Goodbye Darkness, my Old Friend

Let me start this with, grief and sadness are assholes.  They come in and just take over everything, not giving a shit.  The real question is- how do you stay afloat when they arrive?  How do you say goodbye to the darkness?

I have been going through my own personal darkness and it has reached an apex, if you will.  Quite frankly, it’s been hard to get through.  Probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done to this day.

While it may be vague, it’s because I am just not ready to share the interpersonal details with the public yet.  Those around me know what has been going on and they have seen me in my darkness, my sadness.

I typically consider myself a pretty strong person, but this series of events, they definitely broke me.  So how does one pull themselves out?  How does one come out stronger from the events that are meant to tear them apart?

It’s not easy.  Honestly, it has taken years of being put into many austere events that I have learned how to cope in the darkest of moments.  I write this in hopes that it may help you if you are going through something of the not-so-great variety.

First off, take a knee.  I know everyone in this community hates that, but it’s true, and it is something that I have recommended previously.  You are absolutely no good to ANYONE if you are not okay.  So take your moment, refuckinggroup, and drive on.

Next, my best advice is find anyone to talk to and provide an outlet.  Even if you feel isolated or that you have no one, there are a multitude of ways you can speak to an outside source.  Chaplains if you are religious, Military OneSource will provide free counseling sessions, the VA (as horrible as it is), and so many more.  The resources are there, find one and just talk.

Let it out.  Even if you think that person doesn’t understand, chances are it will make you feel  better to just tell someone something about what is going on with you.  You are not alone.  I know it can feel that way when sadness and anxiety grip you, but you are not.

I can also say, it’s okay to not be okay around people.  We are human and our fellow humans appreciate when they see that come from us.  It makes us all feel… well, human.

Lastly, and most honestly, find an outlet.  A physical outlet.  It does not have to be the gym!  I just spent a lot of my off time for the last few months wreaking havoc on my house, cleaning, decluttering, organizing, as I have gone through all of this.

I have also been known to mow the lawn, walk around the grocery store for over an hour, and anything else I felt I could do almost mindlessly.  I didn’t just sit at home being sad and depressed.  That just sucks you into an even deeper black hole.

Usually people find it helpful to focus on outside tasks.  (I am sure there is some form of psychology that goes along with some of this, but I am not a medical professional.)  I am only a person who has gone through her fair share of hurt, anger, upset, sadness, and other arrays of emotions.

You will see me back at work Monday, smiling, and ready to take on life again.  It’s not because I am not still hurting, but because I know that I have to keep moving to move forward.  If you sit and dwell on all of the sadness and pain in life, you may as well never leave bed!

And as amazing as that kind of sounds, well, bills and adulting my friends.  They just don’t pay themselves!

What are your coping mechanisms for grief and sadness?  How do you pull yourself out of the darkness?

Know what we're sayin fam?

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21 thoughts on “Goodbye Darkness, my Old Friend”

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    Thank you so much for sharing. During my sadness and darkness, I try to remember to give myself credit for the things I am doing…even if it’s just getting out of bed!

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    Charlotte,

    Wow. A click here, and a click there, read the story on the VA committee meeting, then click … and here I land. To read … this. I don’t know what’s happening in your life, but whatever it is, I am sorry. I “get” despair. Must be why Richard Thompson is my favorite singer/songwriter.

    In any case, to answer your question, what I do is write. Since getting together with my wife Trini, in 2012, my writing gets turned into songs. There’s a famous poem by W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”. One particular phrase grabbed hold of me and would not let go: “Things Fall Apart.” So I always introduce this as an homage to Yeats.

    Best regards,
    Paul

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq1uymE4Y0s&fbclid=IwAR3VHKHXo3p358W25KSXKVTNwrP_GxXsPDaa8uEuGkQlG_oW5bqdAEKgjPg

    Things fall apart
    The howling madness in your mind
    Eclipsed only by … the desolation of your heart

    No solace can you find, the center cannot hold
    Things … fall apart.

