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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 My wife and kids are so good to me, even when I am withdrawn, stuck inside my own head.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

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