“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
– Lyrics to “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
The past week of my life has been incredibly challenging. Due to some hormonal issues, I’ve had the return of an enormous amount of anxiety, irritability and overall yuckiness. I have tried to use my good ‘ole coping mechanisms like exercise, meditation and yoga, but it hasn’t really made a dent. I feel like I’m teetering between wanting to pull my non-existent hair out and wanting to just run away to a deserted island where I can finally find silence. I have felt overwhelmed by the enormity of caring for two young children, running a business, supporting my family of origin and handling my own health issues. The icing on the cake was a few days ago when I developed a horrible rash from head to toe due to a run in with poison ivy. Life has really sucked.
It’s times like these that I am reminded of the cyclical nature of life and the ebb and flow or yin and yang of existence. There is no such thing as a perfect life. There is no light without darkness. Life is not about the pursuit of perfection, but rather about climbing upwards, falling down, and then getting right back on the mountain again.
I am a holistic psychiatrist who espouses the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, of using coping strategies to improve one’s health and wellbeing. But I am also incredibly human and about as far from perfect as one can get. I don’t always eat healthy, I drink alcohol sometimes when I know I shouldn’t, I yell at my kids when I get frustrated, and I definitely don’t have all the answers.
I have found that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and the darkness starts creeping back into my life, it’s helpful to remember that this is actually what life is all about. I will never be 100% free from anxiety and depression. And that’s 100% okay. I think life might actually be pretty boring if I spent all my time in the light. The darkness has plenty wisdom to offer.
So, instead of fighting all of this nastiness, I am trying to embrace it. Instead of running away from it, I am doing my best to run straight into it. As my wonderful yoga teacher Jeannie always says, they call it in-tu-ition because to find it, you have to go IN TO IT. If I want to know myself, I can’t run from myself.
So I say, hello darkness, my old friend. Why don’t you come in, give me a hug, and get comfy. It seems like you might be here for a while.