    Night’s weighted chains
    Falling heavy down upon you
    Burdened and bound … defeated, beaten and destroyed
    Eons pass unending, the leaden dark is all.

    Things … fall apart.

    Chaos your companion, despair your only friend
    Evil in your right hand, Death crouching at your left,
    Looking on with hungry eyes, anticipating your next move.
    Unblinking stares filled with passionate intensity

    Seductive silence beckons
    Velvet darkness, promised peace

    So this is how the world ends
    A lonely flame fades out.
    Things … fall apart.
    Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.
    Things … fall apart.
    Things.
    Fall.
    Apart.

    (c) 2016

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    Well said and totally true. No one human is perfect and is 100 percent positive all the time. If we all were, our world sure would be different. Good luck with what you are dealing with and hope the best for you.

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    Believe that God has a plan for everyone. We may not know why we are going through something but it is not our job to understand. Have faith that everything happens for a reason and will work out. I’m not crazy religious, I don’t even make it to church but I still have faith that the struggle I may be going through now will lead me where I need to be. The proof is in your past and when you survived what you thought you couldn’t.

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    Your article should be good advice for anyone that is going through that ever gripping darkness that is called depression.
    As an old Vietnam veteran, I went through 15 years of therapy and that was the greatest experience in my life. Why? Because my therapy did not just take place at the Vet Center. At the Vet Center I met other Vets with similar issues that I had. The big mutha that is known as PTSD was something we all shared. Your actual experience may be different but the results were the same. For each of us we had tried to combat the effects of PTSD on our own. Some had tried drugs or alcohol or both. Some had turned to other addictions such as work or sex or anything you can think of that one can do in excess. We all had broken marriages or at least issues with the opposite sex. Whatever outlet that each of us had tried, it destroyed the rest of our lives.
    By not only sharing our stories but our everyday life and challenges we learned how to manage our PTSD.
    What I’m about to say will probably cause an uproar with therapist, but to bad, it’s not about them, it’s about us.
    We have learned that there is no magical “cure” for PTSD but there are ways we haves learned to Manage our disease. And yes, PTSD is a disease. Once you understand that you can treat and manage the disease known as PTSD, it doesn’t seem like such a mean ass monster.
    We also found non destructive ways to get release from the anxiety and pressure that living in one’s head can can cause. Personally, it’s too bad that the Military doesn’t issue each veteran a motorcycle upon return from overseas, but that’s just me. My point is that any activity that you can find to do, preferably with your fellow vets, will help you keep ahead of your depression. There is so much you can learn from your brothers and sister veterans if you just reach out.
    Come on people, you survived the most horrific time in your life so far, you can survive This.
    For me, I refuse to let this thing called PTSD Put me in my grave.
    I’m determined to Drag the Bitch in with me.
    You can do it too.

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    Took job up in KCMO, when I need to it’s a good outlet for history, art walks when I just can’t back to that CHU.
    I’ve been living in a storage unit for three years now, but I got back into college. It’s rough but someday it will be worth it.

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    Thank you.

    From personal experience I know sharing sucks. It feels wrong to admit there is something you can’t do. So many time we tell or are told to suck it up buttercup and get it done. Why should this be different?

    So, save the darkness for the humor and tasteless insults at the next recall.

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    Spirituality (not to be confused with religion) is the life preserver of HOPE that sustains me. Knowing that I am connected and plugged in with not just my family and my friends, but with all of the brothers and sisters touching my life.

    I accept that I have my flaws, my vulnerabilities and my broken aspects, and I make a daily effort to heal..

    First, I find someone to help. Do for them without any expectations of a return. It gets myself out of my own chaos and mayhem, and makes me feel of value.

    I live in faith rather than fear. I have gratitude for merely being alive, breathing and being a reasonably non-toxic human being. A higher power of some sort has had my back through horrendous times, and gives me the strength to persevere, RELENTLESSLY.

    I give encouragement to others, not just fluffy compliments. If a dumb ass like me can come this far, there is nothing that they cannot accomplish.

