Is it just me or is Dory one of the most loveable cartoon characters ever? Something about her carefree, naive, and adorable personality makes me fall in love with her character more and more every time my daughter asks to watch "Finding Dory."
But recently, Dory's character has somewhat inspired me through her cute, catchy phrase, "Just keep swimming."
You see, these last few weeks have been really rough with only short, intermittent moments of light, and I have felt as though I have been sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean of my sorrow, to the point where I feel like I have continuously reached a new depth I didn't know existed. I would have days of light, but then when the darkness returned, it felt like it started back where it left off, and continued redefining my view of what it meant to experience darkness.
I kept wondering how I could go on like this, and why I kept trying to feel better when the inevitable darkness would only overshadow my whole world time and time again. The discouragement grew, and I continually questioned how much more I had to offer.
And then in church today, something snapped. I was sitting there in Relief Society, when something in my brain broke. I couldn't stay there. I couldn't face anyone. I couldn't explain or talk or listen or accept help. I simply had to run. First, I went to the bathroom, but I couldn't stay there. I had to get farther away. So I quickly left church, got in my van, and drove. Tears were streaming down my face as I prayed and told God that I was done. I did not have another ounce left to give, and I was deeply angry that I had no way out, that dying wasn't an option, even though the thought of it plagues my mind almost daily, several times a day.
I was gripping the steering wheel so tight and clenching my teeth even tighter as I experienced a depth of emotional pain that I had never before reached. I swore to myself that I would never go to church again, I would never eat because then I could starve, I would never let myself see anyone again, and I would never let light back into my life. I didn't want to experience light ever again, because it's always followed by the indescribable discouragement of penetrating darkness once again. I wasn't going to go there even one more time, let alone a hundred or thousand more times throughout the rest of my life.
I called my friend sobbing. She was the only one I wanted to talk to and the only one who had a chance of making me feel better. I talked, she listened, and she talked a little too. My mind could not comprehend trying again, getting back up again, or wanting to get better ever again.
But as we talked and some clarity returned to my mind, I remembered that I just have to keep swimming, through the whirlwinds, the darkness, the terror, and the pain. I just have to keep swimming.
I still don't see light right now, and I don't feel goodness or happiness or purpose to any of this, but I do see that I have to keep swimming. I have to keep trying and hoping and finding joy. I have to give whatever I have to offer as far as my understanding of what the deepest parts of the ocean look and feel like, views that I may actually be blessed to see because of their potential to mold my life and allow me to influence others.
It's true that light and darkness will continue to be opposing forces in my life, and often times the dark will consume more of my experiences because of this terrible condition, but it's also true that every moment of light, goodness, and happiness will only add to the beautiful vista I get to experience as part of my unique life.
The darkness will not destroy me or define me. It will only refine me into something better than what I could be without it. I will keep trying with whatever I have in me to find joy through the darkness and the light. I just have to keep swimming.