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Dark Night

7 June, 2017

I’m not the first writer to note the metaphor of the darkness of night when compared to the darkness of the thoughts that visit us during those hours. And last night was such a time.

I woke shortly after 3am, vaguely concerned by one thing that was troubling me, and within ten minutes or so an avalanche of worries – some over immediate problems, some over longterm concerns; some in my control, some not – was consuming me. You know that vague feeling you get that something is wrong but you can’t put your finger on it? Well every time I focussed on one thing, the worry over that was shadowed by that vague worry, forcing me to keep switching from one to another on a loop. I tried to analyse why I was in such a dark place, what had been the catalyst that had started this chain reaction – if I could find the source and fix it then maybe I could break the cycle.

But I couldn’t free myself from the spiral, I kept turning. And the more I did so, the greater each individual worry grew, and the greater the overall sense of despair, darkness, hopelessness grew. Several times I got out of bed and paced. I considered going outside for a walk – sometimes this helps me during the low times – but I had an urge that if I did, I would take a knife with me, that I would sit on a bench overlooking the river, deciding whether I wanted to use it or not. Luckily I was able to dismiss this, knowing that this would be of no help. Not that I believed I would take the blade to my wrist, but sitting staring at the blade would only increase the darkness.

I sat in the lounge, crying deep heaving sobbing tears. I paced more, I cried more. I went back to bed, laid awake, and gradually the tears subsided, if the fears did not. I tried to consider what I could do to solve the problems that I had some ability to affect. Eventually, some two hours after I woke, the sun now rising, I was asleep again.

And when I woke shortly after, the pain had subsided, my worries eased as the sky brightened. The worries were still there but away from the dark of night, their effects had reduced.

During today, I took steps to correct those worries I had power over. Luckily some others resolved themselves, or were resolved by the actions of unknowing other people. The longterm worries are still there, waiting for me in the future.

As night approaches again, I feel confident I have stared the darkness down for now, that it won’t revisit me tonight. And I know I am lucky, that as terrifying as these thoughts were, they are a mere glimpse of the fears that others face; that I experienced one night, and really only two hours, whereas others face a lifetime. I am sure there will be other nights like this, as there have been before, but I can’t say when. Others are not so lucky, and know that the next night, and the next, and every night will be the same.

From → Blogging, My Head

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