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wundayatta's avatar

If your soul is having a long, dark night, what do you do?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) December 22nd, 2012

Say you’re writing to someone, and you find you can’t write anything that isn’t piteous and pathetic (for whatever reason), and just this side of moaning about how you want to pack it all in.

What do you do to lift yourself up? To ease the hopelessness? Do you ever feel like yanking yourself up by your head, and bitch slapping yourself, even though you know it wouldn’t work?

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23 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

Sleep.

gailcalled's avatar

Stop writing. Bench press the contents of an elderly person’s garage junk into the back of a pick-up truck and drive it to the dump.

bookish1's avatar

I feel like bitch slapping myself almost every day. It’s anxiety and the intensity of my second adolescence.
For me, music immensely helps change my mood. To move toward positive feelings or at least neutrality, electronica seems to help the most.
Also, forcing myself to watch something funny helps, even if I don’t feel at all like laughing. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Arrested Development, all can heal me.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t believe in the soul, but I know what you mean. I haven’t gotten much useful work done this week, and I should have. So I’m in that funk right now.

Work does wonders. Diving into some thorny programming or Web graphics challenge and finally resolving it—then seeing that it is good work—that helps. Telling myself this to shall pass. Listening to uplifting music and reading. These all help.

wundayatta's avatar

@gailcalled Nobody on my block has a garage except one person, but they aren’t elderly. Still, there are probably some garages a few blocks away. It would be exciting trying to break in and load the contents in a truck. I’d have to steal the truck—no rental places are open this time of night. But it would be worth it, I think.

@bookish1 and @ETpro Music. I’ve been listening to Christmas music, which seems to put me in an ever fouler mood. Then I started listening to my soul music (Turkish music) and it got worse. Maybe this is why I almost never listen to music. It affects me too strongly.

bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta : Agreed, Christmas music can be toxic! I hope you find something that works better for you.

wildpotato's avatar

I get out in the woods or on the river. When I can’t manage to get off the couch I read stories to try to go elsewhere for a bit. For awhile I used this strategy of always being in the middle of at least one or two books because I figured that way I would maintain some continued interest in living.

Being with my dog is good for the black moods. Every self-recriminating sigh will make her look up and flatten her ears and wag like, was it me? I’m so sorry! – and it’ll take me right out of my head because I have to tell her no, she’s awesome. I know you’re not into anthropomorphizing animals, but I bet kids can have the get-you-out-of-your-head effect too.

linguaphile's avatar

I had one of those nights 2 nights ago… pffth. Glad it’s over!

I find a friend to talk to, cry with full abandon, find a book to read, clean the hell out of everything, create something, if I’m not too tired I might take a long walk or drive—but ultimately a good deep sleep is what helps my thoughts stop spinning and right themselves.

Ela's avatar

I just keep writing. Usually poetry. Then I keep it to myself. Some of my best writings have been done during my saddest times, imo. I think sad souls can some of the most beautiful things if you allow them.

SABOTEUR's avatar

A close friend used to describe those “long, dark nights” as “black pits” that were extremely difficult to climb out of.

In my youth, I suffered from deep depression due to low self-esteem.

We’ve both learned over the years that the best way to get through it is to not allow yourself to get in it.

This requires observing how you think about things, and practicing shifting away from thoughts that’ll lead you into “long, dark nights”.

Preventive maintenance is always more effective than corrective maintenance.

Bellatrix's avatar

Talk to someone uplifting. Have a long soak in a big bath and listen to some music that makes me feel brighter. Not music that will feed my bad mood.

Set myself some small, winnable tasks. Things I know I can achieve without too much pressure on myself. Accept that it’s okay to feel a bit down and crappy occasionally.

Go for a walk. Watch something funny on the television. Go to sleep and hope I feel better tomorrow.

Hope you feel brighter soon.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I meditate.

I go for a walk.

I wash the dishes or clean something.

I call a friend and ask about them and don’t say a thing about me.

@SABOTEUR It’s great to see you.

augustlan's avatar

Mostly, I cry. Then sleep. Tomorrow is a new day.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Thank you. (Great answer, by the way…!)

Shippy's avatar

I so ‘get this’. Some days I feel so intense so overflowing with angst, so down, so dark I want to reach out, but not to talk. Talking is different. I am not sure why? Perhaps because we say less than when we write. Or sometimes I cant talk. I get feelings I need to pour it all out. To certain people, in writing, but I don’t.

I wait until it passes. It’s a moment in time, but I know that moment will be back. It never really goes away.

Rarebear's avatar

Double up on my Paxil.

ucme's avatar

Wow, xmas must be fun in your house!

wundayatta's avatar

The amazing thing, @ucme, is how you can keep this all to yourself. Outside you trim the tree and cook and clean and wrap presents and pass for exited. But in private moments, you realize you are in such a different place, and you can’t share it with anyone present. That’s why the friends get the awful letters.

I’m glad to know there are so many others, though. Not that I wish any of you any of these kind of nights, but just hearing there are so many others makes me feel like I’m not so alone. Even though I don’t know any of you, it does make a difference. Like being in a secret club with a secret greeting or wink or sign of some kind. It cheers me up. Thanks!

Bellatrix's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t personally feel down at Christmas usually, but I think it is very, very common. There is such great expectation that we should be merry and bright and for some people, that just isn’t reality. For those who are struggling to meet the expectations of family and friends, Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time.

I do hope you have a lovely few days with your family and that your mood lifts.

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

I try to lose myself in a book or a movie. A walk around the lake or the park will do wonders, too. But one of the best things is cheerful music that flat-out refuses to be depressing, or music that says, hey: tomorrow’s going to be better. I have a playlist built specifically for the purpose of dragging me out of a depressed mood.

kitszu's avatar

I love long dark nights, so does my soul.

Neither of us love long bright days. They give us a headache.

augustlan's avatar

I’m loving the image of a soul with a headache. “Not tonight, dear. My soul has a headache!”

kitszu's avatar

We were out all night and I’ll be damned if the sun didn’t rise early just to spite us. LOL! Nice one @augustlan

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