Delving into the darkness


Carl Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” My unconscious has had very dark places to delve into lately. This is me delving into the darkness.

This is me making the darkness conscious. 

Today I read an article about young, first time homebuyers camping out in their cars for a night or two all in order to be the first ones to buy these new houses coming up for sale. One of those hopeful buyers referred to herself as “exhausted and sick” from having to make the all too conscious choice to sleep in their car so they could buy a home for over half a million euros. Well, I didn’t take to lightly to the story. In fact, I was really quite annoyed and let it be known as I replied to the newspaper’s story on Twitter. And I said as much on my Facebook wall. A couple of friends called me out on it, telling me I was being harsh. Was I being harsh?

Delving into the darkness.

Yes, I probably was being harsh, though part of me (maybe the part that isn’t ready to come into the light?) still feels they had no right to whine about being exhausted…because don’t they know how exhausted I am? No, no they don’t. And they probably haven’t a clue what this life journey I am on entails. I thought more and more about it this afternoon and I realised, that the smiling “exhausted” couple in front of that shiny big house could be only one pregnancy away from being on this same journey as I am…and I do not wish it on anyone. While my son has given me and taught me more than I could ever imagine, truth be told it is damn hard at times. Most times. Like when you see a couple buying a huge house and you are stuck in a small rental with no security whatsoever living month to month just waiting, wondering, worrying…and there is darkness.

My son is palliative. His life expectancy is short. So short, in fact, I know it could be tomorrow or it could be five years from now, although that isn’t likely. But, barring an early death on my part (God forbid), I know that I will be the sole person to care for him for the rest of his life. Me. Me alone. And that is exhausting just to think about, let alone to actually do. When you know what you are doing is, for lack of a better word, temporary, you can’t help but think what will you do afterwards. When will it happen? How will it happen? What will I do then? Will my body be so wrecked by then that I can’t work? Will I even find work after so many years as a carer who has set her career aside? What, when, who, how, why, where…and there you have one of the reasons many of us suffer from anxiety, along with depression…and there is darkness. 

I truly am not a negative person. Truly. Yet today as I read that article of the exhausted couple, I was negative. I don’t like that I was. I disappoint myself when I am. But I understand why I can be that way. It doesn’t make it right, it just means I do reflect and realise when I need to take a step back, reflect even more, and delve into my darkness. There is plenty to delve into, I must honestly report: Envy at seeing other special needs parents get extensions on or wet rooms put into their homes; seeing friends go on holidays, carefree and able to see the sights without any restrictions at all; seeing the world pass me by as I stumble along on this journey of caring for my precious son who I will one day lose but for whom I must remain happy, strong, and present.

Oh yes, there is plenty of darkness to explore. There are two monsters I find most often hiding in that darkness. One is fear. The other is pain. I don’t think I need to explain either of those as it is pretty evident why they exist on a journey such as this one.

But here is where enlightenment has the opportunity to shine. I understand that fear. I understand that pain. And by recognising, acknowledging, and owning them, the darkness begins to give way to the light. It won’t be my last trip delving into the darkness, no. But no matter, so long as each time I find my way through it and into the light.

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” Carl Jung


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