Skip to main content

Darkness








The effects of the shortened length of daylight on my psyche is compounded by the raw, wet, cloudy weather this afternoon. Seasonal Affective Disorder-- add that to the list of issues I deal with on a daily basis. What I wouldn't give for a little sunshine today. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. When I leave home in the morning, its pitch dark, and by the time I arrive home, the light is fading. No wonder so many of us suffer with depression more in the winter months.

I know that I have so many things to be thankful for, but I tend to forget that when I am down. My wife and kids are so good to me, even when I am withdrawn, stuck inside my own head. I lash out at them sometimes for no reason, then have to deal with the shame afterwards. If you're anything like me, you know how that feels. 

My oldest daughter found out she has some major issues with her intestines last week. At first, the fear was cancer, but thank God, it wasn't. Her condition is still serious, but nothing that can't be treated. The rollercoaster of emotions we've experienced in the past two weeks has been overwhelming. I'm trying my best to stay positive. All I want is for my family to be healthy. I should look around and realize how good we have it, because there are so many families that are not so fortunate. 

I have sat in the deer stand some days,and all I could think about was the things I was doing wrong. Instead of enjoying my time in the woods, I found myself preoccupied with my negative internal monologue. I would venture outdoors to escape the stress and worry of everyday life. Sadly, the darkness interfered with all of the activities I loved. There came a point when I lost interest in everything. I quit hunting and fishing for a period of time, I didn't even want to go out for a walk in the woods. Somewhere along the way, the dark clouds broke, giving way to cobalt skies. It didn't last long. I found out the hard way that my mental health is always a work-in-progress.

For those out there who suffer, I am with you. I have nothing in the way of advice other than stay close to your friends and family during these times and pray often. Try not to isolate yourself, and get some fresh air and sunshine when you feel the dark cloud descending. It's going to be tough going, but you've got this. Most importantly, don't be afraid to get help. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

As for me, my regimen for pushing back on the darkness is taking a long walk in the woods. Sometimes it's standing knee-deep in a river, mindlessly flogging the water, doing what would appear to be fishing. Other times, it's on my knees in my bedroom floor. Point is, do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. The sun will return soon.





Comments

  1. Thanks for the honesty, Josh. You're doing the right things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Trying to read a couple pages every morning from "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius (a title which would be translated from the Greek more literally as "things to himself"). The personal writings and private notes to himself, a general and emperor, on topics he didn't want to forget, wanted to remind himself of. It was thought to have been written on the battlefield between about 170 and 180 AD.

    After your post, this was the next thing I read (Book 5:9):

    "Not to feel exasperated, or defeated, or despondent because your days aren't packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human -- however imperfectly -- and fully embrace the pursuit that you're embarked on."

    I figure if a general and emperor has to give himself a reminder about this, me or you can't be so far off the curve as we might think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is true. No matter our social status, man has always wrestled with himself. We constantly attempt to bring order out of the chaos of our minds. It's a comfort to know that some of the greatest warriors and rulers on earth have struggled with self-doubt.
      Thanks, Joe!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Survival: For Real

In my library, I have several books on foraging and survival skills. One of my favorites is Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart. There are many guides of edible and medicinal plants, water purification, and magazine articles on shelter building skills. But having all of this information at my fingertips doesn't do me any good if I don't get my hands dirty from time to time, practicing these skills. Not only does it make me feel more confident in the woods, but it is a lot of fun, too.I would like to think that if I had to, I could survive and provide for my family from the woods and waters around here. I could probably kill plenty of squirrels or catch enough fish to feed us for a little while, but it would be a full time job, especially with a wife and kids.On The Fourth of July, though, I witnessed something that gave me a whole new perspective on survival-- actually watching someone having to forage for food on the streets of Greenville. This is what I like to call A Ch…

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the time…

After Dark

I stayed up way too late last night. Chase called on his way home from work and told me that we were going catfishing. That's usually how things like this begin.

My brand new son- in- law Bryan was going too, although my daughter wasn't crazy about the idea. No worries though, she would stay at our house and await his return. She ended up asleep on my side of the bed until we got back. Apparently, their agreed upon curfew was 11:30, and he did his best to keep it despite Chase's nudging him to stay longer. My son has no concept of time when it comes to fish, whether they are biting or not.

So there we stood in the dark, on a bridge that crosses the Tyger  River. Every creature that flies or creepeth upon the ground was out. The noise from insects and frogs in the surrounding swamp was deafening. Chase was our catfish guide. He'd brought all the rods, bait and any tackle we might need. Chase's bait of choice was chunks of chicken breast marinated in his secret formu…