Sometimes my times in darkness shape me just as much as my times in the light.
Depression is like a deep sleepwalk, a fog cutting me off from seeing the world like I once used to. I can’t touch or sense things the same way. I’m trapped in a sleep/death.
Sleeping Beauty lay in a dreamless prison for a hundred years. Snow White ate a poisoned piece of fruit and lay paralyzed under glass. Persephone suffered the bowels of the earth, away from all familiarity, while the world withered above her.
And yet, none of these women slept forever. When each again saw the light, a new life opened before her. All three emerged transformed, found doors had opened to them and love that now called to them. Without this death-sleep, none would have undergone this change.
Am I transformed by depression’s grip? A dear friend of mine said that recovery from depression is life-long, because the darkness leaves a mark that never quite goes away.
I’ve found when I talk honestly and brokenly about the thoughts and fears I’ve listened to, that others steal close to me and whisper that yes, they’ve faced the same demons too. We gain courage in numbers.
I am transformed by my dark, even when held there against my will. Like the heroines of legend and story, I emerge strengthened in heart, mind, and compassion.
My heart aches for friends in similar woes, my spirit gentles toward my own limited endurance, and my stories’ characters gain the shadows and crannies that make them human.
I’m climbing out of the valley, and I know I’ll slide down several more before this life ends. But each dip is no failure; it’s a new transformation.