Editor’s Note: The below is a journal entry written by veteran Danielle Johnson (Daugherty). She shared this with The Havok Journal because “I feel as if other people can relate to this.”
I am a human who has made mistake after mistake. It is like the universe has conspired against me since I laid dormant in my mother’s ovaries.
Since birth, nothing in my life has been easy. I have been faced with demons to fight. The universe either knew it would consume me and I would rid myself or I would win the battle and continue the war.
Since I stand here today, does that mean I am a warrior? Or have I been lucky in the battles and continue to slay the demons that show up to take my soul? Or maybe I was too weak to rid myself and run until I face a new monster? These battles never seem to get easier and I don’t know if I’m winning or losing.
These demons grab ahold of my soul and heart with their hands and slowly squeeze until I am gasping for air. That’s when time seems to slow down and every choice I have ever made replays in my mind. I endure the pain of my mistakes over and over again. As the memories flood, and the images appear behind these blue eyes, tears fill my eyes and I choose to be a warrior and fight for my life.
When the demons finally lessen their grip and let go, I run fast and far. When I stop running I am out of breath and my soul needs medical attention. The demons have sunk their claws into me and their toxins have poisoned my psyche. As I take time to recover from the battle, it becomes apparent that my actions led me to that battle.
Every choice I have made in life has led me to the battle I just fought in. I am the reason for my injuries. It isn’t the universe’s fault the demons appear guns blazing. I made a decision and my actions led to the battle.
Now I must figure out how to not run headfirst into a battle. It’s time to break the cycle. I am getting tired of fighting. This body and soul are worn down from being drug to hell and back. I just want some peace. I long for peace and happiness. I crave a life with no evil or violence. I no longer want to be a magnet for the damaged souls who are looking to suck the life out of me. I no longer want to feel the burden, sadness the emptiness within my soul.
I choose to live. But where do I start? Where do I heal these internal injuries from multiple battles? How do I win this war when I feel outnumbered? When will enough be enough?
You see, in these battles, it’s always just been me and the demon. The demon knew my every weakness. It would always say and do all the right things. It hides behind lies and deceit. I believed those lies and gave the demon access to my soul. Gasping for air as the demon held my life in its hands. It was always too late for me to detect the manipulation. I never could see behind the mask until I was begging for mercy.
The fights are always brutal.
But enough is enough. All these battles are catching up to my psyche and I don’t know how many more battles I can keep fighting. It doesn’t matter how resilient I am. I am done being a victim. I am done being a target for these demons to aim at. Every scar that lies within my soul reminds me that I’ve already been to hell and made it out alive.
I know this war will never end. There will never be peace as long as I breathe air into my lungs. There is a demon out there right now training and preparing his attack on me. This leaves me to plan how to end this war…
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.
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