Celui, 21, US.
It started out as just nightmares. Someone I had once created, torturing me physically and psychologically, every night for weeks. I stopped sleeping, thinking that if I stayed awake, he couldn’t get me.
I had created a character for an original story. He was simply just a brain child. But he came to life and had a mind of his own. After living with him for some time, he became a source of support when I had no one else to turn to.
My first therapy round helped get the nightmares to stop, using EMDR. But that’s when things became worse, and I started to see him when I was awake.
High school, which was once a safe place, became hell. He followed me to classes, speaking about horrible things to me. I was too afraid to tell anyone for the longest time. My friends could tell something was up but I didn’t open up to them at the time.
Life went on with this burden. I learned ways of hiding the fact I was being stalked by a rogue character.
He was no longer my creation. He had split into something else entirely, and this meant I had no control over him.
A couple years passed and I became familiar with him living inside me and dealing with him. I knew the warning signs when he was going to come out, or try and take control of me. The fear was still there, but I had learned to live with it. He had become my life, where nothing else really mattered but making him happy. We formed a kind of distorted friendship, and I started to rely on him to help me through the daily activities that were too hard. He gave me comfort when I felt alone, which was all the time because he was the reason I felt alone in the first place.
I realized I needed help when my companion started to interfere with my school work. I couldn’t pay attention in class and my grades suffered.
I had to leave class over and over just to get to a quiet place to calm down. My friendships also suffered.
I isolated myself and I couldn’t focus on my friends. Everything in my life became a blur and all I focused on was him.
When I had finally lost all control of my life, I searched for methods of taking it back.
These came as an eating disorder, and self harm, and trichotillomania.
If I could just control my pain (through cutting, and hair pulling), and control my food, maybe things would get better. I was completely isolated from my family and friends and he was all I had. I listened to what he told me to do, in fear that I would lose him if i didn’t.
After another couple years, I had finally had it with all the secrets. I was severely depressed, self harming, and giving into his demands about food, My life was in shambles and I had no where to go. So I went back to some specialists and told them what was going on. Borderline Personality Disorder, Bulimia, Schizoaffective disorder, Major Depressive disorder, Trichotillomania. All these names were given to me, but it took me a while to fully understand. I had believed my stalker was some sort of supernatural force, like a demon or something.
A couple of hospitalizations later, I am actually on my feet. And I really mean my own feet, not on the back of my character. I’m no longer being carried by him. This is because while at the wards, the other patients helped me realize that this is the only life I have, and in no way do i really need him to survive. This new confidence helped me through recovery.
Some days I do fall back into his arms. Because even though he hurt me, I still have that friendship with him. I don’t think that will ever go away, and I don’t thing he will ever go away. He’s been there through my toughest times and I cant really picture my life without him. But our relationship is better, and I feel like I have more freedom now.
I will always have my imaginary companion, but I walk my own path.
Celui writes as My Shadow Companion on Tumblr.