Fighting Demons

Pittsburgh Steelers v. New England Patriots (2005) (CC BY-SA 3.0 Gen)

Pittsburgh Steelers v. New England Patriots at Heinz Field (2005), Author Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Fighting the demons of anxiety, depression, and PTSD is a little like playing football [1][2].  We make headway then lose ground.  But the fight never really ends, not the way a game of football does.  There is no score.

We win by surviving another day.

Across Decades

It can be enormously discouraging to wrestle with the scars of abuse, decade in and decade out.  Surely, we must after all this time have made progress.

But progress is not linear.  Despite the passage of time, and an extensive list of medications – not to mention therapy – familiar demons can resurface.

Factors Impacting Our Success

So, are anxiety, depression, and PTSD ever really “conquered”?  Can they, at least, be fought to a standstill?  The answer depends.

The factors include the length and severity of the trauma we sustained; our particular genetics; the quality and extent of our medical treatment; our psychological and spiritual resources; the emotional support we have available; and the other stressors to which we are subjected.

None of these can be quantified.  Most can and do vary over the course of a lifetime.

The Struggle

Why not just throw in the towel (to mix sports metaphors)?  After all, the struggle is exhausting.  The struggle, however, is life.

How many extraordinary things are there in the world?  The sound of thunder, a bird’s song, or a child’s laughter.  The sight of the stars, or a son returning from war.  The smell of the ocean, or freshly cut grass.  The taste of homemade fried chicken.  The touch of a loved one’s hand.

Only poets can describe such things adequately.  Yet, the rest of us get to experience them everyday.  That is worth fighting demons.

But we do not fight them alone.

Faith Walk

All of this is a faith walk.  “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5: 7).  Some of us wrestle with the scars of abuse.  Others wrestle with an endless variety of trials and challenges from disability and chronic illness, to loss, poverty, and injustice.

God, however, walks with us.  He protects and strengthens us against assault.  In Him, we find respite from fighting our demons, whatever form they take.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6: 12).

[1]  I must disclaim any actual knowledge of football, up front.  Fans of the sport will, I hope, forgive me.

[2]  Jesus cast out demons, and healed all manner of illnesses.  I do not mean to suggest that anxiety, depression, or PTSD are demons, in the sense referred to in Scripture.  Satan may, however, use our discouragement to keep us from living the lives God intended for us.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sports, Violence Against Women

16 responses to “Fighting Demons

  1. Anna,you raise a very interesting question about our greatest challenges,conquering them,or at least fight them to a standstill. I suppose each of us has known the thrill of victory(using your sports analogy here) and the agony of defeat as we battle the forces that want to destroy us.

    It does seem though that the thrill of victory is soon forgotten amidst the agony of defeat,as if the negative far outweighs the positive. Such is the power of the enemy, to envelop us in the darkness of defeat,thus blocking out the light of victory.

    I have observed that those with access to many of the things you mention such as counseling,medication,support,etc..tend to do better than those who do not(obviously). However,I have also observed that even with access to such resources,complete victory is never assured,thus the battle is never ending.

    All of this to say that discussions of this sort cause me to question how a man can say “forgetting those things that are behind me,I press toward the mark of Christ Jesus”,and actually live it. My point being this man Paul endured and suffered so much for so long,yet none of that held him back from accomplishing what he had been called to do. Being a man however,he could not escape entirely the same thoughts that we think,and I am certain that he was acquainted with depression.

    Should one wonder what he had,or what we do not? I ask myself this question regularly,as I take two steps forward,and one step back.

    Happy Super Sunday 😉

    • I always appreciate your insights, Ron. Maybe today I should say color commentary?! :))) You make an important point when you say, “Such is the power of the enemy, to envelop us in the darkness of defeat…” We do tend to forget our triumphs. Satan takes full advantage of that. The human mind projects forward from its current state. When we are depressed, we see only gloom ahead. What Paul, I think, learned was to believe in Christ more than himself. Hope your team wins! 🙂

  2. Thank you, Anna, for this post which blesses and affirms me SO MUCH. Six years ago, I believed and declared all over the place that Jesus had healed me of depression and attendant mental health issues (past abuse)…only to experience what I would describe as a gradual “erosion” of my deliverance, despite the fact that I was in my Bible or church constantly–and doing everything I thought was “right”. I couldn’t understand what happened–how could I “lose” my healing??

