Demons.

I make no apologies now for what I am about to tell you.

This is not one of my normal blogs filled with jokes, idiocy, and me being a tool. You may have as hard a time reading it as I did writing it…

I worked within the mental health world for 7 years, between the ages of 20 to 27. I enjoyed the job – especially in the

depressionlocal psychiatric ward – and I met some remarkable, troubled people, and watched as they disappeared in a haze of medication as their demons dragged them down…

I felt sorry for those people.

In fact, I saw friends of mine enter the system and become faceless and mindless drones, pumped full of drugs… I pitied them, and I took solace in the fact that I was mentally strong enough to never be as weak as these people… and at the end of my shift I went home and forgot all about them.

I knew that I was stronger-willed than most, and would never succumb to a condition of the mind…

Which is why it nearly destroyed me when my own demons sunk their claws into me and dragged me to a cliff edge.

Literally.

It’s amazing to think that something as innocuous as an innocent phone call at 10.30am on a Tuesday morning can bring your world to a complete halt. It’s even more amazing to think that the person who called me has absolutely NO idea what it is they said… and what it did to me. I have never told them and I never will.

Don’t ever ask me about that phone call.

Just understand that it almost killed me.

It’s bizarre standing on a pavement when you feel your heart stop and everything around you slows to a crawl as the breath seems to be squeezed from your lungs. I was so aware of the moment that I can remember the faces of the people who walked past, and the cars and the bus that seemed to drive by in slow motion. I can even tell you what clothes I was wearing, and what I was holding in my left hand.

A bunch of flowers.

I went home, but I could feel the claws of some beast starting to pull at my mind. I tried to ignore it…demon bath

I tried to write…

I tried to eat…

I had nothing… nothing in me at all.

I sat in my flat for four days solid, drinking and getting high… or low. Whichever. It would provide me with relief for a short (oh so short) period of time… but then I would have to answer to the demons that came screaming inside my skull the next day.

That is, if my demons let me sleep.

Irony of ironies, I became a zombie (I’m writing a zombie book, have a zombie hand tattoo, and was in a zombie film) and ghosted in and out of each day, ignoring life. It – and I – didn’t seem to be able to coexist.

I was diagnosed with depression a week later, and when your family doctor of thirty years says to you; “I’m going to prescribe you some medication and you need to take it… because I don’t think you’ll make it without them…”

Well… that shit is just hard to hear.

But anything was better than what I was facing, and that was being alone in my flat day after fucking day, with no TV or music playing, sitting in my chair and staring at the walls or lying on my bed and fighting demons that clawed and scratched and bit and dragged me down into a place so dark… so bottomless… so dead… I shut my friends out. My good friends… the ones who knew that there was something wrong with me, and yet I was too stubborn and pig-headed to see that I was physically and mentally dying before people’s very eyes. I couldn’t think straight, I wasn’t paying my bills, and I lost two stone…

“Hey, you look like you’ve lost weight.”

“Hey, you’ve lost a lot of weight.”

“Hey, are you ok?”

“Hey, are you on drugs?”

“Hey… are you dying?”

In the end it’s easier to put your phone on silent and ignore the world. I shut everyone out. Everyone… The only things I had left were my demons.

And then one black day they won.

There’s a cliff here on the island where many people have driven or jumped over the edge. I won’t name names, because sandown_culver_downthis isn’t their story. But there was one young man who drove off of the edge almost a month to the day before I found myself standing on the brink.

And it was him that I needed to speak to.

So we talked.

He asked me what I was doing there and I gave him a wry smile. He nodded, sat by his wreaths and flowers, casually throwing stones over the cliff before us. I’d heard the stories going around about why he had driven his van over the edge and asked if they were true, but he didn’t answer. He just looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

In the end I asked him what could have been so awful that a man only twenty years of age could kill himself.

“The same things that brought you here,” he said. “Our demons.”

And then I could see them.

They were all around him, tearing at his clothes, scratching his face and his skin, biting him with their fangs.

That’s when my demons exploded from within.

My body became a lead-weight as they poured out, accompanied by the sensation of breathlessness that I had experienced when I took that phone call days before. And so I cried. I cried like a fucking baby. I stood there and couldn’t see the rocks below through the tears, and I have no idea how long I was there, but I missed around 30 phone calls that I failed to hear over the wind. Word was getting around that I was in a bad, bad place. crow

And now my demons were leading me towards the edge… And I was following them.

It’s a very hollow feeling to stare down into an abyss and feel no fear… no trepidation of what I was about to happen. The sea smashed on the rocks as hard as I knew that my body would, and I didn’t care if my carcass would be dragged out into sea and never recovered.

