A poem, by Chelsea Walker
Within this crypt,
This coffin deep
The real me gone–
Dead, fast asleep
I dwell inside the doorless keep
of my alien mind.
All I view
Scenes of horror to confuse,
In my alien mind.
Cold as ice,
Tons of pressure,
Like a vice,
Squeeze with agony inside
Of my alien mind.
Fill my ears
While ghoulish phantoms
Leap and jeer.
No sound of comfort do I hear
In my alien mind.
Full of fear I hide.
Hoping visions will subside
And truth will fling the exit wide
That I may leave the darker tides
Of my alien mind.
This is darker than what I would usually write. My intention here was to describe what it’s like to be in the depths of darkness and pain from depression. That being said–I have to acknowledge that though this was a reality for me at one time, I have been free from this dark, alien state of mind for a long time. I still struggle with depression, but not on such an extreme scale. Because of what I’ve been through, I learned a significant truth:
There is always hope, no matter how deep the darkness.
The thing about darkness is that the only way to dispel it is with light. This is true in the physical/literal realm as well as the emotional/mental realm. Ponder with me, as I explore this idea.
There are many different sources of light in our physical world. Sticking with what is most obvious and familiar, the first lights that come to mind are: a flashlight, a ceiling light in a room that is switch operated, and the sun. First, properties of a flashlight are that it lights only a single beam directly where it is pointed. The remaining area will still be dark as before. It’s sufficient to get us from point A to point B usually, but does not provide enough light to really let us see what is going on all around us. Second, the properties of a ceiling light in a room include that the light comes on instantly, with the flick of a switch–immediately dispelling darkness. This type of light is usually sufficient to light the entire room at once. Lastly, let’s examine the sun’s properties. Imagine with me how the sun lights the earth–is it just instantly in the sky and it’s suddenly illuminating everything? Of course not– the sunrise is a slow and gradual process that begins with a grey dawn which eventually progresses to full morning light, then climaxes with afternoon sunlight, which tends to be it’s brightest and hottest time.
Stick with me–this is where I’m going to tie this in to depression. You’ve heard me say that depression for me felt like darkness. I would have loved for the proverbial light switch to appear and end that instantly, but this rarely happens in these situations. So, since the light switch was unavailable, I needed to use something to light my way while the darkness was all encompassing. Something like an emotional flashlight. Something to help me navigate this darkness while waiting for the sun to rise.
Because one thing you can always count on, is that the sun will rise. It’s just a matter of time.
So what would I consider an emotional flashlight? I would say that anything that gives you courage and strength to go on would be an emotional flashlight. As would anything that helps you relax, recharge and be at peace. All of these types of things keep the emotional darkness at bay. It might only be a small bit of help, but that is what the flashlight does–it’s gets us from point A to point B. It gives us just enough of a lift to keep going. Here are some things that were emotional flashlights for me:
- Guided meditations and white noise
- Prayer, meditating, scripture reading
- Attending church
- Inspirational music, such as hymns–I also loved The Piano Guys
- Inspirational videos
- Quiet time
- Time outside in the sunshine and fresh air
- Gentle exercise
The list could go on and your list might be different than mine.
The key thing to remember here is that this time in complete darkness will eventually pass. The sun will begin to rise. You will soon see the grey light of dawn instead of the black of night.
I fully acknowledge that even with my emotional flashlights, I could not have made it through the darkness of depression without the Light of the World, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Is there a way out without Him? I don’t know, because I’ve never tried to do it alone. I know that He is the reason I am where I am today. I wouldn’t have even been able to operate my emotional flashlights without His help. Because of what I have been through, I know that there is no darkness so deep, that the Savior’s light cannot penetrate.
Maybe you aren’t so far gone. Maybe this isn’t something you subscribe to. If that’s the case, focus on the emotional flashlights themselves and hold on tight until the sun begins to rise and depression begins to lift. The process might be slow, as it was for me. But focus on the progress you are making. Keep on moving forward as best you can. And keep hoping for better days ahead.
Eventually, the sun will rise.