At some point in all of our lives, we will find ourselves lost in the darkness (or confusion) within us. For many of us this is a regular occurrence -sometimes for long periods of time, other times short – sometimes there is a discernible cycle & other times it seems random. For some of us, there are even whole years where everything feels like a burden & we struggle to see any beauty in the world or in our lives.
My particular penchant when in this darkness is to feel alone, as though I’ve always been alone, and as though I will always be alone – and if I happen to remember I was not alone at some point, I then think that was in the very distant past & it’s now gone forever. Maybe you can relate to some version of this.
I’m currently in this space. I’ve been in it for the past few weeks, and like many people, I have a tendency to only want to speak from the light parts of my life, or only once I’ve gotten through the darkness and I have a sweet little lesson to teach from it. I’m not quite out of this one yet, and so I decided to simply show up and meet you here, in this space & see what happens.
I’ve had a very hard time coming into this New Year. I was in Brazil with my family for three weeks in December, and ever since I returned, I’ve been struggling to find my footing back home. I can’t seem to get back into the rhythm of my life, or find the energy to even do the things that need to get done. Every day has been a real struggle. Lately I’ve been having these moments where I come up for air and think “Oh – it’s going to be OK,” but I definitely have this sense that I am not through it yet. I am in and out of it.
I don’t want for you to imagine there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to ever be here, but if I can share my experience and have it make even a tiny difference for you should you ever find yourself here in the darkness, then I want to do that. And I want to name and acknowledge that this place exists. There are two things I want to say about finding yourself here.
The first is: The darkness lies. The voices that speak to you from this void-place lie. It’s like the boggart in Harry Potter, and it will take on whatever you fear most. One of my favorite blogs to read is The Blogess, by Jenny Lawson – first, because she’s hilarious & also because she writes so honestly. She speaks very openly about her mental health challenges and something that comes up regularly is the phrase, depression lies. I don’t identify as having depression so I’m not speaking with any authority about that, but the voice that comes from this place – the one that tells us we’re no good, that nothing will ever be good again, that we’ll never be happy – it lies. I know this because I’ve already been through this process many times. I can feel the feelings of the void and still know the voices are lying to me. It’s not about being faux grateful or looking on the bright side, but living the experience of it being dark and lonely and not knowing what to do, without believing the voices that I am alone, that I am unlovable, that there’s a fundamental flaw in me that means I definitely will not ever be happy or achieve anything of value -ever- in my life.
The second piece is that I really suggest not making decisions or taking action in the void. The things you feel compelled to do from that space are generally not the most useful things. If, at 10 pm at night you think, ‘I need to tell this person how I feel right now,’ it’s probably the void talking. And I guarantee that text/email can wait until morning. Almost everything can wait at least a few hours, if not a whole 24 hours. The urgency, itself, is one of the lies this darkness tells us. FOMO is the void speaking.
What I know to be true is that, because the void lies, it’s best that we don’t make decisions or take immediate action from the void.
Last week I wrote myself a note on my bathroom mirror: ‘don’t act from the void.’
I can’t tell you how many times it saved me!
The final thing is that continuing to move forward in our lives with love when we’re in the void, is an act of self-love. Treating yourself as though you love yourself when you don’t, is an act of self-love. You can say you hate yourself today, but feed yourself as if you love yourself, take a warm bath as if you love yourself, snuggle up and get a good night’s sleep as if you love yourself. Find the little ways & regularly ask yourself: “if I did love myself – if I were to treat myself like someone I loved today – what would I do? “
(I made this video, from a dark place, back in mid-January 2019. I don’t feel this way right now, but in all likelihood I will again. And I know many of you may be feeling this place right now. So I wanted to share something from this place – rather than about it. I love you.)
I invite you to watch the full video & join in the conversation here: