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The Blackness of Despair

There are dark days when I feel everything so deeply that I wonder if emotions have ambushed my brain and bypassed any rationality left in my body.

I don’t understand what’s happening in the world and feel fear, sadness, even a deep blackness of despair.

Sadness comes over me like a heavy weight of grief sitting on my chest and I find myself running through a mental list making check marks alongside things that are okay on my ethereal notepad- my dog is still healthy, my bills are paid, I locked the back door- and the check marks continue as I try to reason and pinpoint why this panic and sadness arises from deep inside.

I vaguely remember to question if these feelings are even mine and yet the answer seems faint as though I can’t quite hear it. I realize I am already swept away by the churning tide of unclaimed emotions- my own, maybe others- it doesn’t matter as I’m drowning in the relentless collective despair.

I fold my legs beneath me to try and meditate as my nervous system trembles behind closed eyes. In I tell myself, breath in, now out. Is it time to get the oil changed? Why didn’t she call me back? Breath in, now out. Does my dog need her nails trimmed? Am I walking her enough? Breath in, now out. Retirement, but what about retirement?

There is madness all around me. I remember the tools. Notice the sky, listen to the birds, go to yoga. What time do I need set the alarm? Stop I tell myself. Just be.

But where? There is no place of solace. There’s no place to escape the bars of reachability on my cell phone. No place to dodge the sounds of a distant plane. The sound of someone talking in the distance. Where is the silence?

Things move so quickly. People disconnected and distracted, the little things that made me smile seem to fall by the wayside as the whirling changes of this world rush by my window, and there is overwhelm.

I sit on my couch lamenting the state of my sad mental affairs- surrounded by my own pity party and for a split second am distracted. My cat bats a tulip on the coffee table as though her life depends on wrestling down this pink petal enemy. She whacks it again with her inky black paw scattering yellow pollen all over her mink face and I laugh. Spontaneously I squirt drinking water out my mouth in a 3rd grade move and she jumps all four off the ground clearing 12 inches of air before streaking into the living room, making her round through the kitchen and sliding across the floor back to her original spot tulip side for round two.

She is nonplussed while I am tear stained from laughing.

And suddenly, the black and white world of good and bad fills in with color again.

I hear my dog snoring on the big foam cushion beside me. The hum of my full refrigerator reminds me of my abundance. The sounds of a sole owl in an aspen tree echoes and erases prior angst.

Life is beautiful again.

I breath in, I breath out.

Photo via unsplash Annie Spratt

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