It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back. So shake him off.

In baseball, a stinger is the short clip of a song that plays when a batter is walking up to the plate.

Each player picks a song that pumps them up, when they walk up to the plate, it gives them confidence to face even the nastiest of pitchers. One of my favorite all time stingers comes from former Husker, Chad Christensen, “The Outfield-Your Love”. Each time I heard “Josey’s on a vacation far away,” I knew who was coming up. For me it was a fun song. One that got the crowd going. I can’t speak for Chad but I’m sure he fed off of it. 

It got me thinking about my own stinger.

A song that I would pick when I came up to the plate. I usually keep this in the back of my mind when I’m listening to music. It helps me pay better attention to the lyrics instead of just enjoying a great beat. I was paying close attention to the lyrics of the song “Shake it out” by Florence + the Machine when a certain line of the chorus hit me. The line went “It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake it off.” 

That line has been resonating with me a lot lately. Losing my grandfather two and a half years ago, I still carry his ghosts with me. Losing a friend and coworker the way we did still haunts me. And recently, we lost another coworker, the one who made you laugh in the face of unspeakable tragedy. These ghosts have recently become too much weight for me to carry. The devil has been dancing on my back a lot. It became time for me to shake him off. 

I started seeing a psychologist. 

It’s hard for me to admit. I don’t like that I need this to shake the demons. But through this, I’ve come to realize that maybe I have more darkness in me than I ever imagined. I always knew that the daddy issues would haunt me, but some of the items being uncovered are a bit surprising. Because of these demons, I’ve become stricken with anxiety. Mostly the fear of my own death. Basically I think that each night when I go to sleep, I am going to die. It honestly scares the crap out of me. Over the last few months, I can’t go to sleep without Tylenol PM. I’ve recently transitioned to a healthier option, Melatonin. The healthier option has been helping.

I’ve been going to therapy for about a month now.

Each session is a bit different. But with each session, it’s felt better. I’ve cried more than I care to admit. I’ve shared more in 4 hours with this lady than I had shared in my entire life. It’s hard for me to vocalize my feelings. It’s easy for me to spill my guts on this blog. It is easy for me to be honest here. To let my heart pour out. It’s not easy for me to say things out loud. But it’s something I’m working on. It’s something I’m getting better at.

Admitting I needed help mentally was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In the movies, tv shows, you laid on a couch and spilled your guts to someone who was just ready to collect a check and move onto the next patient. In my short experience, it’s not even close to the truth. This is helping me. I sit on the edge of the couch. I have my notebook (she calls it a journal. I call it a notebook.) She can sense my pains, my fears. She knows that my need for help isn’t so much about the murder of a friend but a lack of grieving my grandfather.  I appreciate her. I also dislike her in the moment. But she’s helping. that’s really all I could’ve asked for.

I’m becoming more confident at the plate.

With each at bat, I’m getting more comfortable. I feel like I’m becoming the clean up hitter I used to be. While I am still not seeing the ball as clearly as I used to, I’m adjusting and my batting average is growing. I’m ready to dance. Lets get this devil off my back.

Cue my stinger. I’m ready to hit. 


One thought on “It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back. So shake him off.

  1. Hey Nick! We should definitely get coffee some time! I used to see a “counselor” right out of college when I couldn’t quite figure myself out. I know the “I hate her, but feel so much better” feelings. I’ve also had to become really comfortable talking about death. So, if you ever want to get some “socially unacceptable” things off your chest, I’m generally always ready! It’s weird, but sometimes I feel like talking about tough issues now is like practice for when I know I’m going to have to deal with the bigger things to come.

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