Finding My Balance In The Dark

The Universe demands balance in all things. This is both a blessing and a curse.

On clear summer nights I want to sit outside for hours and stargaze, but if I did that, my blood would be drained by the billions of mosquitoes pounding themselves silly against my windows waiting for me to take my blood to them.

In the winter it is so beautiful in this part of Ontario, Canada that I want to be outside walking in it, breathing it in. But if I did that, my lungs would freeze and I would become a meat popsicle.

I nit pick. I know not all winter days are so cold, but it is true about the mosquitoes.

When I was diagnosed with clinical depression I began to take medications to rebalance  the chemicals in my brain and I started to attend psychotherapy sessions to get myself well again. But I was changed. My carefully constructed persona of happy Kathy, funny Kathy, devil may care Kathy, no fear Kathy came crashing down around me. I had to find myself again from the ground up.

And while the process was aimed at ultimately making me a better, stronger person, my life would never be the same because I was now a person with a mental illness.

When I went home to visit my family for the first time after the diagnosis it was very quiet. I can laugh about it now, well, quietly chuckle to myself is more like it.

My family was used to me striding in the door with a case of beer, a laugh and a “let’s get this party started,” attitude. Instead, this visit saw me come quietly through the door, I still had the case of beer, but there was no smile and no party and I couldn’t force out a laugh no matter how hard I tried.

I couldn’t do casual banter. I couldn’t joke. I had lost my ready laughter. And my poor family didn’t know what to do. They laughed less, they joked less, they talked less. I can’t blame them. It was like a stranger had come to visit. I felt so bad. I wanted to make a joke to lighten the mood, I could see the strain on all of them, but I just couldn’t.

And when I finally got sober years later it was another extreme change in me and in my relationship with my family. I had, on the one hand, gotten back my party spirit, and my family always loved a party, but they didn’t know how bad my drinking had become. I’d hidden a lot of it from them. They knew I had a problem though.

They were all so supportive when I finally quit. But at first they didn’t know how to behave around me at our gatherings. They’d be breaking out the beer and wine and would stop and look at me, like maybe they shouldn’t be doing what they were doing. I did laugh then, silly people. I told them to feel free to drink just not to offer me any.

Still, I leave family dinners earlier than I used to. I’ve lost some of the old connections I used to have with these people and they can’t really be replaced because no one can relate to my recovery which is such a huge part of my lfie, my mindset, my character.

As for the depression, well, most of my family members actually suffer from depression from one extreme or another, but not  many want to talk about it. I have had some really nice chats with my mother over the past couple of years though, sharing our darkness, supporting each other, laughing at our demons.

Sometimes I miss the old me. She was fearless and crazy. She was wild and funny and free. But ultimately, she wasn’t real and that made her fragile and it was inevitable that one day she’d shatter.

I can still be funny. Downright witty at times. And I have developed a deep connection with my spirituality – with my awareness that I am connected to all things and all things are connected to me. It gives me such peace and strength to know this.

Of course my disease(s) mean I have bad days, dark days, days where I want to end my life because it seems to mean so little in the grand scheme of things. But I always seem to come back from the edge of that cliff. Mostly because of my daughter. I look at her and suddenly my life has meaning again.

The Universe has given me her, offsetting all the pain, all the darkness I have been through. This is when the balance inherent in my existence is such a blessing.

When things start getting out of hand in my life I have to take the time to try and find out what is out of balance.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the dark, you are not alone. My personal experience is that the darkness will end and light will come. I wish you well.

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