Note to self:
The thing to understand about the downspin is that it’s just another ride, and the ride – it’s moving. You’ve been here before, and likely will be again, slipping into the sadness and the twilight. Not the one with the shiny vampires, but the time that exists between day and night when you can’t see the sun anymore but there are still remnants of light.
On days like today, the ride is moving slowly, and you can see the colors fading as the sun dips lower on the horizon, different degrees of depression, just as there are different degrees of dusk. Civil twilight is, in fact, your favorite time of day. The sun is beginning to set; the light is soft and the shadows are long. Inside, though, you can feel the heaviness settling.
After civil twilight is nautical twilight. When you are walking through your neighborhood, this is when the air turns purple and hazy gray, and the lines of familiar structures and objects blur. You can still see your way home, but darkness is coming.
Finally, there is astronomical twilight. The sky goes a deep blue, almost jade and though there is still the tiniest bit of reflected glow, this is when you would turn on your flashlight if you had one. The bluish-green fades into black. Then, it is night.
You would like nothing more than to curl up beneath the blankets, beside the dirty dishes and empty cup on the side table. You ignore the world that is full of people and demands (or maybe you venture out into it, briefly, but in your head, you’re huddled in your dingy den). You are shut in a room without taste or color and where all the thoughts are traveling through layers of feather pillows, muffled and downy.
You think you are immobilized, petrified like an insect caught in tree sap. But try to remember: you are still on the ride. As long as you can breathe and cry and loathe yourself, you haven’t gotten off. Where you are is not where you’re going to stay. You’re passing through.
“I’m a terrible, unlovable, unproductive mess,” you might say to yourself, through the miles of feather pillow muddle. And your breath propels the words from your body out into the colorless room. Maybe they settle next to the empty teacup and the half-eaten sandwich. You don’t realize it in the moment, but this is a sacred act of self-care: acknowledging the fear and sitting with it in the musty gloom. Maybe you anoint your face with tears. Maybe you scream and throw the sandwich. Maybe you call your therapist or decide (finally) to answer that text from your friend. Maybe you take your medicine and drink some cool water and feed the cat. Maybe you just seclude yourself in the hovel of your mind until faint streaks of light begin to show around the edges of the door.
You’ve been in a dark place, but you were in motion the whole time. You are always in motion. And when you look outside, maybe you see the pale gray of twilight, only this time, it means the dawn is near. The thing is, stay on the ride.