I sometimes hear people talk about the struggle they have with their “inner demons.” It is a vague concept that warrants exploration. So, I decided to spend some time exploring my own.
My hope is that in giving my inner demons concrete form, I will either eradicate them completely or at least lessen the influence they continue to exert on my daily affairs. This is my way of shining a light on these roaches that continue to torment me so that I can either squash them completely or at least make them disappear back to the nasty places from whence they came.
(Or maybe I have now just completely lost it).
The exact number of my demons is unknown. I am sure there is a demon that causes me to torment my parents and still another demon that creates in me a sheer and unabashed pleasure in annoying my wife at every turn. But those are not the ones I am after.
I am after the ones that have taken up unwelcome residence in my thoughts more frequently; the demons that feed off the challenges inherent in raising a severely disabled child. These are the ones I’m after.
My first demon is Percy the Perpetually Pissed. Percy has been particularly active the last 12 months or so. And Percy is an ass hole.
Percy the Perpetually Pissed
It’s not just that his name is Percy that makes him so angry at the world. It is his nature. He assails my brain with negative thoughts, he causes eruptions of anger at unexpected and inopportune times and he over reacts to certain circumstances with a vitriol that is vastly disproportionate to what the situation calls for.
When some dip shit without a handicapped tag parks in the handicapped space at Kohl’s school, for example, Percy loses it. He causes me to shake with anger that borders on the uncontrollable.
To be sure, those who choose to disregard the clearly-marked signs indicating that a space is reserved for handicapped persons deserve some form of punishment. But it should be on a scale of punitive severity ranging from a stern talking to on the light-end to, perhaps, a $500 fine on the more severe end.
Percy, however, would beg to differ. The man or woman that chooses to park in that space is doing more than causing an annoying inconvenience; that person’s actions are a personal affront to Percy. To Percy, a slashing of the offending party’s tires would be the most lenient. The more severe punishment, reserved for people like the lady who actually gave me attitude after I asked her to move, would be all out assault and battery. Percy makes me fantasize about a post-apocalyptic world, rife with zombies and devoid of law and order, in which such conduct would be permissible. An axe to the face, Percy believes, would deliver to these scumbags their just deserts.
Another frequent target of Percy’s scorn is my decision, in early 2015, to attend the Anat Baniel Method practitioner training. The method is an alternative form of “therapy” that Kohl has used for about two years now. It aims to harness the brain’s plasticity and ability to form new connections; a concept particularly relevant to children like Kohl whose brains have been damaged.
The work is very expensive, however, and it is often not covered by insurance. What’s more, there are no practitioners in our area so we have had to travel great distances and spend enormous sums to access it.
Anecdotes abound with children that have had miraculous outcomes as a result of this work. The term “miraculous” is relative, however, and while we believe we have seen some positive changes in Kohl that we think are a result of the method, I would not use the word “miraculous” to characterize them.
Yet, the needle seems to be moving so I made a somewhat compulsive decision early last year to become a practitioner despite an enormous commitment of time and money.
“Well that was a good decision, dick head” Percy continues to remind me today.
“You have now wasted almost one year of your time and a whole lot of your money. You negligently rushed into this training program to learn a method that you are not even sure works, and you are paying a fortune for it. When you found out the G.I. Bill wouldn’t cover its tuition, you had an opportunity to quit this madness. But no, you still plunged ahead and have wasted tens of thousands of dollars from a savings account that was supposed to be used for your renovations. Congratulations! Now take a knee, and punch yourself in the face.”
But Percy’s scorn is not restricted to money alone.
Lately, when I am attempting to sit Kohl up, he sometimes thrusts himself backwards, exhibiting what seems to be very little awareness of himself. Inasmuch as sitting up unassisted is a goal that remains a focus, this has been a frustrating development.
“See! Thousands upon thousands of dollars later, and he still isn’t even sitting up. He is not learning a thing,” Percy says.
But Percy’s anger and hatred for mankind are blinding.
What I forget when I listen to Percy’s bullshit is that I am missing the point. In those moments, Percy makes me disregard what Kohl wants or what he may be thinking. He makes me forget to just be with him. He sends me on a myopic and fruitless quest to get Kohl to do things he cannot yet do. To fix Kohl. And when I do this, I forget that the best thing I can do for Kohl is just love him.
So, I have a message for Percy:
First off, Percy, your name is stupid. Second, your influence has nearly caused me to be arrested for assault and battery of some ass hole that parked in a handicapped space. As bad as those two things are, I can get past them.
What I can’t get past is this: allowing you to shape my thoughts and actions has, too often, caused me to miss out on opportunities to truly connect with my son. You have prevented me from going to that magical place where the traumas of the past and the concerns of the future do not exist. It is a place where miracles really do happen. Listening to you has prevented me from going there with Kohl. And the more I go there with him, the more I can help him.
And THAT, my little angry friend, is an unforgivable transgression. So, Percy, I will tell you something I should have told you long ago: FUCK OFF.