I don’t think people realize how much strength it takes to pull your own self out of a dark place mentally. So if you’ve done that today or any day, I’m proud of you.
I believe everyone finds themselves at one point or another in a dark place mentally. It is part of the human experience. We would like everything to feel like it will all work out like a Hollywood film, but life is far from picture perfect. To the contrary, we all encounter moments or experiences that can take us to a dark chapter. Some happen in an instant, with a revelation, personal or professional. Others come through a creeping malaise that slowly threaten to consume us.
Whether instantaneous, or slowly building, that dark place is a tough nut to crack. You are requiring yourself to find fortitude in a moment where we hard pressed to find solid ground (metaphorically) to stand upon. So what is the formula that can enable such a turn of mindset?
I have found many solutions to get out of that space when things go south for me. Some work better than others. But almost inevitably, gratitude is a great starting place. Going to a place of appreciation of things that you have in life such as your health, the knowledge that others love and appreciate you, your prior successes and countless other variables are always a great impetus to find a place of appreciation for what you have at that moment. Or just burying your face into the soft fur of your loving pet works well. Regardless of what starting place you adopt, you have found a toe hold to gain footing.
From there, it is your task to start to put together dots. Sometimes, it is as simple as knowing that as soon as you start to make a move, you will take some of the most trivial things in your world, like opting to empty a dishwasher, or do a load of laundry that facilitates a first step of being productive again. This sounds arcane in the large scheme of things, but to the contrary, it is the opposite. If the large problem in your life that has put you into a dark place is looming over you like a ghoul in the night, then the prospect of applying yourself to something simple, productive and valuable to your ongoing existence is a great first place to start. The laundry needs to be done, and you are not productive at this moment, so you had might as well tackle a trivial task and feel like at least one thing is now going in the right direction. In finding that first step, look for another one, and then another. Create a string of successes, albeit minor ones, that enable you to feel accomplishment at a time when everything else is oppressive.
In stepping aside and viewing such behaviors as rudimentary to our existence, we are able to find that satisfaction of “well, at least that’s done,” and from that comes a newer, elevated perspective. Even if that elevation is trivial in scope to what is crushing you at the moment, do not negate its value. What is really happening is that you are forcing yourself back into a rhythm. Your body and mind require that rhythm to survive, so jumpstarting it back into gear is a part of survival mentality.
As you go through the motions of the simple actions, take a few moments and mentally peak at the dark force that is weighing upon you, and see it for what it truly is. We gain strength by stopping and staring fear in the face. I know this to be true, because I got it from a fortune cookie at least 9 years ago, and I have been using that line in my mind ever since. (Don’t underestimate the power of a fortune cookie!) When you stare fear in the face, it is what it is. Even if it is daunting, it must be confronted. Once you have confronted the fear, then you must begin to implement any plan you can formulate to address whatever it is that is so daunting. In your heart, you must recognize that daunting chapters arise, and we are forced to face and deal with them. It is part of life, and everyone gets to such a moment in their existence.
The difference between those who survive and those who perish boils down to mindset and approach. They say you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Personally, I do not wish to eat these gorgeous, intelligent, sentient beings at all. But the metaphor is not lost on me. My dark chapters attack me from positions of fear, insecurity, disappointment, lack of knowing, unrealistic expectations and countless other scenarios. When I look at them through this filter, I find a starting place. The first metaphorical bite, if you will. Then I take another. Eventually, what was once so oppressive is becoming manageable, even tolerable. And if I am persistent, eventually it is in the rear view mirror. Just another example of what was scaring the shit out of me, and is now, just a chapter in my personal or professional history.
It sounds easy, but it is not. It takes courage, determination, fortitude, tenacity and focus. There are aspects that are so overwhelming you cannot believe you will ever surpass them. But you do. And you will.
So if you have found yourself in such a chapter of late, and you have found a way to start pulling yourself out of this chasm, I am proud of you. It is not easy. There is no fan base cheering from the stadium seats as you triumph over this quiet, lonely dark chapter of existence. There is only your own being. And when you find yourself on the right path, go bury your face in the soft fur of some loving animal. They exist to share their love with you and they deliver readily on demand.
Stay the course, and let go of your fear. In the immortal words of the Gerald Ford political tag phrase. EGBOK…. Everything is Gonna Be OK.