Monday, April 18, 2016

You Must Never Learn To Love The Darkness

Even before humans had the slightest clue what depression was or even had a name for it, many recognized that riding, training, and handling horses lifted them from Hell on a regular basis. Now we are starting to recognize some of the how's and why's of this phenomenon.

Clinical depression, anxiety disorder and even severe PTSD can be alleviated by simply entering the horse's world. That takes a special kind of talk therapy. It requires the human to learn to speak horse and that knowledge is the essence of natural horsemanship. Whether it be simply brushing a horse, rehabilitating one dangerously ill or injured, training a wild one from scratch, or even feeling the satisfaction of riding fifty miles in a stretch--the horse/human connection, successfully made is a miracle drug.

I don't use that cliche lightly. For some people every month that they go without committing suicide is a miracle. 

But one must first pour the water into the glass before one can drink it.  One must overcome the feeling that nothing helps and that there is nothing---but the darkness. The darkness of avoiding people, the darkness of avoiding any potentially stressful situation (and nearly all situations are potentially stressful) and worst of all the darkness of  seeking the safety of hiding from life, staying in bed, and resisting every thing that science tells us helps make life better.

It is warm in that darkness. There is a comfort in that darkness. The darkness tells one that the best way to end the struggle is to surrender. And then the darkness speaks louder and tells one that surrender is not only the best way to end the struggle--it is the only way.

And that is not true. If you are working hard to follow your doctor's instructions, eating right, exercising hard, spending time in the sunlight, and getting up every day to do everything that needs to be done yet you still find life to be primarily a dreary endeavor--understand something that so few people do--you are not merely suffering from depression--you are winning.

You are beating the darkness and keep it up and you will learn to hate the darkness.

And I don't know anything that helps  beat the darkness better than natural horsemanship. But you have to get out of bed and light that small candle to be able to find yourself over to the window where you can let more light in by pulling the curtains back. With the curtains back you can see how to get to the door in the hall and you can open the door and turn the light on. And then you will have enough light to make it all the way to the front door.

When you open that door you will see the sunlight there in front of you, but when you get on a horse you will feel the sunlight all around you. You will feel its warmth on your shoulders.

And eventually, though it might take many months you will wonder why you loved the darkness.



Anonymous said...

Best blog post ever. -- Liz Marshall

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful and so profoundly true.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! Sometimes we have to be reminded how to get to the light when the darkness seems impenetrable.