    It didn’t make sense…and trying to analyze and solve the riddle only exhausted me, made me feel worse–and failed to get the healing and JOY BACK. It would take too long to detail all the thoughts and questions I had, as I attempted to reconcile the situation–and reach a place of acceptance. I think the enemy had a big part in it–as his mission is to destroy believers–but that doesn’t really help to get you “out of it”. And of course I thought God might be testing my faith for some reason He wasn’t sharing with me…so I hung in there, best I could.

    Your words are MOST helpful–they make sense to folks like me who, if they can’t “get happy again”, at least are soothed by an explanation of the root condition (that it’s not about sin and punishment). And having a valid explanation takes the “fear factor” away for me, as it provides acceptance of the ebb and flow of a condition that is “not my fault”.

    And it’s not about God not loving me–because I KNOW HE DOES; He’s promised to never leave or forsake us…no matter what we must contend with in life, nor how often. He gives strength and assurance–and I’m so glad to report that He brought my JOY back, in bushel baskets full.

    You help and “gift” survivors each week–we soak up your compassion, and keep learning from your expertise in the painful shadowy area of abuse. You give us Light and Hope to keep moving forward–and we stand straighter with every step we take. I cannot thank you enough, Anna–and I pray for your well-being, as I thank God that you’re here. May you have a super-blessed week–love, ‘Stella’ ❤

    • Oh, Stella. Now you’ve made me cry. You are an amazing woman, one of God’s own. It is a privilege for me to be of some small service to you and other survivors.

      With love,

      A. ❤

      • Oh dear, I didn’t mean to make you cry–I just want you to know that your impact is HUGE; truly you’re God’s messenger to survivors–thanks again, Anna. Much love, ‘Stella’ ❤

    • Hello Stella. It’s good to meet you here. I couldn’t help smiling when I read your comment. I have another 17 years on you, so don’t feel bad. 🙂 As I say in my comment below, I too like you was broadcasting from the rooftops my healing 23 years ago, but as you say, the Devil tries to convince you that you have not been healed by any means possible.

      To be brief – one thing we must not do is believe the Devil. I have found that believing that we are healed, whole and restored by God will sustain us when we feel that we have ‘lost’ our healing. We never ‘lose’ healing as long as we trust in God. God is faithful, unlike Satan who only seeks to steal our joy.

      Bless you and may your joy continue!

      I totally support you in your final paragraph. Healing comes in many forms.

  3. PS, on a somewhat lighter note–I understand fighting demons a heck of a lot better than I do football…seems like a stupid game to me: getting paid big bucks to suffer brain injuries…which is not humorous at all.

  4. Great post, thank you so much dear for sharing
    In my everyday life, I try to fight demons for doing good act

  5. Your post Anna made me consider what healing means in terms of being free from the demons of anxiety, depression and PTSD. I first believed that I was healed almost 23 years ago with a very powerful experience with God. I realise (in hindsight) that healing can sometimes be immediate and it can also be something that gradually improves over time. Twenty three years ago I felt amazing after my experience, but during this time to present day I have still suffered quite a lot with all three ‘demons’. Before my encounter with God, I would say the situation was hopeless. After my experience and even though I still experience those demons, although not quite as intensely, I feel full of hope and joy and the knowledge that I am not alone in my suffering.

    “God, however, walks with us. He protects and strengthens us against assault. In Him, we find respite from fighting our demons, whatever form they take”…Thank you for this, and may I say that healing takes many forms, not least the wonderful blog that you have here, which has helped me considerably since I discovered (or should I say God led me to it) it two years ago. I refer to it constantly in my healing journey and have found it to be something indispensable.

    • You leave me speechless, Sam. I find it amazing how God can use us for good, no matter how insignificant we feel. And how He can restore us, no matter how broken we are. ❤ ❤ ❤

      With love, Your American sister,

      PS. As I have never found you clumsy, I took the liberty of removing that reference.

      • Thank you Anna/Tu. You are far too kind re the clumsy reference. I find sometimes that ‘you’ often say better what I try to say – and that’s good too! 🙂

        Thank God, He is there to fix us in our broken-ness. He is the Great Physician and He longs to restore us all. Xx

      • I wholeheartedly agree with you about God. As for the rest, I must respectfully disagree. Who better with words than a poet! ❤

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