If you think your friends are using you, and you accuse all of them of the same thing, when they are absolutely nothing like that…
The problem isn’t them. It’s you.
I have a tendency to take the blame for things that aren’t necessarily my fault. And the day I decided to leave Tumblr/Discord for awhile, I was at my lowest point in years. The thing I had posted about that day was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back.
I spent the day immediately following in the brand-new psych ward of my local hospital, under observation. I hadn’t slept in days by that point and, when I got there, I was able to nap off and on… but each time I woke up in a cold sweat.
The old ghosts had come back to haunt me, after I’d found my stepfather’s old things and experienced a massive spike in anxiety that just wouldn’t let go. Being stabbed in the back on top of that by someone I genuinely cared for was truly devastating, the grand finale in a conga line of pain and stress I had endured over the last few months.
I was truly convinced I had failed them. And perhaps I have, to a degree. But you also can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. You can’t give someone what they need if they’re not willing to open up and ask you for it.
Relationships – love, friendship, family – are a give and take. You have to give something of yourself in order to get the same in return.
The night I had that terrible spiral, I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling. I had grown away from religion in general, having grown up in a Christian church praying to a god that never answered me. On a whim, hoping against hope that some greater power might aid me in my deepest, darkest moment in a long time, I called in my mind upon a specific power.
Hecate. Queen of witches, goddess of magic and lady of the crossroads. Among other duties in her estate. Worshipped by the Hellenes in the ancient Greek provinces of Thrace and Anatolia, and revered by modern witches and dark pagans as a trimorphous goddess representing the shadow self. I called upon her, beseeching her aid in navigating the path of my life, because I was so lost… and she answered me with a promptness that stunned me.
Her strong, regal yet maternal and no-nonsense voice – so very different from my own – flooded my mind. She told me what I needed to do for myself, told me the hard truth of what I had endured, and in that I found comfort.
She also told me about things I hadn’t anticipated, things I could have not possibly foreseen. That’s how I know I didn’t imagine her. (Plus, I’ve never had issues involving “hearing voices.” There’s only ever been me inside my head.)
It was at her gentle nudging that I entered myself back in the hospital.
And she has given me the strength to aid friends who do seek my help. Through me and via automatic writing, Hecate spoke to a good friend of mine (a different one than the one I lost) who’s been doing some soul-searching for awhile now, trying to find a spiritual connection with the forces guiding her. I was also aware and could speak for myself, but Hecate also prompted me often enough that I added her words through no thought of my own.
She told me that I can’t truly love someone who hides behind a mask. She told me not to be afraid of what lies ahead. And I had been drawn to Hecate for some time, had kept staring at a statue of herself in a witch shop (without knowing who it was depicting, at first). She answered when I called her that first time, and has been with me every time since then whenever I’ve said or thought her name.
I no longer feel so out of place, like I’m still missing something. It was a brutal experience I had to go through, and I lost a connection with someone I cared for. But I gained much more in return.
My Dark Night of the Soul is finally over, the anxiety stripped away and the depression lifted. I still deal with my mental illness every day, but it no longer feels like a fight I’m destined to lose. I still feel the sense of loss for a door that was slammed shut in my face, but I am nonetheless at peace. I am surrounded by calm.
I am home.