Here’s how to escape the darkness.
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Thinking about a dark past that is no longer present is strange.
A video popped up in my social media feed yesterday. The video was of a tall man who once helped me during a dark time. It was an ad for his event.
I watched the video and had tears in my eyes by the end. The event transported me back to 2013 when I was in that room and hearing those same words that appeared in the video. The words hadn’t changed much.
I hadn’t thought about that dark period for a long time. I couldn’t feel a connection to those weeks and months in 2013 anymore. Things were so dark when I attended that event. Life was a struggle. I didn’t feel like waking up most days and disguised that tragedy with the phrase “just sleeping in.”
Every hour during the day I felt like vomiting because of the stress. Nobody at work knew my secret or the Game of Thrones Battle taking place in my head between my heart, mind, ego, feelings and past.
Attending that event became the unlikely cure to my problems. My thinking changed over the cause of four days. I had a tiny bit of hope again. I started to care for someone other than myself. Now I seek to help others do the same.
What is a dark place?
It’s a place where you feel helpless. Where days blend into each other and time has no value. It’s a place where you don’t care too much about anything. It’s a period in your life where the world could be hurting and you don’t seem to care.
You feel like you’re numb to pain. You don’t care for the struggle of others. More, more, more… is the focus of your life. Subtraction is a game you haven’t played since you were a kid.
The #1 sign: you are wrapped in selfishness and you don’t even know it.
Here’s how to get yourself out of a dark place.
Get outside of yourself
Darkness feels like you are trapped in your head.
You feel stuck in a never-ending conversation with yourself that you can’t leave behind or take a break from. That conversation seems to occur without you knowing. You are not the speaker; you are the victim.
To get outside of yourself is to interrupt this ongoing conversation. It’s to stop feeling sorry for yourself. It takes drastic action to create change. Feeling fed up is one great strategy. Joining another human’s conversation is easier. How? Become obsessed with someone else’s problem.
Get wrapped up in their problem to escape your problem.
Leave your bedroom
Your bedroom can feel like a prison when you are in a dark place.
It’s a sacred place where you can be alone. In that quietness, loneliness can take over. Loneliness can create all sorts of destructive thought patterns that lead you to feel like it’s all your fault or the world is cruel.
As simple as it sounds, don’t get trapped in your bedroom. Look at how much time you’re spending in your bedroom outside of the eight hours sleep you need to function. Choose another room of the house to hang out in. Ideally, explore the room known as nature. Nature feels connected, not lonely.
Walk it off
2 hours a day is optimal.
When I was in a dark place I used to take late night walks. I can’t even remember why I did it other than it felt like it was helpful. These walks would cause my imagination to open up.
With imagination I was able to poke holes in the lies my head was telling me.
The longer the walks, the better I felt. One night I decided to take my old school iPod with me and listen to an audiotape. That audiotape was of a man speaking. I would eventually attend his event and hear his words face to face. His kind, yet sturdy voice, showed me what darkness could do to someone.
Darkness can radically shift into light if given the chance.
Take a course. Attend an event.
A course or an event won’t necessarily change your life; they are, however, catalysts for change.
It’s hard to be stuck in your dark thoughts when you have a place to be.
It’s hard to be overwhelmed by darkness when you’re forced to interact with other people during an activity at an event or online course. Courses and events contain speakers who will say things you won’t expect. You’ll never know what message you need to hear during these dark times, but if you show up for long enough, you’ll find that message soon enough.
The message I needed to hear from the giant man off the audiotape was “I can do so much good for others if I could just get over myself.”
I felt like I was wasting my life and acquiring stuff that never made me happy. The more money I made, and the more success I got, the worse I felt.
If you can’t afford a course or an event, then read a book. Try these:
- Think and Grow Rich
- Awaken The Giant Within
- Man’s Search For Meaning
- The Power of Positive Thinking
Be a parent to your mind
Dark places are hard to be in as an adult. What changed my thinking was when someone said I needed to talk to my mind like a child. I needed to comfort my mind with this one sentence:
“Everything is going to be okay.”
Your mind is very afraid when you’re in a dark place and those few simple words help nurture your fears. How did your parents calm you down as a child? Use those loving words or phrases to do that for your mind.
Declare war on your fear
Fears can drive your life when you’re in a dark place.
What helped me was declaring war on my fears by challenging them to a duel. Write down a list of your biggest fears and then commit to facing them, slowly. I had a fear of heights, so I took a short plane ride. I was afraid of public speaking, so I gave a 90-second Toastmasters speech in a room with six people.
As you challenge your fears with easy to win tasks, you get leverage on them. Pretty soon your fear will look small in comparison to your progress.
Being transported back to 2013 when I was in a dark place has been a humble reminder of how far you can come when you face up to the phase of life you’re in and contemplate what the next phase is going to be like.
You won’t stay in a dark place forever.
You can escape through the trap door and down the bright yellow slide into a land you’ve never visited before. You can take the darkness, shine the light on it, poke around, search for answers, remove most of the darkness, and then take all that light and shine it on something or someone else.
It won’t be easy. Overcoming darkness will take strength and courage. But if I can do it, then so can you. Beating the darkness starts with one step. Take one step towards the light in the form of a new idea or a change of environment.
You can be the light in so many people’s lives.