    I look for name tags on people working in the service industry, address them by name and thank them for their work. They often have really shitty, low paying jobs and one kind customer can turn their entire day around.

    Continuing to be of service to others gives me a purpose and a sustainable mission. To leave things just a little bit better than which I found it .

    “With all of its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world “

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    What can you say? Your hell is yours. Mine is mine. Each hell is unique and difficult for each of us.
    In the green weenie we would just “suck it up buttercup!”
    That’s the worst thing you can do.
    Find what stresses you out, try to avoid that.
    Also find a way to relive your stress.
    I get you are in a dark place and your working hard on it. But you might also want to go see a therapist to talk over some things.
    You know what I am saying. PTSD. You most likely have it…and it rears it’s ugly head and hits when your at the lowest.
    Your doing good if you can avoid self medicating.
    If I am wrong, I apologize. I am glad your recognizing and coping.
    Semper Fi brother!

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    This is an awesome read! TY for sharing.

    I’m disabled veteran status.
    So happens my issues are in my head.
    Since I’ve been out, I’ve realized civilian side isn’t entirely equiped to handle our service men and women. I also realized, regardless of new changes to the VA, yet and STILL, not everyone has access to the VA. All that said, I’m going to share out of personal experience what I was taught to do in times of distress, aka the darkness, aka the rabbit hole.

    1. Stop. Literally stop everything you’re doing and assess yourself. This is the point you realize – oh fuck I really don’t fucking feel good the fuck am I supposed to do now?

    2. Find a quite place where it’s just you. Screw the entire world find somewhere you like being ( your fav fishing spot, in the car driving, the back patio, etc)

    3. CALL THE CRISIS LINE. Or text. They don’t care. Hell you don’t have to be at your complete ends to call them. Yes they had incidents, but that doesn’t concern you and your needs in that moment of ‘oh fuck what do I do’.
    They might not be your bestie or your doc, but it’s totally free. They can give you resources you never knew to look at, and they help remind you that, you are in fact human with limits and feelings. It’s a totally a fact. Google it.

    To prove that I’m not just blowing smoke about crisis line, or talking it out with strangers – I was Security Forces. Of aaaaaaaaaaaaaall the jobs, that one was mine. I did my job to the fucking T. Am I soulless? Debatable. Am I a human being with thoughts and feelings? Yes. So I qualify to express those deeply sad/angry/dark feelings with people that made it their job to listen.

    I’ll end with this.
    Today you might not believe it, but you DESERVE to be happy.

    I genuinely hope this helps anyone.

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    Life shows up, it’s what we do with the s#!t sandwich. Sometimes I feel happier when I’m crying, but range therapy is ineffective through teary eyes. Thanks for your post, its good to know we aren’t alone! I like going to AA meetings because we figure out living strategies as a group of people who aren’t hiding behind lies. Semper fi and Carry On! God bless!

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    I gave up on getting out. I accept it and push as I need as I find acceptable. I dont worry what anyone else thinks. Accept me as I am or not, i do t care either way.

    Randy

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    It takes all of us to share and be aware. We are our brothers keepers. Keep your head up and dont just move but push forward in every way possible. Good luck !!!

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    I related soooooo much to this!!! I have to keep busy so my darkness does not consume me. Mowing the lawn, walking around stores, blowing shit up… I mean I was reading the thoughts that are in my head.

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    Wonderful Read! It is a huge help to know we are not alone in the battle to get out of the darkness of what I have deemed the absolute worst thing in the world to get through. I don’t know how many times I have felt that no one else understood why I am the way I am, why I was angry when they didn’t see a “series of events to trigger rage” at the moment, why I didn’t and don’t want to socialize with other people AT ALL… I would have thought being married to a vet he would have understood my emotions better than anyone. At first he did, a few years down the road he felt I should be past everything because he is…. well he thinks he is, it is obvious he isn’t but two people with this demon going toe to toe is ugly, I pick my battles and know for the sake of my children I need to fix myself before I can be the mom I want and need to be.

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