Shining a Light in Dark Places

In my youth, I deeply struggled with depression. A smile and a laugh were the ultimate mask that had most people fooled, including myself.

It took several years with progressing symptoms before I was actually able to look at it, name it, and want to change it. It took a shocking event to shake me, wake me, and empower me to step into a life I truly wanted. That, and coming to an age where I could legally make my own choices.

Over a decade later, I am all-in on life. My feet are firmly rooted in my authenticity, wholeheartedness and integrity. I have learned how to say no so that I can say yes – yes to the life I truly want to live and that I continue to create.

However, as the seasons change going into winter, I begin to taste something old, familiar and unwanted – a bit like tasting blood at the back of my throat after a nosebleed. As the sun sets earlier and rises later with each passing day, a feeling of sorrow, hopelessness and isolation wants to crawl out of my shadow and take shape in the darkness of this time of year.

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Winter has come.

More than anything else, what keeps this creature at bay is connection. Connection to nature, to horses, to people, and most importantly to myself. I envision my horse heart beaming so brightly that I am fuelled to create joy. It makes up for the sun not shining.

There are many effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which I encourage everyone to check out, even if you don’t think the seasons are impacting your life. I am also aware that many suffer much more than I have – whether it be SAD, depression, or any other mental disorder.  What works for me could have little impact on others, and in no way do I minimize their struggle.

What I am doing is sharing a piece of my story, adding to the global conversations about mental health – shrinking the shame and hopefully increasing the connection.

Perhaps, if we’re lucky, my light can reach you, too.

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Shine your lights with me. 

How do you shine a light into dark places?

This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.

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9 Replies to “Shining a Light in Dark Places”

  1. Beautifully said Carmen. The shorter days and grey weather challenges me too. I’m so grateful for my horse, family and dear friends who keep me connected and grounded. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy every moment of your course!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think one of the biggest things in normalizing mental health is to talk about the fact that you have a therapist… Rather than saying you have a doctor’s appointment for example, say “I’m going to my therapist”… It’s always seen as such a shameful thing to have a therapist and I realized a long time ago that simply by mentioning it like it’s no big deal I was essentially normalizing it. Same thing with my infertility.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many have worn that Mask my dear Carmen, it is a mask that we happily can rest up in our closet most of the time and other times, we take that mask down and wear it, and its okay. I too wore that mask many times so that others would not be bothered by my problems, my worries, because sometimes we feel that we dont want to bring others to that lower level. I have to say thankfully in my case as is in Many cases, my children have been my saviour. And when the beautiful winter gloom comes….embrace it!! We are blessed to experience the beauty of snow!! Blessed to have the water falling down from our skies!! I am fortunate that I absolutely LOVE winter, possibly because I don’t fret it, i embrace it by snowshoeing, cross country skiing, used to take walks with our beloved departed dog Portnoy. And to anyone experiencing depression at any time, find someone you are comfortable talking too, wether it be a therapist or simply a friend. TALK! TALK! TALK! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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