settle down upon your soul...the dark shadow that covers you
is cast by none and nothing but yourself."
Depression has been described as many things, with some of its metaphors being: the dark night, a dark cloud, the black dog, a tunnel with no end in sight. All these suggest the colours of black, gray and blue. We even use "having the blues" when we are down.
Some adjectives associated with depression which I have come across in my readings are likewise bleak. Feeling miserable, dreadful, melancholic, empty, anti-social, hopeless, numb, worthless, lifeless, tearful, gloomy.
It is not a nice place to be.
During my year of loss, I suffered from major depression. I was as down as down could be. Adding to this, anxiety struck. I felt every one of the bleak feelings above. I lived a dark night for over a year.
"Dark Night of the Soul" is a spiritual term for one's search for God, taken from a poem of the same title written by Saint John of the Cross, a mystic. As an aside, my favourite depiction of Jesus Christ is a painting by Salvador Dali "Christ of Saint John of the Cross."
To hide my pain, I learned to put on a forced smile. As much as I avoided company outside my own family, I was put into trying situations where I had to be gracious. Gracious on the exterior; heart breaking within. I even took on the hunched posture of an old woman (as my husband braved to tell me a few weeks back. He prefaced this by saying that now I am walking tall once again. My psychologist at about the same time, commented during one session, on how relaxed I was beginning to look - the clenching of my jaw was released.) These comments stunned me, experiencing first-hand how a dis-ease in the mind could so visibly affect my body.
I am glad that I am no longer in that place - in that dark night. It was a long and arduous journey of therapy, medication, acupuncture, exercise, diet, sleep and mostly positive self-talk. I have been incorporating positive affirmations into my life daily now for seven months and I now understand James Allen's quotation a bit better. I still don't have an answer as to why I would have done this to myself. But, I am clear that I kept myself in my eternal dark night. I was imprisoned and choking myself by my own thoughts - berating, negative, worrisome and fearful thoughts. Morning. Noon. Night. In a loop. Every minute of the waking day. I needed to eradicate these weeds and sow the seeds of uplifting, positive, reassuring and courageous thoughts. Initially, I put these on a loop, just to keep the negative script at bay and to fill me up with thoughts that would allow me to breathe and see the light that life was not so debilitating.
I still work at this daily.
I do not want this dark night to consume me ever again.
I certainly do not want someone to say to me that my woes are "cast by none and nothing but yourself" either!
Begone, Dark Night!
Published By: Valdone's Leaf