On thriving in darkness

Literally speaking, I thrive in darkness.

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When everything and everyone is a trigger, a flash of light or a glimmer of a voice might startle me—making me hyper-vigilant. Maybe that’s why I like being in the dark when everything quiet and asleep. I hear no sudden noises and no startling lights. Just the dimly dark air dry with the sound of my fan, drowning out everything else but the sound of Netflix and my phone games. Darkness is where I thrive because it is a safe place where I can take a breather from all the loudness and triggers in life.

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Metaphorically speaking, I also thrive in darkness.

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When there is chaos in my mind, I know how to handle that. I’ve learned so many coping skills to manage anxiety – read positive affirmations, write down what I’m feeling, take a calming breath, imagine a safe place, ground myself in reality, or if none else works, take anxiety medication. If I feel depression – I’ll go out to cafes where people are, watch funny TV shows and play fun games, distract myself from the emotions, sing or express my feelings creatively, or if all else fails, call the doctor.

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What I don’t know what to do is when everything is dark and quiet inside. When I feel calm, when my thoughts are not racing, when my heartbeat is regular and slow, when I am not dissociating anymore, when I no longer feel the hate about the world, I don’t know what to do. Light leads to anxiety, panic, obsessions and compulsions, and dissociations. This confusion leads to more anxiety and more panic, more compulsions, and more dissociation. I don’t know what to do when I feel like I’m out of the darkness.

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Though this could be a blessing or a curse, I am having more of these feelings of calmness and happiness these days. I have no idea how to deal with these times. I get so anxious that something is wrong, now that I am not feeling all the anxiety and depression I used to feel. Possibly this is recovery. Perhaps this is healing. Or is it? When I have never learned what calmness feels like in my whole life, can this be called “recovery?” If so, recovery to what? Sometimes I wish something might happen so that I don’t feel so calm so that I could return to “normal.” Yet, what is “normal” for me may not be “normal” for others.

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I thrive in darkness. I have learned to thrive in the dark, at least. Yet, I want to start thriving in both shades and light. I wish I no longer have to avoid the flashes of lights and the clacking of the cars and trains. I hope I no longer have to be triggered by loud noises and bright sunlight. I wish I were no longer panicking amid the light and warmth, where people and life is.

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I wish to also thrive in brightness. Darkness used to be my foe, but now, it has become my old friend. May brightness also become my friend in due time. Someday, it will happen, and this is my hope.

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