How to Survive Dark Times: A Letter to Friends

It is hard to live through dark times. When the world narrows. If all you see are the horrors outside. Feeling trapped. When the only place you can go is . . . your home.

Text: How to Survive Dark Times: A Letter to Friends,
Image: Blotchy image of rusty surface

It’s . . . Blursday?

I am in Blursday of week I-have-no-idea of the Melbourne lock down. The days have blended one into the other. The weather is just something I see outside my window. Everything is via zoom or phone. A package arriving is both exciting, and scary. Our kitchen floor is covered in bags of not-clean-yet stuff – mostly groceries. Our cupboards are separated into we-got-it-off-the-floor and it’s-been-sterilized. The world has narrowed. And then narrowed again.

My heart aches for all the lives lost. And for the people risking their lives to treat the victims, and to keep everything running – a thankless and often poorly paid job. If you are one of these people. Thank you. Thank you so much. I can not speak to what you are going through, and the sacrifices you are making.

The Never Ending-ness of Lock Down

I am just me. I am here, at home. Feeling a little trapped. Even though I love my home, and my family. The walls sometimes close in.

This is not new for me. I have been unable to easily leave my home for over a year now – maybe longer without supervision. I was bed bound for half a year, and am recovering. With lots of help from specialists. But recovery means I can literally walk around the block. Luckily it’s in the 5 km radius I’m allowed to travel in, hey?

Typing this makes my hands shake. But at least I can type now. I can now hold a cup of tea with two hands. There were times where all I could do was stare out the window, wondering if I would ever form a coherent sentence again.

And yet, here I am.

What Helps in Dark Times: It’s OK to Not be OK

So, what helped me through it? My family. My friends. Knowing someone cared. Knowing I didn’t have to do it all on my own.

One important thing to remember is it is OK to not be OK. You don’t owe the world a happy face, or some imaginary high bar of ‘got it under control’.

I personally hate how many help lines are phone calls. I’ve had to work with a therapist to learn to cope with my own phone phobia.

Just remember:-

If you reached out to someone, that is a victory.
The fact that you woke up and are here another day is a victory.
You are enough.

Brains Lie

Your brain is going to effing lie to you. That is not your fault – some brains don’t come with the neurotransmitters to ‘get over it’. And who on earth was ready for 2020?

You survived today. And tomorrow you can think about getting help. But know: there is help. You are not broken. You are not to blame.

One Small Thing Gets Me Through the Day

When I get so bad I can’t do anything, I usually try to find one small thing. A bird call out the window, a flower I can see in my garden. The way my hands feel holding a cup of tea. And I think: this experience is worth having.

I am here. I don’t have to enjoy everything. But this one thing? That is good enough for today.

Hugs (Virtual, naturally) from a fellow traveler in dark times. I see you.

One Reply to “How to Survive Dark Times: A Letter to Friends”

  1. Thanks for writing this. As someone who has lived with disability all of my adult life, I don’t always succeed at keeping on top of it all mentally. After all these years, I still struggle at accepting that I am unable to live a life that able bodied people take for granted.

    That said, I take a very similar approach to that which you mentioned. I feel immense gratitude for my family and friends. I focus on the small things that help me to appreciate the positive. I listen to the birds, look at my plants, and spend time with our pets.

    It helps so much.

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