Our brains are fun. They create metaphors and visuals to help us understand where we are and what’s happening around us. They make sense of things that make no sense by relating them to things they can already comprehend.
I remember the months leading up to July 2015.
Which is an ironic statement, because during those actual months, I couldn’t remember a single thing. I couldn’t put time in order, whether it was the week before or my entire life story. I couldn’t recognize half the names on my client list, and I was forgetting how to code websites… a big piece of what I did for a living.
Mostly though, I remember closing my eyes when it felt like I couldn’t handle any more of the world around me. The obligations and expectations I simply couldn’t meet or match, or even remember existed.
I would close my eyes, and I would see and feel myself falling down this deep hole. A well maybe? I didn’t know. All I knew was that it was dark and made of dirt, and I was spinning around so fast I had no sense of which way was up or down. I knew there were sides, and I grasped at those sides with everything I had. I tried so hard to grab onto them so I could stop falling. So I could stop spinning out and maybe start making sense of myself and my loss and my life in the aftermath. But I couldn’t grab on… I was falling too fast. I was too weak and broken.
I remember the months after I got my brain back.
After my amazing mentor walked me through a healing session that broke me further than I knew I could break, all so that I could begin to mend. I remember the remembering. The pieces of the year coming back into focus, bit by bit. The being able to put time in order. To build websites and recognize my client’s names.
I would close my eyes, just as before, only this time I was clinging to those dirt walls in the darkness. I was clinging to the roots and stones and anything that my fingers could lock onto. I was trying so desperately to climb that wall. To claw my way back from the darkness. But I kept slipping… only when I slipped, there was no spiraling. There was no turning upside down and all around. I would slip several feet, clawing at that wall with a desperation I’d never known, and I’d find the strength to latch back on. Refusing to lose control. Refusing to give up.
And I remember the moment, and the months that followed, where I finally chose to come back.
Over and over again.
I began to choose it.
To rise up from the ashes of my loss, my grief, my healing. To pick up the pieces that remained from a life and business I’d burned to the ground, and begin rebuilding something new. Something sustainable.
I would close my eyes, and I would see and feel that fight. I was climbing that damn wall. I was pulling myself up, weak fingers and hands. Tear stained. Bloody and bruised. Fingernails so packed with dirt I was certain they’d never come clean.
And a fierceness.
A determination that this would not be my story.
I would not stay stuck in that hole. That well of dank, dark, upside down misery. I would rise from the darkness that tried to consume me, and I would find my way out into the world again.
I don’t know where this metaphor came from. I don’t know why it’s what my brain chose to show me every time I closed my eyes.
But I do know that when I close my eyes these days, I’m out of that dark well. And I’m sitting there on the grass, with the sun shining and all the people off in the distance. Because it’s time to finish the journey… to come back and share all the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I just have to get up and start walking.
But before I do, I just want to say that if you’ve found yourself inside that well of darkness… if you’re twisting and spinning and turning inside out… if it feels easier to surrender to the fall, to the darkness… don’t.
Keep fighting and climbing and clawing at the empty space that surrounds you until you find the walls. Hold onto those walls with everything you have inside of you. Even when you fall a little more, a little deeper. Even when your arms are tired and your fingers feel like they might rip right off your hands.
The well isn’t meant to consume you, just as the wall isn’t meant to break you. They’re both there to help you find the strength you need to choose healing and living and coming back fully. The well and its walls are there to make you stronger. You will find yourself on that wall, in ways you didn’t know you could. You will find a fierceness and a purpose that will carry you right back to the top, right back to the world.
And we are waiting to hear your story.
We are desperate to know what you learned on that wall.
So, find your grip.
Climb that wall.
Come back to us.