Its not a demon. Demons imply free will and choice and there isn’t a choice. Demon also implies that it can be exercised and removed like a tumor. That isn’t even close to it. We refer to it as the Hungry Ghost. In the Hindu religion when a soul dies with anger or through some sort of tragic incident like suicide it becomes a ghost that follows people who are going through similar situations and starts to consume its krama. There is a hole in the ghost that it tries to fill with that person. There is an incomplete creature that attempts to eat away taking someone down with them. It often destroys the soul of the person that the ghosts attack. When I started writing again after a year’s hiatus I envisioned it as such. A wraith that would sit on the edge of my bed with its black hair falling into strings over its face allowing large dead eyes to be held open in a ghastly stare. Her mouth was open too in a horrible scream. She never screamed. All I could do was feel her whisper in the back of my head. The impulses of black thoughts that worked through my brain and attempted for have me draw blood from my veins as the life ran out of me. I didn’t know what else to call it. I still don’t apart from referring to it as a hungry ghost. Things are easier to understand when they have a face. This is its face.
Its the reason that I’ve started writing. The quote is that man is least himself when he speaks in his own person. If you give him a mask and he’ll tell you everything. Its probably my favorite Oscar Wilde quote of all time because its true. Whether I want to admit to it or not the best way for me to somehow get a hold of what I’m doing and feeling and understanding those things is by writing about it. I have yet to figure out what to do about the Hungry Ghost. I do what I can or what I’m told I should do about it. I take a pill to rewire my brain so that the ghost can’t creep into my thoughts. I meditate to find a way to rationally expressing why I feel such shame a grief for the things that I have done. Its not normal to feel these things I know but I am learning to not feel guilty that I do. The Ghost is an illness that I can’t control and it’ll loom for as long as it so wishes to do so. There is always a man to speak to who is trained to fight off the ghosts but it’ll be there.
It was the sole purpose of going into the world of fantasy and science fiction. Long before I tried it, writers used it as an allegory to work through whatever they saw as the issue of the day. The first time Rod Serling picked up a pen to write a story was so he could talk about racism to get around the the censors of the 1950s and 60s. Gene Roddenberry did it too and he did it the best. The purpose of Spring Blessings was to tell myself that you can have an illness and still do great things. Asher is a great hero who has suffered through years of addiction and tried to rehab himself to being a sane person. We value those who are addicts like we value the mentally ill as sort of weird. We don’t know how to deal with them because they did awful things to themselves and in the throws of their disease to other people. They aren’t bad people they are people who just haven’t figured out how to cope. If we give them enough of a chance they can do wondrous things with themselves. I am Asher Stone. I want to do great things despite the ghost who tells me I will never be able to do great things.
It doesn’t go away. There is never going to be a day where I am 100%. None of us will be. No healthy person is but I can try to be close enough to healthy as we can. Its not easy because the Ghost can be very persuasive. Since it knows everything about you and all the dark sins you’ve committed it brings those up during times of self-doubt. Everyone has bad days and blackness spreads more rapidly for those of us with the Ghost but what can one do? I am told that people with the ghost are more likely to die younger. The inability to deal with stress comes to mind or even the fact that most people with the ghost let the ghost win are the ways out. Like all diseases, the ghost must be treated carefully and no one thing can stop it. You cannot rely on chemicals alone there must be balance in all things. Even then it isn’t 100%. We all must try to fight back the ghost and keep it small. That takes nothing more than will and support of that will.
This is not a reaction to the recent death of Robin Williams. While it is always tragic when someone chooses to let the Ghost win, it has been something I’ve been struggling to find the words to say for quite sometime. I’m told this is how I deal with things. I try to figure out how to write about it. If I can get it into words on a screen or on a page then I know I can move forward. It just happens to be my catalyst. Isn’t it sad that this is a discussion we have when someone tragically ends a life? Not when so many of us fight off a ghost on a regular basis. Can we make this a better place so that we know that its okay to have problems. The biggest reason we don’t is because there is shame attached to being sick. Because there is no logic behind the ghost we can’t explain. What does that mean for people without the ghost? What do they do?
I’m sorry I don’t have a good answer. I suppose…support the will to fight off the ghosts.