The Darkest Night
The past year, a dark cloud of depression rolled in and stationed itself right above me. And even though I’ve always felt that I was coming undone just a little, over the past months I felt myself coming undone in ways I wasn’t accustomed to.
It feels like I spent the better part of this year either 1) on my sofa sleeping, or 2) at my altar praying. I’d rise from my sofa to meditate and recite a chant or mantra that could fill the negative space in my mind until I needed to do it again. On the days my son was home, for the most part I found the strength to be present with him. There were even days when I’d venture out to my local Peet’s Coffee & Tea and connect with people in my community. But even when I was laughing a hard belly laugh about something, I could always sense that dark energy lurking, waiting for me to be alone, sitting heavily on my heart, and filling my thoughts with worry about my son, money, the future, or work.
Sitting here now, looking back on this experience from a space of clarity, I would call it depression or a dark night of the soul, but I dismissed the suggestions of my closest friends— “Monique, you’re not yourself, maybe you should consider seeing a doctor or getting some medication.” It wasn’t until I heard myself telling a very good friend that I wasn’t strong enough emotionally to process a disagreement we’d had that I came to grips with my reality. I felt too weak and empty to even think about our encounter in a way that would help us move forward. Yes, my friends were right, I was not myself.
Just as it had arrived, slowly and without warning, it moved. One day I could feel myself come from underground. I could sense light coming into my energy field. I had just reached out to a girlfriend who recently started taking medication for depression. She had described herself as living in winter each and every day. She wanted a new season in her life, and after years of self-analysis and therapy she’d come to accept that she needed help from modern medicine. After starting the meds, she was lighter, clearer, and happier than she’d been in all the years I’d known her. Having watched me sink into a winter of my own, she said she felt that my depression was being imposed by circumstances, it wasn’t an inner state of being unrelated to what was going on in my life. She suggested that I consider other options before altering my chemistry with medication. Taking her advice, I continued to meditate and introduced a morning visioning practice, setting the intention of starting my day on a positive note.
I also reflected on the outside circumstance that I’d been “blaming” for my state of mind—I saw clearly that my fear of not having the money I desire was wreaking havoc on my emotions, creating waves of worry and fear about being homeless and not being able to provide for my son and myself. I was desperate for feeling of security. The facts that my clients and freelance gigs were drying up, that I was behind on my rent: it felt like a tornado in my life.
But although my money situation hadn’t really taken a turn for the better, I started to feel the sun breaking through. The lights were still on, I still had a home, my car was running, and choices were presenting themselves regarding work. New clients started coming, and I’m writing daily.
I have to confess, I’d love to share the profound revelation that pulled me out of this dark time, but I have none. The shift was all very slow and gradual. I will say that I started telling myself the things I needed to hear and feel daily. I repeated mantras such as “I love myself,” “I’m beautiful,” “I love my body,” “I love my life and everything about it,” and “I am enough now, nothing I do from this point forward can add to or take away from how magnificent I am.” That’s it. I started to feel the light coming in when I realized that I really do believe these words. Also, I spent time with a witch, received a reading and had a cleansing done also. It was wild, amazing and worthy of an entire story on its own.
In many ways, the darkest season I’ve experienced as an adult turned out to be one of the most beneficial. Now I know I can’t afford to lose a day judging myself or in a negative tailspin about something. I choose to be very deliberate about what I think. Why, because I control the season in my reality. Too much—or even any—worry, and I’ll take myself to some deep and dark wintery kingdom where worriers are being served for dinner. Thank goodness I’ve seen the light.