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If you’re having dark thoughts

If you’re having dark thoughts

Now I thought where to put this section and I decided to get it in as early in the book as reasonably possible as I think this darkness can envelop us at any given point so I think exploring it in the earliest instance feels more appropriate.

Dark thoughts I see as entering a dark wood and the dark wood is the place you find yourself in when your desperation knows no bounds and the thought of suicide is a fantasy promising relief from not only your pain but a quick exit out of the maze of despair you’re spending your days lost in.

I’ve know people who have committed suicide but one very close friend took his own life and it hurt me so much it literally felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest and as  I write this tears fill my eyes and my stomach sits in knots.

The thought that I will never see him again, that I will never hear his voice again leaves me in a complete state of despair and even over three years later it is still hurts like it happened yesterday.

When exploring my pain I’ve come to understand why it hurts so much, it hurts because I know exactly how he must’ve felt and I know how desperate he must’ve been to actually go through with it.

We can all dance with the idea at low times but to actually tie the rope around your own neck and end your own life is an act that requires a person to really be void of all faith and hope and that’s what saddens me the most.

Suicide is a terminal solution to an often temporary problem that there’s no coming back from, not just for the person committing the action but for those who are left to deal with it. 

In this particular case of my friend he was on medication for severe depression and I know in the last few months of his life it had a very detrimental affect on his ability to rationalise reality.  

I miss his spirit, his determination, his humour, his compassion, his kindness and most of all his presence, when he left this world it was like a big light went off in town where we both lived, he brought so much and yet took it all away when he left us and for that I will always have an incredibly heavy heart.

You may think , why do I care I will be dead and that’s got to be easier than feeling how I feel now and you’re absolutely right it will be easier, you’ll feel nothing ever again and however everyone you leave behind that was close to you will feel pain and heartache for the rest of their lives as a result of your actions.

Is that supposed to make you feel guilty, no, its just trying to gain some perspective, is there nothing or no one in your life that its worth fighting for? and that’s what’s needed, a fight out of this dark and terrifying wood you find yourself in. if the answer to that is NO then you need to read on to the next section “you just need to survive” which is all about learning to take some very small steps each day, you will find your way out along as you commit to the action of fighting rather than the action of suicide.

I’ve had a lot of suicidal energy in my lifetime and at times its felt like an attractive solution to the otherwise insurmountable problems life seems to throw at us but for me the one thing that’s always stopped me from indulging these fantasies of relief is the impact on those who are left to pick up the pieces.

Do they deserve to have their lives totally destroyed by my actions and my resolution has always been NO.

I’m forever grateful that on a conscious level I have been able to rationalise my thoughts when confronted with the darkness, I’ve always allowed myself to consider these thoughts and as soon as I do the thought actually start to dissipate, maybe not immediately and maybe not to any great degree but certainly enough for me to see that there is a future worth fighting for.

If I’d have committed to the action of suicide on the many times that I danced with it  I wouldn’t have written this book, enjoyed seeing my children grown up into wonderful young adults, spent hours laughing with family and friends, enjoyed my gorgeous little dogs, had all the fun times I’ve had.

I  shudder to think I could’ve missed all of that and I almost catch my breath as I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the fact that I didn’t commit to the action of suicide when it sat on my shoulder and taunted me promising an eternity of peace.

In playing literally the devils advocate I have to admit that I wouldn’t have experienced any of the lows that I’ve experienced over the last 15 years either if I had of checked out of this life on any of these occasions but when I weigh it all up the positive experiences in my life are worth every moment I’ve ever spent in the dark wood.

I now fully accept that I am truly worthy of all that’s good in the world and I want to live my life to the fullest in the time that I have on this earth, if on the way there are bumps or boulders in the road then I’ll deal with them, I’ve come to realise life really isn’t a fairytale with a guaranteed happy ending, even cinders did her fair share of housework and sleeping beauty was asleep for the largest part of her life so nothing is perfect all of the time.

So what do you do, you’ll not get out of this wood by this thought process alone, you need to accept this is how you feel at this given point in time but also accept that its not necessary not to respond to these thoughts with any terminal action, you must try and retain faith that you’ll get out of this dark place and have acceptance that it may take you a while.

When you're in a dark place you can’t fake positivity, when your feel desperate you’re not thinking rationally so don’t expect to be able to just banish these thoughts, try and welcome them, accept them, integrate them.

Its ok to Identify that you want to die and that you think it will be easier to just not be here, acknowledge this emotion and desire to end things, feel that pain, despair, desperation and feel it fully but allow yourself to do this only on the condition that you will not commit to the action of suicide.

Don’t be afraid of these emotions, just become familiar with them like you are with anger, jealousy, rage, frustration, joy, happiness and see them for what they are, an emotion that creates a thought but doesn’t necessarily require an action. 

You don’t need to celebrate every emotion you experience with taking relevant action, sometimes it enough to just feel it.

I feel happy sitting her doing nothing, I don’t need to string out bunting and make a big announcement , I’m just going to sit with feeling happy, its the same for dark thoughts, you can sit with them and experience them without having to go off and do anything about it- all emotions pass if you just let them be.

Everyone in this world has time in the dark wood, it could be as a result of a relationship breakdown, the death of someone close, the diagnosis of an illness, a physical assault, the loss of a job, the list really does go on and people every minute of every day are being led into the dark wood as a result of experiencing tragic events and circumstances in their lives.

Its not just you that’s in there and everyone who is in this wood together trying to find a way out and for the most part people do get out because they believe they will, they have faith and they commit to fighting, they commit to finding a way out.

So take a deep breath, accept you're in a shit place, probably the worst you’ve ever been in, recognise you need to get out and its going to be tough but know that if you commit to fight you’ll get out and the opportunity to create a positive life will be your reward because if you can fight this you can fight anything.

You will be stronger and have more faith in your own ability to survive both the positive and negative influences that are an integral and necessary part of all of our lives.

Even if you’re not considering or dancing with the idea of suicide you may be stuck in a very dark place that you don’t know how to break free from, it can be overwhelming and the darkness can be suffocating and intense, I always think its like waking up from a hideous nightmare only to realise it is your actual life and not a nightmare at all, its a place of boundless misery and believe me I know that feeling, gut wrenching misery is disgusting.

Life can be cruel, wonderful, painful, fun, sad, happy, difficult, easy, it can and will be all of those things at some point, one thing you can guarantee is that it never stays the same, its always changing, just like the natural rhythms in nature, everything in life has a cycle… You’re going through the icy dark windy cold winter  of yours but it will soon followed by the birth of spring, try to accept this period of things being utterly crap having faith that it can’t remain the same.

What if you don’t want to get out of the wood ?

I hear you and I understand that being where you are is utterly exhausting but I hoping that if you’re reading this book then at some point you had the intention to find your way out ?

All I will say to you is that give yourself some time, time when you commit to nothing- please read on to “you just need to survive” and please just stay there for as long as you need to and please tell someone something about how you’re feeling, if you can’t talk to someone in person then the samaritans are an invaluable source you can make contact with.

Samaritans helpline 116 123 free to call or email which are both completely anonymous