I was beyond caring.

I remember closing my eyes and feeling the wind around me, pulling me, tugging at me like those demons’ claws.

I remember stepping closer and closer to the edge until the top of chalk cliff touched the toes of my shoes…

And then I heard a voice…

“Son,” it said. “Son…”

I turned around and there was an old man walking his dog. He was mere feet away from me, but the look in his eyes when he saw my face hit me harder than anyone or anything ever has. I looked into his face and I saw terror. Absolute terror.

He just stood there, one hand reaching out towards me, repeating the word ‘son’ again and again. I stared at him, tears streaming down my face, just shaking my head at him.

“Son…” he said. For some reason I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket for the first time in who knew how long, and I looked at it. Among all of the messages, one caught my attention. “Think of your son.”

That word again… ‘son’.

And then I my lungs filled with air, goosebumps covered me and I felt how fucking cold the wind was… and I felt alive.

I looked down at the water and rocks 300 foot below, and I turned away and ran. I still feel bad that I never said a word to the old man, but I hope he realises what he did for me that day… in that monstersmoment.

I got back in my car and sat there and cried again… but this time in anger… anger at the way I’d almost given in to the beasts within me.

They had so very nearly won.

I sat there and cried myself to sleep until someone I loved turned up and hit me. And shouted at me. And held me.

Since that short time ago I have never doubted those with mental health issues. I pay a LOT more attention when I find my friends are down.

There’s a great quote from Stephen Fry who says that all someone with depression needs is someone to talk to. And he was right. I just didn’t know that it was also what I needed at the time.

Because I’ve always been a joker.

A fucking clown.

If you know me this whole blog must come as a bit of a shock to you, especially when you see all the shit that clutters up my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s always comedy… it’s always jokes.

But being a clown is a great way of hiding from your demons… keeping them at bay with your clown make-up on.

And I plan to keep my make-up on for as long as I can…

Because I know that if I take it off…

Well…

That’s when your demons find you.

stephen-fry-depression

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63 thoughts on “Demons.

  1. I won’t say I know what you were going through- I can’t possibly know your demons. I do, however, know how you were feeling. I have also spent a large part of my life being pursued by my own demons and have felt their teeth too many times to count.
    I’ve also felt the complete lack of will to go on, and the emptiness inside which death would not remove but at least the misery and fear would be beyond feeling.

    But here’s something I don’t share. I died- for real popped my clogs- in the accident in 09. I had to be resuscitated. In the room I saw two figures that were not part of the conscious world. They scared the shit out of me, not from any malevolence or menace, just their existence. It means that there is more to death. It means that there is no guarantee that misery will leave us. It means that we have to- fucking HAVE TO- keep going and learn to conquer those demons while we are here.

    That clown make up, well that’s a damned good start. Make others smile because that’s a gift. And demons hate laughter.

    • Thanks Bob. It’s strange, because I had no idea I even had demons until the events of this blog occurred… but then, boy… did they skull-fuck me. I’ve got them all under control now, and I’ve taken myself away from the problem – which is how I was able to release this blog. I’d been sat on it for weeks, and feared the response I would get if I released it.

      Wow. Was I surprised. I didn’t expect anything like all the messages and texts that I received.

      I was blown away.

      And I’m glad we’re both still here. And I’m glad that we’ve shaken hands and eaten together.

      • Likewise. All being well we can dine again soon.

        No, the demons stay real quiet until you are vulnerable. You’ll know what’s happening if they come again.

  2. First ever blog I have ever read! Its amazing how strong we can be when being strong is our only option~ Very Pure! You should be proud! and just remember, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!

  3. Wow. Your whole blog post was so powerful. I haven’t read any of your other posts, but the way you described how you felt when you almost died… was so spot on. The way you say the demons took you down… it’s so.. personal and it gave me goosebumps. I’m glad you are still here to blog about it.

    • I’ve just read your blog – the latest article – and basically, you could put me in the position of the ‘person’ who is missing from your heart. ‘You’ would then become the reason that I was stood on the cliff… I know that sounds a little confusing, but maybe you understand me? Contact me if you do/don’t, and we’ll talk more… maybe?

  4. Thank you, When I read this it felt like staring into a mirror although the events are different the message stays the same, every day now I wake up put on my clown face and remember to stay strong and fight the demons that are hiding just out of sight ready to leap at me the second I let it slip. To Dog your message was equally powerfull I had never thought about the fact that our demons may follow us even after death, one of the biggest weapons in my battle today is the fear that MY deamons will be transfered to the loved ones I would leave behind.

