I passed through the monthly darkness this week. Darkness strikes me every month. I became aware of it a few decades ago, when I was in my thirties, but I can’t confess to understanding it.
I can’t predict it, either, except it’s a monthly thing. I ended up comparing it to volcanoes this week, because volcanoes are in the news. Like volcanoes, you’re not positive about what’s going on underneath. Yes, a few fissures and tremors can provide clues. But mostly, awareness that something is there is about all that’s accomplished.
Then boom, eruptions clarify the moment.
I expect this every damn month, yet, it’s such a dark, stealthy flow, that it overtakes me and has me in its grip before I recognize it. Everything is touched; nothing is spared. Those areas where I think myself weakness are savaged the greatest. It strikes hard at my self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence, debilitating my belief I can write fiction and my determination to do so. Thoughts like, “What’s the fucking use?” multiply like mosquitoes in a warming tundra. “Just quit. Walk away. Live a normal life of….” Complete the sentence.
Partway through it, I gathered awareness that I was in it. Awareness is probably the most comprehensive tool I have in my set. Knowing that I’m going through the monthly darkness lets me endure the rest, knowing it’ll past.
I must admit, it was a very dark one. I think the stresses of traveling, personal relationships, and visiting with family contributed to the depths. Those activities also limited my writing time. Writing is my primary therapy.
The darkness is gone now. I’m fortunate in that regard. I know my spectrum of moods. I feel for those without that self-awareness, or those whose moods take them more deeply and lovingly into the darkness, holding them down until they can’t breath. I’ve had such darknesses from time to time.
It’s not a fun place to exist.