3 min read

How I Made a Deal with Darkness

How I dealt with the darkness on Sunday morning.
How I Made a Deal with Darkness

This past weekend, I experienced darkness in a way that I hadn't in quite some time. I won't go into it until the dust settles a bit, but trust me when I say that I was feeling low. It was all I could do to get out of bed and switch the kettle on.

Do you ever wake up feeling like this? I'm glad to say that it passed, just as it always does, but knowing that it always passes doesn’t help me to feel any better when I’m in the thick of it.

I’m just glad that I could get up and switch on the kettle because it’s a way of engaging in routine, and good coffee and time usually help.

Right now, I'm learning just to sit with the darkness and not let it spiral down into the deeper, darker depths. Having a headache doesn't help, so along with the coffee go a couple of paracetamol or ibuprofen. Except that we're out of both of those, so I turn instead to co-codamol—just the 8/500mg over-the-counter ones, but it's still enough codeine to tickle my craving sensitivity. Thankfully there's nothing else in the cupboard for me to take, so I'm safe.

And no, custard creams, I'm not going to eat you, either!

Feeling low and having a headache are times when I often would give in to the sugar cravings to feel better. Maybe some toast and marmalade? Nope, I finished the marmalade and deliberately didn't buy any more. Good shout, Camuel.

Another thing that helps me engage with the day is writing. But what motivates me to sit down to write, you ask? I simply opened my Notion. As soon as I’d done that, I saw that I hadn't ticked the box for writing yesterday. When I open my planner, I can either ignore it and hit play on another YouTube video, or I could open a writing window and just see what comes out.

This is what I told my friend Ruben when he asked me this week how I plan my newsletters. That’s it - I just open a browser and start writing.

The Notion system is helping me a lot right now. I use it to run the content production workflow for four YouTube channels and it really helps me to align my actions to my values and see where I’m falling short.

Align the what now? What does that even mean?

Well, if you'd really like to know, I talked about it in a walk-and-talk up in the forestry above Lamlash last week, so hit play on the video and I'll explain what my values are and how I'm trying to make my actions reflect them. (Featuring a cameo by Ewan McGregor).

Sometimes, though, writing and painkillers are only temporary fixes. Sometimes, what I need when I feel low is to turn my brain off. What helped me through my particularly dark Sunday, when I got up and felt oh so low, was coffee and content. I got some coffee—some really tasty beans from Dark Woods Coffe in Yorkshire—and binge-watched a new docuseries on Disney+, McCartney 3,2,1. It moved me to tears, reminding me that music is life. I've seen a lot of Beatles documentaries, but to hear it from Paul himself in conversation with one of the best music producers ever to have graced our earth? It just doesn't get any better.

Then I asked a friend for a film recommendation, something heavy D. He recommended The Witch, fulfilling my request perfectly. After that, my life seemed positively idyllic. Not a feel-good film at all. I’m not sure how I would cope with living in a dilapidated farm cottage with witches living in the woods!

I followed that up with an episode of a TV show that always makes me feel good, Northern Exposure. A good dose of philosophy from Chris Stevens always hits the spot in a  good way, and the show’s quirky depiction of life in Cicely, Alaska somehow makes life seem all right.

So it was a day of consuming good content rather than making any, but that was okay. I gave myself a pass.