    • Dan, please stay strong and keep that make-up on. Your strength should pass onto your loved ones once your day comes, but as my kids get older I will explain to them about the dark days that I had, but I will hammer home the point that they are the reason I am still here.

      And that must count for something.

  5. Jody, I am so sorry you were in such a bad place. I’m sorry you chose to fight those demons alone…for a time…but I guess everyone does that, at least until their guardian angel comes along. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of seeing through their demons to find their angel. So sad. But you, you had a happy ending, and I’m glad. I’m glad because now I got to know you.

    I’ve not had my own demons to deal with. I’ve fought my husband’s. Ever since he came home from one of his Army deployments he fought something I couldn’t see. It ebbed and flowed over the years until he finally broke down and told me. Little pieces here. Little pieces there. It took years. All of last year has been the biggest struggle for us. He has so many demons to deal with. He’s been on that cliff a few times before he told me. Once he had an angel appear at the very edge…the first time. We’ve since told his Army buddy after so many years. And it was good. That old man knows what he did and I am sure he was sent to you for a reason! He didn’t read about you in the paper the next day! But there have been so many times before I didn’t know about my husband until a few months ago. He says he will never go to that edge again because me and his son keep him going. But it’s so hard to watch, and know there is nothing I can do to slay those demons for him. I dread their return. But I am always here for him. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Thanks Jamie. As harsh as it sounds, but it took me going to that edge to realise what it was I could have lost. If I hadn’t been up there on that day… then I would probably still be fightiing – and losing – right now…

  6. this blog is soooo powerfull.
    ive been able to relate to this for years.but its funny coz right now in a physicatric unit.and im on the edge of cliff,not litually tho.as to weather to jump off and start to get better or walk back on cliff and contuime to struggle and fail.ive been here 6 weeks and i think i need to just jump and then start the climb back to reall life….this blog has really helped me to make this decision,one i should have made weeks even years ago.
    so a huge thank you.and ill be thanking my friend who sent me the link,hoping it would help me make the decision.

    • Cheryl… your message alone has made my fight much more than worth it. If it helps you then I have done what I set out to do… even though I would never have known it back on that cold day on the cliff.

      PLEASE get in touch if you want to. I would love to know that everything goes right for you and that your life does pick up.

      Thank you, Cheryl. Thank you for making everything that I endured worth the battle.

      • it was beccy cackett.you both at ou.she posted on facebook and as i feel sooooo close to beccy i read everything she posts,i cant help it.and most things i find either funny or helpfull.
        thank you for feeling strong enough to express that day.i dont have a day its been a bout a year but im hoping now i can turn it around.thank you again

  7. Jody Neil Ruth…now that’s my motherfucking man right there. It takes balls of steel to put this out there, my friend. As someone who knows more than a little about depression and suicide, both personally and professionally, I have to tell you just how important a post like this is, on so many different levels. First and foremost, it lets the countless others out there who feel similarly know that they are not alone. The worst part of an experience like you describe is the isolation, the loneliness, the absolute assurance in that moment that nobody can possibly grasp the depth of your pain. This post gives people with that feeling, and they’re out there, all over the planet, right fucking now, a lifeline. A lifeline that says maybe, just maybe, there’s a scintilla of hope, and that tiny bit of hope is enough to get them through to the next day.

    Almost as important is your description about how the surface appearance doesn’t always reflect the inner turmoil. A lot of times that is a mask, because really, who wants to be seen as that mopey motherfucker who looks like he wants to off himself at any given moment? You know that feeling, and so do I. That said, my experience has let me know that the people capable of the most pain are those who can truly feel the deepest joy. People that walk that tightrope every day, knowing that one misstep could hurtle them into self-propelled oblivion, those are the ones that recognize just how precious life is. They laugh louder. They party harder. They gnaw the bone of life and suck out its marrow, because they know, they fucking know, that the next day, they could be staring over the edge once again. And they know, they fucking know, that the next day, maybe the allure of the abyss will be a temptation they can’t overcome.

    Job well done, my brother. Keep up the fight, keep up the writing, and keep doing whatever you need to keep those demons at bay. Peace out.

    Roy

    • Tears in my eyes, brother. Thank you. Every fucking word you’ve just written is true… I’ve had to quote you on Facebook. The depths of my pain were such that they drove me to a cliff… but the highs of my life and bigger and better than most people that I know; whether it be dressing as a super-hero with my son and walking around town, or seeing the look in the eye of a girl that I’ve just dropped everything for and rushed to London to be with because she asked me to…

      It’s funny how all of the best things in my life are quick-fire… off the cuff… without planning…

      Yet the idea of jumping off that cliff had been gnawing at my mind for days… weeks…

      I’m glad to be here, Roy.

