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    Tales From The Other Side

    "The Brighter The Light, The Darker The Shadow"- Carl Jung

    That was one of the first phrases I heard when I entered treatment for mood disorder nearly two months ago. It wasn't the first time I heard it, but......I heard it for the first time. All of a sudden, I Got It. The phrase became my first internal mantra, and also my first social mantra; something I would repeat to others when our discussion turned to why we were there. The quote now made so much sense to me. Many others in my new tribe related to it too, which is why they usually raised an eyebrow when they heard it, said "I like that", and asked me to repeat it, or even write it down.

    I've been described by many who know me as a very bright light; that I have a huge, beautiful heart that radiates love. Others say that I shine a vibrant, engaging energy that they are drawn to and want to be part of. This was sometimes ironic to me, because I often felt so dark and empty on the inside. My overall perception of myself was that I was, fundamentally, a defective model. At times, I functioned very well, but I was, at my core, wired wrong. Built wrong. Made wrong. I had inherent design flaws. Lots of them. Too many to correct, and too incapacitating to ever be free of.

    This gaping disparity between how others experienced me and how I experienced myself was part of my suffering. In fact, it's part of a lot of the suffering on this planet. When the insides don't match the outsides, we are in disharmony. We are splintered. Fragmented. Not whole.

    What I never really got until recently was that my ability to shine so brightly and powerfully also means that I have the capacity for very deep darkness. This metaphor applies not only in the metaphysics of human self expression, in the metaphysics of human love, but in the physics of electromagnetism. Because light is an electromagnetic wave. 

    Think of those giant spotlights, the kind they use at store openings, or when commissioner Gordon needs to signal Batman. Those fuckers shine like the sun, and the shadow they cast can be as black as night. The same is true for the light of the human heart, of the human being. Those of us who allow ourselves to feel the most intense joy, passion, and rapture, are also the ones who allow ourselves to feel the deepest and darkest of pain. Which is why, when, I completely shut myself down from feeling, I enter a condition called depression. Depression is the antithesis of vibrancy, of light, of feeling. It is the blackest of nights, the most empty of hearts, the darkest nights of my soul.

    Not everybody who is a bright light makes it into depression, because depression is a condition, not a feeling. There are many other factors involved. Depression just happens to be my darkest place, and the darkest place of many bright lights. 

    When I truly understood this, when I felt this knowing in my bones, I let myself off the fuckin' hook. I stopped beating myself up for suffering from depression. I didn't like that I could suffer from the condition of depression, but I finally accepted it. If I was that bright of a light, it finally made sense that my shadow would be one dark, motherfucking place. That was a truly "Aha!" Moment for me. It  changed my perspective. I stopped calling it "being fucked up", and started calling it "Part of My Yin and Yang". Big distinction. Huge. One of my most profound, ever.

    Back in November, when The Love of My Life and I split up, I could sense that I was heading into a deep depression. I am in no way blaming her for that. The breakup literally broke both our hearts, and she's not responsible for how I handled, or mishandled, my behavior around it. There were other factors in my life that I was unhappy about and not effectively dealing with. None of them had anything to do with her. 

    Our split was just my last straw. I knew where I was headed, and it scared the crap out of me, because I had been there before. At that time, I was invested in the belief that when depression hit me, it was like a flu of the heart; a virus that I couldn't kill, that I had no control over, and that I just had to ride it out and let it run its course. And, I could tell that this was going to be one bad ass bout. I knew that it meant weeks, or even months, of isolation, inactivity, and a unique combination of numbness and pain so crippling that I would basically become inert. I refused to go there again. So I made the best bad decision I could, given my toolbox at the time. I started using substances, a lot, to stave off depression and at least have some sort of a life. 

    And it worked. Until it didn't. I actually had some fun between early November and the end of February. Granted, it was fun that was usually artificially induced, but at least I wasn't holed up in my condo, every day, completely miserable for the next four months. 

    Until I hit The Wall. On my birthday. That's when it started tuning around. By the grace of god, I caught myself before I got too far down the rabbit hole. 


    ©2017 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved. 

    Reader Comments (2)

    Nice for reading.

    July 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjack

    Thanx Jack. C'mon back.


    July 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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