Recently, I was meeting with some individuals and we were discussing the devastating impact of depression (for that matter, any mental illness, including addiction, this story would apply). They were talking about how no one seems to understand how difficult it is when you are in the grips of depression. It changes you. Confuses you. Makes you question yourself and anything you used to know or believe in. You mentally know that you loved, but now the feeling of it is not there, and you question if you did, or will be able to love again. There is a feeling of being tortured, but there are no marks. It engulfs your thinking, because the feelings of fear and nothingness are so great. And, it feels like things will never be different or change. There is a feeling of hopelessness. So, imagine you are in a completely dark room. At first, the darkness seems refreshing, calming, no noise, just your thoughts. But, you decide to stand up and move. As you do, you bump into something and stumble. As you struggle to get back to your feet, fear begins to set in, because you have no sense of where you are. Your thoughts are racing. All you see is darkness. You are terrified, because you scream and no can hear you, and then question if you actually screamed or thought you did. As you stare into the darkness, terrified that this will be your destiny, you are about to give up any belief that the darkness will have any mercy on you. You know that darkness is incapable of mercy.
And then you notice something. A pinhole of light. Barely visible. As you stare at the tiny light, you notice the temptation to be drawn back to the darkness. But, you force yourself to fixate on the light. And, as you do, it grows. It slowly, very slowly begins to illuminate the room. And slowly, you begin to hope, and believe that the darkness will fade. Remember, it is impossible for darkness to extinguish light. And, we need to always remember that the light will penetrate the darkness.
Will you choose to focus on the light when you are in your darkness?
Kevin Polky, CADC, LCSW