Imagine being trapped inside a dark room with no windows…… there is a way out but it’s so dark inside the room that you know it’s going to take time to find it. In this room, the air that fills it is toxic. Full of anxiety filled gases. Every breath you take plugs you with grief and terror. Fear of the unknown. You’re distressed. You’re trying to understand why you are imprisoned in this dark room. You can’t figure it out. You just woke up in this dark room without choosing to and you are entombed.

Outside the dark room your loved ones are screaming at you to find your way out. They can’t seem to comprehend that it’s so dark inside the room that you can’t find the way out. You get frustrated at your loved ones you’re bursting with anger, because if it simple, you would have discovered the way out of the dark room by now.

You remember you have to work tomorrow and this fills you with anxiety. You’re going to be exhausted after trying to find a way out of this dark room all night. Your co-workers will not believe that you have been struggling in this dark room all night, trying to escape. What if you discover the way out of the dark room in time for work tomorrow? Even if your co-workers listen to your story of trying to break out of the dark room, they will conclude that you’re ridiculous for entering into the dark room. They don’t grasp that you just woke up there out of your choice.

It was not my choice to be enter the dark room, why can’t anyone understand this? Why do only certain people encounter the dark room in their lifetime? These thoughts torture you because if everyone experienced the dark room once in their lifetime then they could apprehend that it’s not simple to get out of it. It’s so unjust. You feel sorry for yourself. You start crying. Why do some people end up in bright rooms with lots of windows; sunshine beaming in; full of fresh, clean air with all their loved ones waving and smiling in at them and you get cheated with the ghastly, dark room polluted with anxiety filled air?

You start to question life itself. What’s the point in making effort to achieve and be happy when you end up in this horrific, dark room with no way out… out of your control. Eventually, a crack of light appears in the dark room. You discover it and force it open until it expands so that you can scramble out of the dark room. But you’re exhausted from trying to find this crack of light in the first place and forcing it open.

When you are free from the dark room you enlighten your loved ones on how difficult it was to flee. You justify that you searched for this crack of light for a very long time and it acquired all of your strength and energy to rupture so you could climb out. They don’t believe you though because they’ve never been in that dark room. They’ve never undergone the dark room. They assume it’s your fault for ending up in the dark room initially. They respond by saying if you made more determined while in that dark room you would have evaded swifter. Next time you should be more cautious not to get imprisoned inside the dark room they say. They don’t appreciate that you woke up in that dark room out of your control. You didn’t choose to go into the dark room.

The people that sympathise are those that have experienced the dark room. You find comfort that others have been through the turmoil and pain of that dark room and the effort it takes to evade. It’s the only cogitation that gives you relief. You reflect and thank the Lord for the others that have endured the dark room. Without them, you would feel isolated because no one would appreciate the agony you underwent in that dark room. So finally, you find gratitude because you have their empathy and their compassion.
Over time, your gratitude continues to expand. You learn that others end up in the dark room out of their control for years, sometimes their whole lifetime. The longest time you’ve tolerated the dark room was a couple of months. You have gratitude because you realise you are lucky. You eventually found a way out. You didn’t give up no matter even though you were exhausted. Some days you had to just sleep in the dark room because you were too drained to move but you never lost hope. You appreciate your strength and you have gratitude for this. Some people don’t have that power. Some people don’t have loved ones yelling for them outside the dark room, begging them to find their way out.

You are so fortunate. Life isn’t so bad after all. You must try and remember this for next time you end up in the dark room out of your choice. You know that will be difficult though because you block the dark room out of your mind every time you get out of it. You don’t want to recall that dark room. So that’s why you write about the dark room. You may find yourself in the dark room out of your control again. If this reoccurs, you can read about the last time you were in there. So, you can remember that eventually you will find that crack of light. So, you can remember that you have gratitude. So, you can remember that you are strong. You can remember that others experience the dark room too. You must remember that others are worse off.

Hannah Kelly is a 32 year old, Northern Irish woman. She is a secondary school teacher. After overcoming grief and depression, she wants to share her experience to help people understand how isolating the experience feels. To help promote mental awareness, so that others never have to undergo this pain alone. She is running the London marathon in aid of MIND the mental health charity in April 2019