      And I’m glad to know people like you.

      And I’m not going anywhere.

      Those demons won’t beat me.

  8. Jody Neil Ruth…seems it wasn’t that long ago you were struggling with the idea of whether to take a crazy chance and throw yourself into writing. Now you’re writing about going crazy and nearly throwing yourself off a cliff. And just how fucking unbelievably powerful, raw, haunting and beautiful is what you’ve written. I seriously thank god for you. Keep on shining you amazing man xxx

  9. What an amazingly strong person you are,I admire your honesty in writing this,I admire your determination to de stigmatise depression and thank you for sharing such powerful emotions. Depression is a cold, lonely path that can lead to tragic results and I hope with all my heart that your words change the course of someones life. I wish you a life where pleasure can be felt and seem, a life of love and understanding and thank you for your strength to listen to a strangers words

      • Thank you, Ive sat at the same place myself a few years ago and I know the strength it takes to turn and face another day, I got lucky now the sun shines for me most days, but your words have perfectly described the isolation I was in. Please try get this published – there are many people who need to be called by a stranger

  10. I don’t know you but I’ve just read this blog with goosebumps and tears in my eyes. Coming from a family where many of them suffer from depression and bi-polar, it is so refreshing and inspiring to see someone be so frank and honest about the illness that many people dismiss. Hope life continues to treat you well. X

  11. You incredibly brave man. I don’t want to use a pseudonym but I feel I have to because I’m worried, worried about people’s reaction, my job, people not understanding. Worry is my middle name. I can’t help it. Just been diagnosed with PTSD after years of work related bullying its so hard to make yourself go to a place thats done you so much harm, but its part of the therapy. And I’m getting there. Crying was a daily occurrence, just big fat silent tears. Then I noticed once I started getting stronger, my kids became happier, then of course I went through the guilt of thinking I’d made them miserable too, of course I hadn’t, they love me, but they didn’t understand. Feeling better each day. One day I will be strong enough to move on completely with my life and start my dream career, once I’ve stopped worrying about everything! Much love to you xx

  12. Another clown over here, keeping the makeup on–also in large part for my kid. Still on the meds. Some days are better, some worse–I describe it as “managing.” And unless you’re another person going through it, you’re not ever going to understand what “managing” is. You’re not going to understand why going to the edge seems like what you should do–like the only thing you CAN do.

    I made it off of my edge. I’m glad you did, too. Keep fighting. It’s all you can do.

    • Wow… Admiting depression I found so so hard as I was rather young, And still to this day my family don’t know what has gone on & happened in my life.. I found my self in the same position, dumped my daughter on friends & fAmily, found drink & drugs, never ate or slepted and hurt myself over & over because it felt better then everything else going on around at that time… As things went on it got worse then better then worse ending up being sectioned, from being that low and help from close friend I managed to come back up & get things on track.. Still now I feel myself gettin low and I can tell what makes me low, I can now stop that & bring myself up most days.. Iam now 21 hopefully my life ahead of me.. Hearing this someone with same experiences & explain in detail what’s it like hopefully people will understand depression.. ☺️

  13. Thank you to the amazing people who have shared their stories. The courage shown and the openness displayed is incredible. Thank you – the more we all talk the more the taboo wall will be broken down. A really powerful blog.x

  14. This could be my story, with a few changes. I lost my 23-year marriage, mother, and only sister within a two-year time span. I have a brother dying from ALS. My entire family has turned their backs on me because, right when they turned the life support machines off and my sister died, I said out loud, “Go to God, Honey.” The rest of them felt it was not proper and detracted from the solemnity of the moment. I have three older brothers left, and yet not one of them offered me any solace at her funeral or since. That God I have children, or else I would have followed my mother and sister into the dark.

    • The stories that people tell me are moving and heart-breaking, and yours is one of the most painful. Families should never turn on one another, but I’m glad you have your children to draw strength from.

      My kids are also my anchor. I can see that now.

  15. Wow! I stumbled upon your blog via a Twitter message, and boy am I glad I did. I have found the whole thing – your heartfelt description of your experiences and the responses – so moving, so powerful, that tears threaten to overwhelm me and my heart feels so full. I, like I believe most of us, have demons and have succumbed in the past. I now recognise them for who and what they are and whilst they sometimes drag me away from the true incredibleness of life I can reason with them and myself and remember not to follow them too far into the dark. I wish you, and all who share this experience, the very best and brightness to lighten the dark times, you are all truly wonderful and I thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks Jenni. I’m still amazed at the response at something that I really thought would be read by my friends! I’m glad that you never followed them into the dark, Jenni. I’m glad neither of us did… x

  16. Hi Jody,

    I came and read this after my Mum told me about it. She said she had read it and it had made her think of me and my battles (and by proxy her battles in watching me suffer).

