Coming to Terms with The Dark Nights of My Soul

Sam Scribes
4 min readMar 6, 2023

Last week, I reconnected with two women whom I’ve grown close with over the past decade. Bravo, but how does that warrant an article, I hear you asking. Well, the truth was, I don’t remember the last time I connected with them as an individual and a woman! On almost all occasions for the past three years, either my toddler would tag along and reduce all meaningful conversation to nil, or we caught up as a group.

Photo by Kaboompics

That could’ve just been an excuse on my part though. What I had failed to observe was since the pandemic stay-at-home restrictions lifted, I have been feeling out-of-sorts. I’m always in motion and being pulled in different directions, yet I’m unsure why that happens and where I’m heading towards.

As an extroverted introvert, I require a lot of downtime to recharge and reflect. Now that pandemic restrictions are a thing of the past, there is an expectation to socialise, and revel in doing so. To rebel is to defy and be the odd one out. So I hurled myself from my solitary cocoon into the loud, buzzing world. Since then, there has been a numbing sensation toward motherhood and life in general. There is no joy, no sadness, just stillness. I plodded along, doing the things I should. Like a hamster on a wheel. Work. Home. Mothering. Washing. Cooking. Family. On and on it goes.

The point of change came during a confrontation on Christmas Day with an extended family member from my in-law’s side, who had overstepped their boundaries. During that confrontation, I felt completely alone to defend my boundary. The aftermath was a lot of anger and grief toward my parents-in-law and my husband who stood on the sidelines, rather than speaking up. After the aggressive exchange, we had a rather chaotic week bouncing from one social occasion to another, with an over-stimulated, over-tired toddler in tow.

When I finally had an opportunity to distill the confrontation and the feelings it evoked in me, I began evaluating what I wanted out of my relationships, my friendships, my career, and my marriage. The macro environment of late too had me question everything I’ve worked for: I started questioning my decision of moving a continent away from my family. When I look around, I find people are louder, brasher, and rougher than I had remembered them to be. I question what kind of world am I bringing up my child in. To join them, or to carve my way of living in an increasingly unkind world.

The more I questioned, the more I withdrew from life as I knew it.

When my friends reached out to have dinner last week, I was almost relieved. They became the driftwood that I’m clinging to for sanity. Funnily enough, during dinner, they too expressed that they had been evaluating their friendships and their relationships. It was cathartic to talk through some of the issues I faced, and this might sound cliche, but after reconnecting with them, it felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

What amused me was how the three of us, in our thirties now, are all at the juncture where we are evaluating our purpose and our relationships. Some of us are even grieving and prematurely grieving for the people and things that we are letting go of. Why is that so?

Did we have a taste of solitude and experienced existential loss during the pandemic lockdown that triggered a change in our framework of life as it should be? Are we the only ones going through this strange, almost depression-like feeling? Should we just accept the shittiness of it all and be louder, brasher just like everyone else?

As fate (or algorithm) would have it, I came across Dr. Nicole Perera a few days after reconnecting with my friends. Known as holistic psychologist on social media, Dr. Perera talked about “Dark Night of the Soul”. To put it simply, Dark Night of the Soul describes the state when we wake up from sleepwalking through life or living on autopilot programming when we’ve been conditioned to perform, achieve, and seek external things to make us happy or to be worthy of love. It can also mean the realisation that all of the things we’ve been told will make us happy don’t fulfill us. Therefore this creates a “dark night” when we feel depressed or lost, want to avoid small talk, and question what life is really about. As a result, we quietly disconnect and unplug from external noise to start the journey of connecting back to our authentic selves.

Tick. Tick and tick.

Finally. An answer! Enlightenment. It was just a dark night. Well, a long night, nevertheless. Unlike the narrative of depression that insinuates a disease and condition, the concept of Dark Night of the Soul sounds like it is a temporary condition. As we know, after the darkness of the night comes the sun. The beautiful sun that brings forth warmth and hope.

Instantly, the shift in mindset lifted the fog covering my vision. Instead of expending energy trying to crawl out of the dark winding hole I’m in, I’m now sitting in a vast dark field, waiting for the sunrise. I have faith that the sunrise will be beautiful and that is when I will meet my true self.

I am incredibly lucky to have friends who are an empath and great listeners, who listen without judgment, who are compassionate, and who offer me the space to wade through my muddy self-exploration journey.

I’m not affiliated with Dr. Nicole Perera in any way, nor am I paid for the contents of this article. This is simply my account and my experience.

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Sam Scribes

Hello! I'm Sam, a creator, communicator and lifelong learner. Passionate about storytelling via various medium. This is my world of words.