Dark Night of the Soul

If you don’t know what I am talking about, stop reading now.

Seriously,  I’m not joking.  If you have never had this experience.  Stop.  Close out of this page and continue on with your life.  You won’t be able to relate to anything that comes after this paragraph.  So stop reading.

Okay.  I warned you.

There are these moments when you question your entire existence.  I call these moments the dark nights of the soul.  They are not frequent occurrences.  And although they often happen at night, they can occur at any time.

These experiences cause you to lay in your bed, sit alone in your dark studio or where ever you happen to be.  You cannot speak.  You can hear and feel your heart beating as if it were a distant object you are observing separately from yourself.  All sounds seem amplified.  And it almost feels as if your thoughts are a spoken conversation.

The one thing that you know….. the one thing you hold onto is…. the thought that if I can get through this night.  If I can just make it to dawn.  If I can get though tonight, tomorrow will be easier.

These moments may happen because of something that you have done, a choice you have made.  It may be because of something that has been done to you, a choice made by someone else that affects you.  It may happen because of forces out of your control.

I want to be very clear that this experience can come about because of a positive change.  It may be hard to see it as a positive change at the time though.  Most of the time it comes when you are questioning yourself, a decision, or something that is happening in your life.  Major life changes can cause the dark night of the soul.

In these moments the doubts, all the negative thoughts you keep at bay, loneliness, and fear come rushing into the vacuum of quiet and sit on your chest.  You roll that last conversation through your head once again and possibly over and over again.  You agonize over the decision that got you to this place.  You agonize over the decision made by the someone else that threw your world out of alignment.  You contemplate over and over again, did I make the right choice?  Am I making the right decision?  Should I do this?

The last time this happened to me, I felt as if my world had imploded.  I was so confused and hurt.  I remember going over every little detail.  I remember laying in the dark of my bedroom listening to my cat purring.  I kept thinking if I can make it through tonight, tomorrow I will go on with my life.  Yes, there will still be pain.  Yes, I may have to make some major changes to myself…to my life.  Yes, I may not be happy for a long time.  But I am strong and this too I will survive.

I don’t have a magic formula for surviving these moments.  I just know that you have to live through them.  You have to feel through the experience.  There are no short cuts.  And if you have lived through a dark night of the soul once, you know that it doesn’t make the next one any easier.

For those of you who have had this experience you know of what I speak.  Yes, there is pain.  Yes, you may have to make some major changes to yourself and your life.  And yes, it may take a while before you feel again.  But most importantly, I want you to know that you are strong and you will survive.

Dawn is coming.

6 thoughts on “Dark Night of the Soul

  1. Annette says:

    Very powerful Jill….


    • kanewischer says:

      Thank you Annette. As you can imagine this post was particularly challenging for me. I was afraid to post it. But as with any risks worthy of taking, I knew I had to take this one and share. -Jill


  2. Susan King says:

    Thank you, Jill. I’m more hopeful about making it through the many dark nights that seem to be ahead…I especially appreciate the reminder that even something that can be a positive change can create dark nights. Good to remind myself that I can and will make it through them…with a little help from my friends.


    • kanewischer says:

      Sue – I’m so glad that you enjoyed this blog. Thank you for your comment. And yes we can and will make it through dark night of the soul moments… especially with the help of friends. -Jill


  3. Roz Galla says:

    Hi, Jill….. It helps to have companions along the way…. we can walk with each other……


    • kanewischer says:

      Roz – Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Those we surround ourselves with can me those dark nights a lot shorter. And it is okay to ask for help when we need it. -Jill


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