PTSD

Coming Back From the “Dark Place”

Hello beautiful humans!

First things first.

Is it too late to say sorry now? (Que Justin Beiber’s song.)

I. Am. So. Sorry!

I know it has been months since my last post which I left hanging on a very elusive cliffhanger after making the decision to seek help when I fell into a bad depressive episode again, or what I have now officially dubbed as “the Dark Place.”

“Thanks a lot, Amanda! Way to keep us updated!”

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Mostly I can find solace in my writing, because through the course of my journey, writing has been the one thing that has kept me grounded ever since I was first diagnosed. However, sometimes even I cannot find the light at the end of the tunnel. Even I can’t fight the haze that my mind casts over me.

Sometimes when the Dark Place wins, my words vanish, as do my creative genius.

Which is why I haven’t posted in quite some time now. Many times I have sat down in front of my mac and just stared at a blank screen, my eyes blurring after focusing on the “Start typing here…” text that flashed in front of me of the still empty blog post page.

But the words didn’t come.

And when the words don’t come, I feel completely useless. When writing fails, I know I am truly struggling. Not because I am lazy, not because I am busy and I don’t feel like writing, but because my anxiety and depression beat me down to the point where I can’t help but think, “What’s the point?”

What is the point? It’s not like I’m a famous author who is successful. My blog fan-base is small in numbers. At the end of the day, who really gives a crap about my little blog in the vast compass that is our world wide web. Who gives a shit about my opinions about mental health? Or my story? Who actually wants to listen to what I have to say? What worth does my opinion have? Is it worth a damn?

See?

The Dark Place does win sometimes.

It breathes down my spine, lingering in the dark, making snarky comments and mocking me at my own expense; ridiculing me to the point that the lies become thought and thought becomes my version of truth. When my self-confidence is crippled, the Dark Place wins.

And boy, it has claimed the score board over these last few months. If this was Deadpool, I bet everyone at Sister Margaret’s was betting on me to lose. I was in favour to die.

So I didn’t write. I let the lies feed my anxiety, kill my mood, figuratively break my bones, leave me crippled and bent. So, I just drowned myself at work, doing anything and everything to distract myself from the emptiness I was feeling.

Was I getting help? Yes. Was I trying to get better? Hell yes. Did I have support? Of course. Was I trying to talk it out? Sometimes.

Is the road to recovery always full of smiles and optimism? Fuck no!

Night gets darkest right before dawn, and I was stuck permanently in that hour of darkness, before wisps of pale blues would creep along the horizon, signalling a new day. But there was no new day. The sun didn’t rise. I was clouded by darkness, blindsided and confused, grabbing aimlessly into the murky haze that was my self-deception.

The Dark Place wins sometimes.

And during my road to recovery, I was also facing some major personal and professional choices in my life. Decisions that required a lot of thought and planning and tough decision-making. Things that require a sound mind; Something I lack sometimes when I am living in a state of unknown.

And because of these conflicting feelings, the anxiety creeped in and filled my head with a lot of self-doubt and self-disappointment.

You’re a failure, Amanda. You’re almost 25 years old and what do you have to show for it? You went to university for six years and you’re not even using your degrees. Those two pieces of paper on your wall don’t mean shit. And you’re throwing them away on what? Waiting tables at a restaurant? So much for living the dream. Congratulations, Amanda. You one royal grade-a fuck up.

See?

The Dark Place wins sometimes.

Flashback to about two weeks ago, as I sat moping on my couch, binge watching Netflix and wallowing in my self-created agony, I was re-watching Tangled for the hundredth time (because sometimes Disney movies do make me feel better) and I had a sudden surge as I watched the scene where Flynn Rider and Rapunzel are waiting for the floating lights:

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You get to go find a new dream.

A new dream.

Because that’s the good thing about dreams, isn’t it? Even after you fulfill one, you get to create new ones.

And I suddenly felt a tidal wave of confidence, feeling that glimmer of hope spark in my chest, casting bright and vibrant waves through the murky haze, sending the darkness into a retreat.

I get to create new dreams.

So to the Dark Place, you claimed the highest bets on the dead pool for the last few months, but you’re going to head into a new losing streak. You’re not going to win this time.

Because me? I’m gonna fight back. I’m gonna hold my ground. I finally feel strong enough to stand up tall and be proud of the decisions I have come too.

Yeah, I have two degrees. Are they wasted? No, because they were my dreams at the time. They were dreams that made me happy for a while but as a human, as someone who is constantly growing and changing, they are dreams that I realized I don’t want today, dreams that no longer give me the joy they once did. They were dreams that didn’t slowly die, but dreams that came to a beautiful closure.

But that’s the good part I guess, right?

Because now I get to go find a new dream.

And I finally found it.

I’m meant to be a writer. I’m meant to share my stories and write novels and fall in love with the characters I create and the worlds I bring to life. I have finally realized that this has been my dream all along. This is where I’m meant to be.

(Besides fighting the good fight against my mental illness, right?)

Sure the future is unknown, holding so much uncertainty, but it’s not bleak or filled with despair. I have to at least try. Because if I don’t invest myself, truly give it my all, chase it to the end, I will be filled with regrets.

And really, having a published novel that might be a commercial flop (or gets outright rejected) is better than living with the regret of not getting published in the first place.

So to the Dark Place, I’m placing my bets on you that you’re gonna lose. And I’m gonna score big.

Just you wait and see.

Because I’m chasing a new dream. I’m doing something that is finally bringing me joy, something I haven’t felt in a very long time.

I’m chasing a new dream. And even though it won’t be easy and I have months ahead filled with “What the Hell am I doing?” moments, I know this is where I need to me in my life right now. This is what I need to do. This is what I was meant to do all along.

Just you wait and see.

My new dream will shine so bright.

 

And as always,

Fight the good fight.

-Amanda xo

 

 

1 thought on “Coming Back From the “Dark Place””

  1. You will win Amanda!! I have all the confidence in your determination!! You are strong!! Look at what you have already over come! yes sometimes you stumble & fall hard but you always pick yourself up. Sometimes it with more help then others but you keep going, and for that I’m truly grateful & proud to say you are a part of me! My sweet Mandie!
    Love you always, Mom xo

    Like

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