Even when life is at its very best, sometimes it can be unavoidable. No matter how much you love the way you live, that terrifying emptiness – the dreaded void – can creep up on you.
It preys on your fears and sucks the joy out of the pleasure you do take in existence. It can eclipse the good you experience and replace it with fear and neuroses and all of the worst things that your mind can inflict on you.
It doesn’t even have the decency to be heart-breakingly beautiful. It’s nothing like the romantic image of it you have in your mind when it’s still far away. It’s nothing like that inky black vortex of swirling pain that, in the distance, seems to have something achingly lovely at the core of its own misery.
When it’s actually there and on top of you, it’s nowhere near as dramatic. There is no kind of thrill. There’s no excitement or energy to break up the hurt and the monotony of it all.
Instead, it’s just a great empty expanse of nothing. No hope, no light, no fun. Just nothing for as far as you can see into the future.
This debilitating, devastating, crippling thing consists entirely of nothing.
It’s insulting, to feel so life shatteringly derailed by such an absence of anything directly threatening. And that makes it all feel so much worse.
When it’s not consuming you and you allow yourself, just for a while, to be optimistic, you feel like you can take it on. Though it won’t be easy, you can picture it like some mythical beast you can take on. It may leave you bruised and bleeding, but eventually it’s gone and you’re victorious and that relief, though distant, is still possible.
But you can’t battle nothing. You can’t fight nothing. You can’t vanquish nothing.
It’s just nothing.
That weight, that lack of purpose, that sense of overwhelming absence is one of the most difficult thing a human being can endure. It feels like there’s no point carrying on with life. It can feel like you’re teetering on the edge of something fatal, when the void encompasses seemingly the entire world around you and you don’t know if normality will ever come back.
When that void tries to engulf you, no amount of happy platitudes or well-meaning clichés will drag you out of it.
But perhaps a handful of cold, hard truths can give you the fuel to go on.
THIS IS ABOUT AS BAD AS YOUR MIND CAN MAKE THINGS SEEM
And you are still alive and safe. If you can handle this, you can handle anything. Your mind is capable of playing horrible tricks on you that make you feel so awful. And you are doing a damn fine job of coping with it. Lasting this long in the face of that takes the kind of steely resolve that is truly rare among people. You’ve got this. You don’t realise it, but if you’re still going, then you definitely do.
IF WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT IS NOTHING, IT’S UP TO YOU TO FILL IT WITH THINGS
And that won’t be easy, certainly. Sometimes, it will feel like no matter how many relationships, jobs and hobbies you take on to fill that emptiness, the overwhelming nothing will only swallow them up and get bigger. But there’s just as much to fill that nothing with as there is nothing, if only you never give up pushing stuff in.
YOU KNOW WHAT NOTHING LOOKS LIKE
That might feel depressing as anything right now. But know the moment you can see something – anything – the slightest, tiniest glimpse of a single thing – it’s going to feel so amazing. And, for the rest of your life, you will be grateful for every tiny little thing you ever have. It might not feel like much now, but it will do.
THE ONLY WAY TO GET THROUGH IT IS TO CARRY ON
If you stop, the void wins. Even if you can’t see the far side yet, the only way to get through to there is to never stop going.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.