The cold and darkness of midwinter embodied through my “daemon”, part I

Throughout the past twenty years of my life, winter has been a time in which I’ve suffered severely from depression. As I felt increasingly alienated from my own body, lacking even the faintest awareness of my transgender personality, my depression darkened all seasons of the year. Worse yet, my inner despair and inexplicable anger led me to think about harming myself. Up until as recently as last winter (2014), I would occasionally lapse into suicidal ideations when confronted with despair or severe anxiety. As I have struggled for so many years with depressive tendencies, I’ve grown to personify this dark corner of my personality as a demon.

Lacking in color, the bare branches of midwinter oaks near our house still have a delicate loveliness about them.

Lacking in color, the bare branches of midwinter oaks near our house still have a delicate loveliness about them.

Throughout my blog, I use the word, “demon”, to refer to any potentially destructive aspect of a person’s being. For example, Depression has been my primary adversarial demon, while Addiction is likely the most devastating demon among people in the modern world. Yet, it may be possible that a positive force can work as a demon. Thus my concept of a demon is more akin to the “Daemon” of the ancient Greeks, rather than unambiguously malevolent demons of Christian teaching. I greatly respect the traditions of the Roman Catholic faith; However, I choose to remain agnostic with respect to its doctrinal framework regarding demonic spirits. I do not deny the possibility that beings from beyond this physical universe may exist and exert ill effects upon people. Yet, humankind, with its inherent selfishness and intellectual laziness, seems fully capable of producing all the injustice in this world without the coaxings of some subterranean archfiend.

The doctrinaire demonology of traditional churches has little practical value to the day-to-day struggles in my life. The daemons in which I believe are likely nothing more than habit-tuned nerve pathways in the human brain. My daemons are boring in comparison to the hell-fire-fueled monsters of church doctrine, yet they are crucial to my life-long growth in righteousness and goodwill. The daemons I’ve faced for most of my life are adversaries which damage my wholeness as a child of the Divine Spirit. Yet, Depression, that tireless thief, has taught me to take back joy every moment of every day in the most trifling of sights from the natural world. The delicate weave of barren gray winter trees against the sky fills me with awe. The glint of morning light in a raindrop can brighten the hectic rush of a work-a-day morning. Perhaps a crucial step towards growing in righteousness is owning up to the presence of demons or daemons in one’s life. In contrast, sanctimonious, self-righteous people who claim to be free from demons may be in danger of falling away from true goodness. This seems to be what Christ is warning about in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, verses 24 and 25.

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