Dark Night of the Soul
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
For many of us, there will be periods in our lifetime where we will reevaluate or question everything in our life, including our job, home, friends, family and self. Our Soul's growth depends on us being able to transform outdated beliefs and ego-centric behaviors in order to better realize our highest potential.
Sometimes these moments in time can look like a breakup or divorce, a change of job, a relocation or a death of a loved one. It can also look like a traumatic experience, an accident, or a prolonged disease or illness.
Whenever we’re in a state of transition, we’re usually being asked to let go of what’s no longer working in our life and fill the void with something better and more life affirming. Life’s transitions usually look like a combination of endings and beginnings all wrapped up into one, chaotic and slightly messy time period.
If we’re unable to realize our higher purpose on our own, one of two things will happen. Either, we’ll begin willingly searching for our correct path during these transitions, or, we’ll be forced to search for our truth by having everything that is untrue taken away from us or dismantled.
I can promise you that the first choice is much easier. Many times in my life, I've chosen the more difficult path and, as a result, have experienced dramatic clearings of people, places and things that were no longer serving me. My life has been disassembled many times as a way to propel me into a new way of perceiving the world. Each chaotic moment has opened my eyes to deeper truths, greater realizations and a restructuring of my belief systems.
There’s something interesting that happens when we refuse or are unwilling to change our life for the better. Many religions and spiritual teachings have referred to this spiritual crisis as the “dark night of the soul” or the “death of the ego.” These pressure-cooker situations can leave you feeling vulnerable, frustrated, raw, lost, confused, depressed and hopeless.
Fortunately, these periods in our lives are only temporary. They usually last a few weeks or months. Personally, I've experienced periods of darkness that have lasted years. But, no matter how long your dark night of the soul lasts, there is one thing for certain: if you can hold on and embrace the transition, you'll end up on the other side stronger, better and more aligned with your Higher Self.
In 2015, the Universe was ready for me to evolve, and I, so stuck in my old ways, decided I’d try to resist the surge of transitions life threw at me. What happened throughout the next 18-months was the darkest, saddest and most depressing time in my life. I was experiencing an extremely dark night of my soul. And, to be honest, this was actually my third (yes, third!) period in my adult life where I experienced a chaotic dismantling.
I won't go into all of the details here, but, by the time I reached my 500th consecutive dark night, I was a complete and utter mess of a person. I was having nervous breakdowns and panic attacks every other day. I didn’t sleep and was crying all of the time. My body stopped working the way it was meant to, I was constantly sick, and my milk supply for my infant daughter ran out. I was angry and overcome with fits of rage.
If I hadn’t already been pushed off of the edge by a never-ending series of difficult life events, a sudden death in my family left me feeling like I was free-falling into even greater depths of darkness. This death was the final straw that broke me.
At the funeral, my children, Jackson and Jayma, began loudly fussing halfway through the service. I was mortified. I decided to take the kids outside so we wouldn’t make a big scene.
Outside of the funeral home, we found a bench to sit on. Both kids started crying and I began feeling completely overwhelmed. The pain I was experiencing was unbearable. In that moment, I felt all of the agony of the last 18-months of my life. That was the moment, I snapped and completely surrendered to the pain.
I remember allowing myself to completely break, right there on that bench. I cried out, “Stop! Please, just stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Oh my God, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this. Not another day. I can’t. Please, just stop.”
I really don’t know why that moment sticks out in my head so much, but I remember it so clearly. An outsider would have assumed I was speaking to my children to be quiet. But honestly, in that moment, I was speaking to God. It felt like my Soul had suddenly chosen that particular moment to shatter into a million pieces and I could no longer hold them together anymore.
Only You Can Save Yourself
Looking back, I must have been really good at hiding my desperation because no one offered help. Not one single person.
This is the thing about the dark nights though. You eventually come to realize that nobody can save you except yourself. You’ll spend a great deal of time buried deep in a hole, waiting for a hand or a rope or a lifeline to pull you out. But, when it never comes, you eventually have to decide if you want to stay in the darkness for the rest of your life or if you’re going to attempt to dig yourself out and create something new.
Shortly after that heartbreaking scene at the funeral service, I announced to my husband that I was going to seek medical help. I was now eight months postpartum with Jayma and was beginning to realize that my thoughts and feelings weren’t normal and that I couldn't take on the weight of the World on my own.
The doctor gave me a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication. It was just in time, too, because the construction of our second restaurant was finished, and we were working around the clock to ensure a successful grand opening.
The medications helped me to feel more emotionally stable. But I still didn’t feel “right”. Even though my outbursts and extreme anxiety had resided, I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t experience the lows like I previously had, but I also wasn’t able to experience the highs and joys of life. It