One Light Burning

She lay back on the mattress, her head nestling into the soft down of the pillow. She craved the solace of sleep, of relaxation, yet her neck felt stiff and her head was pounding. Too many nights of grinding her teeth, of tossing and turning in a disturbed half-sleep, had set her entire body on edge. Serenity now seemed like a distant oasis on the horizon; it flickered and beckoned to her, but the chasm between her and it felt insurmountable.

She had spent days, nay weeks, locked inside the echo chamber of her own dark thoughts. Negativity reigned supreme in every corner of her mind, murky tendrils swirling like dark smoke and permeating every thought. Worthless. Useless. Failure. The hateful words reverberated in her skull, blighting her every waking moment and cursing her with bleak fever dreams of pain and suffering.

Where did it come from, she wondered, this hurtful tirade in her brain? She recounted the months leading up to her slide into the broiling black tide of despair, looking for clues. Analysing, overturning each memory, she shook them, up-ended them, waiting for some explanatory piece of grit to fall free and provide the answer she sought. If she could ascertain the cause, she reasoned, she could work out how to heal. If you can’t locate the cut, how can you know where to apply the antiseptic?

But as time had progressed, and the darkness had taken over, there was little light left to shine on her mind. The malaise had infiltrated so deeply that she could no longer bear to continue looking inside. She had grown too afraid of what she might see, what monsters were lurking in the gloom and waiting to pounce. And so, in the fleeting moments when her vision would try to sneak a peek between tightly clenched fingers, she would yell at herself No! Stop! Don’t! She felt nothing but acute danger. Her mind had turned against her, and her mind was powerful.

She brought a hand up to cup her breast. It was not a sexual move, far from it. She could not find any whisper of libido and, in fact, the thought of sex was a turn off at the moment. It felt like too much bother. Like everything else, really. When she had attempted to masturbate, she’d lain naked and staring at the ceiling for what felt like hours (though in fact it couldn’t have been more than forty minutes), with not the slightest stirring in her nether parts. Not even the ministrations of a clitoral stimulator to her usually hyper-sensitive button could succeed in drawing her libido back to life. Increasingly, she just became frustrated and angry, so she threw the toy on the mattress with an irate thump, and pulled her clothes back on.

So, no, the hand cradling her breast was not sexual. Sensual, perhaps, in that the warmth of her flesh cupped perfectly in her own palm was soothing and welcoming. It was a touch of solace, both as the touch-er and the touch-ee. Her breast fit comfortably in her hand, soft and supple. And the curl of her hand around her own flesh felt like the touch of compassion. I’ve got you. Don’t be afraid.

She knew there was a way out, that the light would shine again, but it would take some time to recover. It always did. No matter how loudly the disparaging voices in the echo chamber shouted that she was weak and that there was no point, no hope, she continued to hold on to the wish, the promise, that somewhere there was always one little light left burning, and that it would eventually guide her back and lead her home. Back to herself.

All alone with my fears

No words are spoken

A story yet to be told

Locked in my mind

Hope is somewhere ahead

Shining brightly

But the past is always following

close behind.

See my life going by,

each moment I’m alive

I keep reaching out, holding on,

Hoping somewhere in my life there’s one light burning.


Artwork: Burning Candle painting by Zephyr Z. Click picture to visit original source website.

9 thoughts on “One Light Burning

  1. Yes, that one message of hope when the darkness feels all consuming. So long as it’s there we know we can survive and pull through.

    For the second time recently, I was thinking of ‘Anthem’ by Leonard Cohen as I read this, it’s a very similar metaphor:

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    That’s how the light gets in

    melody xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Yes, you’re right. “Anthem” is very similar in tone. I hadn’t thought of that, but yes the line about the doves saying “start again”, as well. Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it ๐Ÿ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The physical part of this — the not-sexual, the frustration of trying, the “Why bother?” — I get that.

    It’s not light I lack, really. Just… Heat.

    Sometimes I feel incredibly cold. And even the thought of touch makes me colder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, good point. There’s no heat. I wonder if that is why so many of us huddle under blankets or duvets when we feel depressed. Perhaps our bodies are too busy trying to cope with the turmoil of our brains that it loses some of its ability to keep us heated?!


  3. I wish I could convey my thoughts as you do. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can so relate to most of what you said. Laying in bed, headache, wanting the release but then it just seems like too much work, not enough time or whatever.
    Agreed, there is always hope. And I do hope you get back to feeling yourself if you haven’t already.
    Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing and taking part in SB4MH and my apologies for not always being around, commenting, reading and promoting your posts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully, I can get my shit together and finally stay out of the funk I’ve been in….what did you call it? ah yes…”echo chamber of her own dark thoughts.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sassy. You are so kind to say that. Yes, the thing I guess we have to keep focused on is that we have had happy days before, and we will again. It’s just very hard to believe it when things are low. But then that’s the insidiousness of mental illness ; it clouds our reason.

      Thank you so much for all your work hosting SB4MH. It’s a wonderful outlet, and regret not having got involved more often. I wish you all the very best with climbing out of your echo chamber and finding your way back to your happier and more joyous self. Much love xxx


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