We all know that feeling when the spiral turns. Where what was once up is now down. What was down is now up. And having no clue how you got there.
Dark night of the Soul
This is a term you hear again and again. But what does it actually mean?
It’s different for each person and depends wholly on what you go through and come out the other side of.
I’ve had 3 that I know of and can recall in vivid detail.
The last of which was almost exactly 4 years to the day.
For me the dark night of the soul is when everything falls apart at the same time and the feeling of not being able to cope closes in. Or a clusterf*ck of things failing all at the same time. When the spiral turns and you find yourself at the very bottom of it clinging on for dear life. Without a clue or a safety net to help you back up again.
“Why are you bringing this up now?”
Because I am seeing and observing many lovely folks going through there own version of the spiral tipping upside down. It’s hard to observe and not be able to help beyond holding space. But as someone who came through her’s I’d like to explain why just being there for someone is so important.
We aren’t looking for you to fix things we’re just looking for support and a safe space when everything else feels like pure chaos.
I have spoken of this a fair few times but lets be truly honest and open.
4 years ago I had a complete mental breakdown.
It was messy, it was brutal and it shook my life upside down.
This was my third bout of clinical depression since 2002. And it was the worst by a long shot. It came with full paranoia which does a number on you that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
But I was finally paying attention. I was in a job for 16 years that was making me deeply unhappy and pulling me off course. I was actually following my fathers footsteps. Sounds innocuous doesn’t it? Well no, I had the realisation THIS year the I was following his exact pattern and that if I hand’t stepped out I may not have been here for much longer. I am not overstating this. He passed young, from stress. I broke that pattern well and truly. It wasn’t mine to follow hence why it was making me so ill.
It took my team 3 attempts to get the message across and I know I wouldn’t have been given a 4th if I’d ignored this one.
My life was being pulled in two polar opposite directions and the physical “me” couldn’t cope with the huge gap between them. I had to be forced to make a choice, stay and become ill. Or leave and fix myself.
I took a scary leap of faith and took the latter option.
I know but I am proof it CAN be done – scary or otherwise.
Without that leap I would have stayed right where I was and who knows what state I would be in now.
But that’s the point I don’t have to wonder or think about it as I changed the script. I reached my rock bottom and while parts are extremely hazy it had to be done.
It took me a good 6 months of rest, daily exercise, remembering to eat and finally starting to sleep again before I emerged from my stupor. Before I started to feel less shaky, less anxious, less paranoid. More myself and able to breathe again.
I started to have all sorts of realisations of what was going on. As it wasn’t JUST the job that was going sideways. I had some people in my life who were the absolute wrong vibration and had to go. I had to cut all ties and work solid for over a year to reverse a whole host of crap out of my system and out of my energies.
But it made me stronger.
I was able to start my own business in 2014 and I’m still here. In a slightly different form to when I tentatively launched myself *wry smile*
It made me able to do what I now do for others. Without that experience I would have no empathy for the people who seek me out or find me.
And I’ve made my peace with that. It took a while but I got here.
And if I can do it ANYONE can.
Here’s the important bit. I had a few people in my life who stepped up.
Who fully supported me through it , who were there when I needed to offload and were there when I needed a boot applied to my arse.
Without them I wouldn’t have gotten so far so fast. They are still very much in my life now and we still support each other.
That list has grown somewhat over 4 years but it’s strong.
I found my tribe and it shifts as I do. And I’m cool with that.
I am now in a position where I can be that person for others. To hold safe protected space to let them be honest with themselves. To fall apart if need be and know I have their back with zero judgement. I have no possible way of understanding exactly what they are going through only that they are.
For me to be empathetic but not take their stuff on for them as it serves no-one to do that. Holding space does not mean absorbing others issues, pain, challenges or lessons. We do our own work in our own way. Give people the space and respect to do so.
Work in Progress
I’m still doing my work. Working with my shadow aspect and having realisations all over the place. I am a work in progress and always will be as I learn and remember aspects of who I am and who I will become.
That’s the trick right there. When you find yourself at the bottom of that spiral it can shake everything apart.
It’s your job to put yourself back together – possibly in a completely different pattern.
I am a radically different person to who I was 4 years ago. And it’s a bloody good thing as I was a shell, a whisper of myself.
Now I’m standing fully in who I am , what I work with and what I do. And I have a feeling I always will be.
I am becoming who I was meant to be before I got sidelined by various circumstances and choices made via free will along the way.
The spiral always turns back up again
Remember this. It’s important.
Your spiral WILL turn back up again that’s the beauty of a spiral.
And while yours rights itself the next persons may dip down. Be there for them.
You have no idea until you’ve been through it just how important that support is or becomes. Or how you then pass it forwards.
It’s a beautiful thing when you look back on it.