I live where the dark place is always near me. A place that I've tried to escape the majority of my life - the shadows waiting to overcome me. But I fight because I want to believe I have a warrior spirit. You see, my dark place is depression.
As a child, I never fit in because... well... so many reasons, but one thing that's carried through my entire life is the dark place.
If there's one lesson in life that holds true, gravity does its job well. It keeps our feet on the ground. It pulls at us. It pulls us down. So too does the dark place. It's easy to succumb to fear, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness. It's easy to lay down and give up; to say I've had enough when you feel alone in the dark. Even as a child I would pull the covers over my head and make my world a little darker because, as strange as it sounds, the dark place feels safe because it's so...familiar.
But fighting gravity takes effort! Just like launching a satellite into space, it requires a team, fuel, combustion - in essence, it takes a lot of energy. My body may be grounded, but my mind does not need to be. Even planes fly above stormy weather. To fight the gravity of depression, I give myself permission to fly. My friends are the fuel which gives me strength to keep going. The battle between dark and light is ever present. There are moments in life when we must decide to choose fight or flight for our survival.
Releasing the negativity
As I've grown older, I've realized a sense of self. I had to take a look around my world and determine what or who was pulling me down. Who was helping gravity? Who was helping me fly? It was time to arm myself for the fight for my life and in doing so, I had to let some people go. In fact, some of the most negative people in my life have been family.
You know as well as I do that you cannot pick your family - but you don't have to like them. You can also choose to limit your time around them.
In my head I think, "Please stop pulling me down. I feel like I'm drowning in your presence. My spirit weeps from this unjust assault." But I'm not a beggar Sometimes I shut that little voice up and my real voice speaks. "I've heard what you had to say, now say something nice to me."
Finding the light
I wrote this poem for a friend of mine who was going through his own dark place. Being as objective as I could I realized he was standing in his own way. Then it occurred to me - don't we all?
Written by Meredith Loughran. Picture: Pixabay (Creative Commons)
Repeat after me:
- I am worthy
- I am special
- I am good enough
- I have purpose
- I know I will succeed in whatever I put my mind to
- I can do this
- I will do this
- I own my decisions, therefore I have no regrets
I'm a giver. I give to others before I even think about myself. That had to stop!
My dark place loves when I'm so worn down taking care of other people that I forget to take care of me.
I cannot express how important FIVE MINUTES can be. My "me time" is usually in the middle of the night. The household is quiet. The dogs are sleeping. I go outside to my favorite spot and stare at the sky. I see how vast it is: the twinkling stars, the moon, the planets...all where they are supposed to be...like me...like you.
What is depression? (And a personal disclaimer)
Depression is a mood disorder which may affect mood, activities, work or personal life. Symptoms of depression must be present for at least two weeks to be diagnosed.
To read more about the symptoms of depression, visit National Institute of Mental Health - NIMH
While there have been times when I thought I should be on anti-depressants, I personally do not want to be on a pill-popping regimen. Please note that I do not have anything against medication or psychotherapy, but in my personal opinion, it should be the last resort and dependent upon the severity of depression. Again, that's my personal opinion based solely on my needs.
Do you suffer with depression?
How do you cope?
What do you do to fight the dark place?
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