After Dusk

I had a very good friend that loved colors. He could hear your favorite color and would then be able to tell you different things about your personality. I was pretty skeptical at first, too, but surprisingly he was usually right! It was intriguing to me, so I began to pay more attention. We would talk frequently about what different colors meant and the feelings behind them. We worked hard on being able to perfectly describe a color in a way you could feel, not just see.

It was beautiful. The colors were usually whole, uplifting. I realized that the colors I chose to describe were usually some aspect of light. For example, when I was asked what color I wanted to be, I responded with the color you see when a single ray of light pokes through the clouds.

It wasn’t always that way.

Have you ever tried to describe the color “midnight”? That color alone has so many different connotations — hope, fear, mystery, sadness, exhilaration… the list goes on!

This is the story of how my midnight went from feeling like the end to feeling like a hopeful beginning.

Depression combined with anxiety is very common; if you have one, it’s pretty normal for you to have the other as well. I’m one of the “lucky” ones that fits into that category. As most people with a mental illness know, there are really good days and really bad days. Some days I’m a beautiful gold color, glittering in the sunshine. Other days, I’m a dull gray, like the days where the sun doesn’t even come close to breaking through. Those are what I like to call my “floor days,” because it’s seriously so hard to even convince myself to get up and do anything. But as we from the PNW know, if you wait for it to stop raining, you’ll be waiting a loooooooong time!

Sometimes, if I let myself go too long without processing my emotions or whatever I’m going through, I break. And when I break, I really can’t get myself off the floor. I get stuck in this whirlpool of negative thinking and I’m not strong enough to swim out of the current.

This is what dusk feels like.

The sun is setting, it’s quickly growing darker, and there’s no end in sight. It signifies the end to another day, but doesn’t necessarily provide the promise of a better one tomorrow — if tomorrow even comes. It’s a hopeless feeling.

I remember when I was first experiencing these emotions, it was terrifying. I couldn’t remember how to feel happy, how to be excited — it was as though the memory had completely left my brain. Looking back, I feel awful for the way I would treat those around me during those times. Not being able to understand my emotions led me to hurt others as well. It wasn’t just happiness I couldn’t feel, I wasn’t capable of feeling sympathy, love, or excitement. It was all just gone. The people around me couldn’t understand how to help me because I couldn’t understand myself.

They always say “it’s lonely at the top,” well sometimes it’s lonely on the ground, too.

Unfortunately, many of us know these feelings. We become stuck; we feel like we’re being trapped in a dark room. There’s no way out, no one to help us, and absolutely no sign of light.

But that’s just it, isn’t it? We forget so easily that the darkness is actually required to truly find and understand the light! Think about it this way — we talk about how we can really comprehend the blessing of being able to breathe through our nose when we have a cold. It’s because we experience the opposite that we have the power to appreciate even more the simple blessing of not having to blow our noses every two minutes. In that same way, we know the incredible joy of light because we have felt the despair and loneliness of true darkness.

Alternatively, there’s a really short but wonderfully beautiful quote that I want to share.

“You will never find your way out of Darkness, until you remember that you are the Light.” -mjr

We who suffer, we who are trapped, we who can’t pull ourselves off the floor: look inside and see. We are always the beautiful, single ray of light poking through the clouds. On our darkest days, we can look around and see the stars. We can, and we will, overcome dusk.

Because only after dusk, comes dawn.

 

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