I have a stick named Lucifer. I named him after the cat in Cinderella.
I call him Lucifee for short just like like Jaq and Gus. Lucifee and I have a relationship that is, well, complex.
He is not my friend.
He is always with me.
He is very persuasive.
I have a difficult time not believing him.
I despise Lucifee. No really, he drives me nuts sometimes. But no matter how much I try to get rid of him, at the end of the day I find myself battered and bruised. Admittedly, I sometimes pull out my stick Lucifee late at night, lay him beside me and pet him. His gentle purr helps me stay up late accentuating all the little things in my life that don’t matter but yet set my mind at unease.
At this point you might be confused. But I’m willing to bet that a single example will help you understand my complex relationship with Lucifee. In fact, I’m willing to bet you have your own stick — you just haven’t named him/her yet.
Let’s say a visitor came to my door. It doesn’t matter if I was expecting the visitor or not. The visitor rings the doorbell and I arrive to answer. In that moment, time seems to freeze. Unwillingly and even sometimes unknowingly, I grab Lucifee and hand him to my visitor. Then, time resumes and the visitor enters. At that point, the visitor, without knowing or realizing what they are doing, takes a great swing with Lucifee and cracks me on the head! Over and over the blows come, one after another, beating and bruising me. Every time the swing starts Lucifee shouts out:
YOU SHOULDA CLEANED YOUR HOUSE!
YOU SHOULDA WIPED THAT SMUDGE OFF THE WALL!
YOU SHOULDA PICKED A MORE FASHIONABLE CARPET!
YOU SHOULDA STRAIGHTENED THAT PICTURE ON THE WALL! WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE THAT UGLY THING ON THE WALL ANYWAY!
The beating is relentless. Sometimes it’s so bad that I can hardly hear what my visitor has to say. By the time my visitor leaves I can’t even think straight. All I know is I am NEVER inviting anyone to my house again. That was downright painful.
Oh, but this is only one example. Don’t even get me started on church. That’s one of Lucifee’s favorite places to beat me to a pulp.
YOU SHOULDA READ MORE OF YOUR SCRIPTURES!
YOU SHOULDA PRAYED HARDER!
YOU SHOULDA BEEN BETTER PREPARED
YOU SHOULDA OBEYED THAT COMMANDMENT THAT GUY IS TALKING ABOUT!
YOU SHOULDA BEEN AS GOOD AS THAT OTHER GUY!
YOU SHOULDA BEEN NICER!
YOU SHOULDA TAKEN COOKIES TO HER!
YOU SHOULDA DONE YOUR HOME TEACHING! (It’s a Mormon thing)
Is it any wonder that I have to have a nap every Sunday after church? It’s a flat out miracle I still go after all that beating. As my dad always used to say: What am I? A glutton for punishment?
Ok, I’m going to be honest. I take Lucifee everywhere I go. At work he continues to beat me over and over about all the things I shoulda done so that things would be done on time and that everything would be perfect. I take him to work and church parties. I even take him to the store where he beats me about how I shoulda gone to to school longer so I could earn more money. Or how I shoulda resisted the urge to buy that last meaningless thing so that I could afford to buy some new meaningless thing.
Deep down inside I know I need to just get rid of this abusive relationship with Lucifee. But by the end of the day I am so exhausted at his constant beatings that I just want to escape to some book or show on Netflix. But then I know he’ll find a way to beat me because of that too. The beatings are relentless.
Fortunately, once I figured out what was going on I found ways to fight back against the beatings. I have found ways to leave Lucifee behind and enjoy myself at church, work, and even in my getaways. Lucifee doesn’t have as much power to beat me up as much as he used to. Lucifee still gets the best of me sometimes. I haven’t completely conquered him yet. But the beatings don’t happen as often and don’t last as long.
Do you have your own stick? You aren’t alone. I have one too. We can get through this. You don’t have to suffer. In some upcoming posts, I’ll share what I do to help beat back Lucifee and perhaps they will help you too.
This post is part of a series that I am writing to reach out to those who suffer with depression as I have. Thank you for reading and please feel free to share with friends and family who also struggle.