“So your days were bright and your nights were dark where they Kev?” I hear you asking. “And you thought that so unusual you would write about it?” Some of you might be wondering if I am going into another episode? But it is ok I am not really going into another episode as far as I can tell – not that I always get warnings of them coming on.
Actually when I say “bright days and dark nights” I am not talking about physical light (or the absence of it) of at all but about emotional and mental light or brightness.
Sadly it seems to be a feature of my mental health that my days in general tend to be better than my nights. I am speaking about those times outside of any major episodes in which case everything seems to go to haywire of course.
This week has been a great week for me in terms of days. Despite my still having this darn flu which just won’t seem to go away and leave me alone! I spent a huge amount of it on Skype chatting with my family in the States and that is so important and such a blessing to me.
Family is, as I say, so important to me and so getting to spend time chatting and catching up and having bible studies together means so much to me and I find really beneficial to my mental health. Of course living in a completely different country to my family makes it difficult but not impossible thanks to the internet.
Additionally some of the items I have been waiting to be delivered actually came this week and came very quickly which is another blessing.NOt being very mobile myself means I do a great deal of shopping online and additionally I live in a small town in the south of Ireland and we don’t have the most varied selection of shops here.
Another very real blessing was that two dear friends of mine (who have not been very well for such a long time) were well enough to come visit and we went out for a meal together. Again this is so important to me and I really have been so very worried about them lately.
I was also, if I am honest, a little worried that I had upset them somehow. Paranoia does that to you doesn’t it? When folk stop talking or visiting for a while your mind can start putting forth all sorts of scenarios and reasons why – even when you have already been told the reason why.
So my days, as I said, have been bright and I have even been able to start writing again which I am tremendously pleased about as it demonstrates a real improvement in my memory and focus.
But the nights are a different thing altogether.
Perhaps it is because there are less things to distract my mind at night or possibly, actually quite probably, the fact that at night you are meant to sleep and I find sleep so very difficult most of the time. Other people are of course sleeping at that time and so there are less folk available with whom to have conversations and in some ways that seems to add to the situation for me.
Even when I am able to sleep, which is not very often sadly, sleep comes in dribs and drabs broken by nightmares and the such, which doesn’t help with the old energy levels and can of course have a tragic effect on my days.
Nighttime is also the playground of my imagination and of my paranoia and of my fears.
For now, in adulthood, they have moved from there and taken up residency in my head instead. In there they are ever more present and ever more powerful and they find confidence and presence in the dark.
And yet even in the dark times there is hope. I just need to hold onto that hope and I know it.
For what is darkness except for the absence of light? So into the darkness a little light must fall. Isn’t that the hope that so many of us who experience depression hold onto? The goal towards which we often strive? That in our darkest hours we will find that glimmer of hope, that small candle flame of reason, beckoning us towards the light and release and freedom?
Perhaps I am approaching another episode? Certainly I am physically so very tired – this flu has and is doing a number on me that is for sure. Certainly there is often a direct link between our physical health and our mental health it seems and indeed between those and our spiritual health.
Time will no doubt tell, in respect of any impending episode. But as I look out my study window I see beautiful sunshine and I am able to put aside these thoughts of the dark at least until that sunshine calls it a day.