When the dark clouds loom

It’s been a while since I felt this way. By “this way”, I mean walking around numb with no interest in doing / watching and reading anything. It’s that kind of state where you’d rather crawl into bed and sleep for days. You know the kind… or maybe you don’t. Anyway, it’s not much fun and being in this place again has got me anxious and incredibly on edge (though it would be hard for you to tell if you were with me right now).

You see, the feeling of impending doom isn’t completely unwarranted – not that mental health needs a reason – but I recently lost my cousin. Lost is a simple term and doesn’t do the situation justice so let me start again. My cousin was brutally murdered the day he was meant to come to the UK with his family for a festive visit. Days before my 30th birthday and before Christmas, some idiot (unbeknown to any of us) decided they were God and tied him to his car seat and strangled him with cable ties. That’s not the end of it. They left him for dead in a cemetery. What kind of sicko and disgusting human being does that – let alone any of it?

I go through the stages of grief, pretty rapidly, on loop. It’s exhausting but the level of shock and disbelief is beyond anything I’ve experienced before. It’s just made me stop in my tracks and ask myself a series of questions, ones that I’d probably get penalised for on one of those depression quizzes given to you by a psychiatrist. “How often have you felt little pleasure or interest in doing things?” or “Have you had trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?” My response: “Nearly every day for both.” I am struggling beyond belief to fall asleep as I replay the headlines (sometimes false) in the media about my cousin’s death. Stupid I know, but it’s really brought home the question of “What’s it all for?”. This life, the work we do, the money we make, the attachments we form… what’s it all for? Yes, I am aware everyone has to die at some point – hopefully more often through a peaceful death in old age but I know that’s not always the case and diseases like cancer can ravage the body or heart failure etc. But to lose your life in such horrific circumstances when you had everything to play for and a wonderful life ahead of you, that’s just stumped me. Life is unfair – I’ve always known that, but what was done to my cousin (and our family) is cruel. We may never know the names of the perpetrators at play and I’m not sure it would really help any of us – unless it was a punishment they were faced with. But, even that, will never bring my loving, kind-hearted, fun-spirited cousin back – and that harsh reality will never be something that can be erased easily – if at all.

So really, what is it all for? What’s the point of any of it? Why do we strive for anything when any element can be stripped away from you with little to no notice? Here’s what I think – life is to be lived because we are fortunate enough to have it. We are living, breathing, extraordinary human beings. We were made for connection, with a purpose and hopefully we will contribute to making the world a better place some day. But above all, we are learning – how to love, give and receive. That is something I believe can help to make sense of it all.

In this place of utter doom and nothingness, I hold onto the hope that one day I’ll be reunited with my cousin and he’ll no doubt ask me what I did with my life after he went. I’d rather not give him a pathetic answer and instead live a life he would have lived – full of joy, peace and laughter – all in the present moment…and with no regrets.

On that note, as we begin 2023 – not in a way I would have liked and some of you may be feeling the same – let’s be thankful for the life we have and those who are in it. With love, support and a little bit of grit, we can rise up from the ashes and build a stronger version of ourselves with renewed optimism, faith and hope. With three months to go till I embark on the London Landmarks Half Marathon again (a story for another time) I’ll use the goal to supercharge myself and give me something to focus on – one day at a time. What habits can you start cultivating today?

Take things slow and fly a bit at a time,

The Confused Butterfly

PS. Happy New Year!

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are intended for educational purposes only. Nothing found on this site should be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it a substitute for therapy. Therefore, please seek the advice of a Doctor or Mental Health Practitioner if you have any concerns about your wellbeing. These views are personal to me and are in no way a representation of other individuals or organisations.

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