Every day brings a new challenge. Every day brings a new perspective to see the world from. All of that can be marked down as being true. Except it is hard to see when all you encounter is darkness. Not that night-time darkness that your eyes eventually adjust to. Rather, that jet black darkness where you cannot even make out your hand when it is two inches away from your face. You have nothing to reach out towards that you can see. Any obstacle is completely unseen, and presents not only a tripping hazard, but has the capability to severely injure you if it has any pointed aspects or extremely sharp edges to cut you with. Welcome to my form of depression, in words.
Most of my understanding of the world around me comes from observing the perspective of other objects in relation to me. Door handles. The edges of tables. The hands of friends that I can reach out for to steady my balance. The steering wheel in my truck. My staff, if I am carrying it with me. All of these are things that I can reach out for to steady myself, to provide balance, to allow me a moment to regain balance. In that inky, black darkness, I have none of those things. This throws me off balance, and kicks in my fear that I may hurt myself in just trying to move. Thus, beginning my own internal paralysis.
There is a lot more to this scenario that describes my depression, much of which I won’t go into detail here. However, I do know the shape that my darkness takes in my everyday Life. Chaos. I am an ordered person. As an Information technology troubleshooter, my professional career is defined by an ordered flow of “if this, then this” which helps me identify where issues are located at, as well as determining how things get fixed. My personal life follows a similar Path.
When I take trips, I make lists of what is needed to be packed, the order that things go into the truck, and what I need to do to get myself into the truck and on the road. I know, it sounds boring and rote – and it is – but it is necessary for me, so that I don’t leave something behind. Yet, I always manage to do so. 😊
Over the last four months, my life has been turned inside-out, upside-down, and shaken hard to make all the loose change fall out of my pockets. When that was done, Life tossed me to the side, where I tumbled end over end. When I finally came to a stop, I was disoriented. I had no idea which way was up. I had no markers available to me to help re-orient my posture. The entire world also seemed to be spinning and tumbling out of control as well, which made things even more difficult. To put it into a single thought – I was lost.
During these four months, my Gods stepped back from me. That added another void where I had expected some aspect of stability and an ability to re-orient myself. I had none. That made things even deeper and darker for me. I began to realize what someone who had lost all their senses would feel like. What a scary world without sensation could feel like.
Due to a lot of personal issues, I was driving constantly through the backroads of Texas. Rarely did I stop between destinations because of COVID, and even then it was just to stand at a gas pump and fill my truck’s tank. A few weeks ago, I was driving back after a snowfall, which is rare for central Texas. Looking through the windshield, I could see the white-covered landscape.
There were very few vehicles on the road with me, so I stopped when I saw a little picnic area at the side of the road. I turned off my truck and got out to walk around. Just like the snowfalls that I remembered from winter walks near Vogelweh Housing near Kaiserslautern, Germany, the air was quiet. Like the whole world had drawn in its collective breath, and was quietly breathing slow, small breaths – not wanting to disturb the peace. I brushed off the seating at a wooden picnic table and just sat, taking in the scene.
That moment of serenity was a salve that I needed. My world got quiet. The wild whirlwind of chaos stopped within me, and that darkness parted enough for me to see strands of light. Once again, I heard Crow in my mind. “You need to be your own rock of solitude. You need to find your own peace. Through all of that, We are here. To reach out, you need to go back to your basics. Reconnect with yourself.”
For me, approximately 120 days ago, my life had radically changed. Everything felt like a whirlwind. Now the whirlwind has ended. What’s left of me is scraped completely bare, like a tornado had come through. Now, I can feel the quiet and calm after the storm has passed. Much like my Druidry is being rebuilt, I am now left to rebuild me as well. Slowly. Quietly. Without the chaos.
The darkness is still there though. It will always be there. It is not something I can remove completely. That’s because it is a part of me. That darkness is me. As I rebuild, I also must find a balance that works with it. That will take time, discussion, and patience.
I am not without tools or help. I am seeing a counselor, who has been of immeasurable assistance in understanding certain aspects that I have encountered. I also have Cat Treadwell‘s excellent book Facing the Darkness on my iPad as well. Where my counselor has trouble equating some of my Pagan perspectives to what I go through, Cat’s book bridges the gap in a most excellent and proficient manner. I am sure that I will find other tools to add to my rebuilding efforts. However, none of those can do what my friends do for me – provide balance, support, and unconditional love. Without that…without them, I would truly be lost forever.