sputter as I try to see some hope in this big, chaotic, confusing mess. He knocks me around with mental torture every day.

“He loves fear; fear is his best ally & my worst enemy. He took control of me for nearly a year, then washed away a portion of my memory, but he left memory enough for me to recall the feeling of when he controlled me, & that is memory enough to terrify me. There really are no words to describe that feeling; only that it’s full of mixed emotions, from sadness to pain, anger to losing sane control, happiness to powerlessness, & then there’s always fear of it happening again” (April 2009; age 16).

“King is the reason I bottle everything up (because who’s going to believe a pastor’s kid has issues with a demon?). No one understands or helps when I ask for it, especially my parents. He’s the reason I take things so seriously. I’ve been so lonely because I

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have no one to talk to about this stuff. This voice is the reason I lost hope in life—because, in the end, everyone loses. Life isn’t a race that can be won, so it just seems pointless, & that thought only adds to my already existent depression. I’ve seen more than humans should normally be exposed to, more than the mind can generally handle.

“I cannot even tell you how captivated I was by fear… For a year I had the devil whispering to me. He made me go INSANE. I mean straight on, I couldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t remember my life or who I was or what I was even like (personality, favorite foods—simple stuff)… Total insanity” (February 2010; age 16).

“King took overwhelming control of my mind—including my memories & thoughts & perceptions of everything: he erased much of my memory & instilled ‘memories’ I never had; he enforced depression, discouragement, loneliness, & distrust; & life seemed too negative & hopeless that my soul became distraught, my heart crushed” (October 2009; age 16).

From negative self-talk to suicidal ideations, the voice persisted to pester me over the years, leading to great self-harm & a string of poor choices in desperate attempts to cope with the misery haunting my mind, to rid myself, even if only temporarily, of the insanity plaguing me, the pains & scars that are so invisible to everyone else.

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Eventually, voices drove me to further suicide attempts, including multiple foolish drowning attempts during winter 2013.

“Oxygen no longer bears access to my lungs. Eyes shut, I relax, peace overwhelming my soul. Should death come, I will rejoice with gratitude. After six years of struggling with identity & self-worth & life choices, I seem to be beyond rescue, past preserving, too far from redemption to ever be resurrected with authentic & unique meaning, a meaning that makes everything worth it somehow. & I have accepted that, just as I have accepted my natural craving for pain & death. If I’m not around, I can’t hurt anyone else, & no one else can hurt me. Everybody wins, it seems! All I’ve ever wanted is peace: I fail to find an enduring form of it in this life, so I wish to seek it in the next.

“I am calm, cool, & collected as I force myself to remain submerged beneath the water. Depleted is all of the air from my lungs. I’m just a pretty little face trapped beneath an icy surface of a destructive past. I am in ruins, & it’s all my fault. I ran out of antidepressants; otherwise, I would have tried that version of suicide instead. But water will have to do. If it fails tonight, there’s always next time. There’s always a next time. Depression & the urge to injure myself—& even the craving to die—never leave. After six years, those passions are more vibrant than ever (though, thankfully, they are less constant). Death is more alluring than ever before. Yet I fail at everything, even death. Can I do nothing right?” (March 2013; age 20).

Just like my first suicide attempt, I concluded the event feeling even more like a failure, inadequately tackling life AND death; I failed at both, & it ate away at all efforts of tightly clinging to the little residual self-image & esteem I possessed.

As Elizabeth Wurtzel said in Prozac Nation, “If you are chronically down, it is a lifelong fight to keep from sinking.”

I keep drowning, but I also keep fighting.

I can’t tell yet who might win.