When Kirsty from Little Shop of Horrors first contacted me, I was intrigued by what she had to say about the Etsy product we were discussing. My mind was sent racing about what Kirty said and about how I could do an article based on this product, Inner Demons, as it would be my first such article.
Disclaimer: I was gifted this item to do the review but all thoughts are my own and I don’t profit from you visiting their store or any purchase you may make thereafter.
The Birth Of The Inner Demons
Kirsty, from the Little Shop of Horrors is a long-term sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and its various subtypes, as well as also having anxiety. But because of the pandemic, Kirsty wasn’t unable to attend therapy or her OCD group meetings. Not being able to go to therapy affected Kirtsy so badly she didn’t know what to do with herself, as she couldn’t cope with her various intrusive thoughts due to having no outlet for them.
At some point during the middle of the pandemic last year, Kirsty needed to focus her mind on new avenues of interest because there weren’t the usual daily distractions she could rely on. Kirsty has always been a keen crafter, which eventually led to her taking up needle felting. One day, out of nowhere, she created her first Inner Demons in a bottle that was supposed to represent her inner demons and mental health.
Kirtsy told her husband about her Inner Demons creation and he suggested it might be a good idea to talk to it, to use it as an outlet. Although Kirtsy was unsure at first, that uncertainty soon went away when she found that it did actually help her to have something small and physical to shout at and to talk to.
What Are The Inner Demons?
The Inner Demons are little needle felted demons that are presented in a jar that represents the physical manifestations of our own personal demons. Your own inner demon could be depression, bipolar, anxiety, an eating disorder, etc. but the whole idea of these small physical manifestations is that you have something to take your pain out on rather than expressing it towards others or inwardly towards yourself.
The Inner Demons are designed with the instruction that you talk or shout at them when times are bad, whereby you tell them just how bad they’re making you feel. With them being small in proportion to the owner, it also allows you to feel physically and mentally more empowered and in control rather than feeling dominated by their own mental health.
What The Research Says
After talking to Kirsy and hearing her story, I decided to do a bit of research to see if I could support the concept. The following is what I found.
Benefits of talking to yourself aloud
Thought suppression is a common method used to try and control unwanted thoughts. I know it was something I did when trying to control my anxiety-induced psychotic episodes. But it never helped me. In fact, it always made things worse for me. My biggest success was letting my thoughts run their course.
Wegner, Schneider, Carter, and White (1987) conducted two experiments to investigate thought suppression. The results of this study indicated that the act of suppression can have the opposite effect. When someone tries to get a particular thought out of their mind, they often give that thought more power. Even if that person is eventually able to suppress that thought, it often comes back in a moment of weakness, which can cause an unusual preoccupation with that thought, causing the thought to grow. In some cases, this new preoccupation with that thought can cause it to become an obsessional thought. I think this is exactly how my anxiety thoughts became so overwhelming.
A study by Tolin, Abramowitz, Przeworski, and Foa (2002) into the intrusive thoughts of those suffering from OCD also reached the same conclusion. This is further supported by a review of thought suppression by Wenzlaff and Wegner (2000), who stated that this form of mental control helps assures the very state of mind the person suppressing their thoughts is trying to avoid.
Another way you could deal with these intrusive thoughts or your other negative thoughts could be to verbalise them by talking to your Inner Demons to let them know you’re the one in control, not them. Basically, talking to your Inner Demons would function in much the same way as journalling about what’s bothering you, accept instead of writing it down you’re vocalising it, making your Inner Demons the representation of your inner turmoil through the use of treating it like a spoken journal.
Furthermore, according to Shine, research has shown that talking to yourself out loud, or your Inner Demons, can help combat your self-criticism. Plus, talking out loud to manage difficult emotions like anger, stress, and sadness can help you work through them. The reason it helps, accord to Dr Nicolosi (NBC News), is because the act of speaking aloud slows down our thoughts and causes us to process them differently. This slowing process then stops our inner thoughts from making us feel like we’re being bombarded by them, reducing the chances of us feeling overwhelmed by the thoughts we’re struggling with.
Using your Inner Demons as a spoken journal is also like writing something down and then destroying what you wrote as a way to release what’s bothering you. The reason this can work is that our brains don’t always create a clear distinction between the mental and physical (Psychology Today). Thus, talking to your Inner Demons fulfils much the same strategy because once you’ve said it out loud, the evidence of what you’ve said is also gone.
According to the study by Briñol, Gascó, Petty, and Horcajo (2013) into objectifying thoughts, they found that when their participants physically discarded a representation of their thoughts, they mentally discarded them as well, but they also found that even mentally imagining doing this was effective as well. Therefore, making your Inner Demons the focus of what you’re saying when you vent your thoughts will also be cathartic.
Also, just to put your mind at ease, talking to yourself, or your Inner Demons, is normal. We often engage in verbal self-talk without really noticing we’re doing it to help motivate ourselves (Boroujeni and Shahbazi, 2011), help with memory (Lupyan and Swingley, 2012), and to help with completing tasks (Kirkham, Breeze, and Marί-Beffa, 2012).
Benefits of shouting/screaming
You could even take this up a notch by screaming and shouting at your Inner Demon. Screaming into a pillow is a very common way to manage anger and frustration, so why not release that pent-up emotion at your Inner Demons instead. I know screaming (or “scream-singing” if you will) along to my favourite metalcore bands helps me feel better.
