Fireflies in the Night (A Mental Image That Helps Me When I am Depressed)

Depression feels like a darkness. Sometimes the darkness feels complete.

I can sit in this darkness, as I can sit in the grass outside in the darkness of the night. I can feel how it surrounds me, and I can feel myself inside of it until it no longer feels as though it is inside of me. Once it is where I can see it, it is vast and huge and stretches all around me. Dark like a summer night out in the middle of nowhere.

Focus on finding the little spots of light that flicker through this darkness like fireflies. Try and catch one a day, then let the day come as it may. I start to notice all the spots of light that I am missing and just taking note that I am passing by them. Watching them from a distance for a bit makes me want to catch them. I can see stars, too. Little spots of light that I know are too far away to catch. That is okay. I can accept what is far away and what is near.

Catching these fireflies one at a time. A little darting thing in the dark. If I miss one, I wait until it flickers on again, watching where it was, and trying to guess where it will be. Soon I will become so good at catching fireflies that I was so focused on. Soon I will forget to pay attention to my darkness and I will find that it has slipped away into dawn.

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This mental image was very helpful when I was dealing with depression in the past, and it helped me create patterns of recovery that I find for myself automatically now.

You’re never alone in the darkness, either. There are many women and many men and children and people of all ages. They’re there, too. Scared and feeling alone, and maybe trying to catch fireflies. You may bump into them while you’re running and jumping. Give them a hug and let them know it’s okay. You’ll see all of them clearly when your dawn breaks.

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