Warning: The Dark Place
Before I ever began chemotherapy, I was warned of the darkness. This is a part of treatment few people ever speak of to others and with good reason. I’m thankful I had people who loved me enough to share their experiences and prepare me for a place I had no desire to visit. Therefore, I’ve tried to put this ugly side of chemo into words. Not to scare others, but to allow them time to cover themselves in the armor of protection.
I’ve tried to put these stops along the way into words before, but I found it very difficult to explain in those dark moments. I was embarrassed. I felt admitting my state of mind was a sign of weakness. Many might call this depression. Perhaps that is the correct term for it. If so, I can totally relate to those who have described depression as torturous and can even begin to understand why some might choose to end their own life because of this incredibly lonely, dark and emotional or emotionless place.
Chemo can take you to the depths of darkness. While inside this hole, a million people can surround you and you still feel all alone. Everyone can tell you and show you how much they love you, but you can’t feel it or even acknowledge it is there. You’re numb. It’s like life is happening in front of you, but you aren’t a part of it. You feel as though it wouldn’t matter if you were alive or dead. It’s like you’ve lost your place in the world.
You become heavy. Moving takes every ounce of energy you have. Chemo patients suffer from fatigue. In fact, it is the number one side effect of treatment. So you’re already too tired to consider moving and now you feel like you just can’t. You have the desire to get out of bed or to move from your chair, but it’s as though you are chained down to the furniture. Even attempting to send the message to move to your brain becomes impossible. You stop trying. You close your eyes. You pray for sleep in the hopes this is a nightmare and when you awake you will no longer be here or feel this way.
Sleep doesn’t always bring the peace you wish for though. Sometimes the most tortuous nightmares come to wreck havoc on your mind. It’s as though a demon is out to steal your soul.
Emotional overload can occur here too. You cry and cry. There’s no reason for your tears nor can anyone comfort you. The pain feels too great, yet you don’t know what’s causing it. Tears might not exist though. Perhaps your emotional test comes in the form of anger. Your temper is the shortest it’s ever been in your life. You snap and scowl at people who have no clue why you’re upset at them. Chances are you aren’t mad at them or even anything they’ve done. Anger just might be the emotion of the moment. It might stay for a while, or it might turn over to anxiety. Something bad is right around the corner. You can sense it. You cower. You shake inside your own skin. You fear no one will protect you. You’re alone to take on the evils coming to attack you. You’ve never been this terrified before in your life. Or maybe you feel the worst emotion of all – NOTHING! There is no worse emotion in the world than feeling empty and emotionless. Hollow and alone in this great big world.
Thankfully, I was warned of the pit of hell I might find myself in on earth. I was given the greatest advice. “Always keep your eye on ‘The Light’. It might be hard to find at times, but it is always there. Never stop searching for it.” Another woman told me to hold on to The Word of God. To memorize verses such as John 1:5, which happened to be my verse of the day today and triggered today’s topic.
I pray my darkest days are over even though I’ve been warned they may be right around the corner. I never became tangled inside the darkness for long, and my prayer is no one reading this ever finds themselves hopelessly trapped here either. The glimpses of this hellish pit make me grateful for God’s favor, and I pray my eyes never stray from His Light.
John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.