[Screaming] creates a chemical reaction that is similar to the one you get when you exercise—you get a dopamine hit and some endorphins going
However, be mindful of screaming and shouting at your Inner Demons, because if people don’t know that’s what you’re doing, it might cause those that hear you to feel concerned. So give your family the heads up if you’re going to try out screaming or shouting at your Inner Demons.
My Inner Demons Review
The Inner Demons as a literal representation of your inner demon(s), that are trapped inside a bottle and under your control, is a cute idea. The idea of making the representation of your Inner Demons into a spoken journal to improve your mental health is novel, creative, and the research suggests it might work.
All in all, I’m not used to talking aloud about my problems at the best of times, if they’re not a professional counsellor of some description. I’ve also never been comfortable shouting, no matter the reason, but I guess that’s my anxiety disorders for you.
But I did try talking to my Inner Demons so I could write this review. However, it was a strange experience to talk to my little Inner Demons, I have to say, because it’s not something I’ve ever done before. It kind of reminded me of how I try to study for my exams to get around my dyslexia, where I’d write my notes in bullet points in different coloured pens, read through them, and then read through it a second time but this time reading it aloud. I found it a little awkward then, and I still find it a little awkward now. But I’m sure as I get used to talking to my Inner Demons, the less weird I’ll feel about it.
That said, personally, I found it too weird and difficult to shout at my Inner Demons, that’s just something I wouldn’t really do, especially as I live with housemates. I don’t want to freak out the random people I share my living situation with.
Nevertheless, I love the concept and can really see the merit in the Inner Demons product, although it might take me a while to get used to talking to it, and I may never shout at it. As a goth at heart, the Inner Demons really appeals to me and I would buy it for that reason alone, purely for its aesthetic appeal. I can’t tell you just how much the goth in me really loves the Inner Demons. It’d be great if there was a version of the Inner Demons that was safe to have as a keyring or could be worn as a necklace.
Because my goth heart finds this item so adorable, I’m giving it 5/5.
What makes the Inner Demons item even better is that it’s also very inexpensive, so if you’d like to purchase your own Inner Demons, you can do so by clicking here or clicking the image below.
Kirsty also says that every time someone buys their own representation of their Inner Demons, a donation is made to OCD-UK. So buying one for your self-care and wellbeing will also help a good cause.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your thoughts on the Inner Demons Kirsty has created in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time,
Unwanted Life readers.
Briñol, P., Gascó, M., Petty, R. E., & Horcajo, J. (2013). Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation. Psychological Science, 24(1), 41–47. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612449176 and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pablo-Brinol/publication/233774775_Treating_Thoughts_as_Material_Objects_Can_Increase_or_Decrease_Their_Impact_on_Evaluation/links/54d269280cf28e06972415d0/Treating-Thoughts-as-Material-Objects-Can-Increase-or-Decrease-Their-Impact-on-Evaluation.pdf.
Boroujeni, S. T., & Shahbazi, M. (2011). The Effect of Instructional and Motivational Self-Talk on Performance of Basketball’s Motor Skill. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3113-3117. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.255.
Kirkham, A. J., Breeze, J. M., & Marί-Beffa, P. (2012). The impact of verbal instructions on goal-directed behaviour. Acta Psychologica, 139(1), 212-219. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.09.016.
Lupyan, G., & Swingley, D. (2012). Self-directed speech affects visual search performance. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(6), 1068-1085. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2011.647039.
Tolin, D. F., Abramowitz, J. S., Przeworski, A., and Foa, E. B. (2002). Thought suppression in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40(11), 1255-1274. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(01)00095-X and https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/49402634/Thought_suppression_in_obsessive-compuls20161006-29481-ovdr1h.pdf?1475765243=&response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DThought_suppression_in_obsessive_compuls.pdf&Expires=1614790993&Signature=JrTpF3zchYr1boyG6yaQQJIvcCQ62YlY4EbQ1FxBonfQU7BqPb-HgqJq6rKD5HQQvYA-6Nqwckc6R95PzzDWUyGHczcYF572N-dnugniZHSS3S1dmfor6lRGiSm-jwtX3wAm8xvFJ8lir2EviJOv30gabun5kJfE8tPRHuU2iFuUQZKas8LMBQ4vkodA-C4fCvBkGZEtt2dOR~8F-fvei4mSahIvF2Y46qokuEnec34U8wUM1zh9Vkz3bdCQKHpHwdlA~9lYEj8G53g5DOYhDUj1aA6FYVkMz4G4KlH4ycOGHcesovPU~c0oe2uGSDnAmgDyRWoZcADKE0d0dpyngQ__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA.
Wegner, D. M., Schneider, D. J., Carter, S. R., & White, T. L. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(1), 5-13. Retrieved from https://wjh-www.harvard.edu/~dtg/DANWEGNER/pub/Wegner,Schneider,Carter,&White%201987.pdf and http://www.demenzemedicinagenerale.net/images/pdf/Tought%20suppression%20(orso%20bianco).pdf.
Wenzlaff, R. M., & Wegner, D. M. (2000). Thought suppression. Annual Review of Psychology, 51(1), 59-91. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.59 and https://grupoact.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2000-Thought-suppression-Wenzlaff-Wegner.pdf.