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  • Writer's pictureBakhita Zine

Learning to face our demons

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

A girl looking into a mirror

Growing hurts but we have to. We go through a lot in our lifetime that plays a role in how we live life and how we react to things. The world has started to talk about mental health in television and movies.

This is a Korean drama about mental health called It's Okay Not to be Okay. The show primarily takes place in a psychiatric clinic. The female lead (Ko Moon-young) is an author of children’s fairy tales and the male lead (Moon Gang-tae) is an assistant nurse at the clinic.

The female lead fairy tales are read within the drama, each fairy tale is tied to an episode. The first fairy tale that we listen to is The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares and this is how it goes…

The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares story by Jo Young

A boy who can not sleep. Nightmare keeping him up

The boy woke up from another awful nightmare.

Bad memories from the past that he wanted to erase from his head were replayed in his dreams every night and haunted him non-stop.

The boy was terrified of falling asleep. So one day, he went to the witch and begged, “Please get rid of all my bad memories so I won’t ever have a nightmare again. Then I will do everything you ask.”

Years went by, the boy became an adult. He no longer had nightmares but for some reason, he wasn’t happy. One day, a blood moon filled the night sky, and the witch finally showed up again to take what he had promised in return for granting his wish. And he shouted at her with so much resentment. “All my bad memories are gone. But why? Why I can’t be happy?”

Then the witch took his soul as he had promised and told him, “Hurtful, painful memories. Memories of deep regrets. Memories of hurting others and being hurt. Memories of being abandoned. Only those with such memories buried in their hearts can be stronger, more passionate, and emotionally flexible. And only they can attain happiness. So don’t forget any of it. Remember it all and overcome it. If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows.”

Seeing demons is easy but coming to terms with them is hard

A girl in a tub staring at nothing, lose in thought.

After hearing the I was like nope, not everyone is strong enough to overcome their nightmare. But then I listened to the fairy tale again and realized that we humans need hardship in our lives to improve. That hardship can be something small like failing a grade or something big like the loss of someone you love.

The fairy tale ends with a very impactful line “If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows” I don’t about anyone else, but I felt that the line was true. If you stay in the past, then you can’t move forward as a person.

Overcoming something does mean that you have to face your demons head-on, just accept them or acknowledge them. Simply go “I see you demon however I am not going to let you control my life” This is not really confronting your demons but acknowledging them. Acknowledgement can go a long way especially when starting to face your demons.

The worst thing you would do for yourself is keep it at the back of your head in a safe. As years go by that safe with become full of your demon just waiting to be let go. Then one day someone or something no matter how small is going to trigger you. When that happens every demon you have kept up till that point will take that opportunity to crawl up to the surface. One minute everything will be fine till all hell will break loose and it won’t be pretty. The won't be an age limit to what comes to the surface when your safe breaks.

I am still trying to overcome my demons. I have ‘faced’ them but they still stick around like a bad omen waiting to be removed.

If this sounds like you come along with me on this journey of learning to face my demons.

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