In a comment to a previous post I was asked, “How do you drag yourself out of these dark places, these dark moods? These depressed episodes? And the truth is that sometimes that is virtually impossible without assistance…
Last night I sat watching a bit of television and there was absolutely nothing on which suited my mood at the time. “I know,” thought I. “I will see what is available on Netflix. I fancy watching a really dark sad and tragic movie.” But then I realized they hadn’t made my autobiography into a movie yet.”
There is some ironic humor in that statement, that tought process, isn’t there? In a dark, sad kind of way I mean.
Actually the only truth in that statement is the fact that a) I did think it and b) they haven’t made my autobiography into a movie. And yes I have actually written an autobiography of my life.
The fact is that my life (and indeed my autobiography for that matter) is neither dark nor sad nor tragic. Does it contain dark, sad or tragic episodes? Yes it does, (don’t so many of our lives?) but I certainly wouldn’t label or describe it that way and in fact it has been woven with as many amazing and incredible moments as it has dark, sad or tragic ones.
And the truth is that I rarely if ever willingly or knowingly watch that type of movie.
But then that is the nature of depression isn’t it? It can re-color things or even bleach the color out of things. Likewise it can corrupt and pervert our perception or focus causing us to be drawn to the macabre or the tragic or the dark.
Being aware of this and remaining mindful of this – especially when such thought processes logically progress to suicidal ideation can be so very important. Having coping mechanisms in place with which to combat such a progress is also so very important.
I am mindful of a wood or forest at this point. As you enter into it the trees are fairly spread out and light is breaking through the gaps and the branches. The further in you get the thicker the forest or wooded area gets and the thicker and closer together those trees get and subsequently less and less light breaks through until eventually you see neither light nor individual trees just darkness all around you.
Instead of trees think of wounds and hurts, guilts and shames, stessors and problems. Look at them all spread out and thinly planted around you and you see each one and you also see the light – that hope.
But allow yourself to walk right down into the thick of it and they become one mass, a blanket, a barrier, a trap and they block out the light – that hope that joy that we all need to survive.
That for me is the first lesson. Recognizing that entering into that pathway of thoughts will lead you deeper in and exactly what is there for you if you do go down it. And there are other important lessons/considerations…
Separating the trees (or individual thoughts and either dismissing ech individual one without further consideration or combating them (chopping them down) and then very importantly letting go and letting them stay down. Thus allowing that light to shine through.
Recognizing where that light (that hope and that joy) comes from and how important it is. Remembering that this is what you need to be looking towards and staying close to. The minute a thought process seems to be removing or blocking that light – walk backwards in your mind and allow yourself to face that particular thought process another day when you are more able.
Of course I do recognize that it is not always that easy. As someone who suffers from poor mental health and a number of mental health issues I know only too well that sometime we just cannot control where I mind will take us.
BUT the truth is that there are times, plenty of times, when we can.
I started of this post with a statement reflecting a thought process I had last night – one which said, “I need a movie which will match my mood.” PErfectly natural and understandable you might think, but I would suggest that as natural and understandable as it may at first seem it is without doubt a harmful thought process?
Why match a dark mood? A Sad mood? A tragic mood? Why feed those moods? Where will doing so lead? Why not try to combat them and try to speak into them and change them for the better?
Actually instead of matching or feeding the dark mood was in I watched a comedy. After that I read some comments hereon my blog, I listened to some upbeat Christian music.
Can I say that doing so lifted my mood noticeably and dragged me out of the darkness that I have been experiencing? No in all honesty I can’t.
BUT and like mine this really is a big but it never fed that mood and never dragged me further into that darkness and that is noticeable and that is a victory that is well worth acknowledging.
IS the darkness still there? Yes I am afraid it is. Are the suicidal thoughts still lingering, still threatening? Yes I am afraid they are. But it hasn’t gotten worse and I can still see flickers of light, signs of hope and that is so very important.
Today I have worked in the house, bought and constructed a bench to go in my garden and with the help of my son and his partner hung all of those blinds that I have been washing and had put out to dry.
A dear friend from my old church came round to see me today and that was a very real blessing also.
So those are the rays of light breaking through the darkness that tries to cover me and I am going to recognize them, hold on to them, and thank God for them.