On a dark journey

I broke about three weeks ago (this time) long before my public facade broke online. It happens, and it happens superficially because of burnout, exhaustion, being over stretched and needing only a small and careless poke from someone to drop me off an edge and into dysfunction. I have never managed to break this cycle before, for the simple reason that I am actually using my utility and acceptability to other people to ward off things that are a lot more dangerous to deal with. If I can be useful, and accepted, I don’t have to deal with what lies beneath that thin layer of near-viability. I can’t be flat out useful all the time, my body cannot sustain it, and I make mistakes, and so every now and then the thin surface cracks and I get a run-in with what lies beneath.

In the days that follow breaking, normally I do all the right things around resting and moving gently and I patch myself up, tidy away all the many parts of me that do not work, and get back into my well worn rut. It has always seemed like the less scary option and up until the last few weeks it has been my belief that I could not do anything positive with the 90% or so of me that exists beneath the surface. It’s been a survival issue, because what I carry, if it gets out, has left me fighting suicidal inclinations on more occasions than I can count.

We are all shaped and informed by our environments. For the last four and a half years, I have been living with someone who accepts me. This is the first time in my life that a sense of acceptance has dominated my living arrangements. For much of my life, I’ve not had that at all. Apparently I’ve had enough time to trust that feeling of being held and supported, and it’s allowed me to make a choice over the last week or so.

I am not patching up and going back to normal. I am instead sitting with the depression and letting it run, and letting myself look at all the things underpinning it. I’m finding I can think things that literally were not ever, at any previous point in my life available to me as thoughts. These are not easy thoughts to explore, and the implications on a personal level are vast. It is going to be a long, challenging walk through a dark place.

Mostly I’m not going to be talking about it while making the journey, because I need to focus on doing it for me, and not yet processing it into something anyone else might use. Hopefully later, when the path is walked, I’ll be able to say things about it.

I need an entirely different reality and a new story, and I have to create something that has not been in my life before, think things that were previously unthinkable, and let go of understandings that have defined my sense of self for my whole life. This is probably going to be slow and messy, but I am working out how to ask for help and support where it makes sense to do that, and for the first time in my life it is feasible to walk into the heart of my own darkness and not have it kill me.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

14 responses to “On a dark journey

  • angharadlois

    That is so brave, and so inspiring. I will be thinking of you.

    “Courage, dear heart” xx

  • witchinsuburbia

    Even with meds, I have times when this happens to me. It does run it’s course, but the journey through it is dark. It helps me to think about the Fool in the Rider-Waite Tarot; he’s walking into an abyss, but the day is beautiful and the sun brings hope.

    Pulling one’s self out of the abyss means a chance to start anew, with a fresh perspective or determination. Finding the points of light in a very dark and frightening tunnel. Climbing out stronger, wiser and more capable than you were before.

    Keeping that in mind helps me fight through it. I hope it helps you too. {{{{BIG HUG}}}}

  • landisvance

    Holding you in love and light.

  • Turtle

    Wishing you peace and healing.

  • dawnmedus

    Wishing you well on this journey x

  • Lea

    Wishing you lights along the path ahead. And, for your sake, I look forward to the day you’re able to talk really of those dark places within yourself.

    I was abused as a child. I turn thirty this year. I’ve only been able to talk about it, and to say and believe things like I am beautiful and worthy of love, for less than a year.

    Give yourself time. Those that care about you aren’t in a hurry, and those who expect you to hurry and worth you.

  • inanna

    hi nimue. i don’t want to hijack your post with tales of my own depression, but i would like to offer some perspectives i think you might find useful. is your email on this blog?

  • Arwydd

    I wish you safe travels through these thoughts and feelings.

  • Viviane

    You will get there, piece by piece. Flood or no. I wish for you to reach the place you want to be at and be well.
    Don’t forget to give yourself a break every so often too though.

    I am facing a similar decision and have started looking inside. Too many times I thought I’d tackled something but really just hid it again after scratching a little waiting for the next time it all hit. Let’s break through and remember that we do have support.

  • crychydd

    I hope you find your right relationship with the shadow.

  • john

    Nimue, take care, we value you. These words are not sufficient but you are valued and wanted by all who know you and read you. You are a good person. Please know that. John

  • Alison Clayton-Smith (@alisoncs)

    In a fascinating book about the Borderland personality http://www.borderlanders.com I was almost thrown off my feet by something Bernstein said. That those who have experienced trauma need to find their origin story.

  • Terry

    Blessing and Safe Guidance on your journey.

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