The first paragraph below was supposed to be my response to this beautiful blog post I read. Then I got a little carried away with writing…. and my “few lines” comment of encouraging words evolved into this :)
Nobody is alone in this world. Your experience is not unique! Be it joy and happiness or be it depression and anxiety. There’s a thing called a common human experience. Even if you feel that way, believe that many people feel exactly the same way you feel. Realizing this brings relief by itself. It’s common, it’s normal. It’s not the end of the world. Thousands of people before us years ago have experienced exactly the same emotions. Depression, anxiety, fear, hatred, anger are all common human experiences. Everybody goes through them or experienced them to some extent in their lives. Some more, some less. But so is happiness, joy, support, compassion, understanding, connection, love, peace. And those positive feelings are out there for you to tap into them just like the negative ones.
I call my slips into negativity black holes. They are long and deep narrow holes in the ground, I am at the bottom, alone, in the dark, the space is big enough to just sit with my legs curled up or walk around in a small circle. There’s no ladder, no rope, no roots of trees or any other way I can climb up and crawl out of that hole. A total despair.
Way up high I can see a tiny shining opening with beautiful green grass waving over the edge now and then, a bird flying over occasionally, and I can sometimes hear happy people from distance to talk and laugh as they pass by and children shouting while they’re playing and I know there is a sunny day out there with normal people going on about their happy normal lives whilst I am down here at the bottom of the black pit and cannot get out for the love of me. And they don’t know about me. They don’t care. Just like I wouldn’t, had I been up there among them frolicking in the grass on a sunny day, feeling great.
But I’m not. And I have no idea how I got into the lonely dark pit in the first place! Did somebody threw me in there? Did I dig it up myself? I truly don’t know at this point. I really cannot remember. If I dug it, was it on purpose?Because initially I liked being among people, in the normal sunny day with green grass waving and birds flying and children laughing. Did I get hurt, scared, humiliated, diminished, abused, ridiculed, dismissed, yelled at and wanted to isolate myself from it, escape it, shield and protect myself from it so bad that I started to dig my own hole for that purpose because there was no other means for me to escape it back then?
Then suddenly I get up slowly on my feet and try to climb. Hopeless, I know. But still I try as hard as I can. And I let out a thought, a wish, a prayer like a beam from my head to leave this place. And it is aimed upwards. Right towards that sunny opening. Hoping somebody will pick it up and act upon it, somehow. And I start scratching the surface of the pit walls that surround me and fight fiercely, digging the tips of my shoes into the dark damp soil to move at least one inch upwards. Sharp dirt is biting into the tender flesh that’s under my finger nails. I actually love that bit of a pain at that very moment. It reminds me I am alive and CAN feel something. It represents that I am capable of meaningful action. The hole was even a bit comforting and a safe haven, a refuge for me to some extent. Protecting me from that happy sunny world out there that was full of all kinds of dangers.
I am sick and tired of the black hole now and start to fight my way back up. All of a sudden the depth of the hole is barely 6 feet. I don’t get it and I don’t know how that happened. It seemed to be towering at least 80 feet above me when I was in the darkest moments. But who cares now. A few skillful moves and I emerge out into a beautiful day. I am clean, my clothes, my hair, all immaculate, not even a trace of dirt under my nails. I am beautiful again as I have always been. Nobody is noticing anything weird about me. Surprisingly, I don’t look like someone who’s just crawled out of a dirt hole in the ground. I am one of the happy normal people again, out there in the sun. I belong there a one them, I move around and interact with them naturally and with ease. Just like I’ve always had.
Few days later a vague memory of a bad dream I once had about being trapped in a deep black hole in the ground….
I know they exist. Most of them are empty now. Just like mine is and starting to fill with leaves, twigs, small dead animals and collapsing slowly in on themselves and into oblivion. But in some of them there are still people sitting or walking around in a small circles, despairing. But I know now I’m not planning on starting to dig my own again any time soon.