The Battle

by James Heaton

Locked in a cage, where he can no longer cause harm, he sits deep in my mind.
This man who hasn’t seen the light of day in over twenty years, he tries fervently to break free.
But his intentions are unknown. For years he brought destruction wherever he went, destroying hearts and lives. Selfish and intrusive he ravaged my world. I tried so hard to contain him, to keep him at bay.

But he flooded my mind with his need for destruction, it fueled him, fed him to no end.

The pills locked him away, in a cage of ill repute. He curses me daily, angry that he can no longer control me. He whispers his desires; all he truly wants is to end my life. Does he hate himself so much that he would end not only my life but his too? Or does he know a secret? Does he possess the knowledge of the afterlife? Does he intend to just float through time and space as a ball of energy, in hopes of finding another body to inhabit?

Those things I will never know, questions unanswered, secrets guarded for all time. But there are days when his voice is louder than others. I do not have the knowledge of why he has this power over me. But all I can do is fight him, push him back down into the hole, the cage in my mind that keeps him at bay.
For years I have been loyal to what I am told is the only way to stop him. But he argues with me, and then I take more pills to silence him, but along with his voice my creativity is also silenced. It’s a battle of give and take or better yet, sacrifice. I long for that flow of inspiration, of art that flows through my brain and into my hands as they create beauty and bring me relief. But it comes at a price, and he is the one who collects that price. A bit of freedom for him brings me the flow of brilliance. But his freedom is as fleeting as it is destructive. So, I lose the very thing that gives me joy, to be the better man.

And some days his voice is so loud, he yells for me to end it all. To silence both his voice and mine. He possesses me, turns my actions into violence and destruction. He controls the words I use against the ones I love, and at times he controls my need to end the very life I love so dearly.

I have accepted that he cannot ever be silenced, not completely. I went as far as to let the doctors send waves of electricity into my brain in hopes of ending his madness. It hurt him, silenced him but he simply waited until he was healed to reemerge stronger and angrier. Once again he came at me, reaching through the bars of his cage with his steely words. End it all he screams, and I take more pills to silence him. But I alone pay the price as those pills slowly take the essence of my imagination, of my craft. The words that flowed so beautifully only trickle now, the brilliant pictures that I once painted dried up like the paints that once covered my palette.

Each day I fight this monster, never knowing if one day he will take this life from me. But alas I fight, even when I am weary and exhausted from the battle, I fight.

Do not go into the darkness, I whisper to myself. As I take up my sword once again to battle the demon in my head, but he is me and I am him. But I refuse to let him win.

The battle raged in one’s own mind is the most terrible battle known to man. But the broken pieces are scars and reminders of the battles I have won. The light will overcome the darkness.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved James Heaton


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