After reading Keith Garrett’s poem, Darkness and leaving a comment, I began to ponder about this love-hate relationship that I have with it.
I’ve always been a night creature. I would stay up past bedtime as a child and read under my covers or sneak downstairs after everyone had gone to bed to watch a scary movie on television. I loved everything Gothic – the literature, architecture, and the fashion, even that of the modern Goths which was just coming into scene in the early 80s. I often mused that I had my own dark soul (and still do) and this was why I was so attracted to the night, to darkness. As an adult, I surrounded myself with anything and everything darkness – clothes, make-up, boyfriends. I began studying witchcraft as a way to capture the essence of the night and all that it embodied. My poetry was dark and foreboding. I played an RPG game about vampires and created my own persona as that of a dark, brooding vampiress bent on revenge and surrounded by ravens. I lived and breathed the dark world I had created for myself.
And then madness set in. I’d always suffered mild bouts of depression, but managed to bounce back from each one. Some time around my fortieth birthday, I became not only severely depressed, but psychotic as well. I heard demonic voices telling me to harm or kill myself. My muses were gone and these voices replaced them more intensely than anything I’d ever experienced before. I become lost and hopeless. I spent my days and nights enmeshed in darkness. I rarely ventured from my home. I saw no one but my husband when he returned from his trips. I refused to go anywhere with him, even to shop for groceries. The result was endless arguments and physical fights. And suicidal attempts. I was hospitalized numerous times and drugged so badly that most of the time I didn’t even know my own name.
My ray of sunshine came in the form of a therapist who taught me Mindfulness and encouraged me to live in the light. I am well now. I no longer hear voices and I am not medicated. My muses have returned in full force. And yet, I still love the darkness, though it nearly caused my demise. Love. Hate. And love again. I just hope this isn’t a vicious cycle and I am just awaiting the madness to set in again.