Finding Yourself In The Dark
There is a part of me. You might call it a voice or energy. A part of me that is lost, sad, and hopeless.
This part of me feels like there’s no point, it feels sorry for itself, it feels like no one cares.
Sometimes it’s very sad about this. And sometimes it’s gets very mad. It get’s mad at itself and at everyone else who doesn’t seem willing to lift a hand and help. It perceives all these others as being so caught up in their own drama that they don’t even see or care.
Most of the time, this part of myself is very quiet. It comes up in moments of subtle insecurity. Whenever I notice an extra wrinkle, whenever I lose a client suddenly, whenever I get into a stupid argument with someone I care about.
In those moments, it comes up and shows itself. It tells me the same old things: “It’s useless! It’s hopeless! You might as well just give up because it really doesn’t matter how much you care or how hard you try, it won’t make a difference.”
But most of the time I hear it, I acknowledge it, and then it fades into the cacophony of other thoughts and voices that make up each of us. It’s just one of the many Bold, brave, frightened, hopeful, in love, jealous, voices that makes up the many faceted jewel of our complex hearts.
Then there are times when it takes over. Or at least it tries to. It sends waves upon waves of troops onto the shores of my mind. Sometimes the waves are repelled and I stand at the beach calm in between attacks.
At other times, it gains ground. It crashes on the shore and the land tears and breaks. In those moments, I am flooded with fear and anger. I am tossed about on these waves and crushed against the rocky thoughts that spill from my mind.
But the worst part, worse than all the evil words, and feelings of sadness, loss, and fear, is how unacceptable it feels.
Even I Can’t Stand It
In these moments, even I can barely stand being around myself. I cringe at the whiney words the excuses, the pointless emails, the passive aggressive responses, the subtle resentful comments, the negativity, the nihilistic outlook, to rejection of any idea, thought, or word of help or hope.
I know that almost nothing anyone can say to me will make a difference and yet I reach out flailing for any idea to grab a hold to stay afloat above the rising waters.
I feel so helpless because when I speak to other people in this voice, I know they don’t know what to do. I know they feel bad for me but helpless, because the voice itself is helpless. I know that they feel the lost part of their own souls stir in union with mine.
And so, I try not to reveal it. I try not to show anyone that I am a sinking ship, in the hopes that they will not abandon me for a life raft.
In The Trenches
There have been times recently when I’ve been trapped in this voice. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how you can help someone in this state. I’ve been pondering about what that voice really needs, to feel safe and accepted.
I know it doesn’t want to be fixed. Because if you tell someone how to fix themselves, it only confirms how broken they are.
I know it doesn’t want advice. It knows there are practical things it could be doing, it’s not a matter of what, it’s a matter of why. Or more specifically what’s the point?
Instead, what it really wants is to not be alone. To know that it’s ok to be sad and hopeless sometimes. It wants to know that someone will be there even when the waves are tearing all around.
If You Find Yourself
So if you find yourself or someone you love trapped in this place where nothing seems to be working.
Don’t try to fix them; don’t try to pretend it’s all ok. Instead just tell them that what they are going through sounds tough, that you can’t possibly understand what it’s like, but that no matter what, no matter how hopeless it feels, or how angry or sad they become, that you will be there for them.
Tell them that you will stand next to them in this darkness and not give up.
Because what I’ve realized recently is that the thing that makes darkness bearable isn’t the light that shows the way out, rather it’s a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean against, as you stumble through the shadows.