”Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
Darkness, self-doubt, self-loathing.
It’s been a rough week as far as that goes, and I’ve been feeling old and useless, unwanted and incompetent – despite a fair amount of evidence to the contrary. Rarely has my social life been as rich, rarely have I seen more appreciation for my art, rarely have I felt this loved. Yet my self-doubt and self-loathing are as strong as they’ve ever been.
A few days ago, while describing my current darkness to a friend, I started saying that I felt alone and unwanted, then stopped myself. Over the weekend I had gone to three social gatherings and met up with four friends in addition, having to turn down several invitations. I met several old friends and many new acquaintances and had a pretty good time – not spending more than about three hours by myself between Thursday evening and Sunday night – and yet I labelled myself as having been ‘alone’ and ‘unappreciated’.
It just goes to show that mental happiness isn’t really very connected to outer factors. Inside one’s own head, the demons can roam free and make even the greatest accomplishments insignificant – or even turn them against you.
I’m lucky to have friends I can really talk to – people who are there for me whenever I need them to. In fact, much more than I need them to, because I seldom ask. Some of them have battled depression and self-loathed themselves, and now all too well what it’s about. Compared to some of the people I know and confide in, my troubles pale into nothing.
That doesn’t matter, though.
When the black dog comes pawing through one’s mind, no rational comparison helps.
Logically, I know I’m quite fortunate – I’m loved, wanted and appreciated. Emotionally, that’s not how I feel though. I’ll get through it – I always do. My success rate at getting through the bad days is 100% – and that’s pretty damn good. I’ll get through the next few ones as well, one step at a time.
So, to those of you out there struggling with similar feelings I have just one thing to say:
Talk to someone. Try to find someone who understands, and remember: you’ve gotten through everything life has thrown at you so far.
You can get through this!
- Read – The Bell Jar; Sylvia Plath
- Watch – The Fisher King; Terry Gilliam
- Listen – Tomorrow Comes A Day Too Soon; Flogging Molly