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It felt like being burned alive.  My first bad DXM trip.  For the first time in my adolescent life, I knew I had gone somewhere where my parents, rock solid and deeply resented by me, could not save me.

I was alone with something awful.

It had really only been the latest installation of fear.  The drug had acted only as an amplifier to the nest of trauma already existent.  It would be years before I would learn what all that inner horror was trying to teach me.

All the influences and thoughts I had carelessly manufactured and consumed, they could have life of their own.  They seemed apocalyptic like mad dictators.  I didn’t know what to do with them.  I let them run me for the first part of my adulthood.  They were my demons and they had taken on myriad forms.

  • Demon #1:  The schizophrenic God who loves and condemns.  He was bringing rapture to call his beloved children home.  Those who stuck here on earth afterward would be enslaved by the…
  • Demon #2: New World Order.  The unbridled horror unleashed on the world by a sociopathic elite.  A one world government, inspired by Hell, utilizing Orwellian control and Third Reich tactics.  Made up of the elements of…
  • Demon #3:  Corporate occultism.  Why do they name all vehicles after Roman gods and goddesses?  And the names of most financial services and pharmaceutical products…an odd catchy-ness to them.  They sound like real words but they aren’t.  Esoteric gibberish, they’re logos look like sigils.  (See Wikipedia entry for an explanation of sigils.)
  • Demon #4:  Advertising as a Psychological Weapon.  Condescending, even mocking.  Nothing scared me more than when a person I loved laughed at a commercial made by marketing people with the sole intent to manipulate.

I’ll call these the “conspiracy fears.”  God, Country, and Finance, all aligned against me, even though it looked like I was only an unmotivated pot head on my parent’s computer.

And then, there were the inner demons…

  • Demon #5:  The Bizarre and Sudden Realization of Me-ness.  Mostly revealed by hallucinogenic drug use (or even strong marijuana), the skin-crawling awkwardness that used to visit me in parks on dark nights.  “Who the hell is this person that I’m trapped in that’s messing my life up.”  Catastrophic identity crisis if occurring in the presence of others.

And finally, the adrenalized fear…

  • Demon #6:  The Panic Disorder.  Heart starts beating fast.  Not exercise fast.  Scary fast, and everything is suddenly real.  Every thought before the terrifying moment seems childish.  It’s like dread sucking faster and faster into you, and you’re the black hole.

The demons ran my life.  These are six of them.  Seeing the words on the screen, I get an image of a young man who had a lot of brains and a lot of time on his hands.

What I Needed to Learn

I eventually came to see that human beings have, at their core, the power to choose.  We have the power to choose our interpretation (Adam given the power to name the animals).  We have the power to decide how we will live.

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” as Bukowski says.  I can name those old poltergeists of mine.  I can see their absurdity in black and white.  My power comes from my pen.

Writing (or any other art) can be anything you want it to be:  hobby, career…even exorcism or magical spell.

Give your trauma to your art and you will be surprised.  You get what you give.  Let your art open that portal.  In that world, there are beings and muses that visit and take you on a journey.  I think that’s what inspiration is.  It gives me something to do.

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