I’m reminded of the words of CS Lewis who, in ‘Surprised by Joy’, wrote “The pain then is part of the pleasure now”. Applying this to myself, I surmise that the ‘demons’ of insecurity in my artistry that I face each and every day should hopefully contribute to a pleasurable end result in my music and poetry.
It’s a sad fact that, when I’m in the murky alcoves of my mind, any well meaning thoughts or kind words are powerless to penetrate the singularity of my darkness … but I have found that writing music and poetry has become a creative outworking and solace to my rambling mind.
From the depths of despair, the darkest of dark corners, at the end of my tether or simply just feeling low; I’m starting to understand these two truths: 1) I am not alone, and 2) It’s OK. So there are others that experience something like this also, and if others don’t, they probably know of someone who does. In their struggle to understand, they may still offer some kind words, whether they penetrate or not.
I am no expert, but I have lived a very long time with depression and it can often be a lonely place. A place where truth can be withheld. So with deep compassion and some understanding, I want to declare ‘It’s OK!’. Whatever you’re going through, it’s OK to be you.
Everything but the kitchen sink
In years gone by, I’ve tried it all; I’ve read books, used exercise to manage my symptoms, taken prescribed medicine, dug deep into the realm of nutrition for relief from my own challenges and a whole host of other things (some not so helpful). At different times, different things have worked for a season but, inevitably, I’ve not managed to beat this thing called depression. I know from my experiences the internal thoughts that go round in my head when I am down take me on a way, way journey to hell. I’ve concluded that I may not know how to do things but I’ve certainly learnt a lot about how ‘not’ to do things.
You too may have experimented with many of these ’solutions’ in an attempt to overcome this darkness within. I have yet to find a one-size-fits-all answer. Often my creative writing allows me to express things which would otherwise be unacceptable to state in society as a whole. Another place of solace for me has been in climbing mountains alone. I’m not sure whether putting myself in highly dangerous situations helps me to refocus my mind, but for me there’s something about the challenge that resonates.
Depression is a rapidly growing epidemic and the cause of many people ending their lives every day. People can be so quick to generalise and say damning things, but what do they know of the reality of being you? We can’t pretend that our journeys are the same or that the things that have helped me will be of any use to you. But, from the depths of my heart as I share my stories, I hope I might offer that little bit of understanding or hope in that moment. Together, maybe we might try to accept that it’s OK … whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re experiencing, whatever it is people think, whatever you’re contemplating … it’s OK and it doesn’t make you any less of a person.
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