Finding a Light in a Dark Time

It’s only Tuesday, but I can already chalk this week up to being one to forget. There’s plenty to worry about in the world but truthfully, that wasn’t what got to me (this time). Obviously, we all have our own approaches when facing tough situations and times of crisis, and what I’m learning is that not everyone handles it the same way. While most of it is for the best, some of it is…not. And dealing with those people – whether they’re friends, family, co-workers or classmates – can be frustrating.

But I knew I had to snap out of it. I knew I couldn’t let myself be too pessimistic right now. This isn’t because it would be wrong to do so, but because I’m not mentally strong enough right now to handle that. And I don’t think I’m alone there.

Tens of millions of adults deal with depression and anxiety on a yearly basis in the United States alone. Regardless of what triggers them, mental health disorders and other forms of mental illness influence how we approach these rough situations. And while everyone handles them differently, we have to figure out how to utilize what people might see as ‘weaknesses’ and turn them into strengths.

I, for instance, have to convince myself to be positive and try to be as helpful to others as I possibly can be. While it’s partly because I want to do these things, it’s also a form of self-preservation. If I can work to be a source of help to others, I’m continuing to add value to my self-worth. And since a lack of self-love and self-worth is a key symptom of depression, I’m being active as I face off against depression every day. It won’t work every day, but even by working hard, I’m minimizing the impact as best as I can – and some days that will be enough.

Sometimes when I’m writing these posts I feel like I’m either rambling or talking around the point that I want to make. I’m sure I’ve done that here, but it’s not always easy to be succinct when you’re talking about what’s going on in your brain because there’s SO much to sort through. But in times like these, we need to find ways to keep going mentally, and we need to be creative about it.

We need to know if we can have that mental breakdown right now, or if we need to be in a different space to have that time to ourselves. We need to protect ourselves in ways that aren’t destructive or unhealthy. We need to keep punching back at the darkness so that a shrivel of light can slip through. And we need to check in with people who might be in the same boat as us because we all need it.

I’m going to continue to be as optimistic as possible because, to be honest, I don’t know if I’m able to do anything else. Some days will be better than others. In my current case, some weeks will be better than others. It might be enough one day and not enough the next. I’ll need to take a break every now and then, but that’s okay. We have to continue to fight any way we can. Honestly, do we have any other choice?

Desmond Tutu


One thought on “Finding a Light in a Dark Time

  1. I feel your pain Nathan, I think lots of us are having the same thoughts. Feeling useless is the worst one for me. Since I was medically retired in 2011, I feel worthless in that I don’t feel I’m contributing to society! My sons’ always remind me of self-compassion when I feel like this.

    So, I happy as I applied and have been approved to be a telephone support for some of the more vulnerable, like the elderly. I can choose days I want to do this (or not) so hopefully, I’ll get some good days, free from pain and mental health issues 🙂

    I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m giving it ago.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s