Just recently I experienced a dark night of the soul. It had been approaching for some time, but I ignored the niggling negative feelings I had been having and continued to press on living as usual until suddenly there was this huge accumulation of things I couldn’t deal with nor have any control over. I tried to continue sitting on them.
Then some major things started happening. Linda, a special lady, who I walked with most mornings, died suddenly. I had only walked with her a few days before. I started to realise just how many friends I’d lost. In fact, I think my dead friends now outweighed the living.
I’m 74. I started to wonder how much longer I will live? And whether some of the things I want to achieve may no longer be possible. Well known people my age and younger were dying. Not to mention when I looked at the obituaries one day.
Health and body problems started to appear. An ongoing problem with reflux which affects my throat (laryngopharyngeal) and in particular my singing voice made me think that perhaps I won’t be able to achieve my goal of recording the songs I’ve written. Due to reflux I also felt nauseous and had lost my appetite.
The osteoarthritis I have in both thumbs has made me give up my guitar for two years. I’m only just back at it but finding it a challenge to get through the pain barrier of growing the calluses on top of my fingers.
The injury I had in my left groin for three years disappeared. Then a week later it appeared on the right groin and lower back, and was very much more painful. I had an Xray and was advised it is not a pulled groin muscle like the left-hand side had been, but in fact is osteo arthritis and won’t be something I can easily fix. My physio banned me from walking up hills and stairs. Maybe I won’t be able to walk the Camino del Norte with my Spanish nephew, another one of my long-held dreams.
I am into the thirteenth year of living with fibromyalgia which limits my life considerably and the alpha-gal tick allergy which prohibits me from eating red meat, pork or dairy and probably is the cause of the fibomyalgia.
I gave an excerpt of the book I’ve been working on for the last three years to a friend’s husband who had worked in the publishing business for many years, and he gave it the kybosh and told me I had no future as a writer. I felt like the mat had been pulled from under me. Writing has always been my preferred way of expressing myself. Needless to say I found it very disconcerting.
My spiritual life, which is one of the most important aspects of my life and has always been a great support, seemed to disappear. Where was that voice inside which answered my questions each morning.
A few nights later the dark night of the soul occurred. Everything I ever thought I knew about life was called into question. Who was I if I could no longer do the things I do and achieve the goals I want to achieve. I felt confused, bewildered, angry, desperate, helpless, hopeless and very sad. God had deserted me. These feelings and nightmares of possible future scenarios continued all through the night.
Fortunately for me it only lasted one night. For some unfortunate people, it can last any time from a week to a year.
The next day hope started to spring forth and my ever-optimistic self, started to reassert itself. Thank God.