I've been in a really dark place for the past few days. The near loss of a lifelong friend rocked my world. On the heels of what had already been a couple of months of a never ending roller coaster ride, especially following the past two weeks of tests, challenges, and soul searching, it was the proverbial straw to break the stressed out camel's back.
The thing is, I know how to find my way out. I also know that it is OK to be in that dark place. You can't appreciate the light if you don't understand the lack of it. I don't recommend LIVING in that dark place, but it is definitely worth an occasional visit. Usually, the trip isn't planned, but somehow, it always happens at a time when our psyche needs it most.
What is difficult though, is being judged or misunderstood when you are in that place. So often, people have no idea of what you're struggling with or what led you to retreat into the depths of your own soul. They move to criticize, to dismiss, to minimize or even invalidate what you're experiencing, and sometimes that can make it a lot harder to find our way back.
I have learned a lot of life's lessons during those lonely, worrisome times. I know when I need to say "ENOUGH." I know when I need to let go and let someone out of my life. I know when I need to stand up for what matters to me. Most of all, I know when I need to reach out, not needing a cure, but just a friend and a reminder that it is OK to hurt and cry and even to rage and wonder and worry. As one of my favorite pieces of prose says, "I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it." It is hard to do that - to just let someone you love hurt...but from the hurt comes healing, if only you can simply love them and listen. Sometimes it isn't about fixing, but instead just co-existing.
I'm still not quite back to myself, but I am fully aware of the road that I am traveling right now. It is going to twist and turn and take me over some bumps...but I'm hoping that I will find my way to some smoother paths soon. Until then, I just need some understanding, acceptance, and love to light my way.