~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I spoke to a dear friend yesterday. She called to thank me for a small gift I had given to her. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if she would accept it, but I gave it to her anyway. You see, you can really never be quite sure if someone is ready to take that next small baby step and no matter how tenderly I may feel I am being with my friend, it could have done more harm than good and in turn, gone terribly wrong.
It happened to me once. A dear friend spoke heartfelt words to me and I wasn’t ready to hear them. Instead, I was terribly hurt and distraught by what she said. I retreated and so did she. We spent months skirting the issue ~ wasted time in which we could have grown even closer and stronger. I realize now she was trying to light the candle inside of me, but I just wasn’t ready. Months later, I can now see the courage she showed in telling me what she felt I needed to hear. But at the time, I was terribly pained by what was said because I was depressed. She was right. I was wrong.
Grief is a terrible thing especially when it’s accompanied by stress, guilt, shame and fear. It clouds thinking. It darkens souls. It makes life difficult to bear. It destroys common sense and makes a mockery of pain. It tightens its grip and holds captive your soul. It is relentless, badgering the mind with its flood of darkness. There seems to be no way out when it swallows you whole.
Days become long sessions of trudging through the motions of life. Common routines become enormous burdens and scraps of normality become rare. For me, it was all I could do to make it through the day and I didn’t even do that very well. Nobody could reach me, not even myself. I felt aggressive, in turmoil and alone. I alienated others in the attempt to deal with my problems of which felt insurmountable.
I cursed the darkness. I shunned the light. Breathing in the sadness, I escaped into my own tornado of grief, pummeling myself in the vortex of despair. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. It was hell. My thoughts stagnated and self-flagellation included bouts of enormous guilt for all of the woulda, coulda, shouldas that were missing from my life. I dwelled in my own dark head, thoughts swirling at great speeds, none of them good. I had no self-love. I had plenty of pity. I had plenty of grief, loss, ugliness, anger, resentment. I woodenly went through the motions of living, capable of only the barest of necessities. I existed. I found no happiness, not even in the simplest flower, breeze nor sunny sky. I lost my faith, I lost myself, I lost precious time.
There was no magic pill nor spell which reached me. The thunderous clouds which held my mind captive didn’t suddenly part and peace rained. No, that was not how it happened. I can’t even say for sure how it evolved except to say that after awhile, I began to take baby steps, looking for the light. Tired of dwelling in the complete fear-laden darkness, I cautiously began searching for the warmth of light and love. It was something that I had to do, that I had to endure. Of course, I wish I didn’t have to endure it. Like all dark journeys, ‘what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” even though it may not be of our choosings.
I can tell you this because I want you to know that my positivity is grounded in gratitude. For I have experienced the foul-smelling depths of darkness in my soul. I have endured the bleak days and nights of depression. I have lost myself and gained perspective. I have found myself and regained light and love.
And I would do it again. For the precious lessons that I’ve learned through this have been life-changing. I understand. I have been there and back. When I tell you that I’m sending you a heartfelt hug, I am. Heart to heart, we connect with each other. Soul to soul, we grow in the light. Holding hands, we can support each other and leapfrog into the light.
I am here. I understand. Take my hand.
Let’s walk together.