I open my eyes and all around me is darkness. Darkness and silence. A shiver runs up my spine.
My sense of smell is assaulted by an acrid burnt sensation that stings my nose and the back of my throat. I gag slightly.
However, after a brief moment even that sense is deprived me as the smell becomes normalised and I no longer notice it. Have you ever experienced that sensation? You notice a foul smell but after a while the smell seems to go away, although deep down you know it hasn’t really gone away, it’s just that your brain no longer pays attention to it. The smell becomes ‘normal’ and as such seemingly disappears.
I think these thoughts as the acrid burnt smell likewise disappears leaving me with nothing. All is dark and silent and another thought occurs to me.
What if my inability to see or hear are also simply a result of my brain normalising my surroundings. My brain pays no more attention to the foul smelling air, is it similarly paying no more attention to visible light or to audible sound?
Perhaps the sights and the sounds of my surroundings are just as noxious to my brain as the foul smelling air, so my brain has decided to ignore them, to blank them out. So now I am left with nothing, assuming that one can call a black, silent void nothing.
It was then that I realised that the demon had returned. I took a deep haggard breath and screamed as loudly and as violently as I could trying with my voice to tear asunder the fabric of the darkness. But my screams fell upon deaf ears. Darkness, silence, void. That was now my reality.
I flayed my arms and legs about like a palsied marionette. The darkness grew seemingly heavier, as if it was trying to hold me tighter in its grip, refusing to relinquish its power over me. So tight was its grip that it felt like I was suspended in thick tar. My flaying body grew exhausted and my mind in an attempt to ‘normalise’ my environment, or perhaps to ‘anaesthetize’ my pain put me to sleep.
Minutes, hours, days, weeks went by as I lay trapped and asleep within the black tar. Any moments of wakefulness seemed as if a dream. But not a lucid dream which I could exhibit some form of control. No, the dreams were such where the exact opposite was true. Instinctively my brain convinced me within the dream that I had absolutely no control. So it was that the moments of wakefulness seemed as if I had simply floated to the surface of the deep dark sea. But always the surface of the dark waters pitched and rolled with menacing violence.
I soon learned to shun those wakeful moments. The pain, the violence, the fear were all too much for my sensory deprived body to bare. In those moments I begged my brain to return me to sleep, to the sweet oblivion of nothingness. Fortunately my brain was only too happy to oblige. The void became my universe.
Weeks turned into months, but time meant nothing within the darkness and silence. In earlier times this would have driven me to even deeper panic and despair. But having swam these waters before I could sense their familiarity. A kernel of truth stayed with me during this time. Once more I kicked towards the surface of the dark waters. Once more I was assailed by violence. But this time I let it be, I accepted the dark lashes of the wind and the rain as the waves of darkness tried once more to force me under. I surrendered to them and once I did I felt an immediate weakening of their powers.
That kernel of truth reminded me that the torrent that assailed me was also transporting me. The void was not a void at all. It was a vessel and I was its passenger and together we journeyed until my journey was complete. I began to relax even further. Even though the darkness still prevailed I knew that it would not do so forever, I just had to be patient.
I wonder now as I continue to float in the darkness what I will discover when this phase of my journey is concluded. Patience can be a difficult thing I remind myself. I only hope that the ones I love throughout the universe of my consciousness also find patience for me in their hearts.
The first rays of a new dawn are beginning to glow above the horizon. I sense, even though I can not yet see it, that a welcoming shoreline awaits for me. I sense that soon the radiance of a new day will shine forth as I reach this shore. I wonder who will be waiting for me. I hope you are, I do so miss your smiling face and your shining eyes.
With the deepest of love for anyone who struggles with depression, anxiety or bi-polar; you have my heart.