    Well written mate and relatable in a way that is beyond words.

    I don’t know what else to say to you. Thanks though, it’s always good to know that we’re not alone.

  17. Hi Jody, my first blog love. (this is poverty&death by the way)………………I felt you when I was reading that. No much to say about the content except POWERFUL. To experience a dark moment and be awakened by it is to live, love, and grow wiser. I love you even though I have never stood next to you <3

  18. What a remarkable post which truly captures the rawness and darkness of depression. I have worked with people battling with mental illness for several years now. I have often been told how difficult it is for them putting their experiences into words. Having showed many clients your post, I must pass on their thanks and gratitude for finally allowing them to describe their own similar demons. This blog has truly been of help to so many people, by simply proving they are not alone. May I wish you success on your journey to a happier life. Remember – everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it is not the end. X

    • Thank you, Darcy. I think I’ve been contacted by one or two of your clients this morning, and I’m glad that I have helped in any way possible. Depression is a crippling, and destroying illness that can’t readily be treated or ‘cured’. It takes a lot of inner strength (hidden or otherwise), but by speaking out more about it, it can help others.

      Which is what I am trying to do.

  19. I lost my mask/make-up. I am on that edge today. Utterly, utterly hopeless & so bloody pissed off with living. Constant battle to just get a bloody prescription. Totally fucked off with it all, and now I learn that there may not even be any peace in death. My demons will just follow me there. Oh, hoobloodyray.

  20. Knows this so well. Out of 24 years I’ve been fighting demons since 12. What leds a child to depression. I don’t know but it happen. 2 years ago I didn’t find my self at a cliff but in a hospital bed. 6 weeks on I was hit by a car and surived that. That was the last straw, I wasn’t ment to die someone clearly looking after me. I then managed to keep my demons hidden for another year, then broke down. Neally lost my family, my son. Still feel some days like just giving up, like its never going to get better but maybe it won’t maybe sometimes were just ment to survive! I can live with my visible scars so why not a few scars that are below the surface.

  21. Pingback: Demons: Dark Love | ____Jody Neil Ruth____ Writer. Driver. Idiot.

  22. full respect to you mate! one of the hardest things to do with your demons around is to talk to someone; or atleast it was for me. even after seeing my friends brought to tears at the injuries i had caused myself i still couldnt tell them how i really felt. even to this day a slim few know what i went through in my dark days.
    ive been up culver many times and faught those demons

  23. full respect to you mate! one of the hardest things to do with your demons around is to talk to someone; or atleast it was for me. even after seeing my friends brought to tears at the injuries i had caused myself i still couldnt tell them how i really felt. even to this day a slim few know what i went through in my dark days.
    ive been up culver many times and faught those demons again and again.
    after years of battling alone only because i never realised people cared my demons gave in.
    there is light at the end of both tunnels but there is the rest of your life at the end of only one!
    and its a choice you cant change.
    i hope your blog and video help others as im sure it already has.
    may your demons tire soon

  24. Thanks for this video. I was crying as everything you said sums up how I’ve been feeling for years. I have struggled with my demons all my life, and on more than one occasion I wished to be standing on the top of a cliff somewhere, whether metaphorical or real. My Mum and brother once drive to top of Culver Cliff, as they also have their own demons. Thankfully, they never went through with it. It will always be there, but I try to fight it every day. Thanks, mate, for sharing this so publicly.

  25. I want to write here something as well. I watched the film Demons. Tears began to roll down on my cheeks. I don’t know what to say now. I have been feeling a lot of darkness lately. And feeling that there is no hope in future. It’s kind of always been there but now it’s hitting me with full force and I feel that I can’t take it anymore. It’s been OK as long as it’s been on the background and I never understood what caused the darkness, and what caused it to just be there, and it made me hope that maybe one day it would be gone. Maybe one day I would smile and mean that. Not just having mask. Or at least see myself smiling genuinely. That day has never came. I want to live, I want to be alive. I just don’t know where is that hope that would keep me alive.

  26. A really good article I for one know how painful that darkness is . My demons beat me for a bit,just my time on this earth was not up yet..But since I’ve come out the other side I cannot stress how important talking is…dont ever be afraid to be a burden on anyone by talking..Everyone has someone who really cares and if they know how your feeling they will give you the time, it makes all the difference..Just wish I realised it earlier…So as I like to say we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep on moving towards the light :)

  27. Pingback: The Storm has Passed… | Jody Neil Ruth: Writer. Driver. Idiot.

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