SHADOW- You Don’t have to Fear the Shadows of Mental Illness

Mental health and Shadows

Shadow is Middle English from the word shadwe from before the 12th century. For this article, it is defined as:

“an imitation of something”

“an imperfect and faint representation”

“a reflected image”

“a small degree or portion”

“a shaded or darker portion of a picture”

I felt like a shadow… A ghost of who I was… A ghost who was never going to live again. I think the moment that I realized that, I felt like I gave up the ghost all over again. I would curl into a ball and rock back and forth. Sometimes I would cry and other times I didn’t have the tears. It felt like the world was closing in and the shadows were taking over my brain and was ripping out my very life force.

I remember I would become exhausted. Exhausted to the point where my mind would keep racing and my body hurt as muscles tensed and I shook for hours. My mind and body were out of sync and nothing hurt more than that. I felt like I was being pulled in opposite directions beyond my abilities. I felt weak. I felt drained. I felt alone. I felt like a shadow of my reality.

I was ashamed of who I had become because I wasn’t the Kajsa that everyone knew. I realized that she was never coming back and I was trying to hold on to a shade of the past. No matter how much I wished the pain would stop and go away, I realized that I was only hurting myself by holding on. Coming to this realization was the final tare in my soul. My reality was devastated and I felt like an empty cocoon that wasn’t holding a beautiful butterfly.

Not only did I feel like a shade of darkness in the day time, but the night time was worse. I would go to bed and be terrified. I didn’t want to be left with my thoughts alone when everything was quiet and I couldn’t physically see safety. The night brought no comfort. It was a rigged battle field and I knew it. I had accepted it as my life… I had accepted that was my normal.

But what is normal? Was this truly my fate? To suffer day and night, in a never ending 24-hour period. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to accept this to be their definition of reality?

Not me… But I felt like a hopeless mess who was too tired to care at some points.

Time ticked by, grueling second after second. I felt hopeless as I continued to go to therapy and take medication. I was impatient with the promise of getting better and annoyed with people telling me that I was getting stronger every day and was making great progress. I didn’t see it. I thought that they must be lying to my face, to my soul.

I didn’t see it then, but my soul was healing. My mind was being repaired. I was just so focused on wanting an immediate fix that I was ignoring my slow progress in the long term. I wasn’t aware of how my shadow was becoming more defined and being colored in brighter and brighter colors. Colors that I didn’t think I was capable of being.

I started to gather the courage to explore these colors as time went on and realized that there was a part of myself that I didn’t have to fear. That my uniqueness wasn’t something to be ashamed off. That my brokenness didn’t have to be a negative, but instead could be seen as an opportunity for change. Being broken gave me permission to put the pieces back however I wanted and saw fit with the kind of life that I want to live.

The process was slow and terrifying at the beginning as I didn’t have clue as to where to start. I began with activities that I knew that I enjoyed before I became ill. I started to push myself in those areas. For me, it was sewing and baking. I worked on bettering myself and developing talents that I knew I was good at, something I liked, then I knew that I was worth something.

I also gave writing a try (at the suggesting of my therapist) and realized that once it was on paper, it no longer needed to sit in my head. It was a thought collected and if I didn’t like it then I didn’t have to look at it and it didn’t have to haunt me anymore. Tell, you what. I started to go to bed easier. I started to have more room to process everything and to make sense of the dark goo clouding my mind.

Shadows can be petrifying because they can be something lurking, threatening and swallow you whole. They also are undefined with blurred lines. (Depending on where you stand in relationship with the light.) Blurred lines can be defined to take on the shape of anything it follows. As you go towards the light, the lighter the shadow becomes. The stronger you become the clearer your mind becomes. Shadows don’t have to be feared. They can be used to show you who you are for what you are, which is a person deserving of light, positivity, goodness, love, and happiness.

YouTube Episode Available: Click to Watch — 45. You Don’t have to Fear the Shadows of Depression

Conqueror of Mental Illness/ Mental Health Advocate/ Stigma Fighter through Positivity. Check out my YouTube: Mental Health Naps